The latest Monocle Minute newsletter talks about how there’s currently a resurgence in the popularity of educational manga, like the series covering Japanese history pictured.
Japanese publishers, ever on the lookout for the next big thing, have alighted on an unlikely boom: educational manga. A spike in sales of history comics was kick-started in 2013 by a bestselling novel about a school dunce who is transformed into a top student in record time. Keen readers spotted a reference to publisher Shogakukan’s 23-volume manga series on Japanese history and sales promptly rocketed. When the book became a hit film – Biri Gyaru (or Flying Colours as it’s called in English) – sales doubled. Other publishers have now got in on the act, rereleasing old editions with fresh covers and adding new titles to the genre. Kadokawa has sold more than two million copies of its Japanese history manga series in just over a year while Shueisha’s history series has been given a makeover with new artwork and will go on sale in October. Sanseido, a venerable bookshop in Tokyo’s Jimbocho district, reports that grandparents have been buying multiple volumes of manga for their grandchildren.