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Shôjo Manga Magazines

There are dozens of shôjo manga magazines, and every year new ones appear, while others disappear. I have listed shôjo manga magazines and ladies' comic magazines separately, but keep in mind that a few magazines do not really fit into the category they are assigned by their publishers. For example, Bouquet and Petit Flower are defined as shôjo manga magazines, but in practice they have really been ladies' comic magazines for several years.

Also keep in mind that shôjo manga magazines are not the only manga magazines girls/women are reading. Among the 500+/- girls I surveyed at a high school in Kobe in October '94, Weekly Boys' Jump was far and away the most popular manga magazine among girls, as well as boys. The second most popular manga magazine among girls was Special Edition Margaret, with about half as many mentions. And so on.

The figures for the top ten in each category come from the 1998 edition of the Shuppan shihyou nenpyou ("Annual Report of Publishing Indicators"), are are therefore probably pretty accurate. They reflect circulations in 1997. The figures for the remaining magazines in both categories come from the 1997 edition of the Zasshi-shinbun sou-katarogu ("Complete Magazine/Newspaper Catalog"), published by the Media Research Center, Tokyo. These are claimed circulations, and are much more likely to be inflated (which is why some boast circulations higher than some of the magazines in the top ten list!).

Most of the top-sellers should be available in any store—such as the Kinokuniya shops in Manhattan and Edgewater, NJ—that carries a considerable number of Japanese periodicals. If they aren't available in a Japanese bookstore near you...complain!

The information is given in the following order: the title transliterated into the Latin alphabet; an English translation of the title in parentheses; the period of publication; the publisher; the circulation; the readership (according to the publisher). My own comments (if any) follow.

Although I include links to the web sites of publishers and individual magazines, only Shogakukan provides pages in English, and none of the magazines do.

Top Ten Shôjo Manga Magazines in 1997

cover imageRibon ("Ribbon"); monthly; Shueisha; 1,630,000; 60% primary-school girls, 30% middle-school girls. Home of YOSHIZUMI Wataru's Marmalade Boy and SAKURA Momoko's Chibi Maruko-chan.
cover imageNakayoshi ("Good Friends"); monthly; Kodansha; 780,000; 65% primary-school girls, 35% middle-school girls. Home of TAKEUCHI Naoko's Sailor Moon and CLAMP's RayEarth.
cover imageBessatsu Maagaretto ("Special Edition Margaret"); monthly; Shueisha; 730,000; 80% middle- and high-school girls, 15% college women and older. Home of TADA Kaoru's Itazura na kiss and such artists as IKUEMI Ryoh, HIJIRI Chiaki, FUJIMOTO Mari, and TSUMUGI Taku.
cover imageChao; monthly; Shogakukan; 440,000; primary- to middle-school girls.
cover imageMaagaretto ("Margaret"); biweekly; Shueisha; 410,000; primarily 11-15 year old girls.
cover imageZa Maagaretto ("The Margaret"); monthly; Shueisha; 400,000; 9.3% primary-school girls, 29.4% middle-school girls, 30.5% high-school girls.
cover image Hana to yume ("Flowers and Dreams"); biweekly; Hakusensha; 280,000; primarily middle-school girls.
cover image Bessatsu furendo ("Special Edition Friend"); monthly; Kodansha; 260,000; 6% primary-school girls, 33% middle-school girls, 40% high-school girls, 21% college women and older.
cover imageBessatsu shôjo komikku ("Special Edition Girls' Comic"); monthly; Shogakukan; 200,000; middle- and high-school girls.
cover imageRara ("LaLa"); monthly; Hakusensha; 200,000; geared to middle- and high-school girls.

Other Popular/Noteworthy Shôjo Manga Magazines

cover image Shôjo komikku ("Girls' Comic"); monthly; Shogakukan; 440,000; primary-, middle- and high-school girls.
cover imageMisuterii bonita ("Mystery Bonita"); bimonthly; Akita; 300,000; primary-, middle-, and high-school girls.
cover imagePurinsesu ("Princess"); monthly; Akita; 350,000; primary-, middle- and high-school girls.
cover imagePurinsesu goorudo ("Princess GOLD"); bimonthly; Akita; 300,000; primary-, middle- and high-school girls.
cover imageDerakkusu maagaretto ("Deluxe Margaret"); bimonthly; Shueisha; 330,000; 75% middle- and high-school girls, 20% college women and "office ladies."
cover image Bessatsu hana to yume ("Special Edition Flowers and Dreams"); monthly; Hakusensha; 200,000; girls and women of middle-school age or older.
cover imageAsuka; monthly; Kadokawa; 200,000; from middle- and high-school girls to office ladies.
cover imageUingusu ("Wings"); monthly; Shinshokan; 250,000; 70% 16-20 years old.
cover image Puchi komikku ("Petit Comic"); monthly; Shogakukan; 300,000; women aged 18 to 27 years.
cover imageJurietto ("Juliet"); bimonthly; Kodansha; 220,000; middle- and high-school girls. Also known as Bessatsu Furendo DX ("Special Edition Friend Deluxe")
cover image Puchi furawaa ("Petit Flower"); bimonthly; Shogakukan; 200,000; women aged 18-23 years.
cover imageBuuke ("Bouquet"); monthly; Shueisha; 150,000; 12.3% middle-school girls, 27.3% high-school girls, 57.8% college women, "office ladies," and housewives.

Top Ten Ladies' Comic Magazines in 1997

cover imageYuu ("You"); monthly; Shueisha; 500,000; 45% 21-25 year-old women, 29% 26-31 year-old women. Still the top-selling ladies' comic magazine. Fairly conservative, but of generally high quality.
cover imageKomikku Amuuru ("Comic Amour"); monthly; San Shuppan; 360,000; "office ladies" and housewives in their twenties and thirties. Unapologetically pornographic manga by and for women. Not for the weak of heart.
cover imageJudi ("Judy"); monthly; Shogakukan; 350,000; 18-25 year-olds.
cover image Bii rabu ("Be-Love"); monthly; Kodansha; 350,000; 58% "office ladies," 34% housewives, 8% college women.

Matt Thorn ()
Cultural Anthropologist
Freelance Writer