The Japan Magazine Publishers Association (JMPA) has released new data of magazine sales for October-December 2016 that reveal a major decline for Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, one of Japan’s biggest manga titles.
Jump has apparently lost some 10% of sales in the past year, from around 2.24 million for January-March 2016 to approximately 2.01 million for October-December. Its circulation peaked some 20-30 years ago at over 6 million.
In some ways, this development is not a massive shock since monthly and weekly manga magazine sales have been on the slide for some time.
Sales for two other major shonen manga titles (carrying manga for young male readers), Weekly Shonen Magazine and Weekly Shonen Sunday — published by, respectively, Kodansha and Shogakudan — declined by 5-7%. As the numbers of young people in Japan continue to drop, compounded by print’s overall downturn as a medium, mainstream manga faces a serious challenge in terms of how it will connect with readers in the near future.
In terms of shojo magazines (carrying manga for young female readers), the story is slightly more positive. Shueisha’s Ribon is fairly stable at around 180,000 and Kodansha’s Nakayoshi has hit 100,000 for the first time. Saying that, these titles were shifting some 300,000 back in 2008.
Though the future for print manga magazines looks grim, print tabloids and magazines in Japan in general are in relatively rude health. After a series of successful scoops last year, Weekly Bunshun actually increased its circulation by some 20,000 during 2016.