Yesterday, ANN reported that Kodansha will distribute issues from six manga magazines for free online. In particular, the company will distribute the manga sections from the following magazines:

  • Be-Love
  • Evening
  • Kiss
  • Morning
  • Weekly Shonen Magazine
  • Young Magazine

The magazines will be presented without advertising, though the publisher did not mention which issues will be offered, or for how long they will be distributed online. The decision to offer free content, coupled with Shueisha’s earlier decision to distribute Shonen Jump, are incredibly generous gestures that will benefit both the reader and the customer.

To the reader, this is a small, yet thoughtful gesture that will allow him (or her) to regain some sense of normalcy. It’s a chance for a few fleeting moments of escapism that can help relieve some of the stresses from the events that have occurred. For a few moments, one can simlpy imagine that the country isn’t facing a nuclear crisis, or that mighty heroes can come and save the day from whatever ills befall the populous. It’s an opportunity to imagine that this is a time when people can worry about the little things, like the perfect date, or winning the big game. In short, it’s a chance for people to have a chance to just let everything go for a while.

To the publisher, this is an incredible show of goodwill that will be remembered fondly by readers going forward. Goodwill ensures that at least some of these readers may become customers. Customers like a company that cares about their customers. It creates an ease when investing, and a willingness to work with them. This may not have been intended initially – everybody was affected by the quake, and many are trying to pick up the pieces to rebuild. However, such affections are typically a pleasant side-effect of the act.

As the nation struggles to rebuild, these small gestures, and displays of kindness will be vital. For, to rebuild as a nation, the people have to be able to come together, and work as one. Only then, will they be able to find themselves as a people, once again.

My best wishes go out to those affected by the disaster. Kudos to Kodansha and Shueisha, for bringing a little bit of normal life back to those whose lives have been thrown into disarray.