Despite its 96% literacy rate, a national survey recently claimed that Thais only spend 14 minutes reading each day, amounting to 8 lines / person / day. These numbers seem absurd, but I won’t go into the details. My point in brining this up is: I think they didn’t count the reading of japanese comics in the survey. (May be it’s difficult to count the number of lines )
I first read these comics, or manga, at the age of 6. And has been reading them daily until circumstances brought me away from home. In London, you can find the original japanese language manga, but that obviously won’t work for me. (I have many friends who learn japanese solely to read manga and play japanese games, though) In Singapore, they are mostly translated into chinese. The very few that got translated into English cannot quench my thirst for manga all these years.
That is, until I discovered Scanlation. Basically, a person or group scan the pages of the original japanese manga, translate the text, and overlay the translated text in the balloon boxes.
It takes dedication, patience, and attention to details to make good scanlation. And most scanlation group kind of respect copyright law, and only release works on un-licensed manga. When publishers (e.g. Viz) picked up a manga and officially release it in english, the private scanlation usually stops. This, of course, is not perfectly legitimate. But it makes the manga accessible to peoples outside japan.
And I am a big fan. The ones I recently catch up on are
- Flame of Recca
- Detective Conan (or Case Closed, in the US release)
Kudo to all the groups that made these available.