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Shogakukan Inc., in a rare move as a publisher, will allow people in the United States to read English versions of “manga” comic stories on the Internet at the same time as it publishes the original printed versions in Japan.

The quick distribution of the “authorized” English version is aimed at discouraging illegal replicas of Japanese comics being made mainly in the United States and Europe, the publishing house said.

Bootleg versions of manga have often been seen published online just several days after the authentic vernacular version has come out in Japan, a practice that has frustrated manga publishers of Japan.

Shogakukan has shown “Rin-ne” by popular manga artist Rumiko Takahashi on a Web site of VIZ Media LLC based in San Francisco.

Registered viewers can read Takahashi’s work in English on VIZ Media’s site free of charge, Shogakukan said.

But they can browse the site only in the United States and the online manga cannot be printed.

Shogakukan, publisher Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co. set up VIZ Media to publish Japanese manga books overseas in English.

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