• Miyama, Fukuoka

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The May 26 article ” ‘Manga’: heart of pop culture” has to be one of the most poorly researched articles I’ve ever had the misfortune to read in The Japan Times. The Japanese comic magazine industry’s targeting of the adult audience has nearly 50 years of history. Titles targeting salarymen are published by nearly every major manga company in the country, including titles such as Men’s Jump and Men’s Sunday, and there are dozens of titles targeting adult women.

The true founder of this market was Tezuka Osamu, whose popularity is not based on a single title but on dozens of stories published in many different magazines appealing not just to prepubescent boys but to every possible reading market from kindergartners to the elderly. Two other major contributors in establishing the adult comic industry were Sanpei Shirato’s Kamuiden, which began in the early 1960s, and Monkey Punch’s Lupin the Third, which began in 1967.

One can search The Japan Times archives to find sales figures for manga going all the way back to the mid-1970s. I have read many good articles on manga in this newspaper over the years, but this article misinforms readers and throws mud in the face of one of Japan’s biggest and most successful cultural exports.

joseph benkert

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