☆ anime/manga,  ☆ artsies,  ☆ being a mangaka,  ☆ life

How to be a Mangaka, part 3: International Manga contests

☆彡 Click here for a list of all of the posts in this series. *^_^*

In the first part of this series, I talked about the paths that an aspiring mangaka in Japan can take to get published and finally work as a real, full-fledged manga artist. There are a few ways to go about it, but the most common path is to enter a manga contest.

But what about people outside of Japan? What can they do if they want to be published in the land of the rising sun?

It might surprise you, but of course they can enter!

People from outside of Japan can and do enter Japanese manga contests. In Japan, when someone enters a manga contest, most of the parent magazines will list the name of every applicant and where they are from. And, even though it wasn’t all that common, I did see entries from artists who lives in other countries.

Well, now, what if you don’t speak Japanese?

Well, the biggest barrier to foreigners who want to enter these contests is that they can’t speak or write Japanese. Even I, who worked in a Japanese studio for years, don’t yet feel confident writing a story all in Japanese and getting all of the nuances right.

That’s all solved by getting a translator, right? You can write your story in your native language and have a professional translator or a friend (if you have one) translate it for you.

That’s definitely one way of going about it.

In part 4, I’m going to talk more about those contests and outline how you can enter some of them, but today I want to talk about the other side of things. I want to talk about contests and places to submit work that are specifically aimed at people who live outside of Japan.

There are quite a few contests just for foreigners, so read on!

First-off, I should clarify something. I’m talking about manga, but isn’t a manga just a comic published in Japan? If you’re published only in another country (America, for example), does that mean that you’re a mangaka? I don’t know. I can’t really answer that because everyone seems to have a different opinion.

What I do know is that these contests and companies are either geared toward publishing foreigners within Japan, or giving those with a manga influence a place to be heard overseas.

Let’s go!


Manga contests for publishing within Japan aimed towards foreigners:


The Shonen Jump Manga Competition

Sponsored by both the US and Japanese editions of Shonen Jump, if you have a desire to be published in JUMP, then this is your big chance! Its first deadline was October 2013 and is over now, but hopefully hey will reprise it in 2014 as well! Keep an eye on Viz’s website and twitter for forthcoming announcements!


The Silent Manga Audition

This wordless competition is a big favorite of mine! A silent manga is one without any words, just pictures. It’s visual storytelling in its most stripped-down form. This contest is run by the Japanese magazine, Comic Zenon, and have just closed their second competition, which means that you have plenty of time to work on your comic ideas for next time! Be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates. 😉


The Morning International Comic Competition

MICC is run by Kodansha, one of the major publishers in Japan. Morning magazine in Japan is a seinen (adult male) publication, but they’ll accept all genres with this competition. They have been running a long time now (5 years), so this is a great, polished competition to check out!


The International Manga Award

This is the longest-running competition in the bunch, and they are accepting entries for their 8th aware right now! It was founded in 2007 by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign affairs, in order to promote the spread of manga and the manga culture overseas. In a way, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do! Manga should be enjoyed around the world, right? If you agree, then spread the word about this contest and the others, and send in your entry if you have one! Oh, by the way, you are awarded a trip to Japan to attend the award ceremony if you win! 😉


Places to submit manga without a contest:

Sparkler Monthly

Sparkler is a monthly online magazine of comics, prose, and audio with a heavy manga influence. They aren’t always accepting submissions, but they do periodically, and are a really good place to consider! They have a number of popular manga running now, and a growing audience of subscribers. 🙂 Oh, they lean heavily toward the shoujo side, too. My favorite!


Image Comics

Image is one of the ‘Big 4’ comic book publishers. Right along with Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, they’ve been in the business for a long, long time. They publish individual, creator-owned comics in single issues, and are always accepting submissions. I read Gen 13 from them back in high school, and The Walking Dead right now, among a million others. While their focus is on individual comics issues instead of a magazine-then-trade paperback format, if you are published with Image, you’re going to get great distribution and exposure. Why not try!


Places to publish an online manga:


There are plenty of options to publish online. You can create your own website and control everything yourself, you could use Tumblr, Keenspace, WordPress, or any number of social media/blogging/comic aggregation sites to get your work out there for free, but Inkblazers (formerly Manga Magazine) is really the best that we have out there right now. They have a bunch of hugely popular titles, and real money is paid every month to the top creators. I have been considering publishing my own work with them, too!


So, next time that I continue this series, I’ll introduce you to some of the manga contests within Japan and how to enter them! For now, look at these examples and get to manga creating! There’s no excuses for not getting your story out there! 😉

Happy Creating and see you tomorrow for some more tales from my crazy first year in Japan! (^o^)/

(Oh by the way, my own book, The Princess of Tennis, the memoir of my time working in a manga studio in Japan is open for presales now! I hope that you’ll consider getting a copy!
http://jamieism.storenvy.com/products/7118063-the-princess-of-tennis-preorder )

(8,532 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.


  • Starlias (pen name)

    Hey Jamie! Just tumbled across your blog and I just want to say, thank you so much for keeping such an supportive and informative blog to share your experiences (especially your adventures as an assistant to Konomi-sensei)! 😀

    I’ve to say, as an aspiring artist and a huge fan of manga (especially ones like Prince of Tennis, done countless fanarts haha xD), your experiences are what I’ve always dreamt of doing! Yes, my story may just sound like any other stories of fans and aspiring artists alike, but I need to emphasise how amazing your blog’s been in giving such an invauable insight ito and life working in the industry and Japan! 🙂

    This is especially so for me when back in the days, I’ve finally had a foot into the manga industry after lots hard work, but couldn’t take up the opportunity in the end, so I’ve always longed for the experience! Please keep the blog and hard work up! I’m sure many of us will be supporting you all the way! 🙂

    I feel so inspired again and I’m feeling all this energy inside me wanting to burst out to help somehow I’m telling you! XD

  • Adel

    Thank you for your interest post, but the last 5th competition of MICC was in 2012…
    Does MICC exist today?

    Sorry for my english.

  • Karura

    This was very helpful! Thank you very much. I love manga since my 8 years. I’ve been creating my story all these years and there were times I wanted to give up. Your experience gave me more strength to go on! Domo arigato! *^^*

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I’ve thought about it, and started entries more times that I could count, but ultimately decided to go a different direction. I’m still thinking of entering contests, though, just to see how I would place.

  • Greg

    Cool article, Jamie. If anyone wants me to translate their manga from English to Japanese, shoot me an email (Translating Japanese is my job). I’ll do it for free, of course.

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