But things like that happened to me every day. Eventually, I started to wonder I was cursed to forever be misunderstood by others. Whenever an incident occurred at school, the teachers would often include me on the list of suspects. Why? Was my way of life the problem...?
So back in 1988, when I was writing Part 2 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for Weekly Shonen Jump, I was searching for a new concept to write about. (This isn't the type of thing I'd normally tell people about, but since it's an afterword, it's probably fine if I jot it down as a memory of mine.) I was looking for a way to depict someone's "strength of mind" through something other than their physical body. Until then, supernatural powers had always been something like, "eyes open wide, the sweat pours out, the blood vessels jiggle, and the rock breaks." But in JoJo, the power itself would appear and smash the rock. "Isn't this just a wonderful idea? This way, I can express the strength of a person's soul. It's not really a superpower so much as a psychic power, the power of a concept itself. Can any other art form depict this type of thing?"
My boss gave me the all-clear, so I began to draw Part 3 around the concept... But once I began the project, I only heard comments like, "I don't get it at all!" or, "What's happening in this panel?" And I thought to myself, "It's happening again. This cursed personality of mine... What should I do? No one's ever going to understand me. Maybe there's not enough dialogue, or maybe the pacing is too abrupt... But how else am I going to communicate it through drawings? This is my talent."
After I first moved out of Sendai to begin my new life as a manga artist in Tokyo, my grandmother prayed at the Buddhist altar whenever she heard news of a murder in Tokyo. She told me once that she was praying the murderer wasn't me. "Now why on earth would I be thinking that...?"
I don't think anyone in my family has ever fully understood me. My readers will probably never understand me, either. In my next work, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4, I chose to depict a small town. Of course, that was going to be controversial too. But my boss told me to "draw what you want and draw it with confidence. That's what a manga artist does." Somehow, his words inspired some courage within me.(I wonder, though... Does he really understand me either? Better dealing with him than my sisters, at least.)
[Translated by HudgynS]