Weekly Shonen Jump's Circulation Falls Below 2 Million

Weekly Shonen Jump's Circulation Falls Below 2 Million

What's the state of shonen manga in Japan? Going by the recent news that Weekly Shonen Jump's circulation has fallen below the 2-million mark - it's not very good... or is there more to the story?

As we've discussed many times before, Shonen Jump has been searching for a title to replace two of its "Big Three" now that Naruto and Bleach have concluded.  Until Jump finds its next big thing (i.e. a series that can sell a million+ manga volumes), the magazine's fortunes are steadfastly tied to how One Piece performs (as broken down by YouTube anime expert Super Eyepatch Wolf).

That video was released two weeks ago. Today, we now have a new report from the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association that Jump circulation has fallen below 2 million - a figure they've regularly eclipsed since the '70s.  Courtesy of ANN, we also have this handy chart to see how Jump and its two main competitors  - Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine andShogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday have faired over the last four years.

Period   Weekly Sh┼Źnen Magazine        Weekly Shonen Jump        Weekly Shonen Sunday
January-March 2014                 1,277,500 2,715,834 461,250
April-June 2014 1,245,417 2,677,500 445,500
July-September 2014 1,211,750 2,665,834 428,417
October-December 2014 1,192,267 2,605,000 411,250
January-March 2015 1,156,059 2,422,500 393,417
April-June 2015 1,127,042 2,395,000 388,417
July-September 2015 1,107,840 2,376,667 369,231
October-December 2015 1,085,110 2,321,667 356,584
January-March 2016 1,038,450 2,238,333 345,667
April-June 2016 1,015,659 2,168,333 369,833
July-September 2016 995,017 2,161,667 330,000
October-December 2016 986,017 2,005,833 323,250
January-March 2017 964,158 1,915,000 319,667

As you can see, even going back as far as the 1Q of 2014, the sales numbers for Weekly Shonen Jump are a far cry from the early '90s, when the magazine regularly sold more than 6 million+ copies per quarter.  Obviously, one has to acknowledge the rise of digital e-readers and tablets which have drastically altered the landscape and heavily contributed to the decline in physical Shonen Jump magazines.  Plus. the decline afflicting the magazine isn't isolated to just that particular publication, it's industry wide - meaning this data likely speaks more to the discussion of "physical vs digital" readership and not the potential decline of the company.

World Trigger was initially looking like a series that would ascend to lofty shonen heights but its currently on hiatus, as is Hunter x Hunter.

Likely, if this trend continues it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Shonen Jump and its ilk go 100% digital.

Another factor would be Japan's declining population, which is also affecting its economy. With a declining demographic, it's possible that shonen manga just might be at risk after all.  Truthfully, it's diffiult to gain a clear picture on the shonen manga market as Jump doesn't disclose its digital sales figures.  If this decline in print circulation was being met with a surge in digital sales, perhaps there wouldn't be a cause for concern.  Until we receive more intel, manga fans around the world can only speculate.

For a great Shonen Jump title that should appeal to Western audiences, we recommend My Hero Academia.
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