J-Novel Heart


  • Premium Member

    Seeing someone like @claire-lilly going so excited with hopes up for the shojou label of JNC, aka (of what I know is called) J-Novel Heart, I cannot help but share a few thoughts about it.

    My stance towards such an "extra label" is me being against it. While on the one hand it might be an attraction for young female readers, it also somewhat separates the reader communities between that label and another. And while I can imagine and understand, how such a label might make it easier for female readers to pick up stuff, it also creates a prejudice-alike-atmosphere by sounding like "that stuff you get there is especially for females". Since JNC seemed to me as an American company, I advise against something which might create an impression of gender preference.

    On the other hand, while I read about that "Heart"-thingy via Twitter and the App, I cannot see that stuff is cultivated with the forums. If there are actual members here who wants to promote a shojou label, I cannot but wonder why the first step of the ladder - the community platform - is not offering anything of that.

    I might be a new member, but the impression I got so far is that it feels like 90%+ members who are active here are male - not by choice, but rather by the baseline the forums culture is created. Therefore, if JNC wants to establish something like a shojou label, which I am against - I highly advise to seed and cultivate a proper forums culture - first of all by increasing visibility in form of a proper forums section.

    Seriously, boys - you should do something about that first. Having a thread start about "boobs" is a total no go - no average female reader want to participate in something like that since it only leaves a bad taste!!!


  • Staff

    I don’t get the sense that they are trying to draw a line or anything, the J-Novel Club membership includes full access to Heart, if it didn’t I would say maybe they are.

    In fact if they made a separate community and forum section that would come off as separating the communities in my opinion.

    This situation is no different then Viz Media making the Shojo Beat label, it is simply just a label change nothing too deep.

    As for something being promoted on the forums, it’s the same as all Club titles, they get a forum topic created, they do some twitter posts, and that it pretty much, the heart label titles are receiving no less attention from J-Novel Club then any other title.



  • @serah said in J-Novel Heart:

    My stance towards such an "extra label" is me being against it. While on the one hand it might be an attraction for young female readers, it also somewhat separates the reader communities between that label and another. And while I can imagine and understand, how such a label might make it easier for female readers to pick up stuff, it also creates a prejudice-alike-atmosphere by sounding like "that stuff you get there is especially for females".

    I disagree, it creates a label that says "hey, this series was written for a young female demographic". Nobody cares when girls read shounen/seinen stuff and nothing is stopping guys from reading shoujo/josei works. All it does is, as you say, help female readers make a choice in a catalogue mostly filled with series aimed at males. Also helps male readers looking for female-oriented works.

    Since JNC seemed to me as an American company, I advise against something which might create an impression of gender preference.

    No, this obsession with gender some Americans seem to have is honestly revolting. People come to JNC to read books, not to debate perceived social issues. Any label that helps narrow down your next choice of book (be it genre or demographic) would be a welcome edition. Noone has anything to prove to anyone on the anonymous Internet. Everyone is free to read whatever they want to.

    I might be a new member, but the impression I got so far is that it feels like 90%+ members who are active here are male - not by choice, but rather by the baseline the forums culture is created. Therefore, if JNC wants to establish something like a shojou label, which I am against - I highly advise to seed and cultivate a proper forums culture - first of all by increasing visibility in form of a proper forums section.

    I doubt proper forum anything will have that much of an effect on sales. Most of the people buying JNC books probably don't even know this forum exists. Or are already posting on other, more familiar forums.

    Seriously, boys - you should do something about that first. Having a thread start about "boobs" is a total no go - no average female reader want to participate in something like that since it only leaves a bad taste!!!

    OR, you know, we could let boys AND girls make whatever thread they want (in line with the rules, of course). Light novels have a lot of boobs, so there will likely be threads about boobs. If someone is so thin-skinned that the very presence of such discussion turns them off, they shouldn't ruin it for those that do participate. They have an "Ignore" function for that. They're not obligated to click on such threads.

    Honestly, this comment of yours only enforces the need for separation imo...


  • Premium Member

    @doublemangekyo said in J-Novel Heart:

    OR, you know, we could let boys AND girls make whatever thread they want (in line with the rules, of course). Light novels have a lot of boobs, so there will likely be threads about boobs. If someone is so thin-skinned that the very presence of such discussion turns them off, they shouldn't ruin it for those that do participate. They have an "Ignore" function for that. They're not obligated to click on such threads.

    Honestly, this comment of yours only enforces the need for separation imo...

    You clearly misunderstood my sentence there. I am fine if a thread about XXX is visible and I agree you do not need to visit such. I am more pointing towards the existing forums culture which is clearly male orientated, regardless of how the thread is titled. And that is terribly off putting, if you want to participate in a topic which interests you, but the initial direction is going towards vulgarism.

    It is better to go without a differentiation overall, but if such a label is used for marketing JNC should take proper care of it, especially if you want to go with direct sales via membership rather than via third parties.

    But if you neglect the members and potential members, you should not question why people buy JNC books elsewhere, and why the membership is not that appealing at all.

    This topic I set up for sharing my thoughts with people like @Claire-Lilly who seemingly have high hopes that JNC take a good position in providing shojou related stuff. But if the label does not mean so much to you, having it in the first place is questionable to me. You definitely should not differentiate between demographics by such a label which definitely implicates a gender based separation. Just offer the stuff in the right genre - that suffices.

    Forums rules also can be hardly applied on this discussion, when it is about impression and atmosphere. If you prefer the vulgarism, that is your liking not mine. And that sums up anything needed to say about that.


  • Premium Member

    I must be missing something. I thought the “Heart” label was to categorize titles somewhat. Heart series would be oriented more towards romance and relationships and whatnot and less towards combat. I don’t see why that means “this collection is for girls (only) so we need separate rules? “

    However if JNC were to have a 18+ label, the argument might be valid, but for “Heart” I just don’t see it.


  • Premium Member

    I think this is a tempest in a teacup. Most Japanese publishing houses have many different imprints (labels) to segregate their titles by intended audience. When I was adding the two latest titles to the WIkipedia page, that publisher had, I believe, eight different imprints on their website.

    I looked at adding J-NOVEL Heart as welcome growth of this company. Frankly, If Sam were to do an IPO (selling stock in the company), I would be lining up to buy some.


  • Premium Member

    @jon-mitchell said in J-Novel Heart:

    I must be missing something. I thought the “Heart” label was to categorize titles somewhat. Heart series would be oriented more towards romance and relationships and whatnot and less towards combat.

    It is, which is why every publisher on the face of the planet does it. This is a mountain out of a molehill.


  • Premium Member

    The topic did take a weird direction, considering it started as a simple invitation for community members to either strengthen or discarding the meaning of the label for their goals - depending on the goals of JNC.


  • Premium Member

    @serah said in J-Novel Heart:

    You clearly misunderstood my sentence there. I am fine if a thread about XXX is visible and I agree you do not need to visit such. I am more pointing towards the existing forums culture which is clearly male orientated, regardless of how the thread is titled. And that is terribly off putting, if you want to participate in a topic which interests you, but the initial direction is going towards vulgarism.

    ...is this really a problem on the forums? Maybe I just haven't been looking in that many threads but I haven't seen too many threads that start off in a vulgarly "male" way. And even if they do start in that way, if it's not outright breaking the rules, I don't see why they should be stopped...

    It is better to go without a differentiation overall, but if such a label is used for marketing JNC should take proper care of it, especially if you want to go with direct sales via membership rather than via third parties.

    But if you neglect the members and potential members, you should not question why people buy JNC books elsewhere, and why the membership is not that appealing at all.

    ...wait, are you seriously blaming the forum members for making the membership unappealing/making a shoujo label unappealing? That sure is what all this sounds like (whether that's what you intend or not). Whatever the case, trying to force forum members to "behave" to be "more appealing" to females is definitely not the right way to do things. If anything, that'll only make for a less appealing community if it's always policing members for what they want to say. (And again, I don't even get the feeling that the community is all that vulgar; I'm actually pretty sensitive to that sort of stuff myself but I haven't noticed it to a bad enough extent that I'd want to avoid the community.)

    The topic did take a weird direction, considering it started as a simple invitation for community members to either strengthen or discarding the meaning of the label for their goals - depending on the goals of JNC.

    ...I didn't get that impression at all from your opening post. It seemed like you were just criticizing the idea of labels for some weird reason I can't figure out, and then going off on some weird thing about "male culture" on the forums. You didn't even ask any sort of question about what we thought the meaning of the label was.

    As others have said, shoujo labels are everywhere on the Japanese publishing side, including for light novels. It's ultimately a market-side decision, not a community-building decision. It helps those who already enjoy shoujo-style stories in anime and manga find light novels to their interest, which is especially helpful at the moment as the Western light novel market is sorely lacking in that aspect. (Also, I specifically say "shoujo-style stories" rather than "stories for girls/females", as there's definitely males who regularly read shoujo, myself included.)


  • Staff

    This post is starting to look like it will be taking a turn for the worse, I will be watching it going forward.

    By all means if the conversations stay constructive rather then argumentative, that will be for the best.


  • Premium Member

    On the one hand I can agree that segregating by gender isn't something to advocate. I remember when Viz introduced ShoujoBeat there was a similar sort of thing - a division between the readers who saw it as gender segregation and those who argued its just a category. SB of course was marketed (as Viz does in general of their imprints) heavily for "girls" and in general, casual readers of manga tend to categorize either girl or boy oriented since hey that's how western comics are advertised.

    On the other...this is definitely not any different then publishing imprints categorizing. I can't know the BTS stuff (whether its a way of separating marketing money, editor teams, etc as it is in a Big 5 publishing house), but I don't believe its JNC's way of saying "just for girls teehee♥️" any more then labeling something romance or mecha or harem comedy does.

    As to the boards, to be frank I don't notice the sort of gender disparity the OP does mostly bc its the internet and as far as I know I've never met any of you. so you could be presenting female here and be male or nonbinary or genderfluid. As another mentioned its easy to skip topics of no interest to me.



  • Can't we all just drop the gender thing? Just read what you want and if you don't like it then don't read it. Shojou stories are usually romance stories (not all the time) so having a section to separate Shojou from the rest of the isekai on the site is a smart move, and forums can be completely ignored. Pointing fingers does nothing but make people angry...


  • Premium Member

    I’m female and just ignore the boob threads, tbh. As long as male posters treat female posters with respect, I don’t care if they also want to talk about hot anime ladies. I mean, If you think women can’t be vulgar, especially women in fandom, then you haven’t met many female fans.

    As for J-Novel Heart, I’m really excited by it as one of the reasons I didn’t join J-Novel Club was because at first most of the series were very male-demographic oriented and also seemed fairly fan-servicey. I joined when Bakarina and Beast Head were licensed as they were more to my taste.

    I do like male-demographic novels as well, but I prefer my fan service aimed at female tastes. I’ve enjoyed being able to try series I wouldn’t normally check out, as sometimes even if they have a lot of fan service aimed at guys, they have other things about them I like. I’m hoping some of the male readers will try the female-demographic works who wouldn’t normally try them and will find things they like too. If not, as long as they don’t complain that they’re being published, then that’s OK too.

    I’d be upset if it were a separate subscription, but it’s all part of one thing which is great. I haven’t read any of the new licenses yet as I’m a bit behind on pre-pubs, but I”m really excited about reading them once I’m caught up with a few other volumes that expire before they do.

    As for the demographics of the forum, I expect anime/manga/light novel forums to be more male-dominated, unless it’s genres more aimed at women, plus you also have to remember a lot of women don’t say they’re female online as they can be harassed for it. As more JN Heart books get published, there will probably be more female posters, and the more they are, the safer women and girls feel about being open about their gender online.


Log in to reply