Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bring on the Comics!

As far back as 2007, I have been tracking information about a Japanese manga, comic book, called Kami no Shizuku ("The Drops of God"). This manga is for wine lovers, and centers on a quest to find 12 special wines. Each of the proposed wines actually exists, including wines from regions such as France, Australia and California. This manga has been widely popular and the wines it reviews go on to sell significantly well.

This manga has a weekly Japanese readership of about 360,000, which I believe is far greater than any other wine periodical out there. That does not include its readership, in translation, in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and France. An English translation may be published later this year.

One reason for its popularity in Japan may be that there are few other Japanese-language wine reviews. Most of the reviews are in English, making it difficult for some Japanese to acquire that information. Plus, the manga wine reviews present the information in a fun way, without overwhelming the reader with technical details.

Japanese culture embraces comics in a way the U.S. has never done. The Japanese still read their newspapers, considering that their biggest daily, the Yomiuri Shimbun, has ten times the readership of the NY Times. But they are losing some of their younger readers so bring in those younger readers, a manga newspaper has been started, Manga No Shimbun. This paper is like an actual newspaper, covering the same type of stories, but do so in manga form.

Would U.S. Millenials be attracted to comics discussing wine or the news? Would such comics work to make wine seem less intimidating? There has been a great demand for an English translation of The Drops of God, but would it be able to sell wines as well as the foreign editions? Could a wine blog become successful by using a comics format to review wines? Or do Americans simply see comics as more childish than adult?

1 comment:

Hampers said...

What a wonderful post, beautifully written. It captures these wines so well.