A Manga Comic series Kami no Shizuku (Drops of God) has been taking Japan by storm and is conquering Korea and China, boosting sales of European wines along the way. Manga is the Japanese word for comic and Manga is usually printed in black and white.
It is written by a brother and sister duo of wine enthusiasts and combines a mystery plot with a playful introduction to European wines. Sales have topped a million copies in South Korea alone, with sales of wine shooting up by 30% in response. "The minute it was translated into Korean, we had calls from three importers," said Basaline Granger Despagne, whose family has grown wine near France's Dordogne river for 250 years. Their Château Mont Perat 2001 Bordeaux appears early on in the manga.
"When it was translated into Chinese, people called us from Taiwan saying, 'I bought some Mont Perat and sold 50 cases in two days because of the manga'," she said in a phone interview.
The ten-volume series sees two brothers given the challenge of locating 12 legendary wines when their father, a wine critic, dies suddenly. Whichever son succeeds in the challenge inherits their father's £9 million wine cellar.
Printed mostly in black and white and drawn to look like an ancient Japanese woodblock print, the secret of its success lies in the brilliant, sensual – and ever more outrageous – wine descriptions. 'Just like a classic rock concert!' says one brother after taking a sip of a 2001 Mont-Pérat.
Meanwhile, a spin-off computer game called Sommelier has been launched in Japan, and Hollywood directors are angling for the movie rights.
Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com