The judges discuss the competition, Shonen Jump around the world and more!
Hosono: Let’s begin. Joining us today are four editors-in-chief in charge of Shonen Jump around the world. I am Shuhei Hosono, deputy editor-in-chief of Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan, and I will be the moderator.
International Manga Competition
Hosono: It’s very rare for all four editors-in-chief from Japan, America, China and Taiwan to be gathered in the same place, so I’m looking forward to an interesting discussion. Now that we have finished judging the Shonen Jump Manga Competition, would you mind sharing your impressions on the competition as a whole?
Sung: We have held various manga competitions at Tong Li, and this one felt very similar. I think it’s wonderful that we’re able to hold a competition judged by editors from different places with different cultural backgrounds and varying points of view. Since each of us comes from different backgrounds, I feel that our points of view on manga differ as well. The selected titles do not rely on any specific cultural tropes, and I believe they all measure up as far as the level of quality goes.
Hosono: How many applicants do you have for the competitions you hold for Formosa Youth, and how is the quality of the entries?
Sung: We have about a hundred entries per contest. At Formosa Youth, we hold these competitions regularly, and with each contest, both the number of entries and the quality have been declining. I would love for the people of Taiwan to read these excellent entries from the Shonen Jump Manga Competition, and I hope it will inspire them to become more creative.
Leung: It is a very rare and wonderful opportunity to receive these entries from across the world and to be here with my fellow editors from across the world to judge them. Each manga had qualities that reflected its country of origin with their own unique form of expression. Also, I believe that competitions like this are a wonderful opportunity to discover new manga artists.
Hosono: Which country do you believe offered the freshest take on manga?
Leung: Chinese manga artists read a lot of Japanese manga, so I didn’t necessarily see many differences between the Chinese and Japanese entries. I felt that the American entries were the freshest because the differences between Chinese and American cultures and lifestyles are quite drastic.
Heishi: It was a great experience for me, since I learned that each country has both differences and similarities in terms of how we view manga. One difference, for example: while a title might work in other countries, it may not be appropriate for China because of how certain things are expressed. On the other hand, the basics of selecting a title on the importance of story or characterization and how these entries might appeal to a shonen audience—these points we all have in common. There were many entries that were more for adults, but the ones that we selected all had a shonen quality to them. We also found that forms of expression unique to Europe and inspiration from classic Chinese comics—all of these things are beginning to fuse together.
Andy: This was our first manga competition for the English version of Weekly Shonen Jump, and it was a great learning experience. While the quality varied between entries, the effort put into all of the submissions was quite clear to us. We saw this effort from the Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese entries as well. Also, reading these international manga entries made us realize that while the entries came from different countries and cultures, manga is still manga.
Heishi: That’s deep...
To read the rest of this feature, get the 1-27-2014 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump today!