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Lifting Our Heads for a Little Kiss

Kiss magazine, published by Kodansha, has star power. If for no other reason than that one of the most popular and successful Josei franchises of recent years, Ninomiya Tomoko’s Nodame Cantabile, called Kiss home until the series and supplementary chapters came to an end in 2010.

Kiss magazine began publication in 1992 as Monthly Kiss, it is now released on the 10th and 25th of every month. It weighs in at approximately 350 pages an issue, for 450 yen (5.53 USD at time of writing) and pulls in a very respectable 127,962 monthly circulation, according the the JMPA’s 2010 numbers.

Kiss magazine has a website on Kodansha’s Comic Plus system, which offers current volumes for sale, a community on which to share thoughts about one’s favorite series, and a way to send messages to the creators, sample chapters, special sites with interviews, contests for new artists and more.

Series from Kiss are not high on the list for either translation into English as manga or transition to anime. Nodame Cantabile was a notable exception, as it spawned anime, manga, live-action dramas and even documentaries. Currently the series Kuragehime, by Higashimura Akiko, has created some noise as a popular anime.

There is little experimental art in Kiss. The style runs to clean, realistic rendering, even in explicitly fantastic stories like QB Karin – Keishichou Tokushu SP-ban.

Overwhelmingly, the feeling of stories that run in Kiss are stories for adult women. “Kiss and Never Cry,” “Gin no Spoon,” “SatoShio,” “Maison de Nagaya-san,” all are focused on relationships – life, family, career and romance. In fact, if there’s one strong theme running through Kiss, it’s the drive towards life-work balance…a topic that will be of interest to just about any working woman.

Kiss is a gentle magazine. There’s going to be no surprises here, no violence, no sex; fan service comes in the form of adult male characters who treat their women well. Kiss magazine is a familiar touch, a gentle peck on the cheek from a dear friend.

Kiss Magazine, from Kodansha:

This article was originally published on

(Sincere apologies for my extended absence here…work has been “interesting.” ^_^;;)

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  1. Good to see you back now how about one on Dengeki Daioh?

  2. Erica Friedman says:

    It’s good to be back. ^_^ I’ll put Dengeki on the list – I have a pile here to get through!

  3. Everything you describe about this magazine just makes me want to get a subscription to it. It has just the stories I want, which incidentally are the stories that don’t make it into English, like you said. I think it’s safe to say Kimi wa Pet was the only completed run of a Kiss series in English. As Nodame was dropped at Vol. 16, I still have bitter feelings towards Del Rey/Kodansha, but I will still support that company. It’s interesting how Nodame had clean lines and not a too alt art style but it didn’t catch on with readers. Although I can’t pinpoint why exactly it wasn’t successful in the West.


  1. […] Friedman takes a look at Kiss Magazine and Matt Blind breaks out another list of manga best-sellers, these ones from earlier this month, […]

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