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Truth About Mangaka Work

February 25, 2009

Not all artists are forced to work under such conditions, but I hear about such cases often.

My thoughts (思うこと) is a 2008 Alpha Blogger Awards winning blog by manga artist Mayu Shinjo (新條まゆ): the author reflects on her experience in the manga industry and the difficult relationship between the artist and their editor. Explaining to her readers why she took the decision to quit her job at Shogakukan (小学館), she also tells us about the hardships of the profession and the compromises she had to make:

There is no doubt in my mind that editors and artists should be considered equal. The manga author should think of his or her editor as “the one from whom I receive work” and, conversely, the editor should think of the manga artist as “the one who draws [manga] for us”. This is the feeling that has thus far pushed me to continue with my work.

However, that relationship collapsed when it started being interpreted as “the artist [is someone] who draws if someone tells them to draw” or “the artist draws manga on demand”. A situation in which [a manga artist], over a period of six months, produces 120 pages every month, without even being able to go out [to buy food] at the convenience store, sleeping an average of 3 hours per night — this is not normal.

I’m not saying that they should thank me. Because they should feel thankful on their own, without being told to feel that way. And it is when you start feeling that the relationship has been spoiled that it starts getting stressful.

Is it really necessary to tolerate all this and not do what you would like to do? Do I have to release a new work even when I don’t have any new ideas, or when it puts me in a state of anguish?

Source: Global Voices

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8 comments

  1. I think her premise is faulty. Her work comes from he audience, not her editor. When editors and beaurocrasy get in the way, it becomes simple media – not art. I look forward to the days when artists of all types can release their work to the masses without corporations interfering.


    • Oh, you might want to read Scott McCloud’s books because he had a very similar idea ;) I highly recommend Understanding Comics :)


  2. The name of a famous Mangaka with a big ad that they have effects, and their relatively free from the pressures of an editor.

    However, the relatively low awareness of a Mangaka, to notify the readers of his work have to rely largely on a series of magazines, so they tend to be swinged to the opinions of the publisher.


    • Yes, making people aware of the work is not easy, and that’s why many are relying on magazines and editors.


  3. I remembered Mikan-san from Daa Daa Daa because of this post. She’s one hell of a monster whenever there is a deadline. But hey, she enjoys it… But I guess it all goes back to the mangaka if she really likes to continue that kind of lifestyle being pressured by your editor and all that stuffs.


    • Yes, it depends on the individual. Also, in some cases as she described, it just too much: being pressured is fine, but working almost like a slave is not.


  4. i want to be magaka it is my dream , i can draw well and i have lots of ideas ,so if anyone can put me in the right way i will be thankful


    • As usual, I’d suggest books by Scott McCloud.



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