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Josei manga (女性, lit. "woman", pronounced [dʑosei]), also known as "ladies" (レディース redīsu ) or "ladies' comics" (レディコミ redikomi , lit. "LadyComi"), is a term that refers to the target demographic of manga created mostly by women for late teenage and adult female audiences. The male equivalent to Josei is seinen. In Japanese, the word josei means simply "female" and has no manga-related connotations at all. Manga branded as "Ladies' Comics" has acquired a reputation for being low-brow and the term Josei was created to move away from that image.
The stories tend to be about everyday experiences of women living in Japan. Though there are some that cover high school, most cover the lives of adult women. The style also tends to be a more restrained, realistic version of shōjo manga, keeping some of the wispy features and getting rid of the very large sparkly eyes. There are exceptions in the style described above, but what defines josei is some degree of stylistic continuity of comics within this particular demographic (the same is true with different demographics that have different stylistic tendencies).
Josei comics can portray realistic romance, as opposed to the mostly idealized romance of shōjo manga. A famous example of a Josei is Honey and Clover, which was animated, which is unusual for josei comics. Josei tends to be both more explicit and contain more mature storytelling, although yaoi, which are comics for women featuring idealized homosexual love between beautiful men, would be put more into the shojo category because, although it is usually explicit in sexual content, the romance and male body-types are very idealized and thus, shojo manga.
The reported average circulations for some of the top-selling josei manga magazines in 2007 are as follows:
|Magazine Title||Reported Circulation|
|Romance White Paper Pastel||150,000|
For comparison, here are the circulations for the top-selling magazines in other categories for 2007.
|Category||Magazine Title||Reported Circulation|
|Top-selling shōnen manga magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump||2,778,750|
|Top-selling seinen manga magazine||Weekly Young Magazine||981,229|
|Top-selling shōjo manga magazine||Ciao||982,834|
|Top-selling non-manga magazine||Monthly The Television||1,018,919|
(Source for all circulation figures: Japan Magazine Publishers Association)