Arabia’s own Manga debuts at Sharjah International Book Fair 2023
SIBF 2023

Arabia’s own Manga debuts at Sharjah International Book Fair 2023

Nov 6, 2023

Manga Arabia’s presence at SIBF is a testimony to the popularity of Japanese Manga in the Middle East for over two decades

A colourful array of Manga characters stare down at every curious visitor as well as diehard fans
as they amble past the Manga Arabia stall at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF
2023). A new entrant in SIBF’s extensive list of exhibitors, Manga Arabia, a subsidiary of the
Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG), is the Middle Eastern cousin of the manga comics
that originated from Japan in the late 19th century.

However, in a big jump from the original graphic comics with its distinctive sketches in black and
white, Manga Arabia has chosen to adorn its pages in colour.

“This is Manga Arabia’s second time at SIBF, although last year we were not selling books but
only distributing a magazine format free of cost. If you count the Sharjah Children’s Reading
Festival, this is our third visit to Sharjah,” explained exhibitor Sultan bin Homaidan. A whole
team of Manga Arabia staff have come from Riyadh to man the stall and aid sales.

Founded in 2021, Manga Arabia is a platform specialising in publishing and producing Arabic
and Japanese manga stemming from the market for meaningful content in harmony with the
Arab identity. The books and magazines cater to two age groups: Manga Arabia Youth for those
aged 16 and above and Manga Arabia Kids for children aged 10-15.

Apart from translations of the Japanese originals, Manga Arabia has its own team of writers in
Saudi Arabia to meet the demand for localised storytelling. In contrast to the Japanese version
known for violent and gory content, Manga Arabia’s “imaginative new Arabic content is
purposeful, safe, and inspired by Arab cultural values”, according to SRMG.

Among the locally produced comics are Bissa (meaning a female cat) and Dhab Boy (dhab
being a lizard-like animal found in Saudi Arabia), while Demon Slayer and Attack on Titan are
some works translated from Japanese.

Homaidan informs that the Manga Arabia app is free to download and read; it is a safe, reliable
and accessible platform for everyone.

The Kids books are priced at AED 29.50 and those for Youth at AED 32.50; there is a third
category available at the book fair – priced at AED 37, these are books that teach how to draw
manga characters.

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