Manga experience of Jump goes digital

MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA, started by the well-known Shueisha publishing house, is set to launch manga experience into the digital age

By Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

©Weekly Shonen Jump/Shueisha

The Cover of Weekly Shonen Jump (C)Weekly Shonen Jump/ShueishaOriginal Source: 集英社

Fans may already be aware that classics such as Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Slam Dunk, Death Note, and One Piece are all published as part of the seminal paper-based magazine Weekly Shonen Jump, nowadays widely known and appreciated both within Japan and without. MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA app is one of the many initiatives to push Manga further into global mainstream culture. Here we introduce the background to, and reasons for, this innovation in the genre.

"MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA" (C)ShueishaOriginal Source: 集英社

Free latest episodes for all of us

Weekly Shonen Jump had its first issue in 1968, and for much of the subsequent time has boasted the highest circulation of any Manga periodical, with a historic record of as many as 6.53 million copies sold per issue. It is amongst the most well-known, if not the most-known, of all manga publications in Japan.

When Shueisha, the publisher, first launched the MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA app service in 2019, it created a hubbub in the industry, catching many by surprise. The service was to serve the global market outside out of Japan, South Korea, and China, and the introduction of a digital service- you can enjoy the latest episodes of many of original manga works of Jump group for absolutely free of charge in different languages apart from Japanese, also at the same time as their release in Japan- was seen as a bold step forward.

"MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA" Degital Comic page(C)ShueishaOriginal Source: 集英社

Now in 2022, three years after the initial launch, the number of languages supported has increased from one (English) to seven (English, Spanish, Thai, French, Indonesian, Portuguese and Russian). The number of monthly active users exceeds 6 million, and has been growing rapidly, with each new update bringing the latest episodes of between 40 and 50 different works, synchronized to the same schedule as their Japanese releases.

Shueisha Jump Group Editorial DepartmentOriginal Source: 集英社

Directly from creators, by editors, to fans

An important point of differentiation between MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA and other manga apps is that MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA is run directly by the editorial department, who deals with on-going original works, whereas other manga apps mainly introduce a sort of archives of old works. The editorial department of the Shonen Jump + , publishing their own original works on digital app, is responsible for the making and digitalization of the MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA.

Yuta Momiyama, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of "Shonen Jump+"Original Source: 集英社

This means that the MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA app is a platform for new manga works, a fan community where opinions can be exchanged amongst readers, and a collective creative mind, where manga creators , editors and readers can interact to share ideas. It can be thought of as an ecosystem for creating new manga. Yuta Momiyama, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Shonen Jump +, describes the service as “a place with energy of ‘being on live’, where you can develop and spread a manga while getting some real input and opinion from the readers and fans”.

Yuta Momiyama, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of "Shonen Jump+"Original Source: 集英社

“Until the launch of MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA , we had been working mainly on the Japanese market, and there was sometimes as time delay between a Manga taking off in Japan, and being enjoyed elsewhere in the world. For instance, we used to export either some stuff that’s already popular in Japan, or some manga which have seen their popularity explode because they’ve been made into an animation. One of our aims with the app is to bring this into closer synchronization, so we’ve been bringing the rest of the world up to date. Via the app, I hope to have a hit that’s popular all over the world at the same time, so we, editors, decided to push the idea of MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA forward”.

Shueisha Jump Group Editorial DepartmentOriginal Source: 集英社

The value that only editors can bring

“I think there’s some validity to the basis for some of the other manga apps, which act more like an archive and aim to re-popularize existing manga by allowing readers to go back to the first episode and start again. But our mission as editors is to deliver new, interesting manga. We sit together with the manga creators to think about the next storyline, bearing in mind what we’ve seen of the readers’ reactions. In a sense, manga can be born with the existence of readers and changes with readers. This is a typical approach in the manga magazine world, you could say it’s an integral part of the culture. I’d like to include the rest of the world in that process”.

Back number of Weekly Shonen JumpOriginal Source: 集英社

Momiyama smiles modestly when I suggest that he was far-sighted. “It’s not that big a deal. We weren’t deliberately setting out to make any kind of statement. It’s more about that our motivation was the feeling that it would be cool if as many people as possible could enjoy the serialization of a new manga. The ultimate way to enjoy manga is to follow the series as it progresses, it’s fun for both the readers and the creators. I’ve often felt the thrill of that myself, working on Weekly Shonen Jump and Shonen Jump +.

Shueisha Jump Group Editorial DepartmentOriginal Source: 集英社

The experience of sharing fun

“I have my own memories, of sharing manga magazines with classmates at my school, when I was a child. We talked a lot about how we felt about the latest episodes of our favourite works of manga and guessed how the stories go. It would be really exciting if we could share that kind of manga experience with a much wider audience – people all over the world, at the same time”.

Credits: Story

Cooperation with:
Jump Group Editorial Department

Photos: Shinsaku Yasujima
Text / Edit / Translation: Makiko Oji
Edit: Saori Hayashida
Production: Skyrocket Corporation

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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