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100,000 yuan offered for erotic cartoons
By Echo Shan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2004-08-27 08:57

China's first ever self-confessed adult cartoon magazine "Vision" has recently offered a 100,000 yuan reward nationwide for erotic cartoon works, which has lit up hot discussion among the public.

A cartoon painting named "Apple Lover" published in Vision [baidu]
The magazine, sponsored by Hunan Art Publishing House, has sold 50,000 copies in its August trial issue wielding an "adult" flag, which so far proves to work pretty well.

Critics marked the move a sheer commercial propaganda to boost the magazine's readership. In response, Wang Hua, chief director of Vision defends it saying "Eventually in 2 months time let the truth speak for itself. The reward money will surely go to somebody who deserves it."

Li Yuping, executive chief editor with Vision said the prize would encourage more potential cartoonists to plunge into the career and may someday foster the nation's own cartoon figures equivalent to San Mao and Lan Mao (The Blue Cat) in adult cartoons.

"Comics are no longer exclusively for children in regard to both the style and content," said art Professor Ren Jiazhen, Hunan Normal University, "The adult's need of cartoons are better and naturally met as comics go deeper and wider to touch upon topics like love, society, life and even sex."

A netease.com readership survey shows that 63% of Chinese young professionals surveyed read pictorials rather than serious books in their spare time among whom 70% turn to cartoons.

Due to the fast society pace and heavy workload young people are prone to consume fast-food-like magazines, especially cartoons. Naturally there gradually fosters original made-in-China adult cartoonists as well as a huge highly profitable market.

China has long dragged behind many other countries and regions on the earth in adult cartoon development both in readership boost and market fostering. It's not until the 1990s that the adult cartoon began to catch on among young people in the Chinese Mainland. Comparatively speaking, the adult cartoons in China's Hong Kong and Taiwan are better, but still have a long way ahead.

However, it's quite different in Japan and many western countries, where to read adult cartoons has long been a reading habit of many people and is indispensable of their daily life.

Cartoonists and readers in China now face a dilemma when decoding the concept of "adult cartoon." Does it tune the same melody with those adult products and adult films, all strictly restricted from children for sheer sexual depiction?

"That's all the problem," Li Weiping can't help complaining "We are open to those revealing materials in Vision while all in a resourceful manner rather than sheer erotic. And it covers a wide range of topics varying from marriage to war to employment to love, all which appeal to adults."

The magazine initially sets urban professionals aged between 25 and 35 as target readers while the outcome of a readership survey conducted by Vision shows unexpectedly that the main readers come from universities and some middle schools.

Confronted with public inquiry that the adult material in the magazine may harm children who are easily affected, Li Yuping said, "While the kind of problem does exist Vision, an adult cartoon pictorial, can't do much, for it because is the responsibility of the government."

"As the adult cartoons gain more and more readers and market shares there will surely emerge new concerns, especially in circulations." said Professor Ren Jiazhen, " A rating system for cartoons is urgently needed, which may efficiently keep children from improper material."

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