Taiyo Matsumoto talks shop with one of his favorite artists, Fumiko Takano


This conversation was published December 2006, when the Tekkon Kinkreet movie came out in theaters and Matsumoto was in the early stages of Takemitsu Zamurai. The artist he’s talking to here, Fumiko Takano, is not a particularly well-known name in the English-speaking manga community, but she’s a huge deal — just look at how her name comes up repeatedly in the other interviews I’ve translated!

Matsumoto: So, what do you do, day to day? What does your life look like now?

Takano: Well… I go to the children’s section at the library, I make food and serve tea and work as an arts and crafts teacher at the local old folks’ home, and lately I’ve even been thinking about going to a kindergarten class nearby. (laugh) I’m kept so busy with stuff in my neighborhood that I tend not to ever go very far from home. I haven’t been to Shinjuku in forever.

Matsumoto: Yeah, I only ever come to Tokyo to go to the Shogakukan offices, although recently I’ve been going to places like the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Fukagawa, since I’m doing a manga set in the Edo era. It sounds like you’re quite active in your neighborhood.

Takano: It’s not something I have to do, but I do try to make an effort. I’ve been sort of off manga lately, so when I went back and read your work this week it was the first manga I’d read in quite a while.

Matsumoto: That’s very nice of you. I wouldn’t have expected you to have much interest in my work, though… Continue reading

The manga artist as child liar

tumblr_inline_nclk86Zqra1qheujoTaiyo Matsumoto, in a 1997 interview:

Creating manga is kind of like you’re a child who’s stolen some money, and when asked about it you lie and say you found it on the ground, but then the grown-ups keep asking more and more questions, and you have to keep making up more and more lies and make it more real. Like, I’ve already gone and said that I’d make this series, so now I have to follow through on that original lie to the end and make it look like something real. People who are good at making manga are really good liars, I think.

Taiyo Matsumoto with Inio Asano and Keigo Shinzo

So, today I bring you a recent conversation between Taiyo Matsumoto, Inio Asano and Keigo Shinzo that ran in Monthly Spirits. The first two names should be familiar to everyone, but I don’t think anything of Shinzo’s has been translated into English, so I don’t suppose anyone knows anything about him. He came out with a pretty good first book that generated mild buzz among cool manga readers back in 2010, and he’s put out a few things since then that I mostly haven’t read yet. Here’s a sample of what his stuff looks like.

But anyway, here’s the conversation. Don’t say I never do anything for you, internets.

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Keigo Shinzo: Okay, right off the bat, the question I most want to ask you, Taiyo, is how did you feel about your manga when you were 27 years old? I think it would’ve been right around the time you’d finished Tekkon Kinkreet.

Taiyo Matsumoto: How old are you, Shinzo?

Shinzo: 27.

Matsumoto: I’ve almost got two decades on you, then — I’m 46. What about you, Inio?

Inio Asano: I’m 33.

Matsumoto: You guys are so young. You wouldn’t know it reading your manga. These days, they sometimes put your age in brackets next to your name when you get interviewed for something — “Taiyo Matsumoto (46)”. It always gets me. Like, “They can’t mean me, can they?”

Shinzo/Asano: (laugh)

Matsumoto: Okay, when I was 27… Let’s see. Tekkon Kinkreet was a total flop, so I took my editor’s advice for my next work and went with a sports manga — Ping Pong. It was after finishing Ping Pong (at age 30) that I decided I wouldn’t do weekly magazine serializations anymore. I would wake up, sit at a desk stacked with CalorieMate bars, start drawing, and the next thing I knew it’d be evening. It was no way to live.

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Taiyo Matsumoto and Daisuke Igarashi

Here’s a conversation between Igarashi Daisuke and Taiyou Matsumoto that ran in the magazine Brutus in early 2012.

Picture of Matsumoto and Igarashi, from the relevant issue of Brutus.


Taiyo Matsumoto: I feel like you kind of came out of nowhere. I’ve been drawing manga for about 25 years, but you really blew me away. I first heard your name around the time Witches came out, and at first I thought you were still new to the scene. This guy is just incredible, I thought—it was so polished and everything. I was a little worried for myself.

Daisuke Igarashi: I found out about you when I was a student. Your work was being featured in a magazine or something, and seeing your manga cover designs I thought to myself, “This is really good, this is my kind of art”, but I figured I would probably be influenced by it if I read it, though. That fear kind of trumped everything else, so I avoided your work for a long time. (laugh) Nowadays I actually read your work just to steal from it, though.

Matsumoto: I find I can’t tell who you’ve been influenced by when I look at your work. With most manga artists you can see that, Oh, this artist’s a Katsuhiro Otomo fan, this one’s a Yumi Tada fan.  With your art, though, I can’t tell; you leave me wondering, “What artist is this guy into?” You’re original, I guess is what I’m saying. Hmmm… it feels kind of like you’ve come to manga via painting.

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