Thai Manga Industry and Culture
Muay Thai, traditional dances, Boys Love (BL)—these are just some of the things you can think of when you say entertainment in Thailand. As mentioned earlier, Thailand has numerous Buddhist temples that hold the country’s history, as well as cultural theaters and shows. While the culture and traditions in the country are strong, the communities are also welcoming influences from other neighboring nations.
It is no surprise that Japan’s manga culture has also reached Thailand. Though the language barrier is a massive challenge, Thai manga translation into English and vice versa has helped manga enthusiasts access various titles. With manga becoming popular in Thailand, the country has eventually grown more Thai manga artists.
Comics have been one of the forms of entertainment in Thailand. Kai Hua Roh (ขายหัวเราะ), launched Vithit Utsahajit in 1973, is one of the classic comic books in the country. It portrayed the humorous aspects of life, society, popular culture, and more! The editor published it to bring entertainment amidst the lack of media at that time.
In 2014, Prema Jatukanyaprateep was awarded the International Manga Award’s Gold Award for Bokbig, further boosting Thai comic book culture. The Seventh International MANGA Award certainly brought a more significant push to manga in Thai, inspiring more Thai manga production companies and creators. And in 2016, when the first Thai branch of Japanese manga and animation goods store opened in Bangkok, hundreds of customers lined up to check out limited items and products.
Thailand has continuously become a heavy consumer of Japanese content. Thailand manga companies helped the industry take off through the digital manga reader Ookbee Comics. Thai manga translation into Indonesian began, making Thai-language manga available to a wider audience.
Note: The webtoon market in Indonesia is also strong, standing as the biggest in Southeast Asia. This growth began when manga readers branched out to other types of similar literature from different cultures.
Manga Geeks in Thailand also enjoy several themed cafes in the country. An example is the return of the Detective Conan-themed Cafe in 2019, which also determined the stand of the manga industry in the country. Yes, there are a lot of otaku in Thailand, and they are waiting for your manga!