Kanto Federation of Bar Associations (November 2011)

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Published November 5, 2011
Kanto Federation of Bar Associations (November 2011)
Interview Archive

An interview between Hirohiko Araki and the Kanto Federation of Bar Associations. It was published on their official website kanto-ba.org on November 5, 2011 at the Chuo Sogo Law Office. Araki was interviewed by Takeshi Nishioka, Vice Chairman of the Public Relations Committee. This was part of their new project Kanto Bar Association Moves Forward (関弁連がゆく, Kanbanren ga Yuku).


This time, the subject is manga artist Hirohiko Araki. His signature work, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, has been serialized since 1987, and is currently in the middle of its eighth part. Recently, he has been quite active in a number of fields, including exhibiting his works at the Louvre in Paris at their request, creating a fashion magazine in collaboration with the Italian brand Gucci, and holding an exhibition of entirely original artwork. We interviewed Mr. Araki, who has gained a devoted following for the unique style of his drawings and dialogue, about the secrets of his long-term serialization, as well as any behind-the-scenes stories regarding the creation of his works.

Interviewer: When did you start drawing manga?

Araki: I attended art classes in my neighborhood, so I have been drawing pictures ever since I was a child. By the time I was in elementary school, I was drawing original manga.

Interviewer: An elementary student drawing original manga is quite the surprise.

Araki: All of my friends at the time were also drawing manga, and we used to make books out of straw paper. Back when I was a child, manga was very popular, and there was a craze where people would run to the bookstore to buy manga books.

Interviewer: How did your family react to your becoming a manga artist?

Araki: At the time, manga didn't have a very good public image, so my family was against it. I used to have to draw manga behind my parents' backs with India ink.

Interviewer: Do you still draw everything by hand, even as a professional manga artist?

Araki: I don't use a computer, and I draw everything by hand. When I apply coloring, I do that by hand as well. Since I only have to use my dominant right hand for work, I try to use my left hand as much as possible in my daily life (such as when opening doors), in order to keep my body balanced.

Interviewer: What is the most difficult thing about continuously writing a single series?

Araki: Not losing my nerve, I suppose. If you don't believe in myself, you just can't help but hesitate. Even when I set a goal for myself, I still feel some doubt. If I don't receive responses from my readers, I feel a little empty inside.

Interviewer: Don't you also find it hard to meet deadlines?

Araki: When it comes to manga artists writing serialized works, people's image of them tends to involve being unable to sleep or take baths. But I've been living a regular life since my youth. I rarely stay up all night. I've never missed a deadline.

Interviewer: It is truly incredible that you've been able to meet deadlines all this time.

Araki: When I draw something, I tend not to think about the approaching deadline, but the one after that. Just as Da Vinci spent his entire life painting the Mona Lisa, a drawing can be endlessly modified, so at some point one has to decide when it ends. In the case of serialization, I consider the next issue's deadline and decide when to stop making changes from there.

Interviewer: When working on a serialization, how far do you plan out the story before drawing?

Araki: I only consider how the story will end. But as the series continues, the story may change with the times.

Interviewer: How do you come up with your various ideas?

Araki: Often, I just rest my elbows on my desk and think. I also look at art books, science magazines, and so on. As an example, I sometimes find inspiration in looking at pictures of the movements of planets, or of molecules.

Interviewer: I'd like to ask you about the story behind your magnum opus, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (hereafter referred to as JoJo). JoJo has no shortage of memorable lines, to the point that a hyakunin isshu game of them has been released. How do you come up with those lines?

Araki: The dialogue comes naturally to me. When dividing the panels, I think about having the characters speak a little more in a panel, and the dialogue comes naturally. There have been times where I have looked at the lines in the hyakunin isshu and wondered if that line really existed. I've forgotten them myself (laughs). I'm not even any good at hyakunin isshu (laughs).

Interviewer: It has been 25 years since JoJo began with Part 1. Which part do you have the fondest memories of?

Araki: I become quite attached to whatever part I'm working on at the time, but I have a special fondness for Part 4.

Interviewer: Part 4 depicts the horror that lurks in the background of everyday life, doesn't it?

Araki: I'd say so. Up until Part 3, I had been following mythological themes, but in Part 4, I thought it would be nice to depict the everyday lives of people living next door to the big city.

Interviewer: In Part 4, there is a character named Rohan Kishibe who works as a manga artist. Seeing as Part 4 is set in his hometown of Sendai, and they're both manga artists, I wonder if Araki himself was the basis for Rohan?

Araki: I get that question a lot, but that's not the case. There's a scene in Part 4 where Rohan eats a spider, but I don't eat spiders (laughs). Rohan is someone I greatly admire, however.

Interviewer: I see. I thought your image would be closer to Rohan's, so when I asked you for this interview, I was worried you would say, "But I refuse."

Araki: Ha ha ha.

Interviewer: Aside from JoJo, Rohan has also appeared in works such as Rohan au Louvre, a work created for a Louvre project, and Kishibe Rohan Meets Gucci, which appeared in women's fashion magazine SPUR. Would you say you have a particularly strong attachment to Rohan as a character?

Araki: I would. One could call Rohan a well-developed and easy-to-use character. It's easy to use a character who has already been set up in detail. When I was asked to draw a work based on the theme of the Louvre, I ended up thinking, "Well, I'll just send Rohan."

Interviewer: What did you think of the exhibition at the Louvre, as well as the collaboration with Gucci, the Italian fashion brand?

Araki: Of course, I'm honored to receive recognition as an artist from the Louvre, but I don't think of art and manga as particularly different. Manga consists of both a story and drawings, and I've always put more emphasis on the drawing side. As for the collaboration with Gucci, I have often visited Italy for research purposes, so it felt like destiny.

Interviewer: I half-expected you to come today dressed head-to-toe in Gucci (laughs).

Araki: Hahaha. I saw an acquaintance of mine spending a lot of money at Gucci in Shinjuku, where Rohan's exhibition was being held. I warned him, "Don't go wasting your money," and a Gucci staff member responded, "It's not a waste of money." (laughs).

Interviewer: Part 6 of JoJo featured a rather unscrupulous lawyer. In the future, I would like to see you draw a lawyer on the side of justice as well (laughs).

Araki: I think that, when taken to its extreme, even justice can become evil. So even if I draw a lawyer on the side of justice, they may end up becoming evil regardless (laughs). Also, evil is easier to draw (laughs).

Interviewer: By the way, you look quite young for your age. How do you maintain your youthful appearance?

Araki: I've been asked that question a lot these days (laughs). I just wash my face with Tokyo tap water. I don't even use facial cleanser.

Interviewer: If I may talk of legal matters for a moment, have you ever had any trouble with copyright infringement, such as your work being used without permission, for instance?

Araki: Not particularly. I would hate it if my work was blatantly used without permission, but I basically leave it to Shueisha, with whom I have an exclusive contract. I think that copyright is, to a certain extent, a cultural thing, something that belongs to everyone.

Interviewer: And have you ever had any trouble with Shueisha, your publisher?

Araki: I've had an exclusive contract with Shueisha since my debut, and I have never had any difficulties with them.

Interviewer: It might be worth reading your contract thoroughly before you get into trouble (laughs). I know many lawyers who are avid fans of your manga, so if anything happens to you, we are ready and willing to step in (laughs).

Araki: I understand (laughs). If anything of the kind happens, I would be very grateful for your support.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time today.

[Translated by HudgynS]

今回の「わたし」は,漫画家の荒木飛呂彦さんです。 代表作である『ジョジョの奇妙な冒険』は,1987年から連載が開始され,現在,第8部を連載中です。最近では,パリのルーヴル美術館からの依頼でルーヴル美術館に作品を展示したり,ファッション誌でイタリアのブランド 「GUCCI」とコラボレーションをして原画展を開くといったマルチな活躍をされています。 独特の画風と台詞まわしで熱狂的なファンを持つ荒木先生に,長期連載の秘訣や制作裏話等をうかがってまいりました。


荒木さん 近所の絵画教室に通っていたこともあって,子どもの頃から絵を描いていて,小学生の頃には漫画のオリジナル作品を描いていました。


荒木さん 周りの友達も皆,漫画を描いていて,わら半紙で本を作ったりしていました。僕が子どもの頃は,漫画が盛り上がっていて,時代として,漫画本を買いに本屋に走るという熱狂があったんです。


荒木さん 当時は,漫画に対するイメージがあまりよくありませんでしたので,家族は反対してましたね。親に隠れて墨汁を使って漫画を描いていました。


荒木さん 僕はパソコンは使わず,全て手描きです。色を塗るときも手で塗っています。そうすると,仕事で利き手の右手ばかり使うことになりますので,体のバランスをとるために,ドアを開けるときなど,日常では出来る限り左手を使うように心掛けています。


荒木さん ぶれないということでしょうか。自分を信じていないと,どうしてもぶれてしまうんです。目標を設定していても,迷うことはあります。読者の反響がないと虚しくなりますしね。


荒木さん 連載を持つ漫画家というと,寝られない,お風呂に入れないというようなイメージがあるかもしれませんが,僕は若い頃から規則正しく生活しています。徹夜をするようなこともまずないですね。締切を破ったことも一度もありません。


荒木さん 僕は次の締切ではなく,次の次の締切まで考えて作品を描いています。ダヴィンチが生涯をかけてモナリザを描き続けたように,絵は無限に手を加えて描けるので,終わりどころは自分で決めることになります。連載の場合には,次々回の締切のことを考えて,手を加えるのはここまでにしようと決めるわけです。


荒木さん ストーリーは,ラストを考えておく程度です。途中のストーリーは,連載を続けて行くうちに,時代に合わせて変えていくこともありますね。


荒木さん 机の上で肘をついて考えることが多いですね。あとは,画集や科学雑誌等を見て,例えば,惑星の動きや分子の絵を見てひらめくこともあります。


荒木さん 台詞は自然に,ですね。コマ割りをしているときに,このコマでもう少し登場人物に喋らせようと思うと,自然に台詞が出て来るんです。百人一首で台詞を見て,こんな台詞あったかなって思うときもありました。自分で忘れている(笑)。百人一首も遅いです(笑)。


荒木さん その時に,それぞれ描いている部が思い入れがあるといえますが,その中でも特に第4部に思い入れがありますね。


荒木さん そうですね,第3部までは,神話的なものを追って来たんですが,第4部では,街の隣に住んでいる人といった日常を描くのがいいと思ったんです。


荒木さん それはよく聞かれる質問ですが,そうではありません。第4部に露伴が蜘蛛を食べるシーンがあるけれど,僕は蜘蛛を食べたりしないですし(笑)。ただ,露伴は僕にとって憧れの存在なんです。


荒木さん はは(笑)。

―露伴は,ジョジョ以外にも,「岸辺露伴 ルーヴルへ行く」(ルーヴル美術館のプロジェクト作品)や最近の女性雑誌(「SPUR」)での「岸辺露伴 グッチへ行く」といった作品にも出てくることからすると,特に思い入れの強いキャラクターなんですか。

荒木さん そうですね。露伴は,完成されていて使いやすいキャラだからともいえます。細かいところまでキャラクターが設定されていると使いやすいんです。ルーヴルをテーマに作品を描くように依頼されたときも,最終的に「じゃあ露伴に行かせてみよう。」と思いました。


荒木さん ルーヴル美術館からアート的な評価を受けたことはもちろん光栄なことですが,僕は,アートと漫画をあまり違ったようには考えていません。漫画には絵とストーリーがあるとして,元々僕は絵を描く方に重きを置いているんです。GUCCIとのコラボレーションについては,僕は取材も兼ねてよくイタリアに行っていましたので,運命的なものを感じました。


荒木さん (笑)。露伴の展覧会の開催された新宿のGUCCIで,僕の知人が随分買い物をしているのを見たので,「無駄遣いしちゃ駄目だよ。」って注意してたら,「無駄遣いじゃありません。」とGUCCIのスタッフに言われたぐらいです(笑)。


荒木さん 正義も極端になると悪になると思うんです。そうすると,正義の味方の弁護士を描いても,結局,悪になってしまうかもしれません(笑)。あと,悪の方が,描くのが楽なんです(笑)。


荒木さん 最近,よく聞かれる質問です(笑)。東京の水道水で顔を洗って,洗顔料も使ってないぐらいですよ。


荒木さん 特にないですね。露骨に思い切り勝手に使われたら嫌ですが,基本的には専属契約を結んでいる集英社にお任せしています。著作権というのは,ある程度は文化というか,皆のものなのかなとも思っています。


荒木さん 集英社とは,デビューのときから専属契約させていただいていまして,これまで,もめたことは一度もありませんね。


荒木さん わかりました(笑)。そのときは,どうぞよろしくお願いします。


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