Photo/IllutrationKendo Kobayashi, center, a comedian who loves manga, talks about the unprecedented collaboration along with Hiroyuki Nakano, chief editor of Shukan Shonen Jump, left, and Hirotoshi Kurita, chief editor of Shukan Shonen Magazine, in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on April 8. (Yusuke Kato)

  • Photo/Illustraion

As if taking a page out of their own comics, two longtime arch-rivals have joined forces for their own mutual benefit.

Shukan Shonen Jump (weekly boys’ jump) and Shukan Shonen Magazine (weekly boys’ magazine), two popular weekly manga anthologies, started a collaboration on April 8, it was announced at a news conference.

Their respective publishers jointly launched the website “Shonen Jummaga Gakuen” (boys’ jump magazine school), where 164 serial manga works can be read free of charge.

Some of the titles include “One Piece” or “My Hero Academia” from Jump, published by Shueisha Inc., as well as “Attack on Titan” or “Seven Deadly Sins,” which belong to Magazine of Kodansha Ltd.

“We have been working with the battle cry, ‘Let’s defeat Jump,’ for years,” said Hirotoshi Kurita, chief editor of Magazine.

“I thought, ‘Are you serious?’” he recalled when he heard of the project for the first time.

The 164 available works include those belonging to the relevant anthologies of Jump and Magazine. For some of the works, only the first volume is available, while more than 100 volumes are provided for some of the others.

Those 22 years of age or younger are the targets of the service that lasts through June 10.

“We are rivals. However, we are collaborators who should make the manga industry flourish together,” said Hiroyuki Nakano, chief editor of Jump.

The two teams, which have been battling for the top sales spot, hit upon a collaboration in response to the current crisis facing the manga industry. Sales are steadily dropping due to the diverse forms of entertainment available to youths today, including those offered via smartphones.

Staff members of both anthologies who belonged to their companies' respective digital departments have exchanged information on a regular basis.

Through their communication, they recognized a shared desire to convey the fun of reading manga to youths.