Interview with Yuri Manga Artist Takemiya Jin

June 2nd, 2013

日本語で

Takemiya JinI’ve been fangirling over Takemiya-sensei’s work for years. I first began reading her doujinshi,, and rejoiced when she made the leap into the professional sphere. You can find her work currently running in Comic Yuri Hime and in my favorite manga magazine, Rakuen Le Paradis.

I declared three of her books the Top Yuri Manga of 2011: Seasons, Kila Kila and Omoi no Kakera. In particular, I like the sense that her Yuri work is grounded in the reality of lesbian life. Mika, the protagonist in Omoi no Kakera is out to herself and to her close friends as a lesbian. This is something we have not seen all that often in Yuri Manga. This, and Takemiya’s use of actual lesbian slang in her stories shifts “Yuri” as a genre closer to an intersection with lesbian literature.  IMHO, Takemiya-sensei is one of the leaders of the new Yuri movement.

It is my very sincere pleasure today to have a chance to talk with Takemiya-sensei and share it with you all!

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Q1: Please tell us about yourself
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My name is Takemiya Jin, I’m a Yuri Manga artist. My sex is female. I am a lesbian.

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Q2: How did you become a mangaka? Was it something you wanted to do as a child?

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It was my childhood dream to become a manga artist. Because various people opposed my dream to become a manga artist I stopped drawing manga. When one of my submissions for a contest won an award, I started to think that I would draw manga as a job.

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Q3: Which artists have influenced you?
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Manga artists Takahashi Rumiko (creator of Inu Yasha, Ranma 1/2) and Togashi Yasuhiro (creator of Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter x Hunter) and Obata Takeshi (part of the creative team for Death Note, Hikaru no Go) influenced me.

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Q4: If you were not a mangaka, what kind of work would you be doing?
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I think I’d probably be a clerk in a bookstore with a hobby of creating doujinshi.

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Q5: What motivated you to create Yuri Manga?
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I began by drawing stories that took shape from my own experiences, things I was thinking about and the messages I wanted to convey.

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Q6.1: Please tell us a little bit about your process.
How long does it take to draw a chapter?
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If we’re talking drawing a 24-page manga, it takes me about 2 weeks to completely finish the job.

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Q6.2: How many assistants work with you? What is the first step in your process? What is the last step?
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I have no assistants. But, when I’m in trouble, my partner helps me with the relatively simple tasks.

The first thing I do is to construct the “Plot” (which means planning and composing the dialogue). The last thing I do is “Revision”.
(Plot/Storyboard/Sketch/Inking/Shading/Revision/Tone/Finishing Touches and Final Revision…in that order.)

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Q7: You began as a doujinshi artist. Other than deadlines what are the differences between being an amateur and a professional?

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In my case, doujinshi was a hobby; being in a commercial magazine has that feeling called “work” so, although I draw manga as a job, I still would like to put out doujinshi.

The differences I see between being amateur and a pro: I really don’t know. From the beginning a pro has committed to the requirement of completing a manuscript by deadline, but whether amateur or pro, the work of communicating something is interesting.

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Q8:  Do you read any Yuri manga? If so, what series?
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In the magazines that publish my Yuri manga - Rakuen Le: Paradis and Comic Yuri Hime - I read the Yuri manga my friends have created.

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Q9: Do you have anything you want to ask overseas fans?
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When you read manga, do you think “I want to go to Japan?”

E: はい!「私は日本へ行きたい」と6か月ごとに思います。 ^_^;

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Q10: Do you have any message for your overseas fans?
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When I began drawing Yuri manga, I never considered that there would be a day when my manga was read by people overseas. Now I can receive messages from overseas on Twitter or my blog, it makes me very happy. No matter what country you’re from, people’s thoughts and feelings aren’t different. Therefore, from here on, I will continue to draw the feelings of love and other very important things between two women in love with one another.

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Thank you, thank you Takemiya-sensei for taking time out to talk to us. I look forward to continue supporting your work !

***

私は何年間もずっと、竹宮先生の作品のファンとして応援を続けています。読み始めた時には同人誌作家だった先生が、プロ作家としての活動を始めた時には、大喜びしたものです。現在先生の作品は、コミック百合姫や、私のお気に入り漫画雑誌でもある楽園 Le Paradisで読むことが出来ます。

私は竹宮先生の「Seasons」「キラキラ」「想いの欠片」の三作品を、2011年度のトップ百合漫画リストに選出させていただきました。特に私が気に入っているのは、先生の作品がレズビアンとしての生き方のリアリティに基づいている点ですね。「想いの欠片」の主人公であるミカはレズビアンであることを自覚していますし、親しい友達に対してもカミングアウトしています。こういう描写は、百合漫画作品の中でそう多く描かれるものではありません。こういった点や、作品の中での実際のレズビアン隠語の用いられ方によって、「百合」というジャンルを、レズビアン文学としての地位に近づけつつあると思います。私のつたない考えでは、竹宮先生こそは、新たな百合ムーブメントの主導者のお一人だと思っています。

今回、竹宮先生とお話できたこと、そしてその内容を皆さんにもお伝えできることは、この上ない喜びです。

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Q1: 自分に関して私たちに話してください。
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百合漫画家の竹宮ジンです。性別は女性。レズビアンです。

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Q2: 先生はどのように漫画家になりましたか? 漫画家になるのは、子供時代の夢でしたか?

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漫画家になるのは子供の頃からの夢でした。 いろんな人から漫画家になる夢を反対されましたが、漫画を描く事はやめませんでした。 投稿作品で賞をいただいて、お仕事として漫画を描くようになりました。

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Q3: どの芸術家が先生に最も影響を及ぼしましたか?
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漫画家の高橋留美子先生、冨樫義博先生、小畑健先生の影響を受けました。

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Q4: 漫画家でなければ、どんな仕事をしているでしょうか?
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書店等で店員をしながら、趣味で同人活動をしていたと思います。

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Q5: 漫画家でなければ、どんな仕事をしているでしょうか?
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自分が経験してきた事、考えた事、伝えたいメッセージを形にしたいと思って漫画を描き始めました。その想いは今も同じで

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Q6.1: 先生の創造プロセスに関して私たちにほんの少し話してください。章を描くにはどのくらいの時間がかかりますか?
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24ページの漫画を描く場合、完成までの作業日数は約2週間です。

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Q6.2: 何人のアシスタントが先生と共に働いていますか? 最初のタスクは何ですか? 最後のタスクは何ですか?
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アシスタントはいません。 でも困った時にパートナーが簡単な作業を手伝ってくれています。 漫画の最初の作業は「プロット(お話の構成を考える作業)」です。最後の作業は「修正」です。 (プロット/ネーム/下書き/ペン入れ/ベタ/修正/トーン/仕上げの修正…の順です)

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Q7: 同人誌家として始めました、デッドライン以外に、アマチュアであること,プロであることの違いは何ですか?

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私の場合は同人誌は趣味で、商業誌はお仕事と言う感覚です。だからお仕事として漫画を描いていますが時間があれば同人誌も出したいです。

アマチュアとプロの違いは見た目ではわからないと思います。プロへの最初の条件は「原稿を完成させる事が出来るか」と「締め切りが守れるか」。アマチュアでもプロでも伝えたい事をしっかり描いている作品は面白いです。

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Q8:  百合漫画を読みますか?どのシリーズを読みますか?
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百合漫画は自分の漫画の掲載誌(「コミック百合姫」「楽園LeParadis」)と、友人の百合作品を読んでます。

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Q9: 海外ファンに何を尋ねたいですか?
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漫画を読んで「日本に行ってみたい」と思った事はありますか?

E: はい!「私は日本へ行きたい」と6か月ごとに思います。 ^_^;

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Q10: 何か海外のファンへのメッセージがありますか?
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百合漫画を書き始めた頃は海外の人達に私の漫画を読んでもらえる日がくるなんて夢にも思いませんでした。現在では、twitterやブログで海外の方から日本語や英語でメッセージをいただく事もあり、とても嬉しく思っています。どこの国の人も、人を想う気持ちは変わらないと思います。だから私はこれからも女の子同士の恋愛の愛しさや切なさを大事に大事に描いていこうと思います。

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あらためて竹宮先生に、貴重な時間を私達のために割いてくれたことを深く感謝したいと思います。これからも先生の作品の応援を続けていくことを楽しみにしています!

(小松さんによる翻訳. Thank you, Komatsu-san for translation of my intro and sign-off! ^_^)

27 Responses

  1. daikon says:

    Wow, thanks for this! I really like how passionate she seems about manga. Even her back-up career involves drawing manga. :) I also admire how direct her answer to Q1 was.

    I only think about going to Japan while reading manga when the characters start eating food. I guess that makes me a glutton.

  2. Shannon says:

    Awww. Love her manga, thanks for posting this.

  3. Mara says:

    I don’t know if this is the translation or not but Takemiya-sensei seems as to the point as her characters often are. It is nice to see that charming point of her art also is a part of her personality.

    The many friends of mine that live in Japan are my primary motivation for visiting. Manga and a lot of news in my opinion makes Japan out to be a scary and unfriendly place but that could not be farther from the truth.

    Example:
    Once while waiting for a bus with a friend a gentleman began to talk to us. While I lost track of the conversation after the introductions but my friend listened on my behalf. The gentleman seemed perfectly polite the whole time.

    “So what was he getting at?” I asked when the bus arrived and the gentleman left.

    “He told me to tell you that in Japan right now we should increase interest rates. Although that will cause house prices to rise we should see that as investing in the country.”

    “…”

    See! Even the unusual people you meet at the bus stop in Japan are pleasant.

    • In all my times visiting Japan, the number of unpleasant people I have encountered is exactly 2. Both were older men, angry at us being foreign in “his” restaurant. Nothing I’d take offense at. The number of pleasant, helpful and kind people I have met are legion, from the woman who handed my wife a little bag of ice on a hot day to the professor of English who chatted with us in Nakano Sun Mall while we ate sushi and the many, many people who have offered us directions. ^_^

    • Christina says:

      I have to agree with this. Despite the reputation of the Japanese as being aloof to foreigners I’ve found it to be among the most friendly, welcoming places I’ve visited. I have no experience living there and it might well be different, but having visited twice I’ve only had positive experiences with the Japanese.

      That said, I’ve found that most people are quite pleasant to foreigners who are only visiting and not trying to migrate, so it’s probably more that the Japanese are human than anything else. Only place I can really think of that’s rude to tourists is Denmark, but that’s mostly because people here behave in ways that are considered rude by everybody except Danish people and tourists just happen to get the same treatment as locals.

  4. Cryssoberyl says:

    Thanks as always for doing interviews like this one. This is the sort of notoriously difficult-to-get insight into the yuri industry and its creators that I crave, and that can’t really be gotten anywhere else.

  5. Kelly says:

    I am grateful for such wonderful interview! Ever since seeing her work (through your reviews on Okazu) I have become a total fangirl, and this is just… <3 . Thank you to you, Takemiya-sensei, and Komatsu-san for all of your hard work.

  6. SaraAuttenberg says:

    Oh man, Takemiya Jin. I just want to say, as a trans woman and a lesbian, Fragments of Love is one of my favorite series for how straightforward and honest it is.

    Having characters who you relate to from series you love say that there’s nothing wrong with being who you are means a hell of a lot more than some organization (who often don’t practice what they preach) saying the same thing.

    • Hi Sara, Just want to say, there is no such thing as “Fragments of Love.” That’s an illegal scan of her work, not a legit translation. Her work is “Omoi no Kakera”. I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but it does not do Takemiya-sensei any good for you to read illicit, unapproved translations of her work. She makes no money from them. She did not agree to have them distributed.

      Scanlators know perfectly well that what they are doing upsets the manga artists, but they keep doing it anyway.

  7. SaraAuttenberg says:

    Understandable.

    I do import the original volumes because I legitimately care that the artists get my money and that their works get support, though I know it’s still not exactly great.

    • Totally reasonable! I’m not opposed to using scans to help you follow books you purchased, although I’m even more for learning Japanese, so you don’t have to! It’s about being freed of bondage to translators. ^_^

      FWIW, sales of tankoubons are about the only real money manga artists make. So it’s always good to support them by buying the collected volumes.

  8. Zeras says:

    I am buying the books most of the time (sometimes there isn’t enough money ;D),but in the end the japanese writing system is one of the most complicated on earth and I have to go back to reading translations. After learning english, france and latin (i’m german) I don’t know if my head can take any more languages ^^

    With that said I am still a big fan, the drawing style seems nearly flawless. I love all about it (unlike e.g. Tamura Yumi’s -crying eyes-, or Fujieda Myabi’s -not whole drawn mouths-, they are still great mangaka xD). I would love to read longer stories though… and am probably a minority with that.

  9. Bea says:

    Great interview! And not being in the publishing industry, I was wondering if the sole income a mangaka gets are just a portion of the sales from the tankoubon? If they are doing one-shots for any anthologies, they don’t get any compensation at all? If it’s just the sales from that, it really hits hard on the value of actually supporting the mangaka with cash than just statements of support. Though I sincerely wish sometimes that instead of importing a book which I can’t read, there’s a system which an overseas reader can import a signed copy of the tankoubon like what Nora Roberts does (she autographs personally each copy) when buying through her bookshop. It’s a really nice incentive to buy more books, especially for not so mass market titles.

    • Generally speaking, manga artists are paid a small fee-for-work for one-shots or series. Out of that fee they are required to pay for their own assistants, supplies, etc.

      If/when they get enough work for a collected volume, they get a flat fee and possibly royalties from sales. Obviously, a well-known established artist can command a higher of both. Longer series may get renegotiated. Sometimes, not always, artists keep the rights to their work at this point. It’s more common now to see an artist pick up and change publishers, where even a few years ago that was unheard of.

      Like comics everywhere it is a rare artist who makes a good living off their work.

      • bea says:

        Thanks for your reply, and appreciate the info. Hmmm, like anything, it seems most passions are a labour of love than a way to actually live off…at the beginning anyway. But I’m really glad that Takemiya-sensei went for her dream and ignored the naysayers, she’s an inspiration and all my best to her! b^_^d (Thumbs Up)

  10. Tess says:

    Hello,

    Where can I find an online store that has the original manga works that doesn’t charge an exuberant shipping? I am most interested on Takemiya Jin’s art and the manga “Aria” (Aqua). Does Takemiya sensei has a blog?

    どもありがとうございます。
    I looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Your choices are limited. The problem with shipping is that there are basically only 2 ways to ship – by slow boat and by air. Almost everyone (including the US Post Office) no longer uses slow boat because it’s slow and not terribly efficient. Things went lost all the time.

      So, all the shipping services go by air. BK1 (now honto) used to have a slower, cheaper chipping option, but I have not checked to see if it still has that option as honto. I’ll be honest and say I doubt it.

      My advice is to place orders of approximately 20 items or more, so shipping per item works out to a reasonable amount.

  11. Aisling says:

    Takemiya-san is my favourite yuri mangaka, I love her work and her stories, they always leave me with warm fuzzies. I left a fangirl post on twitter… but I dunno if she will understand it. lol

  12. Katie Le says:

    Thanks for the interview. ^ ^

    I really admire Takemiya sensei. She is such a great story teller. Every chapter of her works hit my heart so deep :)

    I’m going to Osaka next week and i will collect her works as much as i could back to Bangkok!!!!! Yeahhh ^o^/

  13. Julia says:

    I agree with you when you say that the illegal scans doesn’t help the manga artist financially, since they don’t get any money with them. However it’s thanks to them that I discovered Takemiya-san’s work and started to read her stories. I would love to buy her books, but I don’t know japanese (in fact I’m still working my english, since I’m brazilian). It would be great if we could buy yuri manga in english, and in digital format, like mobi (directly to my kindle baby!) or epub. That way we would be helping the artist and also making yuri popular in a legal way.

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