Here on Magazine no Mori, I seek to introduce you to the rich and varied world of manga magazines available in Japan. From kids’ books to the kind of thing you might actually see that mythical salaryman read on that mythical commuter train, I’ve barely scratched the surface. If I’m fortunate enough to continue this column for ten more years, I will still have barely scratched the surfaced, there are just that many manga magazines…and new ones popping up all the time.
Today I wanted to step off the unbeaten path I usually take through this forest of magazines, to look at what is arguably the best known manga magazine that no one in the west has ever read. ^_^
Hana to Yume (花とゆめ) magazine published by Hakusensha is the source material of a huge chunk of Viz’s shoujo imprint (and before that, much of Tokyopop’s shoujo in later days.) Just a random sampling of titles from this magazine will be instantly familiar to most western manga readers: Tachibana Higuchi’s Gakuen Alice, Suzuki Julietta’s Kami-sama Hajimemashite (published in English as Kamisama Kiss), Oresama Teacher by Izumi Tsubaki, Nakamura Yoshiki’s Skip Beat. Hana to Yume was also the magazine in which the record-breaking Fruits Basket by Takaya Natsuki, ran. Two of the seminal (yes, pun intended) BL classics that comprised the vanguard of the Boy’s Love genre back in the day, Yuki Kaori’s Angel Sanctuary and Matsushita Youko’s Yami no Matsuei (Descendants of Darkness) also come from the pages of Hana to Yume. For as comprehensive coverage as possible on Hakusensha titles available in translation, check out Sean Gaffney’s blog, A Case Suitable for Treatment here on Manga Bookshelf.
In fact, so many titles are familiar to the English-language manga audience, it’s worth taking a look at the Wikipedia article for the magazine just to take stock of all the titles that *haven’t* made it over here, among which is one of my favorite series of all time – Shinji Wada’s Sukeban Deka, Which brings me to an interesting point about fashion in manga magazines. In the 70’s and 80’s, Hana to Yume was a “weird” magazine, full of speculative fiction series, action, and really off-beat stories. I picked up a recent issue to find that the current art style is significantly simplified and the stories, while they may have supernatural elements, are mostly romantic comedies.
Hana to Yume has a website, Hana to Yume. com, with the traditional girly, pink, sparkly, flower-y look, previews of this and next month’s magazines, a game corner, and a branded “mangaka course.” The magazine also has a stripped-down Hana to Yume Online site, suitable for reading on mobile devices. The lack of decoration makes the exact same content suddenly appear more mature. ^_^
Hana to Yume premiered in 1974 and now has supplemental titles, Bessatsu Hana to Yume and The Hana to Yume. These come in a smaller size than the monthly magazine, which sells for 350 yen ($4.24 at time of writing.), with about 500 pages per issue – and one of the strongest creator line-ups in manga. The most recent data from the Japanese Magazine Publisher’s Association put the magazine’s monthly circulation at 189,113 for 2010-2011. Thanks to English-language translation Hana to Yume series are probably better loved here, (as unknown as the magazine itself is,) than in Japan where its standing among girls’ comics magazines has been slipping – from 4th in 2006, to 7th in 2010.
If you’re a western fan of shoujo manga, Hana to Yume has probably been your gateway drug. ^_^
Hana to Yume, by Hakusensha: http://www.hanayume.com/hanayume/index.html
AshLynx saysDecember 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm
Yeah, Hana to Yume does seem to take up a disproportionally large portion of my shojo manga. Please Save My Earth, Fruits Basket, Karakuri Odette, Here is Greenwood, and the severely underappreciated NG Life, Hana to Yume is pretty damn sweet!
Erica Friedman saysDecember 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm
It’s definitely been a keystone in many western fans’ manga collections. ^_^
lys saysDecember 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm
Hana to Yume, my love!!! I went through a phase where I wasn’t interested in their titles—I favoured the art and stories (art was the main factor) of Margaret and Betsuma instead. But as my reading habits moved away from scans to what was being published in English, I was quickly converted (I think Hidaka Banri’s I Hate You More Than Anyone! was what really did it). And now I’ve advanced to collecting several HtY (including BetsuHana and LaLa) series in Japanese because Viz simply doesn’t publish enough of it. I’m addicted.
It is interesting to see how the story types have changed over the decades. And even though stories are a lot more “normal” now… they’re still a little geeky and removed from “real life,” I think, compared to what I see coming out of other shoujo magazines (Margaret/Betsucomi/etc). I like to branch out and read different kinds of manga now and then, but shoujo manga in general and HtY in particular is familiar and comfortable (with a near-infinite supply of titles, new and old), and I don’t think I’ll stop reading it any time soon.
G P saysOctober 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm
Do you have an E-mail address for Hana to Yume?
I would like to send them an E-mail.
Erica Friedman saysOctober 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Their website does not list a contact email, Neither does the parent company Hakusensha, although they do list phone numbers in Japan and an address:
They do have a Twitter: https://twitter.com/HanaYume
In any case, it seems likely to presume that you’ll need to communicate with them in Japanese.
Oliver saysFebruary 3, 2018 at 11:14 am
I remember someone among prominent manga bloggers (perhaps Sean Gaffney?) said the art tends to get more chaotic in Hana to Yume series than others. And they also confirmed that it featured mostly romantic comedies which provided an escape from the more dramatic stories out there. I remember that kissing and romance is either slow to develop or just downplayed in favour of more comedic elements. I want to know more about if there are subtle details in the art of HtY series that differentiate them from other publishers. I find myself wanting to collect the incomplete Tokyopop titles for those unique qualities. I really found something to like in The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko about the shy observer in the class providing funny and insightful observations of her classmates and then slowly getting embroiled into social activities. It was also drawn in a way that was less-polished but still offered enough of what you need in your manga art. I love quirky. I think Viz’s slick graphic design removes some of the character (not characters) of cover art. I would have loved to see them publish Gakuen Alice, however.