Shueisha has redefined the value of manga from a form of low-cost entertainment to art that meets the preferences of high-end fans and collectors. The SMAH project combines traditional printing techniques, such as letterpress printing and collotypes, with NFT blockchain technology, which certifies the print is genuine and traces the history of the work. To guarantee the quality of these works, each print edition is limited to 20 pieces or less, with buyers selected by lottery.
Shueisha’s manga works, which include world-famous characters, are licensed in more than 100 countries and 20 languages. Shueisha provides this unique cultural format across the globe in ways that span the real and digital realms, including art exhibitions, movies, and video games. Masashi Okamoto, head of Shueisha's Digital Business Division, says that “manga, one of the most beloved forms of Japanese art, connects the past with the future. We’d be very pleased if [SMAH] became a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.”
When Shueisha first contemplated global expansion for the SMAH project, it considered manually sending remittance requests to buyers by email. However, this process was operationally difficult, so Shueisha adopted an extremely simple strategy of “doing it by computer.” Due to global demand for the artwork, Shueisha needed a highly trusted partner to handle payments in multiple foreign currencies.
Shueisha partnered with Stripe to securely provide various payment methods in more than 130 different currencies. Stripe provided customer support and its simple, fast APIs during the development phase. By automating payments and creating an easy-to-use dashboard that showed the payment status of global customers, Stripe aimed to streamline SMAH operations.
SMAH has received over $2.5 million in global sales, since partnering with Stripe. Stripe's customer support and APIs eliminated clerical errors and considerably shortened the development period. By automating payments as much as possible with Stripe, Shueisha staff were required to work fewer hours, reducing costs.
Okamoto also spoke about how Stripe's dashboard helped Shueisha understand business growth and trends for SMAH. “Stripe’s platform allows us to confirm payments in real time. We really value being able to visually discern patterns among customers and the issues that customers are facing. Also, being able to see daily sales numbers in tables and graphs increases our motivation to succeed.”
Thanks to Stripe, we were able to reduce both clerical errors and overall costs. Also, by creating an environment that easily accepts card payments from Japan and many other countries, international fans and collectors of manga art are able to purchase manga art, including in the US, UK, Germany, South Korea, France, Australia, Canada, and many others. Total sales have now exceeded 2.5 million dollars.