The South Korean website Marumaru, which illegally reproduced and translated Japanese manga and earned revenue through advertising, shut down last Tuesday. A message (seen below) posted on the website read, “Service maintenance is currently underway. Please check back again later.”
The website was established in 2013, and its access numbers were reportedly greater than the Korean portal website Nate. The site administrator, known under the alias “President Park”, earned a whopping 8 billion (about US$7.08 million) through advertising earnings from banner ads alone.
According to a Japanese news source, “President Park” and the rest of his staff began preparing for the shutdown two weeks prior to the website’s closure. Staff in charge of the illegal translations stopped their work at around the same time. The site’s administrators reportedly told Marumaru users in a group chat that “our store has closed.”
In the course of tracking similar illegal manga websites, Korean authorities had reportedly begun preliminary and internal investigations into Marumaru before the website shut down. However, investigating Marumaru was more difficult because Marumaru’s surface website wasa seperate entity from its manga uploading site Usagi Syrup. Administrators reportedly lived in the United States, further complicating matters.
A Blue House (Korea’s executive office and residence of the country’s president, something like the White House basically) national petition titled “Please Shut Down the Illegal Manga-Sharing Site Marumaru” launched in November 2017, and it received more than 50,000 signatures before closing. However, a juxtaposing petition titled “Please Don’t Shut Down Marumaru” launched this past Tuesday in light of the news of the website’s shutdown.