Otaku Culture

A Look At: Manga Kissa

By  | 

What comes to mind the first time you hear the word manga kissa? Maybe a kiss? Well not really. Kissa is actually short for a Japanese word, and many manga fans either know what it is or will want to visit one of these when they hear what it is.

Well the definition is:

“”kissa” being short for “kissaten” which means café or cafeteria) is a kind of café in Japan where people can read manga. People pay for the time they stay in the café. Most manga cafés also offer internet access like internet cafés (ネットカフェ netto kafe?) and vice versa, making the two terms mostly interchangeable in Japan. (One large chain, Popeye, uses the term “media cafe”). Additional services include video games, television, snack/beverage vending machine, and more. Like Japanese cafés in general, smoking is usually permitted.”

Yup. That’s right. Manga cafes. The best way to think of these cafes is to think of how in the early millennium we had Internet cafes, which were cafes you could pay to surf the web while eating.

These sadly didn’t take off or aren’t as popular as manga kissa are in Japan, and sadly these aren’t really popular here in the western region either.

However, any manga fan should experience a manga kissa at least once. The exciting thing is that you can basically stay the night and read as many manga as you want.

The website Howibecametexan.com gives manga fans wanting to visit one a list of things they should take. The website also gives us a deeper look into why manga cafes are even a thing in Japan and it’s surprisingly not what you’d think it’s for.

“The obvious answer is to sleep. Unlike most countries, Japan’s subway system is not 24 hour. In the mad rush during the last train, some people inevitably don’t make it, so they have to wait until the first train – around 5am. People who miss the last train have a couple options. If they want to sleep, they can go to a hotel (expensive), a capsule hotel (less expensive, but still pricey), a karaoke shop (not terribly expensive to rent a private room), or a manga café.”

In a way, manga is there as an added incentive also like how that pile of magazines are there for you in a waiting room … however these are way more interesting.

But what exactly do people do in there? Just read? Read relax? Well yes and no. Texan breaks it down for us:

“night, most people sleep. Some people surf the next (free internet and computers in most “cubicles”). Others actually read the comics, but those are few and in between. As a result, night-time rates for Manga Cafés / Manga Kissaten are nearly double the daily rate. During the day, most people in manga cafés use the internet. All things considered, it’s a relatively cheap way to surf the net. They also have ports where you can charge your electronics. My manga café even had docs for iPhones and iPods.”

They in other words work roughly the same way that our Internet cafes worked; however as the article mentions, manga kissa were here before the internet was. And they also were able to mold with the shifts in technology and continue to make themselves relevant even today.

Pretty cool huh?

Tell us what you think of manga kissa and if you would ever visit one.