It's not just one single manga, there are quite a few that I like and that are not published in the West. Some of them are moderately popular in Japan, but most are obscure. The vast majority are seinen and their serialization has finished.

How do I get these comics published in the West and is it something I can do on my own?

The only ideas I've come up with are with regards to contacting Western and/or Japanese publishers. The former would be just a request of sorts, whereas the latter would involve asking to purchase license, but that pretty much becomes a business on its own and I am not sure if that's what I want. Any other ideas? I am willing to part with a decent amount of resources for every manga, so I am open to any suggestions. The publication medium doesn't matter, both physical and digital are acceptable, though I find the latter a bit more appropriate nowadays.

EDIT: To make it more clear, I am looking for a way to bring some of my favourite manga to the Western audience, not how to purchase manga copies. To illustrate this with an example from the literary world: Suppose I wanted to translate a book from a foreign language to English. It would be perfectly acceptable to approach the author, and/or their publisher, with a sample translation and then potentially negotiate a deal. Or it's not uncommon to directly speak with a publisher who's willing to publish the book and then they do the rest of the negotiation (and legal affairs) on your behalf.

  • are you just asking for the manga to be translated and published or do you want to take on the responsibly of translating and publishing or are you just asking how to import a copy?
    – anon
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:02
  • Ideally the first one, but I wouldn't mind being involved, perhaps less so as a translator. I do know how to import a copy (or purchase online), which is how I discovered the manga I want introduced to the Western audience.
    – user23880
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:21
  • There's a lot of good information on this sort of thing around the internet. If I have time later I'll see if I can synthesize some of it into an answer.
    – Torisuda
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


The best way to get a title licensed is to show that there is interest in the title via sending questions/tweets, e-mails, or filling out various companies' surveys. For example, Seven Seas Entertainment has a monthly reader's survey, and part of the survey asks you which Japanese manga series and which Japanese light novel series you would like to see licensed and published. They do tally the results.

Also, publishers in the west sometimes have ties to the series of a company, author, etc. (it's case by case), so it's worth looking into whether the company can legally license it at all. For example, here are some ties:

  • Shueisha/Shogakukan - Viz Media
  • Square Enix - Yen Press
  • Kodansha - Kodansha USA or Vertical

See also this reddit thread and Seven Seas Entertainment's ask.fm feed.


You can try contacting the Japanese publisher to see if anyone has already licensed the rights to translate and publish the manga in the US. If it has, then hopefully you can follow up with them. If it hasn't, then either you're going to have to either find someone willing to publish it or find a way to do it yourself, and if it's an obscure title then you're probably not looking at a particularly lucrative business model unless you can find a way to make the cost of licensing, translating, printing and distributing the manga less than the amount you get from sales.

I expect that the best return on investment would come from something like Crunchyroll manga - no printing required and they already have a distribution network set up, but they still probably wouldn't do much with it unless there's a reason the title might help drive subscriptions.


There are fan translation groups you can ask to translate it(scanalators). They dont get paid and dont usually have a license for the works they translate. They generally do it to spread the culture and have a little fun doing it. (I work for a fan scanalation group)

I only mention this 4 years later in case anyone else has the same question.

  • Fan translations are kinda okay-ish if they are only for personal consumption and not shared publicly and massively. However, this community doesn't condone piracy, so it's an ill-advised suggestion for readers.
    – Aki Tanaka
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 16:41

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