Special HERO:The Interview Ms. Takemiya Keiko #2 – Curiosity, first.-

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.

■Changes in environment around Comics

Seo:
Many years have passed since your debut. Still you have maintained enthusiasm toward creation. On the other hand, however, environment on comics has changed a lot. What do you think about it?

Takemiya:
You can say it again. Sales of media mix especially with TV have surged. It is quite favorable that works are loved by many fans, indeed. In a sense, however, the situation which binds talented artists to only one of his/her works for a long time is not really good. Once a comic made a big hit, an artist have to continue to work on it. His/her editor provides many staff members to keep the work’s popularity. Comics are not comic long ago and are teamwork products like TV programs.

Seo:
I think some of hit comics originated from internet.

Takemiya:
You are right. They made a hit on internet, were published in book form, and flat piles at book shops. E-books have become a newly established media. Although comic magazines will face a hardship, I think they can survive as long as they are published in right numbers. Unfortunately the magazines for boys or girls which we used to read will not survived. In order to survive, they will change into magazines with more specific tastes for more specific readers. We need to find a new strategy to send comics to right readers in this rapid changing environment.

Seo:
Yes, the environment is changing fast. I think the work itself needs changing in this environment. The technology for artificial Intelligence (AI) are advancing so rapidly that AI is able to produce works. AI now threatens me as a photographer. What on earth do you think needs for the comic artists to keep on their work?

Takemiya:
I think comic is one way which creators can express their own personalities. For example, I give an assignment, a four frame cartoon of a well-known commercial film to students. Every work of frames and angles are different each other. They therefore can make use of the AI’s story writing ability to complement their flaw. I found many of young artists have tendency to stick too much to trivial things not main points. If they leave story making to AI, they devote themselves to their expression.

Seo:
It’s interesting. Collaboration with AI, isn’t it? I had been thinking AI was threatening us creators. Deep in thought, once AI will have finished learning, they can learn nothing.

Takemiya:
Right. Nothing but human can develop ability and find undefined factors.

■Curiosity, first

Seo:
But still, we, creators will face lots of adversities. What do your students think about it?

Takemiya:
They often ask me. “Are there any possibilities to create new comics?” They bear the burden by themselves. I answer their question like this. “Even if your theme is the same as the past comic works, your work is original not the same.” I hope young creators express themselves freely. In order to do that, they need their own experiences, having communicated with various people and learned something. That makes core part of their personality. Ms. Kobayashi, you are around my student age, aren’t you? What if a must-not-open door is in front of you?

Kobayashi:
I would like to open it but I’m afraid I cannot. I think our generation prefers to maintain a present state quo.

Takemiya:
You will not open, will you? I’m not sure I will open the door but I’m sure I will touch the door knob.

Seo:
I’m quite sure that I will grasp the knob and open it. But I am careful enough to do it with a handkerchief in my hand. (laughter)
I believe curiosity is a driving force to make people change.

Takemiya:
Well, many of people with a long experience as cartoon artists are really curious. Besides curiosity, for me coincidence is also important. For instance, whether or not my students ask questions and whether or not I answer the questions. These layers of coincidence will affect the future.

Seo:
Today’s youth prefer keeping present situation. What about you in their age, Ms. Takemiya?

Takemiya:
We are baby boomers after the world war II. I felt we were left to which was to be carried on and which was to be thrown away out of what we had learned. And I believed we need to have insight toward future and that we, baby boomers had power to move Japan forward.

Kobayashi:
I feel many of youth at my age are less independent than you.

Takemiya:
I am sorry for that. Independence and curiosity is important in my points of view.

Seo:
We suppose we need to learn what happiness is. Today’s youth don’t take risks. We have to show them it is fun to jump into a new world with curiosity.

Takemiya:
Yes. For example I have an experience to break my leg bones. Normally, we took it as bad luck or failure. But I took it that I got a chance to use crutches and a wheel chair. I found myself amused the wheel chair experience which was more active than I expected.

Seo:
Your vitality is amazing. You enjoyed even your injury. Well,the last but not the least, could you send your messages to young people?

Takemiya:
Don’t stay in pre-established environment which is secure and safe. I would like you, young people to know joys of grasping unpredicted future with curiosity. Being curious is free of charge. It is fun to widen and deepen your personality with your curiosity. I would like you to realize it.

■Editor’s note

On the day of this interview, it was raining hard in Tokyo. Ms. Takemiya showed up pleasantly. The contents of the interview covers wide varieties of topics. Whenever we were talking about something difficult, she found positive solution with calm expressions. We found her strong will to cope with difficulties rationally. Listening her stories, we were wondering about what she talks to her young students and what kind of person made Ms. Takamiya decide to become a cartoon artists in her youth? We ARE “curious”.

>>#1

■Introduction of Interviewer

Seo Taichi
Senior Executive Director, Contents Portal Website Executive Committee
Photographer
Executive director, Japan Photographic Copyright Association
Vice president, Japan Photographic Copyright Association
Interacts with various people including creators.

Kobayashi Maki
Research and Development Office
(Fields Research Institute),
Fields Corporation

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