Japanese Pop-Culture Club Examines the Future of Manga

Hisashi Sasaki, vice president, Shonen Jump Viz MediaOn Thursday, Nov. 8, the Japanese Pop-Culture Club held an exciting Shonen Jump magazine event at the Soda Center. If you didn’t know, Shonen Jump is the most popular manga magazine company in Japan. The event hosted Hisashi Sasaki, a former editor in chief of the company and current vice president of Shonen Jump Viz Media—one of the major distributors of manga and anime in the United States. The event attracted over 70 people.

To begin, Sasaki detailed what the company’s editors and manga writers do, as well as producers and publishers, stating that within the booming industry, these are strenuous jobs that require time and dedication. He jokingly described meeting with artists and writers more than his own family. Despite the taxing job requirements, Sasaki emphasized how the company values its customers, never turning away an aspiring creator and agreeing to work with people of all ages–from children barely entering elementary school to others long retired from their jobs.

Sasaki next spoke of how he currently works in collaboration with Viz Media to bring the widely popular magazine to America. By translating and providing the magazine’s English version online, Sasaki aspires to expand the manga industry to touch the hearts of a new audience and inspire future creators across the world.

With support from the Departments of Communication, Art and Art History, World Languages and Cultures, and the club’s advisor, Professor Naoko Uehara, the event brought together a diverse audience, many of whom asked intriguing questions of Sasaki, raising concerns about the industry and its future not only in Japan but around the world. Issues ranged from the future of the paper industry in the world of online access to the effect manga has upon the developing adolescent minds of youth across all of Japan.