I have a story to tell involving a mangaka by the name of Sho Shibamoto. Shibamoto is an award-winning author of several manga: Baku, Sakasabane, Tsunousagi, Pandemonium: Wizard Village, and most recently, The Knight of Flower: Dakini. His most famous work is Pandemonium, which just so happens to be the only one that has ever been translated into other languages (English and French), with its only official Western release being in France and its English release being exclusively tied to the Japanese publisher Ikki-Para, who has since ceased to be.
Pandemonium: Wizard Village was an incredible manga full of tragedy and gorgeous unique artwork, and it was precisely because of Pandemonium that I became enamored by his works and curious about them, as they all seem to take place within the same universe (if you're interested, I made a thread for Pandemonium here. Its now a closed topic but you can still learn more about it from the thread topic) But alas, years passed and none of his other works ever became translated, both officially and unofficially. Baku and Sakasabane are not even on the internet in any capacity, seemingly doomed to be lost with time (Baku was published only in a very old magazine). Or at least, they weren't being translated until recently.
Sometime earlier this year a fan translator/typesetter caught wind of The Knight of Flower: Dakini and began translating and typesetting it. At the present time, the first two chapters of untranslated version of it have been available legally for free here and here, with later chapters also being available on the same website but being behind a paywall. Sho Shibamoto somehow caught wind of the fact that someone was fan translating his manga, and in response wrote this:
The TL;DR of it is basically that he doesn't want fan translators to translate, typeset, and publish chapters of his manga beyond chapters 1 and 2 as that would be publishing content that people are supposed to pay for free elsewhere, and as he is a fairly unknown mangaka and doesn't make much money as it is, he doesn't want anything to affect what little he makes any further. He is however open to the idea of translators sending their script to him (not the typesetting manga, just the English script), as he could then work out maybe selling the manga with the script alongside it. Though ultimately he'd prefer his manga being officially available in English someday.
This wound up upsetting quite a bit of people who found out about this, with similar arguments that game pirates make that many manga only gain traction and attention because of fan translations being made freely available. Examples that people gave were titles like Watamote. While I understand these arguments, naturally I still don't feel such is morally right and think Shibamoto is absolutely justified in wanting people to pay for his manga and not have it made freely available. Plus, I'm not entirely sure any amount of translations would help garner attention considering most people haven't even heard of Pandemonium.
Nevertheless, here's where my dilemma comes in and where I wanted to ask GAF what they thought of the situation:
I am a big fan of this guy's work. I've imported the Japanese copy of Pandemonium: Wizard Village (and that one is legally freely available online) and bought a digital copy of Tsunousagi. But people such as myself have waited years to read this guy's manga, and its not looking likely that there will ever be an official English translation made due to the nicheness of this man's works. His suggestion of offering a fan translated English script on the side is not ideal either since you'd basically have to look at the page and then read text not on the manga page in order to understand what's going on rather than like how reading manga normally works. And due to the site he publishes his manga on, one needs a Japanese Credit/Debit card in order to purchase the manga (at least according to his Deviantart page for it). This guy's work is super niche. He basically makes tragic seinen (manga aimed at adult men) furry manga. As if furry content isn't niche enough. Its unlikely that his work will ever be published officially in the West. Not to mention he's basically asking fan translators to let him sell their translations without anything in return. Translating takes work. Doing that without compensation and having someone make money off of that I imagine would probably upset some.
So my question is, what can be done? Is there anything that Shibamoto can/should do in order to fix this? What is the morality of fan translations for manga, especially ones as niche as this? Should people just be content with the fact that some things will never be available in English? I'm really conflicted because I love this man's work and want him to succeed but at the same time its such a painful feeling not being able to read any of it beyond Pandemonium.
Also just so people can get an idea for why I became interested in this man's work to begin with, here's some coverart for a couple of his manga to entice you:
I encourage anyone with even the slightest bit of interest to read Pandemonium. Its not something you'd regret.