2-Ch Foils Manga Pakuri

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According to this Yahoo Japan news item, publisher Kodansha has ceased production of shojo manga by artist Suetsugu Yuki because the work contained plagiarized scenes from several of Inoue Takehiko’s comics. The rabble-rousers over at 2-Ch are credited with bringing attention to these illicit borrowings.

In the past, some have argued that Japanese culture has no inherent concept of “intellectual property” or cultural thievery, but this new development shows that companies at least behave as if artistic theft results in a loss of reputation. Before the internet, there was no outlet for critical discussion of these types of commercial transgressions; manga fans a mere decade ago had little to no resource for lodging audible public complaints about sloppy pakuri — especially with the mass media (most of them manga publishers themselves) rarely picking this kind of fight. In theory, businesses in Japan are supposed to be self-regulating, but now with the better access to open media, fans can take over this correction function and do it more efficiently than the industry.

Whatever the case, these stories and ever-stricter sampling laws make it hard to believe that artistic theft is not publicly understood as a “bad” thing in Japan. And once again, 2-ch steers the media dialogue into new directions.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
October 19, 2005

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

9 Responses

  1. Kaishin Says:

    i have never made a parallelism between “intellectual property” and “manga”, since most manga nowadays (and many entertainement productions by the way, namely video games) are merely “Cocktails” that barely contain any originality.
    Thus all the new productions originates from the very same DATA-BASE, wich can lead to a huge number of similarities…in other worlds “WE DON’T KNOW WHO OWNS WHAT”!!!

  2. Momus Says:

    I agree with that, except that I don’t think “borrowings” always necessitates “lack of originality”. It’s how you borrow that makes you original or unoriginal, not whether you do.

  3. Kaishin Says:

    i do quite agree about the How and and the Whether, but untapped elements in a new production make it “more original” than “good borrowings”, for there are many degrees of originality.

    “Plagiarize
    Let no one else’s work evade your eyes!
    Remember why the good Lord made your eyes!
    So don’t shade your eyes
    But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize!
    Only be sure always to call it, please,”research””

    Tom Lehrer’s 1953 song “Lobachevsky” may join ,somehow,what you said!

  4. r. Says:

    the funny thing is…how 2chan has, since your first mention of it here (what was it? a reserved statement about the “slum” of the internet? i can’t recall exactly), really turned into something not only NOT to be poo-pooed, but something in fact to be almost praised. can you give us an official statement on this?

  5. marxy Says:

    2-ch is still the virtual sewer, but I can’t remember the last time I read a “breaking” story in the media world that did not originate from the threads. I get a sense that 1/2 the reason they get referenced for “starting” taboo discussions is that editors can pin them as the “source” and then throw in information they knew anyway. So, when Kodansha calls and asks, “Why are you writing about us plagiarizing??” they can now say, “Hey, we’re just writing about what’s on 2-ch!”

    I think another reason that it’s been successful in this role is the idea that it’s the vox populi, and if you live by the concept that ideas need to be legitimized in a “public harmony” context, 2-ch gives you that proof that “people are talking” to back up a media outlet going out on a limb with a touchy story. (Yes, in the past harmony was the concept by which stories got edited out.) I don’t think the Japanese media has begun to work “for the people,” but since companies have to answer to these charges regardless, the media doesn’t feel so bad for bringing them up.

  6. A reader Says:

    The actual name of the naughty artist is Sueji Yuki.

  7. marxy Says:

    Really? What do you mean by “actual name”? Google up both options and get back to me.

  8. A reader Says:

    I was looking for this guy work to compare, so I copied his name in kanji in yahoo japan and he has his own subcategory in the “mangaka” category. The address is : http://dir.yahoo.co.jp/Entertainment/Comics_and_Animation/Comic_Books/Writers/Sueji_Yuki/

    Hence my assumption about the reading of his name.

    Sorry for the nerd talk.

  9. abcd Says:

    First, the reading is really Suetsugu despite what Yahoo says and second, the author is a woman who wrote shoujo manga (comics for teenage girls).