In a recent issue of Weekly Shounen Jump!
(V. 20), the Editorial Department included a statement
to all their readers addressing their stance on illegal scans, and almost instantly, the popular site Raw Paradise
, which had provided early RAW scans of every JUMP!
series, became a redirect to Shueisha Inc.
, the publishing company behind WSJ. WSJ’s statement reads as follows, translation courtesy of bleachness
To all our readers:
There are now many people unjustly posting copies of manga on the internet. These unjust copies are inconsistent with mangakas' feelings. They are also distorting the authors' intentions of "I want the work to be read this way". The actions of posting these unjust copies on the net, into which the mangakas have poured their hearts, are not only hurting mangakas in real life but are also against the law, even if done in a light-hearted manner. Every time we discover such "unjust copies", we talk to the mangaka and consider every possible countermeasure. But the number of inconsiderate people is great, and at present we cannot deal with all of them. We have a request for all our readers. The unjust internet copies are deeply hurting the manga culture, mangakas' rights, and even mangakas' souls. Please understand once again that all of that is against the law. Also, the mangakas and Shueisha will severely deal with any unjust copies found on the internet. We ask that our readers please continue to support us.
Weekly Shounen Jump editorial department
This message was published in the WSJ issue that went on sale Monday, April 19th, in Japan. However, it was up on the Internet a week prior, when the early RAW scans and spoilers for the chapters came out. Naturally, on the same day that the scanlations came out, people on Twitter were congratulating Kubo Tite for the release of chapter 400 of Bleach
, which hadn’t yet even been officially published in Japan
And therein lies the problem.
NOTE: If you do not understand the spoiler process, please do yourself a favor and view an explanation here
. Basically, thanks to sites like Raw-Paradise.com, Internet fans get RAW chapters and scanlations almost an entire week before most Japanese fans can physically purchase the WSJ magazine.
WSJ isn’t upset with scanlations so much as they are upset with the early RAWs, and really, who can blame them for that? What this has also highlighted, though, is that there is a general misunderstanding prevalent in fandom about what is, and what is not, appropriate to discuss with manga-ka via social networking tools like Twitter. This is most prominently highlighted by fan interaction with the author of Bleach
. Whether this announcement by WSJ was a long-time coming, or whether it was prompted by Kubo himself, remains to be seen, but the fact of the matter is that fans didn’t help
by making assumptions about what was appropriate to tweet to Kubo and then posting whatever they liked. Kubo’s Twitter account is public, and it would be foolish for us to assume that someone from WSJ was not
monitoring the goings-on of said account. More to the point, Kubo himself
has stated several times that there is one thing that he absolutely will not stand for from fandom:
His fans being spoiled by other people.
This has been brought up several times and in several places – basically any forum that discusses Bleach
to some extent probably
discusses Kubo’s Twitter, too, and by now, I would hope it was common knowledge that Kubo attempted to block Twitter users
who were posting Bleach
spoilers because those spoilers upset him. Common sense would then dictate that people not
repeat this same process, correct?
But there seems to be a general lack of common sense present in some fans. And even more fans just don’t have the language or cultural knowledge to determine what is appropriate on their own. Bearing that in mind, this post is meant to serve as a “How-To” guide for communicating with Kubo Tite (and, in some respects, any celebrity, really) via Twitter. It is my hope that this guide not only helps fans have a more enjoyable experience interacting with Kubo, but that it also lessons the frustration that Kubo himself must feel every time he comes across one of those well-intentioned-albeit-inappropriate tweets.PART 01: Things to RememberA little background information on Kubo & Twitter
Kubo Tite is a famous manga-ka, as I’m sure we all know. His series is one of the three most popular titles in WSJ, and he is basically a celebrity amongst manga fans. That is the keyword here: Celebrity.
Kubo has been on Twitter for approximately 4 months, and he has already amassed over 25,000 followers. That’s amazing for a Japanese manga-ka. And because he is a celebrity, there are certain practices that should and should not be put into action when communicating with him. These are included below:
Keep in Mind: Important Tidbits
- 日本語を話すか？ Kubo posts almost exclusively in Japanese. He does make attempts to post in English, but he has openly admitted several times that his English is very poor and it is hard for him to understand it. Additionally, while other languages and tweets from foreign countries do catch his eye, his responsive tweets are usually still in Japanese. Point being, if you cannot read Japanese, get yourself a Twitter application that will automatically translate for you, or make friends with Google Translator. If you’re using an iPhone, I cannot recommend Twitterrific enough, as it comes with a built-in translator, and the newly released Twitter for iPhone app., is getting stellar reviews as well.
You should always know what you’re responding to before you actually reply to anything. Please remember that the above translation tools are not infallible, however. That said, even a jumbled Google translation is better than not attempting to understand what Kubo is saying. On top of that, it might give you a feel of his current mood, which will let you know if maybe your joke about banana holders is better saved for another time. If you don’t feel like translating something yourself, there are plenty of people and sites that are currently doing this for you: Bleach Asylum and Naruto Forums, to name a few, and sites like bleachness sometimes post translations of Tweets of interest.
- KUBO vs. SENSEI Somewhat related to the last point, there are obvious cultural differences between the average, non-Japanese fan and Kubo. Even though we’re talking about him rather casually in this post, this is not the same way you would address Kubo via Twitter. As stated, Kubo is a celebrity, and you do not know him personally – casually addressing him is considered rude, even if it is on the Internet. The most common ways to direct tweets to his attention (amongst Japanese and English fans) is:
Sensei (先生), Kubo-sensei (久保先生), and Kubo-san (久保さん)
- SPAMMER? Fans are fortunate with Kubo in that, on a good day, you can and will see anywhere from 20 to 30 tweets from him. Some are replies to other fans, some are memes, some include pictures, and some are about Bleach, but the point is, the man posts a lot and stays up until ridiculous hours when he probably shouldn’t. That does not mean you should feel the need to respond to absolutely everything he posts, and doing so will not guarantee you a reply from him. In general, he tends to be most active from 12:00AM EST to roughly 8AM EST; again, though, this depends on his mood and his current workload. Since Kubo has joined Twitter, I personally have seen him tweet for a full 24 hours at least three times, and during those instances, he was definitely pushing himself with work.
- IS THAT A LITTLE OFF? Kubo has… an odd sense of humor, to say the least. On top of that, the cultural differences make things a little difficult for people to follow at times. If worse comes to worst and you simply don’t understand something, it’s better to avoid saying anything in reply, lest you unintentionally insult someone. Kubo is extremely relaxed with fans – the man has played April Fool’s jokes, given very poor romance advice (intentionally), and even commented on people’s wardrobe choices – but you don’t want to be the first fan to insult him, so it’s better to avoid putting yourself in that situation.
- HI, HELLO, HAVE A SCONE. In Japan, ingrained politeness is second nature, and while Kubo is a very honest, out-spoken man, he follows this custom thoroughly – all the more so because he is such a public figure. You might see him downplay situations, as he did with the Nick Simmons debacle, but don’t assume that’s how he truly 100% feels. Japan, in general, is a very conservative country (though it is progressively becoming more open), which you can read more about here.
And some things to remember about Twitter:
Brief notes on Twitter
- REPLYING. Kubo is currently only following close to 50 people, and chances are, you aren’t one of them. If you want to be able to respond to his tweets and for him to actually see said replies, your account needs to be public, or they will not show up for him.
- TIMELINE. Kubo usually places his own replies to people before reproducing their original tweets, and these will therefore always show up in your timeline if you are following him. However, he will also occasionally reply directly to individuals (i.e., he will begin his posts with @theotherperson), so unless you go to his physical Twitter page or you are also following those individuals, you will miss those replies.
- OTHER USERS? To see what other users are saying to Kubo, you can do a Twitter search for his name (or if you have Twitterrific, use the @Author command); please bear in mind, Kubo can and has received up to 100 replies for every one Tweet that he posts himself. If you’re looking to see where your reply stands in the “queue”, do not be surprised if it is buried by other Tweets.
Got the basics down? Then let’s move on to Fandom Specifics.PART 02: Fandom DiscussionsEveryone wants to talk shop with Numero Uno.
Kubo loves interacting with fans. He has stated that he feels this is the only way he can thank everyone for all their support, since he writes Bleach
for the characters and no one else. But, as previously stated, he does not appreciate
fans tweeting to him about spoilers because it tends to ruin chapters for those that have not read them yet. His most recent tweet on this issue came with Chapter 400 and is translated
by myself as follows:
なんか外国から「BLEACH400話おめでとうございます！」みたいなコメントが大量に来てて、最初ちょっとお気に 入りに入れちゃったんだけど、よく考えたらまだ400話の載ったジャンプって発売してないんだよね。 祝う気持ちはありがたいけど、どうしたもんだか。
Recently, I received lots of comments from foreign fans like “Congratulations on BLEACH Chapter 400!”, and at first I was a bit happy about it, but thinking it over, Chapter 400 hasn’t appeared in JUMP for sale in stores yet. I’m thankful for the congratulations, but I wonder what’s going on?
Please excuse any errors, but the long and short of it: Kubo does not support early spoilers. Period.
It is imperative
for fans to keep this in mind when interacting with Kubo on Twitter. Once again, if you do not understand the spoiler process, please read this explanation
. To summarize: Internet fans get scanlations almost a week before the chapters are officially released and sold in Japan. Of course, now that WSJ has cracked down on early RAWs, that extra week has shortened somewhat (which, frankly, is not a bad thing), but in general, you should keep the following in mind when tweeting to Kubo about Bleach
Kubo, Bleach, and Twitter
- CURRENT CHAPTERS? Don’t tweet about chapters after the RAWs and scanlations initially come out. Just don’t. If you have an overwhelming need to say something to Kubo about the current chapters, wait until the Monday (if you live in the Western hemisphere) following the scanlations’ releases, just to be on the safe side. Kubo will probably still raise a puzzled eyebrow about a foreigner being immediately up-to-date with Bleach, but at the very least, you won’t upset him by spoiling other fans for the chapter.
- PRESSING FOR INFO. If Kubo wants to answer your question about Bleach (provided he sees it), he will – if he doesn’t, that doesn’t give you license to spam him continuously until he does. Wait a couple of days, ask the same question, and if he still hasn’t answered you, he either: a.) still didn’t see it, b.) doesn’t want to answer it, or c.) can’t answer it. Therefore, Twitter may not be the best place to pursue the answer to your question. For example, you can instead send him an actual fan letter, as he does read all of the fanmail he receives. If you’d like to send a letter, you can find the address in question here. Keep in mind, however, that Kubo does not answer letters in English or foreign languages, though he will still read the letters.
- SHARE & SHARE ALIKE. Like most Japanese manga-ka, Kubo loves to see fanart/fanvids/fancrafts and you are totally welcome to link him to pictures on your deviantart, youtube, or etsy accounts (or what have you). Saying that, creepy shit is creepy, and common sense should dictate what is and isn’t appropriate to link him to. Kubo would probably love to see your sketch of Ulquiorra and Ichigo playing “Go Fish!”, but linking him to your very NSFW image of Chad and Byakuya getting it on is more than likely going to make him a tad uncomfortable, at the very least. Again, use your common sense on this.
Somewhat related, I am not sure how Kubo feels about his own art being used in things like layouts, banners, etc., so you might want to rethink sharing links to fan sites, shrines, or other websites that predominately feature his artwork.
Again, Kubo is usually very lax about his interactions with fans, and it takes a lot to piss him off, but these are just some general reminders to follow so that everyone’s life is a bit easier. An example of a good fan response & Kubo’s reply (translated):
An example of an idiotic fan response to Kubo:
@tite_kubo: "On the contrary, please keep talking feverishly. It makes me happy." RT@acksk: "Is it alright if we talk feverishly and put things like 'I love that one part in BLEACH...!', or 'That scene...!' in our letters to you?"
@username: “I don't understand anything u wrote, but I love your #Bleach 400 & I love Gin's #Bankai RT @tite_kubo: なんか外国から「BLEACH400話おめでとうございます！」みたいなコメントが大量に来てて、最初ちょっとお気に入りに入れちゃったんだけ ど、よく考えたらまだ400話の載ったジャンプって発売してないんだよね。祝う気持ちはありがたいけど、どうしたもんだか。”
See the difference? (If you don’t remember what Kubo’s text said, scroll back up for the translation
If you use common sense and courtesy, give Kubo the respect he deserves, and take the time to use some thought before tweeting, things will be much more enjoyable for all parties involved, and fandom at large can avoid the massive waves of panic and headdesk that are typically prompted by the previous example.PART 03: Getting StartedI just want to hop right in!
Communicating with Kubo is an exciting opportunity – one I’m sure many fans would like to fully embrace. But for those limited by the language barrier, this becomes an increasingly difficult task. When I thought to myself what I would do, in this position, if I did not have my current level of Japanese knowledge (or fluent friends), I became very sad. It’s not everyday you have the chance to interact with one of your favorite authors, but you miss out on that simply because of the language barrier. Well, I see only two options:
- Learn Japanese or
- Find a place to translate for you.
Of the two options, the latter is obviously the more practical
ignoring that my own learning of the language is partially prompted by my desire to read RAWs, rather than scanlations
. While there are several places, as mentioned above, that are translating Kubo’s tweets (mostly in relation to Bleach
), finding someone to translate messages for you to send to Kubo is a slightly more complicated matter. There are quite a few people out there willing to offer their time and assistance, but you have to catch them in the right place at the right time if you want their help, and before you realize it, the tweet of Kubo’s you wanted to reply to has come and gone
since Kubo tweets a lot and, again, gets an incredible number of responses
With that situation in mind, supplied below are easy statements that have already been translated for your convenience. You simply copy and paste what you want to say to Kubo, filling in the blanks where appropriate/directed, and voilà: a message you can send to him with relative ease. This is a basic list with expressions thought up off the top of my head – more may be added later and by request.Please Note:
Unless you have some kind
of experience with Japanese, you should refrain from combining these snippets extensively because the grammar could become odd – these are deliberately constructed to be stand-alone sentences. Also note that these are constructed to be gender neutral.Reminder:
It is considered inappropriate (and rude) to refer to Kubo casually (as explained here
). Because of this, all the tweets listed below refer to him as Sensei (先生) or Kubo-sensei (久保先生), and I must urge you not
to change this unless you know what you’re doing.
Tweets About You
- My name is _____
- 私の名前は_____です。(more polite)
- I am a/an _____ fan of Bleach.
- American → アメリカ
- Chinese → 中国
- English → イギリス
- French → フランス
- German → ドイツ
- Irish → アイルランド
- Italian → イタリア
- Russian → ロシア
- Spanish → スパイン
Tweets About Bleach
- _____ is my favorite character.
- Who is your favorite character?
- Bleach is the best!
Tweets About Kubo
- Your art is gorgeous/beautiful/awesome!
- Your tweets are so funny/amusing!
These are very basic options for you right now, and again, I must stress that you take the rest of this post into consideration before actually writing something out to Kubo. I realize these options are a tad limited in the grand communication scheme, but they're still better than nothing, right?
It’s my hope that with this post we can avoid repetition of some of the more frustrating situations that have popped up recently with more and more people discovering Kubo’s Twitter account and foolishly messaging him something rash in their excitement. Don’t get me wrong – we, as fans of Bleach
, are truly very lucky to have the opportunity to interact with such a great man and such a famous manga-ka. To be honest, I’m thrilled that Kubo decided to get Twitter, because it has really endeared me towards him and given me a greater appreciation of Bleach
- very evident when you compare recent posts in this community with earlier ones. “Knowing” Kubo as a person gives you a greater understanding of his work as an author, and I definitely encourage any and all fans to follow him.
But we also have to realize that Kubo is a professional that will defend his work with everything in him, and that he is also a human being with feelings and thoughts of his own. He can get frustrated; he can get annoyed; he can get upset. But what I want to avoid here is all of those negative feelings growing for his foreign fans at large. In almost every “warning” tweet Kubo has released, he references foreign fans, and foreign fans specifically. I don’t want to think of Kubo gaining a negative impression of us just because of a few bad apples, nor should he be subjected to annoyances just because of unruly fans.
Let’s use common sense. Let’s be polite. Let’s show Kubo that we love Bleach
and we appreciate him, but we can act like rational human beings when we do so.
(Thank you very much to qwirky
for all the betas!)