Wired profiles Japan’s female comics fan culture, and muses on the different relationship there between copyright holders and fan-made media.

“Governments, journalists and scholars are debating whether Japan can mint Japanese “cool” into a multibillion-dollar export. … Japan seems to understand that creativity doesn’t fall from the sky. It needs nurturing, inspiration, tools and skills; and it’s no problem if your inspiration is something cool someone else did first.”

What’s also interesting, although not mentioned in the article, is that Japan is wired with some of the most advanced wideband net connectivity in the world, but the abiding popularity of slabs of woodpulp comics is such that entire districts of cities are devoted to six-floor comic shops. Those in the west, hogging their .cbr comics torrents, might have casually assumed that the drift in a wideband Japan would be strongly away from paper and onto the screen. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Perhaps it has something to do with the complexity of the character-set in the Japanese written language, and the consequent need for clarity that only print can give?