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Battlechili1
Member
(12-07-2017, 09:43 AM)
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Please note before I begin this thread that I do not wish to encourage piracy and would remind/request that people do not do so in my thread. This is not what the thread is for. Thanks.

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.
SSJ4Broly
Junior Member
(12-07-2017, 10:51 AM)
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Well, if it isn't available in English, then people are going to translate anyway.
Lucumo
Member
(12-07-2017, 12:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by Battlechili1

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.

He could only pay people for their translation and then sell an English version online...but since you need a Japanese credit card, it obviously wouldn't work. In that regard, he would need to change sites but I guess if he went to some hub, there would be fees and such which would eat into his profits.
As for the morality of fan translations...I think those are fine if official ones aren't available in your language. However, if the creator explicitely says he doesn't wish for something to be translated, then I think that wish should be respected.
Dunki
Member
(12-07-2017, 12:18 PM)
What maybe could work is setting up a Patreon and then he can ask for peoples support if they like his works. Fantranslators could also put up a note in the end of their translations as well.

Usually Fantranslator respect the wishes of Artists at least the big ones. If its available here of course.
ATXAlchemy
Member
(12-07-2017, 12:24 PM)

Originally Posted by SSJ4Broly

Well, if it isn't available in English, then people are going to translate anyway.

Even if it's available in English, people will still scanlate it anyways.

@OP: It's been years since I dabbled (and neither am I an expert) in this topic. So forgive me if I give something wrong.

Nevertheless, here's where my dilemma comes in and where I wanted to ask GAF what they thought of the situation:

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).

The only way we can do about this is to tell him about it and hope that...
a.) they start accepting overseas CC (not gonna happen)
or
b.) put it on a store that does

b is more dependent on the publisher, so you're basically hopeless on that.

Otherwise, hope that physical copies exist, and buy from Amazon. Amazon will gladly accept your non-JP cc.

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.

Translations are derivatives of the original work. In some countries, that means that the "ownership" of that translation will fall to the author of the original.

Translators can negotiate one from this point onward if they really want to get monetary compensation out of this.

Actually, most scanlators would probably have no problem dropping projects. At least that's what people did when I was active. If they're really 'upset', they can just continue translating until someone who represents him sues them.

IMO, in this case, it's the author himself who's asking. If anyone at all deserves to make money of this, it's probably him. Mangaka aren't exactly earning a lot.

As a funny (and unrelated) thought, there are scanlators that I am still updated on what they're doing now; one is a software engineer in UK that earns a lot, while the other is a married man, and is currently working at Google. Both of these guys earn more than that mangaka, as sad as that sounds.

I am also a software engineer, but when I was studying JP, I got to know Linguistics students (I was at a point where 90% of the class were majors). Some of them join scanlation teams as a sort of experience. When they get to find jobs, they can go "hey, I translated this". In fact, I also did use the very few chapters I scanlated solo (minus the actual scanning)to get me a place as a core member of my previous team (customers were in Japan) so I guess I did, too, without it being my intent at the time of doing the translations. But I couldn't stand "pseudo-Japanese working conditions" and left that project after a year, lol.

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.

You can consult a publisher about this.

Tell publishers about his work. Maybe find other people that also wants to do the same to show that there is interest.

Edit: Removed info that might be *too* identifying.
TTOOLL
Member
(12-07-2017, 01:32 PM)
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Look, it's not my fault if big companies can't do what amateur translators do for free. It's not my fault if they can't publish a damn manga worldwide with today's technology available. It's not my fault if they neglect their fans outside their country.
You reap what you sow.
llien
Member
(12-07-2017, 01:37 PM)
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Legally, there is nothing to discuss, I think. It is his work, distributing derivatives of it without permission is a copyright infringement.
Note that he could make money on the English translations of the first two chapters, even though Japanes

Morally, niche author is short of money.
People who were translating his work, were not getting money for it, so asking to provide translations for free "if you want to help" is not too much, in my opinion.

The only part that rubs me the wrong way is his plan not to integrate texts. Perhaps someone should try to convince him to change his mind..


Originally Posted by ATXAlchemy

Translations are derivatives of the original work. In some countries, that means that the "ownership" of that translation will fall to the author of the original.

IANAL but would say "in most countries".
InterMusketeer
Member
(12-07-2017, 04:40 PM)
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I feel bad for the author, but since foreigners aren't given any kind of way to support him... well, what exactly are they supposed to do? They can't buy his stuff (either localized or just straight up Japanese releases). He doesn't have a patreon or something. There's no merchandise they could purchase to support him. So they're kind of stuck. I understand he has limited opportunities to get his stuff out there, but in this particular case I think he's the only one who can change this. As long as he doesn't get his work out to the people who want it, I don't think you can blame people for translating his stuff and reading those fan translations.
ssolitare
Member
(12-07-2017, 05:10 PM)
Even if one is morally and legally wrong, they still have the tools and means to translate this stuff and share it. He's gotta figure out a way to get it to more people because just asking isn't enough. I do feel bad for the author though, and hope that he finds success at home and gets an English release as well.
oliander
Member
(12-07-2017, 08:27 PM)
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Shitty situation. Ideally, this man could hire one of these fan-translators to produce english scans and distribute them himself, but I'm sure his publishing contract won't allow it.

All I can say then is, hope that in 5-15 years you're the next JoJo!
Shouta
Member
(12-08-2017, 12:52 AM)
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Fan translators should drop doing a work at the request of the author or if it's available in English. It's always been kind of an unofficial thing that decided if you were on moral grey side or not. This case isn't different in that respect.

That said, I do kind of understand the fans being miffed because it's unavailable in English and they can't support the author because of poor setup.

The best solution for the time being would be for them to figure out if they can set up a way where overseas fans can purchase chapters of his manga digitally through their publisher. It probably would be difficult but it might be worth investigating. It'd be in the best interests of their publisher too though they'd just need to realize it.

What might be best if the author doesn't have as much of a following in Japan is setting up their own personal website with its own purchase and manga viewer system. It could be a direct source of income and a method for them to interact with fans.

Michiaki Watanabe, the author of the Violinist of Hameln manga does this himself for his new series since he wasn't having luck with traditional publishers after the end of the series. He sells the chapters digitally each month as he releases them of his true follow up to Hameln, then also gets them published into a tankouban later through a publisher. He also provides a fan club option that is a yearly sub of 20 bucks. You get access to the chapters of the new series as he puts them up and also has all of the first series up to view as long as you're a member.

It seems to work well for him and provides a lot of benefits. However, it's likely a lot of work and requires a certain amount of capital to do and maintain. It's unlikely a newer author would be able to do this but it's a potential idea.
Battlechili1
Member
(12-10-2017, 10:11 PM)
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Originally Posted by Dunki

What maybe could work is setting up a Patreon and then he can ask for peoples support if they like his works. Fantranslators could also put up a note in the end of their translations as well.

Originally Posted by InterMusketeer

He doesn't have a patreon or something.

You know I've seen people elsewhere suggest Patreon too. Is there any reason why an artist such as this wouldn't use Patreon? I've always been curious if there was some kind of stigma against it in Japan or something that would push people away from such sites.

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