Josei Manga

As a big fan of Tramps Like Us, I would love to see more manga aimed at women, not girls. Publishers Weekly points to an upcoming title that sounds very promising, Kiriko Nananan’s Sweet Cream and Red Strawberries from Central Park Media. (Strangely, although PW says it’s out this month, I can’t find information on the book on CPM’s site, and Amazon has no release date listed.)

MangaBlog also noticed the article and adds some comments about pricing and library availability, raising the question of whether manga can and will be shelved outside of the young adult section.

MangaBlog also answers a question I’ve been curious about: whatever happened to Tokyopop’s Manga After Hours marketing push towards women? The answer is the expected “low sales”.

Perhaps that was influenced by my favorite of Erica Sakurazawa’s works ending with “to be continued”, a book that never appeared?

Anyway, I’m sure that josei’s time will come. Perhaps Tokyopop was just a bit too far ahead of the curve.


  1. Wasn’t Sweet Cream and Red Strawberries canceled by the publisher? I could have sworn that I pre-ordered it to only have it listed as canceled.

  2. That’s possible, although I would expect PW to not have run the story in that case. Are you perhaps thinking of Pale Pink, which was solicited in March 05 by CPM then cancelled? It seems to have been an earlier edition of this book.

  3. I think the reason we don’t see many josei titles is like you said, “low sales.” The majority of manga readers appear to still be mostly in their teens, but hopefully, as they grow older, we’ll start to see greater interest in more mature titles as demand and the market expands.

    At the moment, there’s a large focus on children’s and all-ages comics. However, I won’t be surprised if the next major focus is on this very subject; older women’s and men’s titles. Tramps Like Us is a wonderful series, but it hardly satisfies the time in between, waiting for the next installment. Personally, I’ve found myself reading a lot less manga lately because all that’s left of what I haven’t read so far are teen titles I find difficult to connect to. A teenager’s fears are hardly the same as an adults. Especially when it comes to romance. ^_~

    If you haven’t yet, you might check out “Darling wa Namamono ni tsuki” about a woman with a transexual father who owns and runs a nightclub with men dressed up as waitresses. It’s hilariously funny but also down-to-earth as the protagonist is mistaken for a male (filling in one night on the waitstaff) by the very man she ends up working with, falling infatuated, and marrying before she’s even gotten to know him (it was a bit of an “accident”). The humor in the story is brilliant, the dialog witty, and the main character is the perfect blend of serious and cooky, wrapped up in things she REALLY doesn’t need to be worrying over (like so many of us women do). Plus, the majority of the stories revolves around the two character’s sexual life, so it has a nice, erotic twist to it, though it’s hardly what I’d call pornographic:

    Harlequin has their romance titles which turned out absolutely formulaic in both art and writing (and don’t appear to be selling, either). But if TP were to suddenly start producing titles like Darling wa, I’d be one very happy woman, and I think that in a few years, they’d eventually be selling enough to make the translation and production worth it. At the moment, though, I’m guessing all we need is just a little more time.

  4. Yup that was it, thanks Johanna! The covers and publisher threw me off.

    Books A Million’s website says it comes out this month.

  5. I agree there is a smaller audience that challenges josei (and seinen, IMO), but I think a small publisher like CPM can find success, if only because they’re used to reaching out to niche markets.

    There’s also the question of josei titles marketed as shoujo stateside. If the audience grows, will these titles be rebranded?

  6. Rivkah, thanks for the pointer, I’ll check it out. Great analysis.

  7. Lyle, which titles are you thinking of?

  8. A little while ago Brigid linked to a list by Ed Chavez of titles that appear in josei magazines. The list includes titles like Pet Shop of Horrors, Paradise Kiss, Mushashi #9, Nodame Cantabile and the magna adaptations of Koji Suzuki books (Ring, Dark Water), titles that have been marketed here as either shoujo or straight-horror (I found it interesting that two of the josei magazines Ed noted had “horror” in their titles, since I never contemplated horror bens a genre handled in josei until then.)

    Anyway, the list made me realize there are more people reading josei than we think, as there are a few titles on the list considered to be sucessful here. Perhaps it’s not as tough a sale as imagined.

  9. […] MangaBlog is reprinting news from Anime News Network (currently sidelined by server issues) that Central Park Media, an anime and manga publisher, is about to declare bankruptcy. Also, a significant number of staff have been laid off. It figures. They had finally announced a manga title I was looking forward to. […]

  10. I do hope that more Josei Manga will be released in the near future. About 10 years ago, I remember being deeply disapointed cause I couldn’t enjoy much shoujo manga translated into English except for the occational rarity, (A, A” Prime, Love Song, etc.) Shoujo was a nitch thing. 10 years later, I’m back searching for stories to read and now there’s too many to choose from. But sadly, I’ve grown a bit detached to a lot of them as well since I’m in my late 20’s now and once again, the genre I’d wish to read is still a nitch thing.
    In the mean time, I’m grateful that more shoujo mangas are being brought out here. And the occational shounen-ai story will keep me content till I see more appropriate Josei released. Like others had mentioned before, it’s only a matter of time for the publisher’s target audience grow a bit older….

  11. […] josei manga was being promoted in May 2006 after originally being solicited a year ago, but a new release date has yet to be announced. […]

  12. […] 2006: Manga After Hours, promoting josei manga as chick lit, never […]

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