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How To Become a Manga Editor

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Do you dream of making manga? Make those dreams reality. Because there’s more to making manga than drawing and writing. Here’s how people in Japan help shape the characters and stories you know and love by getting jobs as manga editors.

Recently, Mami at website Tofugu visited Shueisha, the publisher of Weekly Shonen Jump and countless famous manga, and interviewed an editor (note: the particular editor asked to remain anonymous).


The heck does a manga editor do? They work with the artist and writer (who can sometimes be the same person) in shaping and fine-tuning the manga as they oversee the publication process.

Tofugu asked how one becomes a manga editor in Japan. Here is the Shueisha editor’s reply:

There are three big steps involved in getting a desk inside a manga company.

First, you fill out an “entry sheet” and send it to us. So many people want to join Shueisha and this is our first method of screening. If your entry sheet is accepted, you can move on to the next step, which is an exam. The exam is pretty long (about four hours) and it contains current topics, common knowledge, Japanese literature, English, Kanji, and an essay. After passing this exam, you will have to make your way through a couple interviews.

Once past this entire process, only a select few will be asked to join our company. Even if you make it that far, management decides which department you’ll work for, so you’ll need a bit of luck to become a manga editor.

Anyway, that’s the process, but you shouldn’t think of how to get into the company you want to work for. Instead, you should think of what you would want to work on if you were actually employed there. That helps you relax, and helps you figure out what you really want to do and why you want to become a manga editor.


As for further advice, this manga editor suggested reading, well, “a lot of manga.” For editors, reading is a key part of the gig. But it’s important not to passively soak up the words and stories. “You should read it as if you were the creator and think about how you would make the story better,” the editor added. “You should also know of a lot of manga writers and artists and think about if one of them would make a better fit for the specific manga you’re reading.”

The best advice the editor gave, however, might be this: “You should also try to reflect on the reasons why a manga inspired or moved you a great deal.” The editor said that you should in particular recall the manga that you loved growing up. “The most useful skill when working in the manga industry is your sensitivity to recognizing why particular thoughts and emotions were cultivated from those books.”

You can read the full interview and check out many more pictures over on Tofugu.

Top image: Tofugu

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter@Brian_Ashcraft.


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