Manga Piracy Numbers Are Up Despite Publisher Interventions

Earlier this month, the manga industry dove deep into its piracy problem, and the question on the [...]

Earlier this month, the manga industry dove deep into its piracy problem, and the question on the table was simple. The industry wants to know how publisher intervention is working against piracy as manga is notorious for attracting its attention. But as it turns out, the situation hasn't improved much in Japan.

The report comes from the Authorized Books of Japan organization which was made to combat piracy. The association did a report covering the ten biggest piracy websites in Japan, and the data shows the pages are collectively getting 240 million hits monthly. So obviously, that is a big yikes.

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(Photo: Shueisha)

After all, this number comes after the group helped bring one of Japan's most notorious pirate havens down. It was big news when Mangamua shut down back in 2018 as it was a go-to destination for illegal manga. During its heyday, the site got about 100 million hits a month, so you can see that things have more than doubled despite crackdown efforts.

Atsushi Ito, who handles the organization's press relations, didn't beat around the bush with his notes on this data. "Things are even worse than when Mangamura was at its heyday," he said. The executive also went on to suggest the pandemic may have bolstered numbers as it became more difficult to purchase manga at stores, and production delays have hindered reprints.

This increase in piracy is a definite bummer for fans and industry members. As manga continues to grow in popularity, it becomes even more difficult to shut down piracy outlets whether they're in or out of Japan. In the United States, companies like Viz Media have tried making manga more accessible with digital subscriptions, but manga's long history with piracy makes it difficult to convert life-long consumers. And in the meantime, the people who are impacted most by piracy are ground-level employees at publishing houses.

What do you make of this piracy update? Are you surprised by this increase or...? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.