Will Japan follow America's lead on digital manga?
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February 14th, 2012
02:24 PM ET

Will Japan follow America's lead on digital manga?

In most cases of what's hip and new, the Japanese are ahead. Otaku worship their eye for culture for a reason, after all.

But it just might be that that same culture is what holds them back when it comes to a landscape that Americans are quickly becoming intimate with: the digital format.

As we move bravely into the digital age and face cries of "Print media is dying!" it's no surprise that manga is popping up on more iPads than ever before. And Americans love it: The more easy access we have to our favorite media sources, the better.

On the other hand, a country like Japan that is known for its deeply entrenched traditions may not be as easy to convert. After all, modern manga debuted there in the '40s, but its roots go as far back as the 18th century. It's not unusual to ride the subway in Tokyo and see people of all ages and stations in life with their faces buried in a hot-off-the-shelves copy of "One Piece" or "Naruto."

The feeling of holding that trusty book in one's hand is a habit, a groove of comfort. And replacing it with a tablet presents more complexities to some longtime fans than one might think.

Could the evolution of digital manga be a case where America's otaku take the lead, and Japan follows suit? FULL POST