Manga Sales in Japan Reach All-Time High for Second Year in a Row

Manga sales have been favored by the confinement of many people due to the new coronavirus and the ease of subscription through mobile devices.

According to an announcement by the Institute of Publishing Sciences of the Japan Association of National Publishers, a research and study organization for the publishing industry, the estimated total sales of comics (manga) in Japan in 2021, including media in paper and electronic, they increased by 10.3% year-on-year to reach 675.9 billion yen, a record for the second year in a row. The share of comics in the publishing market was 40.4%, exceeding 40% for the first time.

In 2020, sales in the comic book market exceeded 600 billion yen for the first time due to the huge boom in comics. Kimetsu no Yaiba (Watchmen of the Night) as well as the increase in demand due to confinement during the spread of the new coronavirus. Although there were views that these figures could be reduced in 2021, the result was a high growth of more than 10%.

By media, sales of e-comics for smartphones and other mobile devices rose 20.3% from a year earlier to 411.4 billion yen, those of print comics (single releases) rose 0.4% to 208.7 billion yen and those of comic magazines decreased 11% to 55.8 billion yen.

Looking at recent trends, the size of the print comics market has hovered around 250 billion yen with individual publications and magazines added together. Instead, the electronic comic market has doubled in size in the last five years.

In 2021, the estimated circulation of comics on paper was 370.85 million copies, in the case of individual volumes 2.8% less than the previous year, and 148.78 million in the case of magazines, a 14.6% less than the previous year.

According to the institute, in 2021 the world of comics saw the popularity of works such as jujutsu kaisen (War of Sorcerers, Ed. Shūeisha) and tokyo avengers (Ed. Kōdansha), as well as new hits in manga apps and web series.

ONE PIECE (by Oda Eiichirō, Ed. Shūeisha), which began serialization in 1997, reached 100 volumes, with a cumulative worldwide print run of 490 million copies. Detective Conan (by Aoyama Gōshō, Ed. Shōgakukan), which began serialization in 1994, also garnered wide attention as it reached 100 volumes.

Header photo: To commemorate the publication of the manga’s 100th volume ONE PIECE, on September 17, 2021, a “giant bookshelf” 18 meters wide with the spines of the 100 volumes drawn appeared in the Minato district of Tokyo. (Jiji Press)