KDU Inks Partnership With Kadowaka To Develop First Tertiary-Level Sequential Art Collaborative Programme In Asia

KDU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Hiew Pang Leang (2nd from left) and KCA President and CEO Mr. Tetsuya Koga (2nd from right) exchanging Agreement during the signing ceremony. Witnessing the ceremony are Mr. Jeffrey Chew Sun Teong (from left) and Mr. Ichiro Kuronuma. 
Group picture of the representatives from KDU University College, Kadokawa Contents Academy, InvestKL and the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia after the signing ceremony. 
Visiting guests from Kadokawa Contents Academy, InvestKL and the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia having a campus tour led by KDU’s top management. 

KDU University College (KDU) and Kadokawa Contents Academy (KCA) announced a partnership which will see both parties collaborating to develop the Diploma in Sequential Art programme, which slated to be launched next year.

Sequential Art is a visual narrative art form that tells a story through pictures – with prime examples of it being comics and manga. Kadokawa Corporation being one of Japan’s largest publishing houses is an integrated media company with print and digital interests, including magazines, movies, games and more. In Malaysia, Kadokawa just recently acquired GempakStarz Publishing, one of Malaysia’s largest and most successful publishing/comics studios.

KDU will be the first higher education institution in Asia to collaborate with KCA on offering a tertiary-level academic programme. While the primary content will come from Japan, the structure is a collaborative effort between both organizations and the programme will be taught at KDU’s School of Computing and Creative Media (SCCM).

The collaboration was sealed in an Agreement signing ceremony, represented by KDU’s Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Hiew Pang Leang and KCA President and CEO Mr. Tetsuya Koga, held today on the grounds of KDU’s Utropolis Glenmarie campus. Witnessing the ceremony is Mr. Jeffrey Chew Sun Teong, Group CEO of Paramount Corp Bhd, and Mr. Ichiro Kuronuma, First Secretary, Education and Science Attache at the Japanese Embassy.

“Through this collaboration, KDU looks forward in playing a role in developing talent for the publishing industry in this region. With the success of the Bachelor in Game Development programme, KDU has seen interest in this specific art development particularly from prospective students who visit subculture conventions namely Comic Fiesta and Comic Art Festival KL (CAFKL). The target demographic shares the same interests as game development students, in Manga, Anime and Costume Play,” said Jeffrey Chew.

 “To give you a better idea of the industry growth, the participation of Comic Fiesta Malaysia shown threefold increase from 15,293 visitors in 2011 to about 45,000 in 2016,” he elaborated.

Mr. Ichiro Kuronuma commented, “I believe this new collaboration will contribute lots of attractive content, not only content that made in Japan but Malaysian style Japanese comic or Japanese style with Malaysian content.”

With a huge following of Japanese subculture in Malaysia, ‘Doujinshi’ - self-published works pertaining to similar content interests in magazine, novels and manga; is practiced by many aspiring local artists. The proposed Diploma programme takes advantage of this spirit and incorporates the entrepreneurial element into the syllabus, in which the objective of each graduate is to publish titles frequently within the 2 year of study. This allows the graduate to be self-reliant and eventually be able to market themselves to publishers.

Datuk Zainal Amanshah, Chief Executive Officer, InvestKL said that Kadokawa was an excellent example of the type of investments InvestKL was looking to seize. “Kadokawa Corp’s entry into Greater KL is a game changer for the creative content industry and we are now poised to capture a bigger slice of the global industry, valued at US$10.1 trillion (RM43 trillion) up to 2019.”

"There is huge intellectual property and high skilled jobs that can be created through the collaboration between KDU and KCA which will boost creative education to support our ecosystem and supply chain to further KL’s proposition as the launch pad for creative content industries into Asia," said Zainal.

InvestKL has been instrumental in initiating the set-up of this collaboration between KDU University College  and Kadokawa Contents Academy.

 “Apart from ensuring our students are given a strong grounding in the programme they are studying, one of our initiatives is also to instil and cultivate their entrepreneurial mind-set and abilities, and as such, the inclusion of the entrepreneurial element in the Diploma in Sequential Art programme,” said Prof. Dr. Hiew.
Mr. Tetsuya Koga echoed Hiew’s remarks by saying collaboration in between KDU and KCA will see progression in future developing animators, novelists and character designers locally for the world entertainment industry. “We are happy to make used of our ideas and experiences for the young generation in Malaysia,” he said.

The comic book industry in Malaysia is a burgeoning one. During the Asean Publishers Fellowship in Seoul 2011, it was stated that the publishing industry in Malaysia is worth about RM1.5 billion a year, with over one third of 500 publishing houses active. 

Internationally, the comic book industry is thriving, as a result of the spill over interest from movie adaptations. Movie adaptations from comic books have dominated the Hollywood box office the past decade. In 2014 alone, there were at least 12 comic book movies on the big screen which have spilled over to digital television and more prominently comic themed conventions.  All that would indicate an opportunity for Malaysia to develop into a regional hub for world class talents in comics. We have seen that happen both in the Malaysian animation and game development industries.