Ryosuke Kabashima

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I could never thank you enough, but...I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude. Your every word gives me courage. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure would have never existed without you.
—Hirohiko Araki, Chapter 265: The Faraway Journey, Farewell Friends

Ryosuke Kabashima (椛島良介 Kabashima Ryōsuke) was Hirohiko Araki's first editor and was largely responsible for his growth during the first ten years of Araki's professional career as a manga artist. His involvement would last from 1979 up until the finale of Stardust Crusaders in 1992.[3]

Kabashima is currently one of Shueisha's company advisors, but was previously managing director of Shueisha International. Before that, he was the head director of Shueisha's Shinsho editorial department, founder and editor-in-chief of MANGA ALLMAN, and an editor for Weekly Shonen Jump and Super Jump.[3] He is the grandson of pioneering Japanese comic artist, Katsuishi Kabashima.


Road to Editor

Kabashima was born in Muroran, Hokkaido, Japan in 1954, but moved to Tokyo at the age of two. He cites Shohei Chujo, a now university professor who he went to junior high and high school with, as one of his biggest inspirations. Chujo introduced him to to the Jazz genre of music and the works of novelists Tatsuhiko Shibusawa and Yukio Mishima. Ironically, Kabashima did not read manga growing up and only read Gaki Deka from Weekly Shōnen Champion while in college. Prior to becoming an editor, he had been studying archaeology and the History of the Western World.[4]

Shueisha WSJ Editorial Department Building (1961)

In 1979, Kabashima applied to one of Japan's larger publishing companies, Shueisha, simply because "he found the company to be lively and their newly-released Monthly Playboy at the time to be very appealing". He would, unexpectedly, get assigned to Weekly Shonen Jump's editorial department instead despite never reading the magazine.[2] He began working at Jump in April 1979 alongside Nobuhiko Horie, editor of Fist of the North Star. Jump's editorial department at the time only consisted of a dozen or so people, with Shigeo Nishimura as the third-generation Editor-in-chief. Around this time Circuit no Ōkami has just ended and the series, Kinnikuman, began its serialization. Masami Kurumada's Ring ni Kakero would also be peaking in popularity, however, Kabashima, having never read a Jump manga, could not understand why.[2]

Meeting Araki

Kabashima had only been an editor for a few months when he first met Araki in 1979. At the time, Araki's manga submissions were constantly rejected by various publishing companies, spurring him to go straight to Shueisha's editorial building to get some answers. Kabashima, Horie, and a few other newer editors were the only ones there at the time as the senior editors only worked later in the day. It was around noon when Araki arrived and Kabashima, who was coincidently walking to the receptionist desk, ended up being the first to critique Araki's submission. According to Araki, Kabashima was extremely severe and pointed out each of Araki's technical faults (from having forgotten to erase pen lines to leaking white-outs). However, he sensed potential in Araki's work and told him to fix his pages and apply for the upcoming Tezuka Awards. Araki's submission, Poker Under Arms, won the runner-up prize and would go on to be his first published manga.[1]

Before JoJo

Poker Under Arms manuscript

Kabashima subsequently became Araki's editor and worked with him on his earliest publications. As a horror and suspense fan, he enjoyed Araki's early works and often encouraged him to avoid doing what was popular among other Jump titles. Kabashima also defended Araki's 1983 series, Cool Shock B.T., and advocated its publication despite the other editors' disapproval of its Japanese name (Devil Boy) and eccentric content.[5] It was around this time that Kabashima began encouraging Araki to travel abroad, which resulted in Araki's first overseas trip from London to Paris.[3]

After B.T.'s serialization, Kabashima assisted Araki in renting a Tokyo apartment for a year. By living in the same city as Shueisha's editorial building, Araki no longer needed to commute every week and could focus more time on his next series, Baoh the Visitor. During its short run, Kabashima was adamant about improving Araki's weekly schedule management, which included getting enough sleep and taking breaks on Fridays and Saturdays. Kabashima set aside these off-days, particularly so Araki could gather material through experiencing other media. It was thanks to this schedule that Araki could go to the movie theaters almost every week, sometimes with Kabashima tagging along. Their weekly meetings were also very film-related as the two would typically discuss work on the actual manga for around 30 minutes and then casually talk about movies and novels for 2 hours. They shared an interest in horror, so Kabashima often recommended and rented out horror films for Araki to check out for inspiration.[3]

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

The name "JoJo" was derived at a Denny's where Kabashima and Araki had their first meeting pertaining to the series.[3] The two had decided on "Jonathan" as the series' protagonist, however, Araki also wanted the initials to match in a way similar to the American filmmaker, Steven Spielberg (S.S). They eventually landed on the name, "Jonathan Joestar" (J.J) and thus the nickname "JoJo" was born.[6] Their later meetings during Part 2 and Part 3 would ironically be at a "Jonathan's Family Restaurant" as it was closer to Araki's workplace.

Kabashima and Araki in Italy

Kabashima notes that Part 1 was not popular during its publication due to being a standard "fighting manga" with a "foreign" protagonist, which was considered taboo. He constantly had to defend the series from cancellation due to Shueisha's strict "if it's not popular, cut it off" policy back then. However, the editor-in-chief at the time allowed it to continue because he valued Araki's storytelling and B.T did particularly well in ratings towards the end of its publication. Kabashima also explains that while Jonathan as the hero was a bit rough at first, bringing in characters like Zeppeli and Speedwagon created a comradery dynamic that resonated a lot more with the readers.[3]

In 1987, Kabashima invited a very reluctant Araki to go on a trip with him to Egypt. The latter was under the impression that Egypt was a country with a "dirty" image and was not particularly interested in going there, but was convinced by Kabashima none-the-less. Araki recalls reading on the plane the "Encyclopedia of Modern Murder" by Colin Wilson, a book Kabashima had recommended to him prior. It was on this trip, specifically during a boat tour of the Nile, that Araki came up with the idea of DIO being in Egypt. During Part 2's publication, the two would continue to travel together to other countries like Italy or France.[3]

Araki's farewell message to Kabashima, Ch. 265

Kabashima admits that he rarely had to make corrections when it came to Part 3. In previous parts, he often gave Araki suggestions that would help push JoJo's ratings, but once Stands were introduced, the series became insanely popular and the need to suggest anything disappeared. He would, however, continue to point out panels that were hard to understand visually and Araki had to redraw them. With how little Kabashima had to correct, the 30-minutes of their "work discussion" they had each meeting was cut even shorter and filled with more discussion of movies.[3]

Kabashima was in charge of JoJo up until the end of Part 3, after which he was transferred to "Super Jump," another of Shueisha's magazine lines. Araki recalls feeling very uneasy at the time as he had never had another editor before, but Kabashima knew the series was stable enough at that point and trusted Araki to continue the steady workflow they developed.[3] After Super Jump, Kabashima would go on to become the founder and editor-in-chief of MANGA ALLMAN, then the head director of Shueisha's Shinsho editorial department, then the managing director of Shueisha International, and is now currently one of Shueisha's company advisors.[2] Despite leaving, Kabashima would continue to oversee Araki's other works that were published in Super Jump and Allman, including various one-shots from Under Execution Under Jailbreak and The Lives of Eccentrics.


Jojoveller cover.jpg
Incomplete translation
Published September 19, 2013

In my talk with Gaba-san, there was a small conversation and I decided I wanted to create Dio. There were plans for the story already in place that led me to wanting to create him and I was already wondering how I could make this ‘Dio’ work. I was thinking about making a manga that showed off the contrast between the protagonist and a rival. One that resembled the contrast between ‘Good and Evil’, or ‘White and Black’. In that kind of a manga, if the rival isn’t powerful, then the story absolutely won’t be interesting. So, I wanted to make the readers think “How could the protagonist possibly beat this guy?!” To that end, I decided on making him the ‘Ultimate Evil’. However, I also wanted it to make it a type of evil that had parts the readers would admire and be attracted by, one that the readers could relate to.

Since Dio was made to be the ‘Ultimate Evil’, the contrasting Jonathan ended up becoming an extremely pure character. If I made Jonathan now, I could probably add a little bit more flavor to him but at the time I was quite young. Regarding his name, there really isn’t a deep meaning to it. I thought that since the main character is a foreigner, I should make a name that’s easy to remember for readers. Like the name ‘Steven Spielberg’, I wanted to go with a name that rhymed and left a strong impression: Jonathan Joestar. Now it’s quite accepted, but at the time there weren’t many manga that had a foreigner as the protagonist, so there was a bit of unfamiliarity or strange feeling regarding the character. Even I thought that this might not end up being popular, but I also had the feeling that I wanted this kind of thing to be appreciated and recognized.

Dio was developed in the same way as Cool Shock BT’s protagonist, B.T. More deeply than BT, he’s a character that represents the dark side of humans’ jealously and hungry spirit. At the time I was drawing Dio, I might have also been influenced by my own mind. There wasn’t anything that particularly made me angry, but, for example, during regular life I would suddenly begin to think dark things. I saw things from the same point of view as Dio, and began to do things like view humans as if they were insects. That kind of a thing was happening in my mind around that time.
—Hirohiko Araki

Hirohiko Araki & Ryosuke Kabashima

Q: You chose the name "Jonathan Joestar" because your meetings were held at the family restaurant "Jonathan's", right?

'Araki : What? Jonathan's? (Laughs)

Kabashima: Didn't you want to make the name "JoJo"?

Araki: I wanted to have an alliterative name like Steven Spielberg, so the acronym would look like J.J. or S.S. But the family restaurant we had our first meeting at was Denny's. It wasn't until later that we started going to Jonathan's.

Q: No no, you've mentioned it was Jonathan's elsewhere (laughs). You stated, "Because it was at Jonathan's."

Araki: Ohh, that was more of a "Sure, Let's go with that" type of answer. (laughs)

Kabashima: It's better for these things to be interesting, right? (laughs). Araki-san likes legends. He thinks it's better for it to be interesting than for it be a fact. That's likely the root of this.

Araki: Legends are a requirement for the horror genre.

Q: Then the name "Jonathan" is...?

Araki: It was just to make the J.J. alliteration. I didn't really take it from anywhere in particular.

Kabashima: It seems the origin of Jonathan has also become something like an urban legend, but it was definitely a Denny's at first, and then we switched to having meetings at Jonathan's somewhere during the middle of serialization. It was convenient because it was close to Araki-san's workplace at the time.

Hiroshi Sekiya

Sekiya: Another point is that Araki-sensei said, "I want a woman to be the main protagonist."

Q: This is for Part 5, right? You don't mean Jolyne from Part 6, but Giorno as a woman?

Sekiya: Around the time he brought it up, Giorno’s name hadn’t been decided yet. It’s not an issue these days, but back then my impression was that a female lead in a shonen manga would have been very tough to sell. During that era of Weekly Shonen Jump, it simply wasn’t the time. Thus, during my meeting with sensei, we spoke about this and that, and in the end, the protagonist ended up not being a woman. However, Giorno’s stand has the ability to create life, right? Women give birth to life, so I think this concept was probably left over from the idea of having a female protagonist.

Q: Giorno is an elegant and somewhat androgynous character. Is the initial idea of having him be a woman related to that?

Sekiya: Giorno’s real name, Haruno Shiobana, is also very feminine, right? Sensei may have been thinking of having the story unfold with Giorno being revealed to be a woman. Now that I think about it, he used to joke around with ideas, saying things like: "What about if it was a woman who looked like a man? Wonder if that would work?" (laughs)

Hideto Azuma

Q: Part 6 had the first female protagonist. Was this Araki-sensei’s idea?

Azuma: That’s right. As a shonen magazine editor, I politely asked him to make the protagonist a boy, but he refused in 3 seconds (laughs). The readers of Weekly Shonen Jump wouldn't accept a female lead, which is why I wanted him to change it, but he just replied, "That's exactly why we're doing it".

Looking back at the series' popularity at the time, I still believe that a male protagonist would have been better. However, considering the long history of the "JoJo" series, I also think that it was overwhelmingly beneficial that the Part 6 lead was female. I get the impression that Araki-sensei is the type of person who won’t repeat the same thing twice. He is the type of artist who constantly takes on new challenges, so maybe he instinctively knew he'd lose the motivation to draw if he chose a male protagonist just for notoriety’s sake.

It was around then that strong female leads had also begun appearing in films, so perhaps he thought the time was right. If he really cared about gaining popularity, he could have just made the protagonist something like a "miniature" version of Jotaro from Part 3. He wouldn't do that though, he's the type of artist who has to continue fighting.

Q: From an editor’s point of view, what type of artist did Araki-sensei seem like at the time?

Azuma: He could construct both the characters and the story firmly in his head and always met deadlines, making him very easy to work with and highly valued by the editorial department. I suppose I was chosen to be Araki-sensei's editor because the higher-ups thought that our hobbies were similar, rather than my suitability as a manga editor. Much like Araki-sensei, I also love music and films, and I know pretty much all of the music that he listens to. I think the editorial department considered it important that Araki-sensei was able to work comfortably. I had the privilege of working for him for two-and-a-half years, but at that point only about 5 of my ideas were used (lol).

『 魔少年ビーティー』 を描いていた頃もそうだったんだけど、 第1部や第2部の当時に目指していたのは少年漫画へのアンチっていうか、 友情· 努力· 勝利っていう「 週刊少年ジャンプ」 ( 以下、 WJ) の世界に挑戦して開拓していこうっていう生意気な気持ちもありました。

第2部の主人公のジョセフという名前は、 ジョナサンと同じく「 ジョジョ」 になればいいってことだけで、 これも深い意味はない味1。3なしです。 お調子者の性格は、 生真面目だったジョナサンと対比させたからですね。

物語で目指したのは「 誰がいちばん強いのか」 「 どういう人間が怖いのか」 を描くこと。 敵が「 究極生命体」 という設定は、 まさにそこですね、 食物連鎖の頂点。

当時は「 とにかく自分の作風を作らなきゃ」 11かくと思っていました。 僕の先輩の方々1970年代の有名な作家さんは、 皆さんご自分の作風を持っているんです。 そこには何か大事な意味があるんだろうと思っていました。 だから自分の漫画の人気がないからといって「 ホラーを描いていたのに、 急にスポーツ漫画やラブコメ漫画を描くようになっちゃダメだろう」 と。 「 そこは突き詰めていかなきゃダメなんだ」「 ブレてはいけない」 と思うようになったんですそれは自分で自分を追い込むことになるけど、 今でも続いていますね。 行き詰まったら終わりかもしれない。 … でも道は必ず開けると思えばこそです。

第3部は、 第1部と第2部の主人公が外国人で続いた

ので、 日本人になったってうのはあるかな。 でも向かう場所はエジプトだし、 仲間も外国人が多かったんですが( 笑) 。 主人公の名前は「 承」 の字には「 受け継ぐ」 という意味があって、 本当は「 しょう- という読み方だけjごナどぉどお寺の名前とかで「 じょう」 じよAと読ませることもあったので、 それに決めました。 「 空条」 の方は、 第3部が始まる時に鎌倉に取材に行ったことがあって、 鎌倉幕府の執権だった「 北条」氏からですね。 それで「 ジョジョ=空条承太郎」 としました。

Missing translation
Published August 17, 2018

「これ以上、王道の漫画はない」――荒木飛呂彦が「ジョジョ」を描き続ける理由 8/17(金) 9:26 配信

8月24日から東京の国立新美術館で「荒木飛呂彦原画展 JOJO 冒険の波紋」が開催される。国立美術館としては、手塚治虫以来28年ぶりとなる漫画家の個展。週刊少年ジャンプ黄金期を支え、30年以上も続く「ジョジョの奇妙な冒険」が主役だ。単行本は通巻120巻を超え、スピンオフ作品も生まれた。各界を代表するクリエーターや漫画界でもファンを公言する人が多い。独特の絵柄とストーリー展開から「ジャンプでは異端」の作品と呼ばれながらも、荒木さんは「これ以上、王道の漫画はない」と断言する。キーワードは「信じる道を歩むこと」。そして「切り開く力」――。(石戸諭/Yahoo!ニュース 特集編集部)














「ジョジョの奇妙な冒険」第1部「プロローグ」から。ジョナサン(上)とディオの出会いのシーン ©荒木飛呂彦/集英社




「トーナメント方式」全盛時代を乗り越える 初代「ジョジョ」担当にして、デビュー前から荒木さんの作品を見てきた編集者、椛島良介さんは当時をこう振り返る。



















そして「スタンド」でブレーク 信じたものを描き続けることで、やがてブレークの時がやってくる。




スタンドが初めて詳しく語られるシーン。第3部「空条承太郎 その③」から©荒木飛呂彦&LUCKY LAND COMMUNICATIONS/集英社









荒木さんは、2000年に出版された画集『JOJO A-GO!GO!』のなかで、好きなキャラクターの1位に東方仗助を選んでいるほど思い入れが強い。


第4部の主人公・東方仗助。普段は温厚だが、髪形をけなされると「プッツン」する。「ジョジョの奇妙な冒険」第4部「空条承太郎!東方仗助に会う その①」から©LUCKY LAND COMMUNICATIONS/集英社


「常に前向きでなくてはいけない」 主人公も設定も変わるのに、なぜ一本の漫画として続けているのか。それは「人間賛歌」という一貫したテーマがあるからだ。過去の著作で荒木さんはこう語っている。








悪役さえ前向き 荒木さんは、悪役であってもこのルールを適用している。


スタンド「キラークイーン」を駆使する殺人鬼・吉良吉影。第4部「シアーハートアタック その⑨」から ©LUCKY LAND COMMUNICATIONS/集英社








漫画家も「画家」である 「王道」とセットで荒木さんがよく使う言葉がある。それは「サスペンス」だ。サスペンスとは、荒木さんが考える「良い物語」「おもしろい物語」の基礎にあるもの。いったい、この後どうなってしまうのか。読者がドキドキしながら、ページをめくらずにはいられなくなる要素だ。

















  1. 1.0 1.1 Interview Archive, Tokai Lecture 06/2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 JOJOnicle: Long Interview with Ryosuke Kabashima
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 JOJOVELLER: History 1979-2013
  4. Hiroshi Goto, from "Jump, the golden age of manga"
  5. Hirohiko Araki's Manga Technique, Chapter 3, Resistance to a Devil Boy
  6. Phantom Blood PS2 (October 2006)
  7. https://news.yahoo.co.jp/feature/1055

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