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Weekly Shōnen Jump (Japanese: 週刊少年ジャンプ, Hepburn: Shūkan Shōnen Janpu, stylized in English as WEEKLY JUMP) is a weekly shōnen manga anthology published in Japan by Shueisha under the Jump line of magazines. It is the best-selling manga magazine, as well as one of the longest-running; the first issue was released with a cover date of August 1, 1968. The manga series within the magazine target young male readers and tend to consist of many action scenes and a fair amount of comedy. The chapters of series that run in Weekly Shōnen Jump are collected and published in tankōbon volumes under the "Jump Comics" imprint every two to three months.

The mid-1980s to the mid-1990s represents the era when the magazine's circulation was at its highest, 6.53 million copies per week, with a total readership of 18 million people in Japan. The magazine has sold over 7.5 billion copies since 1968, making it the best-selling comic/manga magazine. Throughout 2019, it had an average circulation of over 1.6 million copies per week. Many of the best-selling manga originate from Weekly Shōnen Jump.

Shōnen Jump spawned the Jump magazine line as well as the Jump Comics imprint label for publishing tankōbon. Weekly Shōnen Jump has two sister magazines called Jump SQ, created after the fall of Monthly Shōnen Jump, and Saikyō Jump. The magazine has also had several international counterparts, including the current North American Weekly Shonen Jump. It also spawned a crossover media franchise including anime and video games (since Famicom Jump) which bring together various Shōnen Jump characters.

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Origins (1960s–1970s)[]

Weekly Shōnen Jump was launched by Shueisha on July 2, 1968, to compete with the already-successful Weekly Shōnen Magazine and Weekly Shōnen Sunday. Weekly Shōnen Jump's sister publication was a manga magazine called Shōnen Book, which was originally a male version of the short-lived shōjo manga anthology Shōjo Book. Prior to issue 20, Weekly Shōnen Jump was originally called simply Shōnen Jump as it was originally a bi-weekly magazine. In 1969, Shōnen Book ceased publication at which time Shōnen Jump became a weekly magazine and a new monthly magazine called Bessatsu Shōnen Jump was made to take Shōnen Book's place. This magazine was later rebranded as Monthly Shōnen Jump before eventually being discontinued and replaced by Jump SQ.

Golden age (1980s–1990s)[]

Hiroki Goto was appointed chief editor in 1986 and remained in the position until 1993. His tenure saw significant increases in circulation, and the serialization of numerous popular series. When asked about the period, Goto stated: “We only tried to create manga that everybody can enjoy. There were no specific rules. Idol and tabloid magazines dominated in the Media & Entertainment industry at that time and we aimed to stand out from the crowd by using only manga as our weapon.” Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden, released in 1988 for the Family Computer was produced to commemorate the magazine's 20th anniversary. It was followed by a sequel: Famicom Jump II: Saikyō no Shichinin in 1991, also for the Family Computer. Shōnen Jump's circulation continued to increase year on year until 1995, peaking at 6.53 million copies. By 1998, circulation had dropped to 4.15 million copies, a decline in part ascribed to the conclusion of popular manga series Dragon Ball and Slam Dunk. The magazine peaked with a total readership of 18 million people in Japan during the early 1990s.

Declining circulation and digital distribution (2000s–present)[]

In 2000, two more games were created for the purpose of commemorating the magazine's anniversaries. A crossover fighting game titled Jump Super Stars was released for the Nintendo DS in 2005. It was followed by Jump Ultimate Stars in 2006. A new crossover game, J-Stars Victory Vs., was released in 2014 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita to commemorate Jump's 45 anniversary. Circulation for the magazine continued to decline through the 2000s and into the 2010s. Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the shipment of the 15th issue of 2011 was delayed in some areas of Japan. In response, Shueisha published the series included in that issue for free on its website from March 23 to April 27.

On July 11, 2013, the Namco Bandai Group opened an amusement park themed around Weekly Shōnen Jump series. Titled J-World Tokyo, it is located on the third floor of the Sunshine City World Import Mart Building in Ikebukuro and is 1.52 acres. In celebration of the magazine's 45th anniversary in 2013, Shueisha began a contest where anyone can submit manga in three different languages, Japanese, English and Chinese. Judged by the magazine's editorial department, four awards will be given, a grand prize and one for each language, each including 500,000 yen (about US$4,900) and guaranteed publication in either Jump, its special editions, North American edition, China's OK! Comic, or Taiwan's Formosa Youth.

A mobile phone app titled "Jump Live" was launched in August 2013, it features exclusive content from the artists whose series run in Weekly Shōnen Jump.

On September 22, 2014, the free Shōnen Jump+ (少年ジャンプ+, Shōnen Janpu Purasu, abbreviated J+) mobile app and website was launched in Japan. It sells digital versions of the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, simultaneous with its print release, and tankōbon volumes of individual Jump series past and present. However, it also has large samples of the manga that can be read for free. There are also series that are serialized exclusively on the app, such as Marvel × Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration; unlike those in Weekly Shōnen Jump, these series may be aimed at adult men or women. These exclusive series are later published in print tankōbon volumes under the Jump Comics+ imprint. In 2019, the Shōnen Jump+ website and app had about 2.4 million active users. As of January 2020, the app had been downloaded more than 13 million times.

By 2017, print circulation was down to under two million, less than a third of its peak during the golden age. This decline follows similar trends seen by other magazines in the sector.

In June 2018, a limited 50th Anniversary Shōnen Jump Edition of the Famicom Mini (NES Classic Edition) game console was released in Japan. It sold 110,000 units in two days.

On January 28, 2019, Shueisha launched the global English-language version of Shōnen Jump+, titled Manga Plus. It is freely available in every country except China and South Korea, which have their own separate services. A Spanish-language version was launched in February 2019, and has a different library of content. Like the Japanese app, it has large samples of manga that can be read for free including all the current titles of Weekly Shōnen Jump, a sizeable number of titles from Shōnen Jump+ and some titles from Jump Square. However, unlike the Japanese version, the latest chapters of current Weekly Shōnen Jump manga are made available free for a limited-time and it does not sell content.

Newcomer Awards[]

Main articles: Tezuka Award and Akatsuka Award

Weekly Shōnen Jump, in association with parent company Shueisha, holds annual competitions for new or up and coming manga artists to create one-shot stories. The best are put to a panel of judges (including manga artists past and present) where the best are given a special award for the best of these new series. The Tezuka Award, named for manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka, is given for all different styles of stories. The Akatsuka Award, named for gag manga pioneer Fujio Akatsuka, is a similar competition for comedy and gag manga. Many Weekly Shōnen Jump manga artists have gotten their start either winning or being acknowledged by these competitions.

Associated items[]

WSJ is also the center of the Shueisha's branding of its main manga products due to the popularity and recognition of the series and characters published in it. Although the manga are published both in the main magazine as well as in the Jump Comics imprint line of tankōbon, they also are republished in various other editions such as kanzenban and "Remixes" of the original work, usually publishing series older or previously established series. The Jump brand is also used on the tankōbon released of their manga series, related drama CDs, and at "Jump Festa", a festival showing off the people and products behind the Weekly Shōnen Jump manga titles.

Circulation and demographic[]

Weekly Shōnen Jump is the bestselling manga magazine in Japan. In 1982, Weekly Shōnen Jump had a circulation of 2.55 million. By 1995, circulation numbers swelled to 6.53 million. The magazine's former editor-in-chief Masahiko Ibaraki (2003–2008) stated this was due to the magazine including "hit titles such as Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk, and others." After hitting this peak, the circulation numbers continued to drop. 1998's New Year's issue was the first time in 24 years that Weekly Shōnen Jump lost as the highest selling shōnen manga magazine (4.15 million copies sold), ceding to Weekly Shōnen Magazine (4.45 million). It was not until 2007 that the magazine saw its first increase in 11 years, from 2.75 million to 2.78 million. An increase that Ibaraki credited to One Piece.

By publishing shōnen manga, the magazine is targeted to young boys. However, Index Digital reported in 2005 that the favorite non-shōjo magazine of elementary and middle school-aged female readers is Weekly Shōnen Jump at 61.9%. Strengthening it, Oricon conducted a poll among 2,933 female Japanese readers on their favorite manga magazines in 2007. Weekly Shōnen Jump was the number one answer, with One Piece, Death Note, and The Prince of Tennis cited as the reasons. In 2009, it was reported that 62.9% of the magazine's readers were under the age of fourteen. However, in 2019 Shueisha revealed that its largest demographic of 27.4% was aged 25 or older.

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