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Ex-Editor of Vinland Saga Uninfluenced by Political Correctness

Ex-Editor of Vinland Saga Uninfluenced by Political Correctness

Is it a positive development that Japanese creators are increasingly interested in creating works that appeal to Western audiences, or should they focus on creating stories that they personally enjoy or that cater primarily to Japanese audiences?

There are several Japanese works, especially games, created with Western audiences in mind more than Japanese ones. Some fans prefer that Japanese authors maintain the mindset of creating works they are passionate about, regardless of their international appeal.

In an interview with Manga Passion, Akira Kanai shared his perspective on this issue. He is currently the editor-in-chief of Kodansha’s Weekly Afternoon magazine and has overseen titles such as Vinland Saga, Planetes, Ajin, Fragile, and Maria the Virgin Witch.

Ex-Editor of Vinland Saga Uninfluenced by Political Correctness

Kanai entrou na Kodansha em 1994 e trabalhou como editor de vários mangás até chegar na sua atual posição ao qual ele tem essa opinião sobre sucesso internacional de mangás, e se ele tenta tornar os mangás em que trabalha mais “acessíveis” para o público internacional.

“No, not really. For example, there are several codes against the depiction of violence, nudity, whether male or female, or religious codes that I follow,” he explained. “However, I believe there are no fundamental differences in what people perceive as important – whether in Japan, Germany, China, or South Korea. Even if it occurs on a political level.”

Vinland Saga anime

Kanai also mentioned the influence of political correctness in various entertainment industries: “I do not allow myself to be influenced by what is called political correctness abroad and shape works accordingly. If something is interesting, it will generally be understood, regardless of whether you come from Africa, Chile, or Greenland. I have never made a big deal about this until now. But, even if a work addresses a very Japanese theme, for example, or a German work addresses a German theme, a Chinese work a Chinese theme – in the end, the root is the same, I think.”

“Stopping a work because it addresses a very Japanese issue or specifying it to do something – that almost never happens. More specifically, I wonder if there is a difference in the content of Japanese entertainment between works that are internationally successful. Are they the works that focus more on the Japanese market or the global market?”

Skip and Loafer anime

“I don’t think it’s possible to create works that are exactly in the middle, nor do I think such works would really appeal anywhere. Take Skip and Loafer, for example, which is about a girl who comes from rural Japan and moves to the city of Tokyo alone to study at a good school. I think people all over the world will certainly understand her feeling of insecurity in the same way. That’s why such works tend to attract an international audience.”

“In this sense, I really don’t think works need to be adapted for audiences outside of Japan. Although I am not sure how it is for people from countries where there are no rural areas or cities. I have no idea what it’s like in Dubai. Maybe I am biased. (laughs)”

Ajin manga

Later, Manga Passion asked him how important the global market is for manga, to which Kanai responded that it is very important. He said Kodansha’s management believes that the number of children in Japan is decreasing rapidly, which is causing the Japanese market to shrink.

However, Kanai disagrees. He says it’s the same worldwide. “I believe births are falling globally, except in Africa and India. I think it’s shameful to expand abroad because the domestic market is shrinking.”

He further critiques the industry: “The mindset that Japanese publishers will become increasingly poor if they do not expand abroad is pathetic and should be abandoned. Now that it is possible to read and create manga abroad, I hope the manga fan community itself will grow. It doesn’t matter where they come from or what religion they belong to. Therefore, when it comes to the question of whether I consider globalization important, I can say it is much more fun this way.”

What do you think of his statement?

Source: Manga Passion

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