Kodansha’s Morning 2 Manga Magazine Goes Digital

By Ishaan . February 5, 2011 . 1:31pm

Kodansha’s monthly Morning 2 manga magazine is going digital. Originally conceived as a spin-off of their Weekly Morning magazine (aimed at adult men) in 2006, Morning 2 is following in the footsteps of its predecessor, which went digital earlier.


Morning 2 will be made available in Japanese on iOS and Android devices at 190 yen ($2.30), as opposed to its 390 yen ($4.75) printed counterpart. Kodansha now have their own internal publishing division in the U.S. as well, and Kodansha USA are reportedly in the process of looking into making their magazines available to American readers in the future.


In the past, Yoshinobu Noma, senior executive vice president of Kodansha and also the head of the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan, has, along with other major Japanese publishers, expressed concerns around the digital publishing model with regard to the Japanese manga industry.


The EBPAJ seek to avoid complete digitization and reportedly hope to find a happy middle ground between print and digital distribution. Regardless, it would appear Kodansha, who are one of Japan’s largest publishers, are embracing digital formats nonetheless. You can download the Morning manga app in Japanese here.

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  • Yes, Im glad they are not aiming for the complete digitazation of the book market. I will always love having the print of it, its just something about seeing it.

    That being said, if they do bring the magazines here I hope they make their own PC aps…not all of us have iOS devices (with big screens) or androids, and having it on PC app or something would be glorious because then I can hook it up to my big HDTV and read it on there in Full HD glory.

    • mirumu

      I’m honestly surprised no one has done that already. I’m also surprised how slow off the mark Apple has been when it comes to books given they already have a unified online store with all the necessary pieces in place. I know many people hate iTunes, but you can buy a song or movie and play it on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC as you wish, but when it comes to books they’re categorized as “Apps” and you can only read it on a portable device. Why can’t we read them on the desktop?

      There’s huge unrealized opportunities here.

  • Simon

    what is that manga on the main page with the girl and the guy?

    • I believe that’s Niko Tama by Watanabe Peko.

  • PrinceHeir

    i kinda wish if the manga industry goes digital(at least their main focus) i would want manga’s to be on par on release from japan. im tired of waiting a year or two just so i can read a new chapter while japan is already 10 chapters ahead of you

    • Zero_Destiny

      Yeah that would make the transition to digital medium easier, but I’d be happy if they were just like 6 months behind or something. That way publishers will know if the series is a safe bet or not to invest in. But at the same time I don’t have to wait too long. Everyone wins. :) But what I would really want is for the service to be weekly like in Japan. I don’t want weekly series being released on a monthly bases. I’m more than happy to wait for physical volume’s release but when you make me wait a month for a the next chapter in a weekly series I’m not happy. That’s probably why I’ve never got into the Shonen Jump published here in America. It would be asking too much to have Viz publish it weekly so I’m not complaining about that. But they run mostly weekly Shonen Jump stuff in it. Why? Why can’t you put the monthly series in it instead?! That seems like a better move to me. Oh well.

      • Well with the number of chapters that come in the Shonen jump (4 or 5 of some, 3 sometimes) its still basically the same as if it came weekly when we parse it out, well even the volume releases, 13 chapters of Naruto between each volume release is still like one a week or so. I just dont really like monthly releases though, it always feels so far in between and then to get one chapter (see Viz’s SigIkki site) and wait another month…

        But Viz had a series or two that were on their website weekly same time as the Japanese release. I think there is more of a demand for the anime to come out the same time or so as it does in Japan here than there is for manga.

        Maybe its just challenging on the manga writers to not only get the manga drawn and written, then to get it to their publishers in time to make the time limit, and then to have to send that off to the US division to translate and clean up etc to put it out online, and at no cost to the consumer…seems like it would be a frantic thing to do…

        • Zero_Destiny

          I’ve often wondered about those legal scans that companies like Viz put up too. I really do hope they’re making money off of the publicity those scans give and not that people are just reading the sacans and not buying the volumes.:( But as far as I remember they really own scan BIG series. Like if manga [X] is written by a super famous mangaka who’s work has made a lot of money even in the US than Viz might scan it. That’s really not a problem I mean why not license it, it’s pretty much a guarantee hit. That’s why I think if we’re talking about a digital service for Americans it should lag a little that way Viz won’t pick up one of those mangas that run for like 5 or 6 weeks fizzle out and get canceled but at the same time we won’t be stuck with just big name series. And yeah the wait between one issue of Shonen Jump and the next kills me. I couldn’t handle it. :(

          • Im actually behind in each volume of Shonen Jump. I read Naruto and Bleach and One Piece immediately, then come back a week or two later to read say Psyren, Ultimo, and now Yugioh 5D’s. I guess I like spacing it out when I read it to last.

          • Zero_Destiny

            How’s Viz’s Psyren translation. I love that series. Can’t wait to get the volumes when they come out.

          • I also love how they color the pages occasionally in it. Psyren seems pretty awesome, though I heard people said the series ended in Japan already :( It seemed like it has the potential to be a new long running series.

          • Zero_Destiny

            @Sawada yeah it was only like 150 chapters. I was bumed when I learned it ended. It was really good. I don’t know how it ended though. I stopped reading it at like chapter 100 when I learned Viz got the license. So when the last volumes come out I’ll be surprised like everyone else. I hope the mangaka does another series, he was really good. The art isn’t TOO great but as far as battle manga goes it’s quite good. Even though it looks almost like Bleach. lol But the story gets really good. I won’t spoil anything but oh boy once you learn what the world of psyren really is things start to get interesting.

  • Zero_Destiny

    I personally like to own physical copies of my stuff, like CD’s, games, movie, and manga. I’ve never been fan of just having my stuff on my computer in digital form. But that being said I don’t think the digital medium for manga is all too bad. It’s a great way for publishers to save money. And lord knows that they need to save money. But I’ll never use it if there isn’t some uniformed way of getting access to the medium. I don’t have an e-readers, i-pads, and the like. And I never plan to get one. Tech like that just isn’t for me. If there was like a website or some kind of service like say i-tunes or Microsoft store or something, I’d be pretty happy. Maybe something like a manga version of crunchyroll. Well that’s just what I’m thinking. Still nothing beats owning something in real life. You don’t have to scroll or zoom or anything like I have to do with those e-books and scans my professors upload. Oh how I hate those. Plus when you own something you can put it on your shelf, and just look at it in awe. XD

    • I hate having to read PDF’s too! After reading so many science articles and stuff online Ive come to start disliking reading things on a screen. Though, I wonder if the platforms would have support for printing, then that could be a resolution to the matter.

      I think the services would be catchier to me, if they actually colored every manga panel with it being digital. I would pay top dollar for it too.

      • Zero_Destiny

        I wouldn’t count on the printing thing. lol Last thing companies want are people handing out physical scans of their stuff. Likewise I wouldn’t count on being able to make copies of the manga’s data either. Companies don’t want their product being leaked on the internet. Me personally I like manga black and white. It gives it a certain style, looks nice to me. I sometimes wish more American comics would be in black and white lol But maybe that’s just me.

  • Joanna

    I’d love for the middle ground to be digital magazines, yet physical books. I always liked the extra features in shoujo beat, but I found it such a waste to buy the mags only to chug them out later. Granted, I don’t want them charging some of the prices some of the manga distributors want, i.e. same price as physical books, since I don’t see much value in digital goods. If they were to do it monthly with a price tag of 5$ or less, I would definitely give the magazine a try so long as it had genres I liked.

    Well I hope this all works out in the end. I would definitely be sad to see physical books go away since it isn’t just the same as reading it online. I actually read a few series online but still pick up the English releases because I find the physical books and experience valuable.

    • Pricing at the 5$ mark should be good but most people will maintain your mindset and just not buy…or the content providers would need to conitnually price at $5, decrease to 99cents for a period then raise back up and repeat. I highly do not think it is profitable for the cost of translation, to even charge as little as 5$ to be honest. I could see if it was just a standard novel, but when we consider that there is the middle man of translator involve, lettering, and etc, it makes me think that selling for so low means that either the company is absorbing the costs somewhere, or just going to have trim staff to focus on just a few series, instead of charging more to have larger staff to bring out more series.

      I also think its harder to advertise digitally as well, and discovery of new series is difficult.

      • Joanna

        Well back when I did buy Shoujo Beat, it was 6$ USD…so 1$ or even 2$ USD can’t make that much of a difference, and since it will be digital, the publisher will save in other respects: printing and distribution.

        Plus you are missing the big picture here: magazines are great ways for people to sample a wide variety of series and those same people will later be double dipping by picking up their favourites in paperback format. If publishers think of it this way, it isn’t so bad to lower the cost and make less in order to get people hooked and buying the books. Hell, that’s the sole reason manga magazines still exist in Japan; they are glorified ads for the manga themselves. And if a given series isn’t performing well, it’s dropped from the magazine since there is no reason to continue advertising it. That’s also the reason why the paper is crappy and the mags are dirt cheap over there.

        • But why do you compare it to Japan? I think using Shoujo Beat isnt a good example for its lack of enough subscribers led it to demise, indicating that it failed in A) being profitable, B) in generating enough of a fan base to show that it aided in helping the series it featured serve as ads.

          Comparing it to Japan also ignores the fact that the companies here that are involved in bringing manga, have to pay/negotiate licensing series from the Japan counterparts, as well as hiring an additional staff or translator for the series.

          Furthermore, comparing to Japan also doesnt help in the fact that Japan has far more large size of a market to even justify carrying the magazine, why do you think only one manga magazine still exists on the market in the US with a subscriber base of >200K, just compare it to the size in Japan.

          Though Yen+ is selling for 2.99$ a month digitally here…I think your posts makes sense for Japan but I find it difficult that it would work in America due to the market being different. I do not think they would be able to charge 2.75 for a monthly issue.

          • Joanna

            Tsuna….you just said yourself that Yen+ is publishing digitally for 3$ monthly and they are a really small publisher, so it should be much easier for the heavy hitters like Tokyopop and Viz. I…honestly don’t see a coherent train of thought in your response, but here goes:

            1. Yes Shoujo Beat went under but that’s because it was still print based. It could still be viable digitally (like Yen’s mag. Not viable as a physical mag, but viable as a digital one) and I hope Viz does give it another chance that way. Why? Because when it’s digital Viz won’t have to charge the consumer for delivery (you know subscriptions that are delivered to your mail box), they won’t have to worry about shelve space and distribution. It will be much easier for the consumer to pick up their copies even if they live far away from a major retailer and it also makes it much easier to pick up back copies that maybe you missed out on. So yes, I think digital could have made SB more profitable even at a lower price point.

            2. My comparison to Japan was to highlight how the mags are used there, to advertise and expose readers to newer manga, and to show that publishers here are missing out on a big opportunity in the digital space to do something similar. Like I said with shoujo beat, there could be a variety of factors that inhibit fans from buying mags and those factors could all be alleviated through digital distribution. Yes, you are correct about consumer base, but that’s why digital-only could be profitable here.

            3. Of course there are licensing fees (although NA publishers owned by Japanese manga publishers like Viz probably get a smaller license fee for their parent company’s manga than American owned publishers like TP, but that’s beyond the point), I never said there weren’t any, but my point was that with digital distribution, certain other costs (i.e. printing and distribution) are no longer present so overall, it is much cheaper to make a digital copy than a physical one, and digital copies should reflect that. Otherwise people will rightly feel that the companies are overcharging them and will probably just resort to pirating. I’m not saying that publishers should charge 0.99$ a volume or something. I’m just saying that digital volumes should be cheaper to reflect the costs.

          • I doubt it, VIZ does sigIkki for free, so I doubt they need to charge. Im quite sure Yen just does it as an additional means of revenue, than as a pro bono method of testing the waters to see what manga people who arent in the typical shonen shojo crowd would be interested in buying.. Just because it is in essence less to do it digitally, they still have to pay some publishing company to do it digitally, as well as pay for the translators etc, and Viz still has to market…it may be easier to deliver to consumers, but without having it in the bookstores, a place where its much easier to gain the attention and grow the market, they lose out on that going the digital route (one would already have to be following the company before hand to even check out the website and then further decide to pay to view manga that they may or may not have been interested in since, without a copy being in a store they could flip through and read it).

            It may be cheaper to go digital but, I think it is way more difficult to try to market by doing that. Once yen+ vanished from store shelves, I wonder how many people decided to go check the blog to realized they now could only get it digitally by subscribing online and how they are able to grow the subscriber base now that the mag isnt in stores. I imagine the same would be true of a shojo beat as well.

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