The website mangastage.com launched little over a month ago
If you are familiar with anime, then you know what a manga is. But have you ever read manga in Bangla? Thanks to the dedication of two sisters —who also happen to be artists —now you can.
Traditionally, manga are comics created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language, conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. However, there are many derivations of it such as Manhwa (Korean manga) and Manhua (Chinese manga).
The first ever platform for Bangla language manga was launched with Manga Stage—a website dedicated to sharing manga in our mother tongue.
Manga Stage was founded by sisters Shahnuruma Shantona and Shahrina Shantuma. The website mangastage.com launched on August 10 this year.
The sisters stopped by the Dhaka Tribune offices and talked about their journey to promote manga in Bangla.
They said: “We faced many obstacles from the beginning to get our works published or recognized. We wanted to create a platform for Bangladeshi manga artists.”
Shantona and Shantuma came up with the idea for Manga Stage in 2017.Describing their portal as “an open stage for all Bangladeshi mangaka (manga creators),” the manga artists aspire to establish the site as an open publishing site.
The young artists worked hard to launch this website and invested all their savings into it. However, the site has been launched to mixed review among manga artists in Bangladesh. Some took the initiative positively while others have been doubtful about the copyright issue and remuneration.
Shantona said: “We were very disheartened when people doubted us or asked us about remuneration. We spent all our savings to create this platform, and we aspire to make it bigger so that it connects more artists and everybody can earn revenue from their works.”
Shantona and Shantuma penned and created all the Bangla language manga on the Manga Stage website at the moment. Growing up, Shantona and Shantuma watched a lot of anime which inspired them pick up manga in 2013.
Eventually, they decided to create a manga in Bangla. In 2016, Kishor Alo published their work titled “Kinsa Khyong”, the first colorized manga in Bangla.
Through the Japanese embassy to Bangladesh the sisters submitted “Flower Tucked In Her Ear,” the translation of “Kinsa Khyong,” at the 11th International Manga Award, an annual award established to encourage non-Japanese manga artists. They received acclamation from the embassy for their work.
The next step in their journey will focus on bringing together storytellers and manga artists.
“We have a plan of adding a tab to connect creators through the website. This will allow the artists to get acquainted with storytellers,” said Shantona. The young artists hope to help the community grow by creating a platform where creators can come together and collaborate.