His work on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is divided into several parts and continues to be serialized for over 35 years, totaling 132 volumes (as of August 2023), circulating over 120 million copies (January 2022). His style has been described as an "experimental, but definitive approach."
Araki grew up in Sendai, Japan with his parents and younger identical twin sisters. He cites his sisters' annoyances as the reason he spent time alone in his room reading classic manga from the '70s, such as Ai to Makoto, and his father's collection of art books, which Araki assumes informed his motive for drawing manga. He was particularly influenced by the work of French artist Paul Gauguin.
In middle school, Araki first tried to practice baseball. However, he says he failed to perform anything correctly on the pitch and felt he wasn't cut out for collective sports. He switched to practicing kendo for different reasons, stating that he was influenced by the manga "Ore wa Teppei" and out of frustration from his bad experience at the baseball club. His experience at kendo seems to have been lukewarm, as he says nobody praised him whether he won or lost a match.
Araki drew his very first manga while he was in fourth grade. He attended a prep school through junior high and high school, which was where a friend complimented him on a manga he drew for the first time. Ever since, he began to draw manga in secret of his parents.
Shogakukan (left) and Shueisha (far right) HQs.
He began submitting work to publishers during his first year at Tohoku Gakuin Tsutsujigaoka High School; however, all of his submissions were rejected. Araki also applied his works to the Tezuka Awards, having at one point been nominated in the 14th edition in 1977 for a one-shot named "The Bottle" then submitted under the name Toshi Arakino (荒木之利,Arakino Toshi). At the same time, other artists who were around his age continued to make big splashes with their debuts (Ex: Yudetamago, Masakazu Katsura). Araki could not understand why he was being rejected, so one day in 1979, he decided to pay a visit to an editorial department in Tokyo for direct feedback on his most recently finished work. At first, he intended to visit Shogakukan, which published Weekly Shōnen Sunday, but was intimidated by the size of their building, and decided to take his submission into the smaller Shueisha (Publishers of Weekly Shonen Jump) building next door. It was noon when he visited, but one rookie editor named Ryosuke Kabashima happened to be there. Kabashima, after reading the first page, promptly quipped "your white-out's leaked (You haven't fixed it)": he was criticized every time the editor flipped through each page. Araki, exhausted from having been up all night, felt like he was going to pass out, but was told to fix it up for the Tezuka Awards. Months later, Araki would submit a one-shot by the name of "Poker Under Arms", which won the runner up prize at the Tezuka Awards.
On November 30, 2016, Araki won the 45th Annual Best Dresser Awards in Tokyo in the "Academic and Cultural Arts" division. When questioned about his youthful appearance, Araki said that he washes his face every morning with Tokyo's tap water.
Araki was given an art award for the year 2018 by the Agency for Cultural Affairs for his art exhibition Ripples of Adventure.
Published in Weekly Shonen Jump between 1987 and 2004 and from 2004 to the present in Ultra Jump, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure represents Hirohiko Araki's primary brand and body of work.
The JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series brought fame to Araki as its popularity skyrocketed during the publication of Stardust Crusaders and Araki kept working on the series even after the end of the third part, which was the end of what he had planned for the stories beforehand.
The dust jacket of every volume of JoJo contains a note to the reader; a relatively great source of Araki's direct opinions.
In 2012, Araki celebrated his 30th year as a manga artist and the 25th anniversary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. A special exhibition was held in Sendai, Japan, which included the announcement for the TV Anime and All-Star Battle.
Araki is often commented on for his unchanging youthful demeanor over the years. He cites training and swimming at the gym and Hitomebore rice as methods for staying fit while over the age of 50. In his 2007 Eureka Interview, he is complimented by Japanese psychologist and critic, Tamaki Saito, but states that the main reason he switched to a monthly serialization was from no longer being able to handle the weekly schedule. Araki has revealed that after he was operated for gastroenteritis, Araki realized that he could no longer completely devote himself to his manga and sought to enjoy life more and practice other activities such as traveling or cooking.
Araki's wife, Asami
Araki is well known for his position on staying healthy. He enjoys going on walks and riding a bike, particularly to Japanese shrines, and has commended it as his coping mechanism when exhausted from work. He considers exercise as a great way to discipline one's self and that carrying too many things can be a burden; Araki will typically only carry a coat, water, and an iPod when going out.
Araki lost his ancestral house in Sendai during the Tohoku earthquake. The house was destroyed by the tsunami following the earthquake, which shocked Araki.
Married to Asami Araki (荒木麻美,Araki Asami, nickname Chami), Araki is the father of two girls. A couple years after his debut, Araki met Asami in a group meet-up, and the two got married three months later.
Araki's drawing commonly involves idealized figures in broad, expressive poses at adventurous scales and angles; with sharply inked lines and scattered, blackened planes; lending them a sculptural effect. In color illustrations and pages, Araki varies roughly complementary color juxtapositions.
In terms of cartooning, a comparison can be drawn between Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, and Stardust Crusaders (1987 - '92) and the hypermasculine (and highly dimorphic) anatomical ideals applied by Tetsuo Hara in Fist of the North Star, and referenced by Araki in relation to action heroes of the 1980s.Diamond is Unbreakable ('92 - '96) marks a transition to a more intersexual model; while Steel Ball Run (2004 - '11) sees greater realism, along with further incorporation of ideals of beauty consistent with the mode in fashion design. When he started JoJolion (2011 – '21), Araki expressed a will to draw in a looser style and things he never drew before. Hence, he says, he bust shots and increased the amount of white panels and included more white elements in his drawings, in contrast to the darkness of his style present in previous works.
Reference to illustrations by artists including Antonio Lopez and Tony Viramontes informs a number of individual illustrations and character poses in Araki's work from 1987 - 1992; decreasing from then along with increased use of photographic references. Limited examples of costumes borrowed from contemporary fashion design have been identified.
As a film fan, in the 1980s Araki noted the popularity of action movies and the muscular physiques characteristic of their stars (such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone). By this example, Araki would ponder; "Who is the strongest person in the world?". Subjects such as immortality and justice occurred to him as things that humans innately value and seek. Araki had also been on a trip to Italy two years prior to the creation of Part 1: Phantom Blood, where he identified the exaltation of overt human beauty characteristic of renaissance art. Araki was particularly struck by the aesthetic of the sculpture Apollo and Daphne by Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The baroque sculpture's striking figures and realistic yet idealized bodies stuck in remarkable poses inspired Araki to heavily incorporate poses in his art and develop his own style. Araki would combine these examples in the formulation of the basic plot and visual style of Phantom Blood.
Araki has described his drawing method as "classical". He has indicated admiration for Leonardo da Vinci in the text of the manga and otherwise; and in a video feature in JOJOVELLER, he is seen making visual reference to a book of Michelangelo's work during the construction of a piece.
Manga that Araki has named as admirable or having had particular influence on him include Ai to Makoto by Ikki Kajiwara and Takumi Nagayasu, the most significant of his youth;Ore wa Teppei by Tetsuya Chiba, which inspired him while in middle school to join the kendo club; and Babel II by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, particularly influential for the concept of combat defined by special rules or laws.
Araki has authored a book on the subject of Horror film and its influence on his work.
Araki has described his habit of naming characters and Stands after musicians and their works as "a simple hobby", and has indicated a strong preference for Western popular music.
On October 2011, Araki was deemed one of the 100 most influential people in Japan by the business magazine "Nikkei Business", in the category "creator".
Hirohiko Araki's Best 10 Characters - Author's Popularity Contest (作者人気投票キャラクターベスト10) from JOJO A-GO!GO! (2000) - Araki Hirohiko, p. 75
Araki's Top 10 Heroes (ヒーロー) from JOJO A-GO!GO! (2000) - Araki Hirohiko Described as Araki's inspirations; those with the courage to innovate when it came to design or fashion. They are not in any specific order.