Tencent Pisses Off Chinese Fans By Buying Manga Rights

Despite all that you read about the tensions between China and Japan, Japanese manga is highly celebrated in China. Chinese people cosplay as Japanese manga characters, they watch Japanese manga inspired animations, and they read manga — that is, until now.

Earlier this year, the Chinese internet giant Tencent signed a publishing deal with Shueisha inc, the publisher of Shonen Jump, and Namco Bandai. The deal gave Tencent exclusive cross-platform publishing rights to 11 Shueisha properties as well as the rights to make them into games. That's right, Tencent has the rights to publish games involving Naruto, Dragon Ball, and One Piece and the like in China. Despite the significance of this deal, it remained largely unnoticed until recently.

Last Wednesday, Chinese manga fans started to notice that fan translated scans of manga such as Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach have been taken down from Chinese manga hosting sites.

Fan translations serve the same purpose in China as they do everywhere else. Official translations take forever, prompting well-meaning fans to pirate the works and translate them. Sadly, the news that they would have to read manga through officials channels hit Chinese netizens pretty hard. Some are happy that there are official channels, but still upset [due to how slowly Tencent update their manga.

I have gathered a few reactions from Sina Weibo, China's twitter-like microblogging site.

kyon:I see...Tencent acquired the rights to Gintama, no wonder I wasn't able to read the latest chapter on my iPad and the sites I normally visit didn't have anything. They also grabbed One PieceNaruto and Bleach. This might actually be a good thing. Now, domestic manga titles might actually be the same as they are abroad.

达林格勒:Tencent localisation also sucks. Despite buying such titles like Naruto, they do such a horrible job with the translation that it loses its meaning. I'm not going to read it until it starts making sense again!

啊疼eating:Lots of websites said they can't host manga anymore because Tencent has the rights to them. Visited their site, all the names are changed, I couldn't find anything!

Oo伊芙莉特oO:Garbage Tencent! They harmonised (an online joke about censorship) my favourite manga!

如果_我是风的孩子:You'd think that the release speed of the manga would be faster now that it's official. It's become nearly nonexistent!

Tencent is supposedly working on the first game of its cross-platform publishing deal, an online Naruto game.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian Internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Eric is Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @[email protected] or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie.


    So a company stamps out piracy after paying big bickies for the rights, and yet this time they're the badbuys? Isn't this kinda sending mixed messages here Kotaku?

      I don't think you understood what they were saying. I read scanlations and if I were to wait for the official manga release in australia I would be an average of 30-45 weeks behind. Why? Because the publishers are lazy, no two ways about it. If a small group of people can scan and clean up a chapter in less than 24-hours, why can't a multinational million dollar company do it to.

      Tl;Dr - They're upset that Tencent is so freaking slow at scanlations.

    Wow, even China has weaboos. "they do such a horrible job with the translation that it loses its meaning", HOW WOULD YOU EVEN KNOW?!?!?

      Bad quality printing? Crappy editing? People who can read jp confirming changes to script?

      etc. etc. etc. =P

      Have you seen bad movie dubs? There's a point where it's so bad, you just know.

      1) They read an unlicensed version before it was licensed which tend to be a bit more raw but closer to the original meaning.
      2) I know this one's a bit crazy, but there's this thing called "language" that sometimes people know more than one of. Sometimes people only know one though and that makes them feel bad or jealous and so they like to mock the people who know other languages and appreciate other cultures. /s

    Is it just me or... am I feeling a little deja vu here when TokyoPop first came to the scene and got the ball rolling on licensed manga?

    It was great that they were licensing a lot of manga.. but at the flip side their work was always haphazardly random ranging from competent to just bad editing...

    An online naruto game!??

    Though after seeing some of the 300 heroes gameplay I wish they would make a Naruto MOBA

    So Chinese manga fans look forward to wednesdays as much as I do?

    That's really cool.
    I like those Japanese mangas!

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