Eiichiro Oda was 17 when he sold his first manga one-shot, opening the door for his now 26-year run with One Piece. Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto had a similar trajectory from one-shot to serialization, while Noriaki Kubo’s one-shot work led him to eventually create the mega-successful Bleach. All three legendary creators owe some success to former Weekly Shonen Jump editor-in-chief Hisashi Sasaki, who was on constant prowl for the next big mangaka. And now, Sasaki is turning his attention to the United States to do the same for Western artists looking for their big break.
VIZ Media announced on Wednesday the creation of a new one-shot submission portal aimed at American creators. Winning one-shots will live alongside comics from revered artists like Rumiko Takahashi and Junji Ito on VIZ’s digital manga service.
Sasaki is on board to both curate and guide selected submissions; the publishing company boasts that “creators whose submissions are selected will have the opportunity to work closely with the revered Japanese manga editor, making VIZ Media the only publisher in the U.S. to offer this experience domestically. Until now, manga-influenced creators who aspire to work with Japanese editors have had to travel to Tokyo for such an opportunity.”
“In Japan, a yomikiri or one-shot story has a proven track record for producing hit manga, and I’m thrilled to implement this method at VIZ for local writers in the U.S. I’m particularly excited to work with aspiring mangaka as Japanese pop culture continues to keep fans enthused and wanting more,” Sasaki said in a statement.
While budding mangaka creating work without upfront pay is often a touchy subject, a representative for VIZ clarifies that this is not a ploy for user-generated content. Writers selected by Sasaki for publication will be paid, and VIZ’s intention is to truly discover major talent, with the aim to turn any promising one-shots into ongoing series where there are opportunities for physical printed copies, consumer product deals, and potential anime adaptations. VIZ hopes that the creative pipeline that has worked in Japan can work just as well in the States.
VIZ says the new one-shot platform welcomes bite-size original manga stories in any genre, from horror to comedy to action and romance. One-shots can be submitted on VIZ’s website.