In every volume of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the front folded flap of the dust jacket usually contains a picture of Hirohiko Araki himself, and more than often a quotation. The quotes featured below the picture are always different from each other, and are usually about Araki expressing his opinion on certain subjects. These subjects can be about anything, including information about characters or the story itself. The notes below are from JoJolion.
There was a woman in a white dress standing around absent-mindedly on the far corner of the train platform. Was I the only one who could see her? She was pretty, but also seemed like one of those enthusiasts who enjoy taking photos of trains.
Hello. This is the beginning of Part 8 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Part 4, a story I wrote a long time ago, also took place in a fictitious town called Morioh. But Part 8 isn't linked to that story at all. The stage is the same Japanese town of Morioh, but this is a story about different inhabitants. Thus, even if you haven't read Part 4, can't recall much of it, or have no memory of it whatsoever, you'll be alright. I really hope you enjoy it, and I send my regards and best wishes to all of you.
To my Italian readers, it is truly wonderful that JoJo and my works have been beloved for such a long time here in Italy, one of the places I treasure the most. The world of JoJo is far from being over and I would be honored if you kept following it with this passion.
A warm greeting.
Ai miei lettori italiani, è davvero magnifico che JoJo e le mie opere siano amate da così tanto tempo in Italia, uno dei luoghi a me più cari. Il mondo di JoJo durerà ancora a lungo, e sarei molto onorato se continuaste a sequirlo con trepidazione.
Un caro saluto.
The "lion" part of JoJolion's title is a suffix that, to the best of my understanding, can mean "blessed one," "gospel," or "commemorative seal." It's an archaic suffix, and I think it stems from ancient Greece. I combined it with JoJo in order to signify the existence of Josuke, the protagonist, in this world. There's a tragic king in Greek mythology named Pygmalion, as well as a Japanese anime named Evangelion, but I'm not sure if there's any connection there.
Let me tell you about unsolvable choices. Take, for example, the question of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" If you think about it theoretically, it feels like you'll never be able to reach or decide on an answer. In such instances, I'll just have to decide the answer for myself for now (laughs). I think the egg definitely came first. What I'm trying to say here is, uhh... What exactly was I trying to say? Sorry about that.
I think one of my angry seasons may have arrived. On the morning TV weather forecast, the weatherman asked the audience, "Now then, what do you think the today's high temperature will be?" and then cut to a commercial! I'm in a hurry and deciding what to wear in the morning, so don't mess with me! Idiot! Are you really even a weatherman? Or are you an entertainer, a quiz show host?! I hate uncertain people like you! I've already looked up today's high temperature during the commercial, so I don't even need you!
There are certain things I find fun to draw. So far, they include the character Polnareff's hairstyle, the original Josuke's hairstyle, Killer Queen's design, and Soft and Wet's ears. And when I finish drawing them with a "swish! swish!", I'm so impressed that I want to exclaim, "Ooh!" Yasuho Hirose's skirt is so much fun to draw that I don't want anyone else to do it, but whenever I draw it, I always wonder if she can sit down with that fuzzy flower-patterned skirt. Are you alright, Yasuho? I'm a bit worried about you.
It's a bit different from the creepy lyrics of "Tōryanse" or "London Bridge Is Falling Down", but I was shocked recently when I read the lyrics of a famous American folk song called "Oh My Darling, Clementine". It's about a gold miner's daughter, the fairy-like Clementine, who falls and drowns in the river because of her large feet, leaving the narrator (her lover, or perhaps her father) sad and lonely. And yet as soon as he kisses her little sister, he forgets about her. That's the end. Oh, God, who the hell is this guy? What is he thinking?! But the lyrics are still very powerful.
I think everyone has places they admire. As for me, I admire ancient desert ruins and the deep blue sea, and so I make them into settings for my manga. I draw these settings with a strong feeling of "I really want to go there." But, then what? After drawing those places, when it comes time to actually go on a research trip, I don't always want to go. I just end up thinking, "Why should I go anywhere I don't have to go?" I'm sure the reason I hate traveling is because I feel like I have to for my job. I've realized that lately.
"If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you eat for your last meal?" I often ask people that question, simply because it's interesting how everyone gives a different answer. I would like to eat fried oysters from a 3-star Japanese restaurant, but I don't think they would bother making it. My mother has made spaghetti with tomato sauce ever since I was a child, gently boiled and served with onions. That's my answer. I think I'll have it for lunch tomorrow.
"What's the second-highest mountain in Japan?" is a question that even the people who know it can't answer. No one can even bring themselves to say, "It's on the tip of my tongue..." What a pity. It's Mount Kita, at 3193 meters. It's number two in Japan, but it doesn't make an impression on anyone. That said... Mount Fuji is so beautiful, and everyone loves it. The name's also a bit of a stretch, isn't it? Mount Kita's name probably stems from it being kita (north) of something. A mountain shouldn't be treated that way. Mount Fuji simply looks so beautiful for a mountain. But on the other hand, if Mount Kita were higher than Mount Fuji, people might not forgive it. They might get angry. They might tear it down and make it lower. Mount Kita... it's for the best that you're in second place.
I was a bit reluctant, since it wasn't something I was generally into, but I once had the chance to go to a classical piano concert. I'm not going to write the pianist's name here, but let me just say, they were incredible. I ended up being moved in a way I'd never felt before. I thought that classical music meant interpreting great compositions and playing them with precision, but I was moved by the way he fought with his instrument while making it a part of his body. I'm used to digital, programmed music, so I'd forgotten about that concept altogether. It made me question if I was still in the same day and age, which I was.
I've created a set of personal criteria for judging whether something is cool or uncool. When I go to my workplace, I pass through a residential area, and there's one house where I can see the laundry drying on the balcony from the street. I don't know if the residents are young or old people, but they hang their laundry directly on the clothesline by putting the sleeves of their shirts and the legs of their pants through it. That's not something you see very often... They always wash their shoes and hang them on the balcony railing in a row. Is that cool or uncool? I judge it to be very cool! (Criteria to be continued in the next volume.)
(Continued from Volume 12...) I think that the criteria for judging whether something is cool or uncool is whether it enriches one's life. I judge the act of hanging laundry directly on the clothesline to be cool, because on days when that house hangs the laundry differently, I feel very disappointed and sad. I think to myself, "Please do it, I beg you..." On the other hand, I think houses that decorate their windows with Christmas lights that people can see from the outside are uncool. I hate that smug display. I judge it based on its inherent smugness. In other words, a smug display does not enrich my life.
I'm going to write a few maniacal comments, so bear with me. When I listen to music, there are artists that make me wonder, "How have I not heard about an artist this talented and this amazing for decades? Where were they, and how did I not hear about them? Why were they hiding from me until now? What a shocking encounter." I'm referring to Leonard Cohen and Curtis Mayfield, among others. One is a band named Can with a song called "Vitamin C". The vocalist is Damo Suzuki. That's why the enemy character's name is Kan Damo.
(Note: The kanji for Tamaki Damo's given name can also be read as Kan.)
In recent news... Lately, I've grown fond of going to parties. I don't know why, but I do. It's a feeling. On the other hand, traveling abroad is really troublesome and I hate it. That's also just a feeling. When I was younger, it was the other way around. I longed to go to a foreign country, and I wanted to go places that I didn't have to go to. I hated parties, even though there were just as many weird people then as there are now. Is there any kind of direct reason for this? What should I do if I'm invited to a party overseas?
I've always been fascinated by treehouses, the kind that an American kid would build as a hiding place in a big yard to play poker and stuff. I was so jealous... But what I long for now is to live on top of a lift in the mountains, in a "lifthouse." It'd be all-electric and super high-tech. You could move through the air with the cables and have everything you need. Mamezuku has it made! It's great to be able to harvest crops and cook them right above the fields! Mamezuku, please read this at home.
I won't name any titles, but I'm not just happy when a good horror movie comes my way. I'm also relieved. And by "good," I of course mean "terrifying." Horror movies can be made on a low budget, don't need to use big stars, have free reign creatively if they're R-rated, and possess the rebellious spirit of rock. Horror films express social anxiety, which means they demonstrate the talent of the people who make them. If one happens to be good, it means that the culture and spirit of our society is developing and hasn't become stagnant. That's why a good horror movie makes me both happy and relieved.
Me: "What are you going to do now?" Dentist: "I'm going to treat your cavities." Me: "Uh huh. Alright." I went to the dentist, but I don't know much about how it works. Do conversations with dentists normally play out like that? For my part, I wondered if I had any cavities, and that's why I came to the dentist. I wanted to be prepared for whatever would happen to me after that. Well, after that conversation, I had my cavities drilled, filled, and properly treated.
Regarding a Recent Mystery I have a sister in her 50s who fell and broke her leg. Is it minor? Is it a serious injury? How did it happen? I had absolutely no idea. She said she was going to miss the Araki family's celebration, but when I called her and asked if her leg was okay, she responded with "Heheh." Just that. What in the world was that? Why couldn't she answer?
My sister has a daughter in her 20s, but when I asked what happened to her mommy's leg, she responded with "Heheh." Just that. Are they asking me to use my imagination to uncover the meaning behind "Heheh."? What is "Heheh."?
"Believe in yourself! I know you can do it, kid." That doesn't seem to be something anyone's ever thought about me. For some reason, I was at the hospital and had to have a suppository put into me. I said, "I'll do it myself," but then a nurse with a pretty cute face said, "No, I'll do it," and put on her rubber gloves with a snap. I suddenly recalled my childhood. Suppositories are a fast and easy way to cure a fever. So even if I shouted, "I can do it!", someone else would say, "No, your father will do it." Why does everyone want to put suppositories in me? What is it? Is the likelihood of collapsing on the floor really that high?
Apparently, European countries like France or Italy don't use the letter H very often. They wouldn't really be able to pronounce "Hirohiko" correctly. It'd sound something like "Iroiko" or "Eroiko." Eroi ko (erotic boy)? "Erotic boy Araki." Well, that's not too bad. I'm satisfied. Actually... I'm starting to think it's pretty cool.
It's been a long time since I've traveled to the historical districts of Italian cities like Florence and Lucca. It felt great to travel there again. What makes them so great? Thinking about it now, I imagine it's because they're places where you can feel the rise and fall of human beings. This time, I stopped to admire the sculptures and paintings that were left unfinished, and I thought, "Why did they stop working on them?" I was especially moved by the ruins of a building where a woman once married a wealthy man. It was quite sad. Many people travel there from all over the world to sightsee, and I think that's great, too.
The piece of music that expresses the greatest feeling of happiness in this world is "Sleep Walk" (a song by Santo & Johnny)! I don't mean a sense of euphoria, like a rush of excitement or anything. It's more of a relaxed peace, as if you were pretending to fish with your best friends in your healthy childhood, when you had no worries and not a care in the world. What a happy guitar tone. It truly is No. 1. But it's too much happiness, so now that the song is over and I've returned to reality, I feel so depressed. Well, what I'm trying to say is that I feel the same way as usual. That's all.
When a friend of mine had a baby, a thought occurred to me. Having been born in the year 2020, that child will turn 80 years old in 2100 A.D.! Woah! That's the 22nd century. That goes far beyond the world of science fiction I used to read when I was a kid. And that child's going to see it. But what kind of world is it going to be? Based on the current state of things, the thought of the world becoming more terrifying is quite prevalent. But what would happen if we found something like the New Locacaca in technological form? Maybe even an organism that stands above humanity. In other words, what if we found something like a Rock Human?
When it comes to coronavirus, even though we all want to stop the spread of infection, we don't also want to stop people from going outside or crash the economy. This world is full of contradictory rules we call dilemmas. When it comes to manga, there's a set number of pages. Even though I want to keep the story progressing on schedule for the sake of my readers, there are other things I want to draw but must tearfully erase. It really is full of dilemmas. Theory alone can't solve a dilemma, and it may be only in the world of fiction that we can approach dilemmas. Volume 25 depicts such a dilemma.
I don't often tell people what I do outside my office, but I've been exercising with a shaking machine recently. It's called a vibration machine, and when you get on it, it shakes your legs, spine, brain, and teeth.
They say it was made to rehabilitate injuries. At first, I thought, "How is this going to help me exercise?" But once you take it seriously, it can help you build up a lot of muscle. You'll be out of breath afterward, though. It's a machine that produces gradual results without you even knowing it. An invention that produces JoJolion.
(Note: The kanji for "gradual" (徐々) in Japanese is pronounced as jojo.)
Who's stronger, Godzilla or Ultraman? That's been on my mind ever since I fantasized about it as a child. When I write JoJo, this topic isn't something I can avoid. Who is the strongest villain? What is strength, and what is happiness? I think the strongest and most terrifying adversary one can face is something called "calamity." Calamity seems to attack at random, but is actually bound by a certain logic, and comes to all of us equally. It’s too powerful. Even thinking about how to overcome it may itself be impossible. Thus, JoJolion draws to a close.