The name roughly translates to "supplement," as in a manga that continues a story that started elsewhere. But the term can refer to any type of freebie given out with a magazine. And that's where our story begins.
|A rare example of an unused magazine + furoku set. Everything was bound together.|
|This set contains a couple of manga along with a box that has a mask, roulette game, menko, and other fun stuff.|
Manga O (Manga King)
|The list of furoku is prominently placed on the front cover. This publication came with TEN freebies.|
|A bundle was typically surrounded with a strip of paper (called an obi) which listed the contents.|
|This bundle, from the March 1966 issue of Boken O, contains 5 manga.|
|Manga furoku came in many sizes, but this size was quite common. These are about 12 cm x 18 cm (4.7" x 7.1")|
つづく" (to be continued). So, you'd carry on with the story by reading the appropriate furoko that came with the issue.
But the story didn't end there. To hook readers, the furoku would often end with a cliff hanger or unfinished story, and once again つづく. To continue further, you'd have to buy the following month's magazine, and so on and so on.
So a story arc would progress in a sequence like this: Magazine --> Furoku --> Magazine --> Furoku....and so on, sometimes for quite a long time.
By the 1950s, furoku were a well established part of monthly magazines, and there was something of a competition to outdo one another.
|This February 1951 issue of Shonen contained 15 furoku!|
|The magazine may have included a jumbo furoku bonanza because it was the new year's issue. The entire right side of the cover is dedicated to listing the furoku.|
|Look at this stash. You've got your manga, spinner game, airplane game, paper Colt gun, and more. Yowsa.|
|The first Mighty Atom furoku appeared in August 1953. Here are a number of Atom furoku from over the years.|
|Priced at 120,000 yen.|
The good news for kids over the decades was the furoku tradition carried on...
|Boken O from December 1976|
|Boken O from November 1981|
Coming up in future posts, I'm planning a closeup look at several individual furoku manga from past decades, as well as a look at contemporary magazines + giveaways seen in today's bookstores. Some of the freebies are really spectacular!