A short interview with Hitoshi Iwaaki (Historie, Parasyte)

kiseiju-01-024Here’s a short interview with Parasyte and Historie artist Hitoshi Iwaaki, conducted via fax in 2005, when Historie would still only have been two volumes in. I got it from the same magazine I took the Sakuishi/Eguchi conversation. Spoiler alert: Iwaaki is exactly the kind of man you would expect him to be.

The year 2005 marks your twentieth year as a manga artist since you first got published with “Sea of Trash” in ’85. Congratulations! I’d like to start by asking you to summarize what those twenty years have been like.

Iwaaki: I’m proud to have gotten this far. I’m pretty slow at drawing, though, so I suppose I don’t have that many works to my name, considering it’s been twenty years. I’ve always been busy, though.

–What was your childhood like? I’d love to hear about anything: your family, your hobbies, things you used to wonder about.

Iwaaki: I never once went to any cram schools. I used to doodle in my textbooks a lot. I would always hang around with the same friend, but sometimes I didn’t care to even spend time with him. I was a quiet child, one who didn’t stand out much, and yet I was also a self-centered child.

–I’ve read that you became an avid reader of manga when you were in your last year of high school, starting with the pocket editions of Osamu Tezuka’s work. You’ve mentioned learning a lot from Tezuka’s How to Draw Manga in an old interview, too. What is it that you find appealing about Osamu Tezuka?

Iwaaki: I believe he is someone who always made sure to put together the overall framework of a story before starting a manga. It’s not a method that everyone agrees with, but I consider myself to have made it through these twenty years thanks to his example.

–What manga or artists do you like, and does anything come to mind that they have in common? Continue reading