Hirohiko Araki's Manga Techniques

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I'm revealing industry secrets, so honestly, this book is a real detriment for me.
—Hirohiko Araki

Hirohiko Araki's Manga Techniques (荒木飛呂彦の漫画術 Araki Hirohiko no Manga-jutsu) is a book written by Hirohiko Araki. In the book, Araki discusses the techniques used for creating manga, along with developing stories and world-building. The book was released on April 17, 2015 in Japan.

An English release for the book, titled Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga, was announced at the Shonen Jump panel of Anime Expo 2016.[6] It was published and released by VIZ Media on June 13, 2017.

Although the book was advertised as the "first and last" book where an active manga artist would reveal their own techniques, a sequel to the book was announced on November 17, 2022, and was published in JOJO magazine 2022 WINTER on December 19, 2022.[7]


Claiming that "manga is the greatest comprehensive artwork," Araki unveils the secrets of drawing manga, which he has never revealed before, while using his works as examples. The book reveals his manga techniques, including specific methodologies such as the "Golden Ratio of Beauty" necessary for drawing artwork, the "Personal Investigation Report" essential for character modeling, and storytelling methods inspired by Ernest Hemmingway. The obi band that comes with the book features a self-portrait of Araki with his character Rohan Kishibe.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Getting Started
  • Chapter 2 - Mastering the Four Fundamentals of Manga Structure
  • Chapter 3 - Designing Characters
  • Chapter 4 - How to Write a Story
  • Chapter 5 - Arts Expresses Everything
  • Chapter 6 - What is Setting to Manga
  • Chapter 7 - All Elements Connect to the Theme
  • Implementation, Example 1 - The Process of Making Manga
  • Implementation, Example 2 - How to Create a One-Shot (Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan: Millionaire Village)
  • Conclusion


Manga Theory.jpg
Published June 29, 2017
ANN: Your fans associate JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with high fashion. Can you take us through the process by which you create unique costumes for your characters?

HIROHIKO ARAKI: When I create characters’ outfits, I am conscious of two elements: ‘daily life’ and ‘fantasy’. I envision everyday fashion alongside strange, cartoonish, bizarre clothing that would be impractical in real life.

You don't seem to stick to a specific color scheme for your characters when doing cover illustrations or color pages. Why is that?

I put more emphasis on giving readers different feelings and impressions through different color combinations.

Which Stand powers were the most fun for you to draw? Are there any Stand powers which you had an especially difficult time depicting?

One of my favorites stands is Shigechi's (Shigekiyo Yangu's) ‘Harvest.’

One that I had a difficult time with (not artistically, but rather in terms of plot and story development) is ‘Killer Queen’ in Part 4. I felt that I may have made it too strong. It wouldn't have been a surprise if Josuke was not able to defeat it.

Steel Ball Run took an interesting approach to battle manga by focusing on a positive portrayal of a hero with a disability. What inspired you to create Johnny Joestar?

My work centers around protagonists who grow as they overcome hardship. In creating Johnny, I didn't necessarily set out to depict a hero with a disability. He was the end result of my pursuit to create a character who could grow, both physically and mentally, during a race where he would be forced not only to rely on other people, but horses as well.

You've spoken in other interviews about how you drew muscular body types in Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency because Stallone and Schwarzenegger were popular at the time. You've also said that you moved to thinner body types for Diamond is Unbreakable and Vento Aureo because readers were losing interest in muscle men and you wanted to do more with your interest in fashion. Steel Ball Run and JoJolion seem to represent another big shift in the evolution of your art style. What inspired the looks of Steel Ball Run and JoJolion?

In Parts 1 through 8, I put a conscious effort into creating distinguishable protagonists who don't have similar silhouettes and appearances, including their outfit designs. I also have the protagonists function to symbolize the “world” that each part takes place in, so the story influences them as well. Of course, I also don't want to hinder the evolution of the art itself. I'm always exploring art styles.

You worked for several years with a weekly deadline as part of Shonen Jump, until transitioning to a monthly deadline when JoJo's Bizarre Adventure moved to Ultra Jump in 2004. What are your feelings on the weekly vs. monthly model of creating manga?

Having a deadline every week, along with shorter chapters, restricts what can be drawn, and also requires momentum to build up excitement for the following week. With monthlies, there's more pages and flexibility for me to draw at my own pace, which suits me at this time.

It's become a running joke among your fans and colleagues that you're an immortal who doesn't age. Do you have any beauty tips you'd like to share with our readers?

Living an orderly lifestyle and face washing with Tokyo tap water.

In Manga in Theory and Practice, you say that the theme of all 8 parts of JoJo is "an affirmation that humanity is wonderful". Could you elaborate on that?

I believe that people are able to grow by overcoming obstacles through the power of the human spirit and strength, and that, I believe is “an affirmation that humanity is wonderful”. Within ‘JoJo's Bizarre Adventure’, there are fights and stories that involve various elements. However, in the end, people pull through without relying on machines and divine beings to determine fate themselves. Drawing people like that is my ‘affirmation that humanity is wonderful’.

Shonen Jump July 17 2017 Cover.jpg
SJ: Much of the emphasis of your new book, Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga is on shonen manga storytelling—is your advice the same for other kinds of manga? Also, do any Western comics come close to capturing the manga panel development work you describe in your book? If so, which ones?

Araki Sensei: I think it can be applied, but I'm not too familiar with American/Western comics so I can't give specific examples. However, I believe that detailed, precise manga panel development designed to depict intricate emotions is the defining feature of Japanese manga, and that approach can be applied in various forms.

SJ: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a lot of horror elements and quite a bit of gore. What are your favorite horror movies?

Araki Sensei: Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead and World War Z.

SJ: One of the endearing quirks of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga is the fact that many of the characters have names based on bands or musicians. Why did you decide to do this?

Araki Sensei: Because there are times when I find inspiration for characters and Stands through music.

SJ: How do you come up with the Stand powers? Do you come up with the character or their powers first?

Araki Sensei: It depends on the Stand.

SJ: There's been a major JoJo revival the last ten years with all the anime series being made. How does it feel to have your series reach new heights of popularity again after so many years?

Araki Sensei: I'm extremely grateful for all the support from the fans. There are new, younger fans being introduced to the original manga after experiencing JoJo through anime and other mediums. The fact that there's a new generation of readers is the core of what JoJo is about passing the torch on to the next generation.

SJ: Which of the Joestars would you want to hang out with the most and why?

Araki Sensei: Josuke in Diamond Is Unbreakable. I drew him as if he were a close friend.



  • The design of the cover for VIZ Media’s English release of the book is heavily based on the covers of the JoJonium re-releases of Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency and Stardust Crusaders.
    • The English cover art also bears an uncanny resemblance to the Brazilian coat of arms, with the presence of coffee and tobacco branches, an inscriptioned ribbon, as well as a sword going under the central emblem of a star being present in both.

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