Sakira’s Ore Miko! Brings a New Opportunity to the U.S.
By: Alexis Bejarano
Announced at this year’s YaoiCon 2017 was an exciting new project venture between yaoi manga artist Sakira-Sensei, and Digital Manga, Inc.’s June Manga by company founder and president, Hikaru Sasahara. With having spent over 20 years bringing manga titles to the U.S with 13 of those including the yaoi genre, Sasahara-san has taken his devotion one step further by acquiring Sakira-Sensei’s help in creating an original yaoi manga straight from the U.S. entitled Ore Miko!.
“Ore Miko! is probably the very first yaoi manga that is co-ventured by an established Japanese yaoi manga-ka and U.S.-based yaoi publisher. I was actually quite surprised at the fact that she immediately accepted the idea when I presented it a year ago. By working closely and directly with Sakira, we don’t have to go through the hoops of corporate politics.”
Sasahara-san speaks from personal experience. Unknown to many fans are the inner-workings that make it possible for the U.S. to receive licensing for works that originate from Japan. Normally, in short, U.S.-based companies like Digital Manga, Inc. find a potential title and gauge its popularity in the U.S. to see how successful it may be. If a positive response has been received, the Japanese publisher is then contacted where a deal is made and a contract is signed. The minimum guarantee (MG) is paid as an advance against royalty payment, and it is then that the U.S.-based company receives the production data files. These files then go straight to production where translation, lettering, proofreading, and designing take place. When all of the technical work has been completed, if printed editions are being made, the print data is then sent to the print shop for production, and if digital copies are being made available, the data is then uploaded onto the appropriate platform(s) where it then becomes accessible to the public for purchase. Finally, the sales report and payment from the work’s sales are then sent to the Japanese publisher, where they generally split the revenue 50/50 with the creator. In the case of Ore Miko!, licensing isn’t an issue. However, the waiting period regarding payment for both Sakira-Sensei and June Manga is a bit more tedious than one might expect.
“While both Sakira and June are extremely excited about this project, both of us also share the pain of it at the same time. Sakira is unable to receive payment for this until the Kickstarter campaign has ended successfully and has been fully funded. She usually gets paid soon after she signs a contract and submits a few chapters of her manuscript in Japan,” Sasahara-san says. “June also has to provide a substantial amount of labor for organizing and orchestrating the whole project with no pay until the campaign ends successfully.” Luckily, this Kickstarter campaign may not be that far off as more information regarding this project will be released this upcoming Spring 2018.
Aside from the innerworkings that are needed to make this project come to fruition, it turns out this venture provides Sakira-Sensei with a new creative opportunity, which is one of the reasons why she agreed to it in the first place. “Usually, magazine publications decide on the direction (of a work). For this project, I’m allowed to do exactly what I want to do instead. Because of this, I did something that’s not of this world. It is supernatural and ghost related.”
“This (project) would also greatly help her to factor in what the U.S. yaoi fans are looking for.” Sasahara-san adds, “Which means, yes, this book will be published as “uncensored”!” With a contagiously passionate drive befitting a founder of a company, Sasahara-san hopes to change the yaoi publishing industry in the U.S. for the better. “I am simply trying to change the yaoi publishing industry from corporate-driven to fan-driven.” With so many fans in the U.S. wanting more from this genre, this upcoming project is already a success in the making.
This may be all there is to know as of now for this project, but why not read the first chapter of Ore Miko! for free right now while you wait? It’s a work you won’t want to miss! Follow Sakira-Sensei on Twitter @saaakira and Digital Manga, Inc. @digitalmanga for the newest releases and updates!