Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Golf Lesson Comic

CNN has finally caught on.

Me? I didn’t care so much.

But since U.S. president Donald Trump says he doesn’t pay attention to media broadcaster CNN (except when he does), I thought I’d see what he’s missing or not missing.

First off, thank-you to my buddy Matthew who tweeted out a link to a CNN story about how there’s a Japanese manga (comic book) devoted to golf… but not merely depicting comedy or drama… instead depicting scenes showing real life golf issues, and how to correct them.

Yes… some 100,000 people a month get their golf fix from Golf Lesson Comic.

I have played mini-golf as a youngster... putting left... and being okay, I suppose... but only played a real golf course once.

Apparently I drive right... putt left...

I can drive a ball like nobody's business... hammering that thing better than most people.

In fact, on my very first Par 3 hole, I drove the ball right onto the green and had a three-foot putt for a Birdie and a One Under Par score.

I thought, and I quote: "This sport is easy!"

Over the next 17 holes, I lost 14 balls somewhere. I even hit an eagle - a real one, and ended up at some ridiculous 50 over par or whatever...

It was humbling. Humiliating. Haunting.

As noted, I never played again, and to be honest, no big whoop.... except for that first hole.

Golf... not my cup or tee. That's a pun.

So… what was my dig at CNN? Well… Golf Lesson Comic actually started up in 1990 - 27 years ago when I first showed up in Japan.

It’s not new news… which I suppose is kind of cool. Look what I have in common with CNN

Back in 1990 when the Golf Lesson Comic first debuted, it was a pretty boring book, simply having comic strips revealing golf tips to its readership.

A few years later, it tried to become less dull and began offering golf-themed stories—along with comic strips providing golf tips.

There was something called The Hole-in-One Murders - a detective strip that still provided golf tips; and Golfman - a comedy strip with sexist elements in it as well as golf tips.

I don't know how bawdy or sexist it could have actually been considering a few years earlier, Japan published the manga adventures of a character called Rapeman, which is exactly as it sounds. Er, not in THIS comic book, though.

Nowadays, the strips continue in Golf Lesson Comic, but are once again, less about entertaining and more about teaching.

It is, after all, Golf Lesson Comic.
Golf Lesson Comic artist Tamura Takanobu (surname first)
While I do not believe this, the word golf was once described as an anagram: gentlemen only-ladies forbidden (each letter of a particular word, is short for an actual word—like NASA, but not U.F.O. or CIA).

But I’m pretty sure that that etymology of the word “golf” is pure BS.

What’s with Japan and golf?
In the late 1980s, with Japan’s bubble economy still growing and rich Japanese sought other ways to amuse themselves without resorting to booze and women, sought the relaxing confines of a golf course.

By the early 1990s, it is estimated that some 15-million Japanese played golf on a regular basis, with developers constructing course after course after course for what Japan assumed was a never ending growth of economic prosperous fun-loving Japanese.

Many comic books (manga) popped up to capitalize on the fact that younger-than-usual Japanese men could now afford to take up golf... a generation that actually appreciated comic books in manga form. 


When the bubble economy popped in dramatic fashion, the Japanese soon gave up golf… yes, it is a time-consuming sport… but that’s time that could be better spent working, to try and turn around individual economies of fortune… and plenty of golf courses closed…

And yet… it’s 2017… Japan’s economy is stuck in a sand trap… and yet it has 100,000 copies of Golf Lesson Comic sold monthly…. which is similar to what a copy of Amazing Spider-man was selling back in 2012…

Heck… I recall that back in the 1980s, Swamp Thing would print about 50,000 comics, but might only have about 34,000 in sales… and this was considered to be a very-well written and drawn book that had two recent movies done on it…

Keep in mind that back in the 1940s, Captain Marvel Adventures and Walt Disney Comics & Stories would sell over 1-million books a month. Sell… not just print.

So… 100,000 copies of Golf Lesson Comic sold monthly during a recession and during a time when fewer people are playing the sport… and as such, why would people not playing a sport need to read a manga telling them how to improve their game? They wouldn’t.

Still… my long-winded point is that 100,000 copies sold is an impressive monthly stat.

However… since we are talking about a fan base that liked comic books and golf that began in the late 1980s… a new rich… we are talking about a readership that is in its 60s, age-wise… nothing wrong with that, but it’s a non-sustainable readership…

People get older and die—even the Japanese—and since golf hasn’t been uber popular in Japan for awhile, they really need one of the professional players to win a tournament or something to drive readership and to increase golf club membership.

You can read the CNN article HERE.

Somewhere, it’s a Cinderella story,
Andrew Joseph
PS: The Cinderella story line... that's from the movie Caddyshack.

No comments:

Post a Comment