Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Z_CNHI News Service

December 5, 2013

South Korea looking to cut in international comics market

SEOUL, South Korea — Look out manga, South Korea is stepping up efforts to spread "manhwa" comics to the rest of the world.

South Korea's government is promoting manhwa exports by supporting companies distributing comics online and subsidizing translation of the works into English.

"We want to develop South Korea's manhwa into a global brand and take the place of Japanese manga," a South Korean government official said.

The South Korean government is encouraging domestic publishers with aspirations of selling comics globally to take part in overseas book fairs. The government set up a program to subsidize exhibition costs and even travel expenses for participants in such events.

At an October book fair in Frankfurt, one of the largest in Europe, South Korean publishers and agencies set up a booth among exhibitors of manga and anime from various countries. In addition, South Korea's leading search engine Naver, which also distributes comics online, organized an autograph session with a South Korean cartoonist and introduced "Noblesse," a popular cartoon chronicling a battle among vampires living in the modern world.

"I read manhwa for the first time, and it was better than I expected. As long as it's interesting, it doesn't matter whether it's Japanese or South Korean," said Kathika Neuhaus, 15, a high school girl who attended the fair wearing a costume of a character in "One Piece," a popular Japanese manga.

Many manwha are distributed free, and it's common in South Korea to read them on mobile phones or tablets. Manwha that become popular are often published as books, while some start charging to read them online.

The fantasy manga "Kami to Issho ni" (Together with God), which started online, became a big hit in South Korea, and has since been published in Japan.

Kim Na Jung, manager of Naver's "webtoon" business division, said the firm hopes to penetrate the European market. The firm prepared English editions of 30 manhwa titles, which are distributed online in South Korea, and gave away 3,600 copies at the fair.

"Given the current web environment in Europe, it's difficult to enter the market right now, but we want to start a service in the near future," Kim said.

German publisher TOKYOPOP has produced German versions of about 100 manhwa since 2004. It plans to publish five more between April and July next year.

"Some manhwa are more popular than Japanese manga," TOKYOPOP sales director Sam Fazli said.

With a population of about 50 million, South Korea's domestic market is significantly smaller than Japan's. The South Korean government has been actively supporting exports of Korean pop culture, including music, films and TV, since the late 1990s.

Seoul hopes spreading South Korean pop culture will boost the image of domestic brands and increase exports of appliances, household items and fashion goods.

The strategy also aims to raise interest in South Korea and attract more tourists.

Last year, the number of tourists to South Korea exceeded 11 million for the first time. This year, about 86,000 foreign students are studying at South Korean universities, more than 2.5 times the number in 2006.

South Korea's 2011 sales in pop culture industries reached about 83 trillion won (about $76.6 billion), mainly from music, TV and film, but sales from manhwa-related products accounted for only 1.5 percent. Yet, its "Robocar Poli," a children's cartoon featuring a police car and other vehicle characters called Robocars, has been aired in more than 100 nations.

South Korea's manhwa-related exports were worth about $133 million in 2011, an increase of about 40 percent from 2009.

If South Korea's comic and anime firms intensify their advances abroad, it may change the landscape of the anime and comic market, which Japanese works currently dominate.

"South Korea is trying to muscle in on a field in which Japan has been strong," a Seoul-based Japanese businessman said.

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Is this a commercial for batting gloves or a baseball game?

    Major league baseball desperately needs to speed up the action. Here's a place to start: Nix the mind-numbing ritual of hitters who first adjust the right batting glove, then the left one, after every single pitch.
     

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Another stumble begs questions about Notre Dame

    Notre Dame's vaunted reputation for formidable athletics and serious academics is again sullied by a cheating scandal. Maybe the high standards of the Fighting Irish are just too good to be true.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook