Rising South Korean webtoons manhwa raises the alarm to Japans manga.Japanese manga has been become popular almost all over the world. However, the Japanese manga is now at a crossroads when intense competition from overseas keeps increasing.
The strongest competitor comes not far from Japan. The rising South Korean webtoons - a portmanteau of web and cartoons are now overshading Japanese global presence of manage. Over the last couple of years, South Korean webtoons have strongly invaded Japanese market and targeted to digital native youth who are now more into smartphones and internet than the traditional printed manga.
Therefore, it comes to a question: should Japanese manga publishers join the game and target to foreign and tech-savvy audiences? The industry publishers and experts still have different opinions about this. But to some people, it is a definite Yes as they have witnessed the downward trend in comic magazine sales in japan. Hideki Egami, a former editor at Shogakukan, a leading publisher thought that webtoons were the most reasonable way to move forward. In addition to the Korean gaming industry, which has also developed a breakthrough, in addition to the mobile games field, they also outsource to giant American entertainment corporations and titles such as ben 10 games
, teen titans games, batman games, avengers games are made in Korea.
Unlike traditional printed manga, webtoons target the digital device users and webtoon formats have been optimized for both smartphones and computers.
While Japanese printed manga are mostly in black and whit and read horizontally; South Korean webtoon manhwa
scroll vertically and full in colors. For this reason, when South Korean webtoon manhwa spread to Japan, they immediately attracted young and tech-savvy audiences there.
Line Manga, with over 23 million users domestically is currently the biggest webtoon application in Japan with access to a host of Japanese titles which firstly appeared in printed version. But the real champions in this mega-app in recent month are True Beauty, by Yaongyi, and Lookism, by Taejoon Park. These two South Korean webtoons have dominated the top two spots in a monthly subscriber ranking in the last six months. In addition to Webtoon, the Japanese also need to accurately assess the rise of light novel coming from Korea. By 2020 there has been an increase in the number of light novel works on platforms such as wattpad, manycomic or webnovel. with sales of $200 million dollars.
Baku Hirai, an executive with Line Digital Frontier, said that Japanese manga are originally meant to be read in print formats, theyre not necessarily optimized for smartphones and he also thought the letter size on smartphones is too small for for the audience to read. Agreeing with Hirai, Egami head of a Japanese subsidiary of Ylab shares that webtoons with their vertical scrolling will bring the most stress-free manga-reading experience to the readers.
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