Masterpiece “Aizawa Riku”


 I had a long conversation with a cartoonist Ms. Yoriko Hoshi in Gion, Kyoto. She is the creator of Kyou no Nekomura-san and my old friend, who is more than 10 years younger than I am. The original drawings of her debut work Nekomura-san and Porkwere at my place, but they got out to the world and she became a very popular cartoonist who sells millions of copies.

 I received her new work, the first full-length manga Aizawa Riku.The bloodcurdling cover art displays her talent as an artist. Ms. Hoshi created a genre Yoriko Hoshi that is not manga, picture book, nor novel, but it is all of those.

 She says she drew Aizawa Riku virtually in 10 days. She used a single pencil, sharpened it, and kept drawing.
 After three days of drawing, the personalities of characters were defined, and they carried on their own lives. She cornered those lives, trying to control them as the creator. When she cornered them, they lived again. And the story was created. That is what she said. This sensation is on the dimension that I cannot even imagine.

 Ms. Hoshi does not make the plot, but instead starts drawing and writing the ideas as they pop into her head. Ideas as is.Illogical. Outpouring sensitivity. That creation method is hard to verbalize, and it cannot be taught to others.
 It reminds me of the episode of Kids Return, which Mr. Takeshi Kitano said he started creating because the image of the last scene popped into his head at first.

 Ms. Hoshi was a huge fan of late Mr. Seiki Tsuchida, who had an all-original drawings exhibit at Kyoto International Manga Museum until recently. Mr. Tsuchida was a big fan of Nekomura-san when he was alive. Their styles are the complete opposite, so there was no opportunity for the two to meet, but they were connected.

 Oh, I forgot to mention something important.
Aizawa Riku is thrilling, warm, interesting, and deep.
 It is the story of a special girl who grew up in the dry communications between her mother, her father, and his lover, and she sheds her shell through the communications with her great aunt, great uncle, cousins, children, classmates, and a little bird in Kansai.
 It is a masterpiece. But it cannot be explained in text.


Richard Florida “Who’s Your City?”

 Whos Your City?by Richard Florida. According to the author, in addition doing what” “with whom, what is meaningful in life is where = place of residence.
 Here are the five points that I found convincing. à are my thoughts.

1) The world is not becoming flat, but it is rather becoming integrated. Production elements of creativity and innovation are deviated and concentrated in specific regions. In advanced nations, 3/4 of the population lives in urban areas. In the United States, Large urban areas are responsible for more than 90% of the GDP.

à Urban regeneration by integration is a free set of movement and exchange by the development of transportation and communication. I live in the city myself, and the style of securing free movement suits me.

2) The number one economic production mega region is greater Tokyo area ($2.5 trillion) and the second is Boston/NY/DC area ($2.2 trillion). The scale of these two regions is comparable to the entire country of Germany. Osaka (Kyoto) Nagoya ($1.4 trillion) is in 5th place. The economic production of these regions surpass countries like Italy, Canada, India, South Korea, and Russia.

à The large size of Tokyo area is Japans strength. Regional activation policy is in the spotlight once again, but if this is bundled with the weakening of Tokyo area, I think they should rethink it. How can we strengthen Tokyo area and Osaka area? This is more of the modern theme.

3) When measuring innovation based on the number of patents, Tokyo, NY, and SF stand out. Boston, Paris, and Osaka follow.

à I have lived in Tokyo, Boston, Paris, and Osaka (Kyoto), so I am probably insensitive to the pros of living in other regions. I want to hear the opinions on this book from the people who are involved in the regional activation effort.

4) There are four mega regions of greater Sapporo, greater Tokyo, Osaka/Nagoya, and Northern Kyushu, but the borders are unclear. Japan may be taking the steps to becoming the worlds first integrated super mega region = a giant single economic area.

à This book suggests the strengthening and connecting of these four large urban areas by activating small-scale regional cities. I want to hear the opinions of people who are involved in regional activation policy on this as well.

5) There is a great correlation between the population concentration of bohemian (artists) and gay people, and housing price. Sense of beauty, tolerance, and cultural openness that such population has for the environment may be contributing to it.

à Integration of bohemia is also a part of Cool Japan policy. It is the inbound policy of creators. However, favorable treatment policy for gay people has never been discussed before. Who should propose this?


World Digital Manga Tide Part Two

 My answers at the symposium World Digital Manga Tide are continued below.

What about the popularization among children?
 There is the Digital Ehon Museum (digital childrens book museum) inside of this venue. Digital Ehon Inc. that I serve as the director and DNP built this museum. It has digital expression exhibitions and workshops.
 Digital childrens book is a coined word that is given as a generic name to new childrens books, which use digital technology and new publications that did not exist before. We develop new digital publications for children. We want to improve the creativity and expression that will be the most important for children of the future with digital technology. We put a great deal of effort into expanding a place for that.

 We have been working on activities for children to create contents such as manga, anime, game, and music by using digital technology for the past 12 years.

 Especially, Japanese children like the expression of manga and they excel in it. When we held a workshop to create manga by taking four digital photographs, while all French children tried to create fantastic artworks, all of Japanese children created funny cartoons. Cambodian children created the work for praying for their families.

 All countries and regions have suitable cultures and expressions, and digital technology will support those. When we opened the workshop collection the last time, we lined up tablets and PCs for drawing manga, and a long line formed for those. Everybody wanted to draw.

 We want to make a structure with a place for educating digital animation, production, and editing that connects to business.

What is manga of the future?
 There was a three-hour wait for the Choju Giga (illustrated scrolls of frolicking animals) exhibit at Kyoto National Museum. Choju Giga is the works from 12th century that are called the originator of manga. They have evolved continuously as a culture for nearly 1000 years. Those works from 12th century are still so popular that there is a several-hour wait.

 Manga will quickly change and evolve from now. The way they are written and read will also change. The industry will change. Globalization will advance.
 However, there are things that do not change. The passion for expression and the joy of reading. There are things that I do not want changed.

 Mr. Tetsuya Chiba said Countries in which people read manga are peaceful. I hope that manga will become essential to countries around the world.


World Digital Manga Tide Part One

 As a part of Tokyo International Comic Festival, we held a symposium called World Digital Manga Tide. I went on stage along with the big star of American comics Mr. Jim Lee, and Mr. Chris Butcher from Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Following are my answers to the questions.

What is the charm of manga?
 Manga is an expression in which a single artist creates the world with story, pictures, and text. It is not a movie, a novel, nor a picture book, and there is something that can only be expressed in manga. When manga is turned into anime or a real-life film, it cannot be the same as the original work. It is a unique form of expression.

 Manga can overcome the language barrier easier than a novel. It is also distinctive in the friendliness to both children and adults who can enjoy it. Also, different from movies, the reading method and speed can be decided by the reader. It is an expression that is very friendly to readers.

 North America has its own manga culture. Europe has theirs, and we have our own in Japan. They are all wonderful. That is expanding to other countries. I expect manga to help build a pluralistic world.

What is the change by digitization?
 Both business and expression aspects will change.
 People around the world will read it on smartphones. This may be a threat to paper manga, but it means manga will become popular around the world, and business will suddenly change to global scale. It is a threat as well as an opportunity for publishers.

 The very expression of manga will change. In South Korea, manga that will turn the page by tapping instead of swiping or scrolling is being developed. A genre that is anime, a novel, or none of those will appear.

 The way it is read will change as well. Manga that are expressed on social media started appearing. The community gets energized with manga as the single topic. Social manga that is like the movie that you see with everyone, or sports that are enjoyed in public viewing will start appearing.

 The replacement of paper by digitization is a small story. I think the point is the new expression that will be born and the expansion of magna world because of digitization.