I. Rules: Replies should consist of questions/suggestions about finding series information for this kind of manga, questions about something I said that is unclear, or corrections (by which I mean, if you find anything that is/has become inaccurate, please tell me; I’ll make corrections as necessary). That is, please don’t make posts that are only feedback comments (like “this is so great” or “this is too long, what is wrong with you”), and please don’t ask computer-troubleshooting-type things (like how to make Asian characters display on your screen, or how to install an Asian language toolbar).
II. Intro: These manga are almost all single-volume romance novels written and published in English, then illustrated in manga form by Japanese mangaka; hence, you will find that the author has an English name (the author of the novel) and the artist a Japanese one, and the title will also have a Japanese version (the manga's regular title) and an English version (the title of the English novel). (I say "almost all" because once or twice I've come across one that doesn't seem to have any English author.) These manga are easy to recognize because of they all have similar "frames" for their cover designs, of which there are 5 types:
1. Double-rimmed: ex, Atsui Torihiki. There's a stripe, sometimes straight, sometimes curved, at the top and bottom, the top one having either "HARLEQUIN COMICS" or "ROMANCE COMICS" on it. The secondary title, below the picture in script, is the title of the novel the manga is based on (henceforth referred to as the "novel name"). Published by Oozora Shuppan.
2. Genre Banner: ex, Umi no Mieru Ai no Ie. There's a stripe at the top listing one of Harlequinsha's 7 color-coded romance types.* The secondary title, listed in small caps above the main title, is the novel name. Published by Harlequinsha.
3. Swoosh: ex, Oujosama to Bodyguard. There's a swoosh of color on the bottom half where the title and names are. The secondary title, listed in small caps above the main title, is the novel name. Published by Harlequinsha.
4. Vertical Title: ex, Akai Sensation. The title is listed vertically on the left in pink characters. The secondary title, written horizontally in pink script, is the novel name. Published by Oozora Shuppan.
5. Plain: ex, Kono Koi wa Uso. This one looks rather simple compared to the others, since so much of it is white. On some of them, the picture in the center may have sort of an absractish-looking still-life picture instead of the main couple. The secondary title, written in small black letters, is the novel name. Published by Oozora Shuppan.
*7 Types: Romance (red), Pure Romance (pink), Passion Romance (dark red), Historical Romance (light green), Suspense Romantic (purple), Fantasy Romance (light purple), Seasonal Romance (light pink).
III. Series Info
Okay, so now I'm going to explain how I find info to put in the various fields. Please note that I will be using Japanese websites a lot, so it is necessary that you be able to read hiragana and katakana with a high level of confidence in the accuracy of your transliteration into romaji for the parts where we'll be using it; vocabulary and kanji literacy are nice but not necessary--a very basic understanding of Japanese grammar (recognizing particles and basic structures and such) is recommended, though. I also highly recommend that you be able to type Japanese characters conveniently, either by having the Japanese language toolbar installed or by some other means.
A. Series Name
If I'm looking to fill in this field, then I'm probably at a Japanese site with the picture and the Japanese title. So, I convert the title into romaji--if I'm not sure about the romanization (kanji readings or spacing), I copy and paste the title into the search bar of a site called Junkudo, which is a site I've found that gives readings in katakana of the titles, mangaka, and publishers of manga volumes.* It gives the proper spacing, too, but you need to be careful, because the readings seem to be incapable of showing small characters. That is, it will show "ｴﾝｷﾖﾘ ｹﾂｺﾝ" for Enkyori Kekkon rather than "ｴﾝキョﾘ ｹッコﾝ", so if I had been careless, I might have thought the romanization should be "Enkiyori Ketsukon," instead. So, if I am ever even a little bit suspicious (don't get paranoid, though; just keep in mind to be cautious around the characters that form the combinations (ex, around "ki" next to "yo" because it could form "kyo") and around "tsu"), I paste the title into a Japanese to English dictionary to check. My favorite is popjisyo; paste it into the box, click "full text," and mouse over the kanji to see the hiragana equivalent. This way I know it's really "enkyori" and "kekkon."* Another site that gives readings like Junkudo is Recomic--it shows small characters accurately, but has a smaller selection, doesn't show spacing, and you have to click to get to the readings of the mangaka and publisher, so for this kind of manga, I prefer Junkudo (Recomic does have some other useful info that makes it better for other kinds of manga, though). Ok, so after this you should have the romanization.
By the way, if I'm viewing a series profile page that already has a series name (which is reasonable and plausible--not a typo, I mean), but I have a different romanization and I'm sure mine is right or at least legitimate, I usually just enter it into the "Associated Names" field instead.
*Often, when you type one of these manga into Junkudo (or other sites like Google or Harlequin.co.jp), you'll get more than one entry with the same exact name. This is just because these manga are based on English novels for which Japanese translations of the novel have usually also been published. The pictures of the covers of the Japanese novel and the manga will be different, with the novel one usually looking relatively plain, and having a photo rather than a drawing as the cover picture. The novel one will be published before the manga. Also, in Junkudo, you can double check because for each volume, where it says "ジャンルは、 _____です。", the manga one will have something like "ﾊｰﾚｸｲｰ ﾝＢ６版女性" (B6 being a manga volume size and josei being a manga genre), whereas the novel one will just have "ﾊｰﾚｸｲｰ ﾝ". (FYI, don't assume that because it says "harlequin" in the genre sentence that it is published by Harlequinsha; the ones by Oozora say "harlequin" there too.)
*You may wonder why I don't just use the dictionary to start with. I like to start with Junkudo because one, it has an entry for each manga volume, so that I can double check that the Japanese name is the title of the manga I am looking for, checking the image, author's name, etc. to see if they match; two, it has the readings for other stuff too; three, so that I know which reading for the kanji to use (the dictionary may give you multiple options--I use Junkudo to know which and the dictionary to double check the spelling); and four, it has spacing, so I use it to double-check my romanization's spacing.
B. Associated Names
Here, two things are needed: the title in Japanese characters, and the secondary title, or novel name. If I'm getting the info from a Japanese site already, I just copy and paste the Japanese title. Otherwise, I'll open up notepad and type out the Japanese title based on the romanized name, using the picture to double-check all the characters are right. If I have any further doubts, I also check by pasting what I have into Google or a Japanese manga site to see if my entry brings up the right manga.
As for the novel name, if the picture is clear enough, I can sometimes just read the name right off the cover, but I just make sure to be careful because often the words are blurry and can be misread. If I can’t read it, the second easiest way to get the novel name is from Harlequin Library. I take the Japanese title and paste it into the search bar at the top of the webpage and hope it's in there, because there's some other good info on this site for each series too. If it is, just click on it, and the novel name will be the title in black text under a couple of lines of blue text (author, artist, and genre). If the series is not in Harlequin Library, then what I'll do is go look for a larger/clearer image. I commonly try 7andy, Google images, Amazon (jp), and if I still can't find one, auction sites like Rakuten auction or Yahoo auction. Hopefully with one of those, I can find an image good enough to read the words off of. (Also, if the image is better than the one currently posted in the series profile, I save it to replace the old picture with.) Once I have the author's name, too, I could double-check on Google to see if an author by that name has indeed written a novel under the title I have.
It's manga, of course.
To find the year, first I identify who the publisher is. Remember that Harlequinsha makes the genre banner and swoosh frames, and Oozora makes the double-rimmed, vertical, and plain ones. Once I know, I paste the title into the search box of either Harlequinsha's or Oozora Shuppan's main page, and take the year.
Ok, the author's name will sound English, so it'll be the one listed in katakana, like "トリシャ・デ イヴィッド", for example. To start, I approximate the English name from what the katakana sounds like. I think it sounds like "Trisha David." There are a number of ways I can check to see if this is right: 1. If the series was found in the Harlequin Library, I can look at the bottom and see if the romanized English name listed matches what I think the name is. (NOTE: In some cases, H.L. romanization of the name may not match the correct romanization of the author's name given in katakana. This means that the romanization H.L. has listed is actually the author's real name, and the author's name given in katakana is the pseudonym the author writes under.) 2. I can search in the mangaka section of MU for "Trisha" or "David" or any alternate ways I think the name might be spelled, that way I can find the author I'm looking for even if I've misspelled part of the name. 3. I can search in Google for the manga title or novel name and Trisha David (ex, type "一年間の天国 trisha david" or "marrying william trisha david") to see if a manga or novel written by that name comes up. Google will sometimes bring up the right name even if you spelled it a little bit wrong, so that's good. If nothing comes up, I try entering the title but with only the last name or first name with it, that way even if I spelled one of them terribly wrong, I might still find what I’m looking for. (NOTE: Just make sure that when you do this, the name you find makes sense. If I type "一年間の天国 david", and 一年間の天国 comes up along with the name "Cathy David," don't assume it's right--"Cathy" doesn't sound like "トリシャ" at all!) 4. I can type the novel name into a book database like Fictiondb. Since it's specifically for books, it should be able to find the title, and once I get to the profile of the book, the author's name should be right there.
The artist's name will be Japanese. Kanji for names are weird, so I don't read them on my own. I get the romanization of the name from the manga's page of Harlequin Library, or use the katakana reading provided by Junkudo.
G. Original Publisher
I determine the publisher based on the frame type, and then double-check with a site like Junkudo that tells me the publisher. (NOTE: Don't trust Harlequin Library for the publisher. (I did for a while, and so then I had to go find the stuff that's really by Oozora Shuppan and fix the publisher field. Not fun.) It says all of them are by Harlequinsha, and not all of them are.)
99% of these are one-volume-only deals, but you know what happens when you assume. So always be looking out to see if there's a volume number on the cover, or if H.L. or Junkudo or any site lists more than one volume of the manga.
Harlequin Library, Harlequinsha, and Oozora Shuppan all have descriptions for all the manga listed on their respective sites, and if you are really great at Japanese and feel like spending the time to translate, you can do that, but there's a much easier way. Since these are based off of novels, just take the novel name and paste it into Fictiondb's search bar (be sure to select "title"), or whatever other site that has book summaries that you want to use, and you can have the description in English in a second. Read over it to make sure it's good though; sometimes they can be disjointed or have some weird typos.
All of these are romance manga, and I'm almost completely sure that they're all josei (that is to say, out of dozens upon dozens, I haven't found any that weren't, but correct me if I'm wrong). If you're looking at one of the genre banner ones, if it says "historical" or "fantasy," you can add that genre. For the others without banners, if you are certain, based on the description, that the manga is, say, fantasy, you can check that genre too.
Harlequin Library has pretty good size and fairly high quality images, so I tend to go there first. The publishing sites will pretty much always have a nice clear image for a series, but they tend to be a little on the small side. 7andy, Google images, Amazon (jp), [url=http://auction.rakuten.co.jp/]Rakuten auction[url], and Yahoo auction are good places to look, too, just keep in mind that the results are variable--usually good, sometimes great, sometimes not.
Nearly all of these manga are based on a novel, so add that as a category--if you see an English name there to prove it. Once, I find one that seemed to be without an English name, so I'd rather not assume that it's based on a novel without proof first.
If from the description you notice something interesting that you know is a category (prince, arranged marriage, etc.), you can add that too.
Okay, so I hope you've found this helpful. Let's all do our best, then
Manga Cover Database