Fields × JAPACON “Contents & Human Future Lab. is planning to interview a Japan’s leading comic artist every month. We are going to clarify the artists’ background and how they think of their works under the keyword of their image of hero or heroine.
The third interviewee is Ms. Takemiya Keiko.
She has another face, educationist, such as a president of Kyoto Seika University, and a member of Central Council for Education, Education Ministry. We have also listened her opinion about creators’ future in this age.
■The motive of becoming a cartoon artist
You have been working as a president of a university in Kyoto (an ancient capital, central part of Japan) and living in Kyushu (southern part of Japan). Thank you for accepting our interview during your busy stay in Tokyo. First of all, could you tell us your motive of becoming a cartoon artist?
I started to draw cartoons when I was a junior high school student. It was when I was a high school student that I had read a cartoon introductory book by Mr. Ishinomori Shotaro, a big cartoon artist. He wrote, “Cartoons are a future media. There’s nothing that you cannot do in there. Do whatever your like. Try it.”
After a while, I had a chance to show my own cartoon to my reliable friend who had own goal and worked toward it. The friend praised my comic. That made me decide.
We have already interviewed two of cartoon artists. They said they drew cartoons without telling their parents. What about yourself?
So did I. I understood my parents didn’t have a good impression on them. (laughter) But I thought I was able to learn something that I wasn’t from school and parents.
When did you make your debut?
I won an honorable mention at seventeen.
I have hardly heard the prize winner got a chance to debut. I wonder if my editor found something in my work. I got a break.
It seems that today’s high school students does not decide their jobs at that age.
I agree with you. But generally people who choose something special for their occupation decide earlier, I guess.
Did you come to Tokyo soon after your debut?
No. I came to Tokyo a little later. When I was asked by my parents whether I went to university or got a job. I chose to become a university student working part time as a cartoon artist. Then my job was doing well and came to Tokyo before graduation. My publishing company had just started and had not concluded contracts with famous artists yet. That was good for a new artist like me.
■Passion toward Creativity
Before having read your work, I thought girls’ comics were love stories. To be honest, I was surprised by your work, “Toward the Terra” In there, subtle nuances which cannot be expressed by sentences but by your drawing.
Right. Many of girl comics were about love stories and their ends were when boys and girls got together. No stories were written after that. I would like to write something beyond them. When people relate with others, people feel attachment or affection. Love is not only love between men and women
You have been pursuing something real in your work. In such works, what is your image of heroes?
My heroine is a mother of a main character in “Robo no Ishi or The Wayside Pebble”, Japan’s novel written by Yamamoto Yuzo. The mother beautifully sewed a white bride costume with red thread hiding its color because she was not able to get white. She was particular about doing it but she didn’t boast her effort. When plotting my work, I decide main characters but not heroes or heroines. For example, in my work, “Toward to the Terra”, reader’s hero is a main character, who passed away in the beginning of the story. I suppose that his early death made him a hero and that only his last will was condensed in the story.
As you mentioned earlier, there are a variety of relationship. That’s for sure. Japan has a long history in which we have accepted these relationship such as gays in samurai society. You depicted homosexual love in “Kaze to Ki no Uta” which was a big hit but quite shocking in those days, I suppose. What do you think made readers understand the story?
There are violent and discriminative scenes in it. I think readers had interest in it rather than they understood. They thought it was real but not fiction, perhaps.
Heroes are people who have sprit and convey it to readers, aren’t they? We think we are waiting for next heroes for the year 2020, Tokyo Olympics. Who do you think is your heroes?
I think heroes are ordinary people. Not very outstanding. A hero is for only one person. For example, a hero for this interview project. Anybody can be a hero and should be, I think.
■Your future work
A hero is for one person. That sounds great. May I ask you with that hero image what kind of works you are going to draw in the future?
I think I had already been released responsibility of being a leading artist. In that situation, I want to draw the world which is beyond “safe and security.”
An adventure to unknown world, right? You have created a number of masterpieces up to now. What do you think you work on a sequel?
Maybe the time will come. But I think the works which once have read by readers are not only mine but also readers’. I cannot complete it on my own because I would not like to betray readers’ expectation.
■Introduction of Interviewer
Senior Executive Director, Contents Portal Website Executive Committee
Executive director, Japan Photographic Copyright Association
Vice president, Japan Photographic Copyright Association
Interacts with various people including creators.
Research and Development Office
(Fields Research Institute),