Friday, September 26, 2014

Manga's fastest-growing market is India, for The Japan Times

New markets may save Japan’s manga exports
BY ROLAND KELTS
[Simon & Schuster India]
The North American manga business took a beating last decade. After peaking around 2005-06, the lethal storm of oversaturated shelves, a collapsing U.S. financial industry and the bankruptcy of major American bookstore chain, Borders, left publishers and distributors in a panic. Downsizing, restructuring and layoffs became de rigueur.

“The bankruptcy of Borders in 2011 was definitely the final straw in forcing me to close down the office and stop print publishing,” says Stu Levy, the founder and CEO of Tokyopop, a pioneer and stalwart of the North American manga market that once introduced millions to the iconic “Sailor Moon” series. Levy believes rampant digital piracy and reduced print runs combined with the closing of Borders to force his hand.

But after the losses sustained in the wake of Japan’s natural and nuclear disasters of 2011, manga publishers and their overseas partners see signs of hope — though not necessarily where they were looking for them.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On tour in California, Oct. 2014

I'll be touring California with the Monkey Business team next month, Oct. 11 - 25. Six cities -- San Diego, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley -- w/Tomoka Shibasaki, Hideo Furukawa, Steve Erickson, Hiromi Ito, Peter Orner, Dean Rader, Motoyuki Shibata, Ted Gooossen and more. Readings, signings, conversation, fine wines & spirits.

[Sayaka Toyama, graphic]
Specs after the jump.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sold-out in Ottawa

My thanks to the Embassy of Japan, Canada; the Ottawa International Animation Festival; Prof. Tom Keirstead, and a sell-out audience in Canada's capital city.


[Photos courtesy Ryo Tokunaga, Embassy of Japan, Canada]

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Appearing @ Ottawa International Animation Festival 2014, Sept. 17-21

I will be a guest speaker at the 2014 Ottawa International Animation Festival in Ottawa, Canada, Sept. 17-21, at the behest of the Embassy of Japan.


COOL JAPAN: New monthly column for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

COOL JAPAN | BEGINNINGS (ACCJ Journal)


Cultures Intertwined

American influence on Japan’s soft-power push

By Roland Kelts

In 2002, American journalist Douglas McGray published an article in Foreign Policy magazine called “Japan’s Gross National Cool.”

After spending a few months traveling around the country, McGray concluded that Japan was transitioning from being a manufacturing exporter to a cultural exporter.

What he called “the whiff of American cool” that dominated most of the 20th century was being supplanted globally by “the whiff of Japanese cool,” in the form of cultural products such as manga, anime, fashion, and cuisine.

McGray cited the phrase coined by Harvard professor Joseph S. Nye (who was, incidentally, President Barack Obama’s first choice for ambassador to Japan in 2008): Soft Power.