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Older Males Falling for Romance Anime

Posted March. 21, 2006 03:12,   


Men in their 40s and 50s are falling for romance graphic novels popular among young women.

An increasing number of middle-aged men are seeking solace in their lives from romance graphic novels that touch people’s innocence and inspire affection.

Hanaforce.com, an internet portal site, announced Monday that most of the subscribers to its “Romance Cartoon Special,” a monthly anime service that began earlier this year, are men, not women.

This site published more than 30 graphic novels from leading romance anime artists such as Won Soo-yeon, Park Hee-jung, and Lee Jin-ju for free in January and February.

According to analysts, out of 142,749 readers, 74,047 (51.9 percent) were men, outnumbering the 68,702 (48.1 percent) women readers.

In particular, there were more females than males among readers from 10 to 39 years of age. But among readers in their 40s and 50s, there were more men than women.

Male readers accounted for 35.4 percent and 34.7 percent of users aged 10 or under, and users in their 20s. The proportion soared, however, to 51.4 percent among readers in their 30s, 59.7 percent among those in their 40s, and 63.6 percent among readers 50 or older.

Kim Sang-chul, a 44-year-old office worker, said, “People think romance anime is childish, but as I kept reading it, I fell for the strong storylines. These days, I even talk about them with female colleagues.”

Kim Young-gyu, who is 52 and works at a private research center, said, “I am deeply touched by romance anime. I feel that the cartoons made my life more placid.”

Kim Chul-gyun, a 43-year-old representative of Hanaro Dream who runs Hanaforce.com, said, “Middle-aged men have a tough life. I think they are seeking to restore a sense of innocence in life by reading romance cartoons in cyberspace, where they don’t have to care about what others think.”

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com