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Suggesting Manga to Publisher: Kodansha

Updated: Jul 10

Update 07/10/2024: There has been a new discovery on how Kodansha USA accepts license suggestions. The updated information is identified labeled in the article below


Kodansha USA accepts manga license suggestions, but unlike the other publishers they have a digital-first approach when considering printing some of their titles in English.


Kodansha USA logo

Ok, What does Digital-First mean?


Sometimes, Kodansha USA will give a series for a digital release first and depending on a few factors (digital sales performance, recommendations at cons, etc.) the series can be announced for a print release at a later time.


We have seen this with such titles as Medalist, Nina the Starry Bride, and Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister.


In this article, I will be covering the different approaches that you can do to suggest a manga series to Kodansha USA!


Suggesting Manga to Publisher Kodansha Process


Buy Digitally


If the series you want to see licensed in English print is already available from Kodansha USA digitally, the best way to convince them is to buy the series digitally. Kodansha uses a title's digital sales to determine whether they should print it or not.


Going back to Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister, this reason is mentioned under volume 1's "Key Selling Point" section on the site Edelweiss. It was mentioned as the reason under Vampire Dormitory's volume 1 too.


Key Selling Points for Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister. HAREM TROPES BE GONE! Fans of classic rom-com harems such as Love Hina will be amused by the unpredictable characterizations of the sisters as it turns harem tropes upside down. SHRINE MAIDENS ARE ALWAYS CUTE: A Shinto shrine setting provides mystique and allure with a unique and traditional Japanese aesthetic, but gosh darn it, those shrine maiden outfits are too cute. UNWANTED BETROTHAL: Fans of classic comedies like Ranma 1/2 will be amused by the antics of the high school characters who have absolutely zero interest in arranged marriage, but all the hidden chemistry. FANS DEMANDED IT: Readers of the digital version requested the print version.

Getting your friends, mutuals, or the series' fandom to buy the series digitally will help a lot.


This approach, while the second most costly (behind going to cons to give suggestions), gives Kodansha a quantitative justification to print a title.


Email


Kodansha USA does accept license suggestions via emails! I reached out to Ben Applegate, Director of Publishing for Kodansha USA to ask about emailing suggestions. He informed me that people can send suggestions to Kodansha USA's customer service email address: hello@kodanshausa.com


I haven't tried sending a license suggestion email yet, but here is the template I would use to draft the email:


Template:


Hello Kodansha! I have a few manga titles I wanted to submit for your company to request for an English print release! 

The titles are as follows:


Title: <MANGA TITLE>

  • Author: <AUTHOR(S) NAME HERE>


If you want to suggest a series and don't care about the format, just remove the word "print".


Social Media


This approach I used a bit in the past but I don't think there would be any change.


Using X (formerly Twitter), I would compose the tweet like this:


Template:


I would love to see <MANGA NAME HERE> by <AUTHOR(S) NAME HERE> licensed in English print! @KodanshaManga

<MANGA SERIES VOLUME COVER IMAGE HERE>


Like in the email section, if you want to suggest a series and don't care about the format, just remove the word "print".


As reported by MangaAlerts on X formerly Twitter, they have mentioned at a panel that they pay attention if there's buzz around a title on social media.


Boosting Rank on K Manga


While K Manga was created and maintained by Kodansha Japan, Kodansha US seems to take the ranks of unlicensed titles into consideration for licensing.


This was mentioned as a factor under the "Key Selling Point" for both Fragrant Flowers Bloom with Dignity and Honeko Akabane's Bodyguards on Edelweiss.


Key Selling Points for Fragrant Flowers Bloom with Dignity. BIG HIT IN JAPAN & IN DIGITAL: This series is one of Kodansha's top-performing new romance manga in Japan and scores near the top of the leaderboard for views on the new English manga app K MANGA. A CUTE, CROSSOVER ROMANCE: Similar to previous manga takes on Romeo & Juliet, the art and story will appeal to readers of shojo manga but also shonen romance series like Tomo-chan Is a Girl!, Horimiya, and Love's in Sight!

Give Suggestions at Cons


Another approach is suggesting a series at a convention Kodansha USA is attending. This is one approach that was also reported by MangaAlerts on X formerly Twitter as a way for the English manga community to suggest a series for Kodansha USA to license or bring into print.


I'd say it's the most expensive approach since you will have to pay for a con along with a hotel and travel (assuming you don't near the con).


I haven't done this approach either since I don't go to cons. I wouldn't recommend going to a con for the sole reason to give your suggestions.


Things to Note:


  • Make sure to specify if you want a series licensed for print or digital when emailing or promoting on social media.


  • Kodansha USA usually licenses titles owned by Kodansha Japan or a subsidiary of it. Typically, it will be a title from the publisher Ichijinsha. Examples of this are Wotakoi and Onimai

    • I say usually because there are exceptions such as Welcome to Demon School Iruma-kun, a title owned by an unrelated publisher, Akita Shoten, in Japan. However, this situation seems very rare, so I wouldn't count on this working all the time.

  • If you suggest a manga to them via social media, do not use fan translated panels or images in your tweet. I would suggest volume covers (preferably volume 1). If you want to show art from the series, use the raw, untranslated version of the manga. This goes for any publisher!


07/10/2024 Update


Filling Out their Form in their Contact Us Page


Thanks to twitter users and mutuals Deere839 and PhantomPlayers1, I was informed that Kodansha USA has (I think) updated their Contact Us form to have a dropdown option that allows you to submit manga license suggestions to them.


Here are the steps to access and fill out the form


  1. Access their website

  2. Click on the link to their support center

  3. Scroll down and you will see their Contact Form

Kodansha USA's Contact Form

  1. For the "Select your topic" dropdown, select 'Publishing Suggestions'.

  2. Click on the link that says "Publishing suggestion form".

  3. A new page will take you to a google form where they will ask if they can record your email to be included with your response.

  4. Click on the checkbox and select Next

 Publishing suggestion feedback form Do you have any manga, light novels or books that you think Kodansha USA should publish?  The road to publish a series can be a lengthy and challenging process, this is why we value your input and feedback. While we can't make any promises, we're always open to hearing your suggestions!  Completing this form doesn't guarantee that we can license your suggestion, but we appreciate your input!    To check out our latest catalog, feel free to visit https://kodansha.us/.  Additionally, you can sign up for a Kodansha Reader account to enjoy our free Spotlight Series and create your very own digital library.


5. The next page will ask you

  • If you will be recommending a manga, light novel, or a book

  • The name of the title you're suggesting in romaji

  • If the series is currently published by Kodansha Japan or Ichijinsha (a subsidiary of Kodansha)

  • The link to the official Japanese series



Which series would you like Kodansha USA to publish? Would you like to recommend a manga, light novel or a book? Manga Light novel Book (examples: nonfiction, novel, art book, etc) What is the title?  If possible, please enter the title in romaji (Roman characters). Example:  進撃の巨人 would be Shingeki no Kyojin or Attack on Titan. Is this series currently published by Kodansha Japan or Ichijinsha (a subsidiary of Kodansha)? Yes No I don't know Do you have the link to the official Japanese series? Share it here!


6. Once you fill that out, hit the Next button

7. In the next page, they will ask you for your information and if you want to sign up for their newsletter.

8. The last question is if you have any comments for them. Fill that out and select the Submit button.


Let us know who you are! Tell us a little bit about yourself ― We'd like to know you better! What's your email address? * Would you be interested in signing up for the Kodansha USA newsletter? Yes, please add me to your newsletter! Not right now. What's your age? 14 years old or younger 15 – 30 years old 31 – 44 years old 45+ Prefer not to answer Do you have any other comments? We'd like to hear more from you!

Things to Note (from Update):


  • I reached out to Ben Applegate on how many times you can submit a manga title for a license suggestion. He informed me that there is no limit to the number of times you can suggest a title.

  • I also asked Ben if manga series licensed by Kodansha USA as digital exclusives (i.e., "Girlfriend, Girlfriend", "Ya Boy Kongming", "Shugo Chara", "MAR", etc.) would be eligible. He said they are eligible to be submitted.


Hope this helps you in getting your favorites licensed!

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