January 10, 2012

YA in Japan


Most anime and manga start out as, or eventually become, "light novels," the publishing format favored by most young adult narrative fiction in Japan. Here's an in-depth exploration of Japan's vibrant and eclectic YA publishing world (in five parts) by Matthew Reeves.

I find the unapologetic commercialism of Japan's YA industry reassuring. It means in bottom-dollar terms that publishers pay close attention to their customers, delivering titles that are cheap, illustrated, and often quite "edgy," but without falling into the "Dreadlit" trap.

It's an approach that works on every level. One result is that, rather than avoiding YA, "boys have gravitated to it." And despite having the world most complex orthography, "a person would be hard pressed to find a country more in love with the written word than Japan."

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