Manga is a major part of Japan’s publishing industry, accounting for over 25 percent of all printed materials in the country. They offer something for everyone and can be purchased from a wide range of retail and online stores. As Mr. Teiji Hayashi, former Director of the Public Diplomacy Planning Division, Public Diplomacy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan explains, “manga has a wide range of fans, from small children to senior citizens, because its storylines are clear and the characters are rich in humanity.” This is why they are often “utilized not only for entertainment but also to provide simple explanations about difficult matters like history, natural science and social issues.”
Popular manga have a far-reaching influence. Many become books, television shows, anime2, collectable figures and video games. Nearly every aspect of Japanese popular cultural production can trace its roots to the industrial complex that is manga which has become a mainstay of the Japanese economy and culture.
My God, a fairly mainstream article acknowledging the influence of manga on Japanese culture, as well as intelligent commentary on the reprecussions of scanlation culture on the industry with? Be still, my beating heart, my dream is coming true: the world is starting to slowly move beyond the outdated thinking of manga is only for little kids and perverts, and that manga is worth serious reflection in mainstream circles outside of academia. At least I can hope it is - right?
There is also an interview with manga-ka Emiko Iwasaki, whose manga about counterfeit goods won the WIPO Manga Competition. Also worth a read! I believe you can also read some or maybe all of the winning manga, Honmono, at the site linked above.