“Girl in Mask” clip from the anime Laughing Salesman
(笑ゥせぇるすまん) Ep. 4, adapted from the manga
by the same title created by Fujiko A. Fujio,
One of my colleagues, Michiko Ito, Japanese Studies Librarian at the University of Kansas, recently put together a truly fantastic library guide that lists tons of links to online, Japanese-language manga (including comics, graphic novels, and anime) and manga resources. Her collection definitely deserves a shout-out and share, so I am shamelessly copying much of it verbatim here. As Ito notes herself, a word of caution and a disclaimer is in order: This online guide is meant to provide links to web resources created by third parties. Contents available through these websites may contain materials not suitable for educational purposes. The compiler of this guide has no control over these websites and cannot be held responsible for website contents.
To jump down to the various sections below, click on the section guide you want to see first:
Open Access Comics,
Websites by Comic Publishers,
Serialized Web Comics,
Online Archives and Databases, and
Organizations, Museums, and Institutes.
Open Access Comics
This section lists individual Open Access (=free) manga, selected by Ito:
- Short manga stories (読み切りの作品) selected by COMIC メテオ
Links to a selection of short and complete comic titles.
- マンガ図書館Z = Manga Library Z
Formerly known as J komi, this website provides access to out-of-print comics with authors’ permission. All are free.
Sukima (スキマ) is an e-comic store but includes some free comic works and free previews of commercial comics. Registration may be required. This link leads directly to the list of titles which are all free.
- 日刊月チャン (秋田書店)
Designed for SNS. This is similar to a short comic published in a newspaper. 1 page-length episodes are added and updated frequently.
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Websites by Comic Publishers
The following websites are operated by major comic publishers to announce their new comic publications. Some publishers separately operate serialized web comics (see the section immediately below.) Free previews are available:
S-MANGA (by Shueisha 集英社)
Operated by Shueisha (集英社), this website introduces all titles currently published in Shueisha’s comic magazines. Titles are categorized by the magazines they originally appeared in. Free previews available.
Operated by Kodansha (講談社), this website provides news, recently published titles, and more. Also provides access to the website of each comic magazine as published by this company.
Operated by Shueisha (集英社), this website introduces comics published in comic magazines targeted towards female readers.
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Serialized Web Comics (includes free previews)
This section lists selected websites for serialized web comics, most of which are operated by well-known comic publishers. Each website includes dozens of titles, and in most cases, the first few episodes and the most recent episodes are available for free. Registration and/or purchase is often required to read full contents, such as when users are required to purchase “coins” or “points” to read chapters. Note: some of these services are limited to within Japan, and some require credit cards issued in Japan.
Comic Walker (KADOKAWA)
Provided by Kadokawa. The fist three and the latest stories among 200 comic titles are available for free viewing. (added 3/4/2014.)
Comic ポラリス=Comic Polaris
Uploads every Thursday. Mainly designed for female comic readers.
Comic メテオ=Comic Meteor
Uploads every Wednesday.
This website provides a platform through which users can upload their original comics and novels.
The beginning and the latest episodes of comics, created by professional and indie comic artists are available for free.
Free web magazine to explore new comic artists. Operated by Kentaro Takekuma, who teaches the culture of manga at Tama Art University.
Operated by Shogakkan, this website mainly features web comic (indie) comic artists.
Comic Earth Star (Earth Star Entertainment)
Operated by Earth Star Entertainment. Some popular titles are published in both paper and e-book formats and are available for purchase in bookstores.
Operated by Akita Shoten (秋田書店), this website introduces web comics, and is frequently updated, though each title has a different update schedule. Membership registration required to access to some titles.
Operated by Shueisha (集英社), this website provides access to web comics and classic/popular titles originally published in 「ジャンプ」series. Registration is not required to read free contents. Purchasing points is required to read access-restricted contents, but accepted credit cards must be issued in Japan.
Feel Free: Comic Essay & Short Story (祥伝社)
Operated by Shodensha (祥伝社). The target audience is young women who may read this publisher’s monthly magazine “Feel Young.”
Introduces comics serialized in 『少年ジャンプ』 and other magazines, published by Shueisha. A mobile version is available.
Operated by Kodansha (講談社), this website introduces titles serialized in comic magazines by the company and original web comics. A mobile version is available.
Webmagazine is designed for female readers. Updates every Tuesday and Friday.
Updates every Friday. All serialized web comics are free, but some older episodes may not be available. This website also introduces titles which are published in paper and/or e-format.
Operated by 白泉社. Popular/classic titles are now converted to web serial comics. Earlier episodes are open, but registration is required to read all chapters. A mobile version is available.
Operated by the editorial board of エレガンスイブ, this website introduces original web comics and previews of popular titles. The target audience is adult women.
ガンガンONLINE (Square Enix)
This web magazine provides original web comics and spin-offs of popular titles published by Square Enix. Only the first and most recent episodes are available. No registration is required.
Collection of comic essays. Each author creates short comic stories based on his/her own experience.
Part of Webエース, operated by 角川. This section provides free web comics, many of which are based on light novels published by the same company. Older chapters, if published in book/e-book format, are not available.
モアイWeb comic (講談社)
Operated by 講談社 and designed for the readers of three comic magazines published by the company: 『モーニング』『アフタヌーン』and『イブニング』.
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Many of these E-comic store websites provide free previews, and they typically require membership or registration for purchase. As with the list above, some services are limited to within Japan and/or require a credit card issued in Japan. (If your membership is canceled, you may not retain access to the materials you purchased.)
This site covers not only manga but also light novels and regular books. Also linked to their global store for English translations of light novels and manga. Registration is required to purchase contents. US-issued credit cards are accepted.
ebookstore specialized in comics. Digital comics are categorized by genres, and includes award-winning titles. Free previews are available. Operated by Yahoo Japan.
ebookstore for comics. Registration is required. Digital comics are categorized by genres, target audience, staff recommendation, etc. Free previews are available.
ebookstore which sells comics, light novels and other books. Free previews are available. However, users are required to use credit cards issued in Japan to purchase contents.
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