■ This time, we are interviewing with Yoshimura Kazuma who is a dean of Manga Faculty in Kyoto Seika University and who is also a director of International Research Center for Manga. Can I go?
Yoshimura Kazuma: Right.
■ Manga Faculty sounds unfamiliar. What do you teach?
Y: We make studies about our society and mankind, taking Manga, its information, its background and its history.
■ Did you do it when you were a student?
Y: No, no. I had spent life in a dormitory of Kumamoto University and had belonged to the history course. When I was a first-year student, my life was especially slovenly.
■ Most students would be like you, easy.
Y: Then, my teacher said “Take anything favorite on your research.” So I chose Tezuka Osamu; King of Japanese Manga because I was already fond of comics at the time. But he got angry and said “Studying is different from your hobby!” It was just that I selected a favorite thing, following his words.
■ You were already a prisoner of Manga, weren’t you?
Y: Yes. I lived in a room of a dormitory. My pals have often come to my room for reading and taking comics.
■ Just like you in an old time, most Japanese are recently very close and familiar to manga. How come manga could have taken root and been popular in Nippon?
Y: Naturally, it is first considered as the result of manga creators’ efforts. Although only children had read manga in early days, their efforts made it spread and adults got to read comics. Moreover, as an external factor, it matched with a Japanese size.
■ Size? What does it mean?
Y: Well, most Japanese used to belong to the middle class one day. Setting the class as the target, they could have got massive readers only inside. That materialized as an industry.
■ Size means a Japanese market volume, alright. Other countries never have the size?
Y: There are usually various classes in other countries. It is difficult to concentrate as Japan. Their comics have tended to be just for children or for adult buffs limitedly and as you know, manga is hard to subdivide and to develop overseas. But Japanese manga grew not on the calculation.
■ It was just it was, you mean.
Y: Probably, Japanese manga had been so far from public nature like the government and so had grown up very much. They had left manga alone for pastime although it tends to be under control overseas. Of course, there have been regulations on expression inside. However, our manga has already got it over.
■ Now there are countless kinds of manga in Japan. That looks borderless anymore. Overseas, it never goes like Japan?
Y: Never! Overseas, they firstly separate it for children and for adults clearly. In France, bande dessinée comics are completely considered as adult books. In United States of America, they set manga for adults as graphic novels which are different from American comics. Japan never does so.
■ Sure. Now it is a natural sight in Japan that adults read comics. In Japan, there are manga comics for various types of people.
Y: In 1959, Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magazine, they are origins of weekly manga magazines for boys, were born. Magazines are voluminous and quick to rotate, aren’t they? All Japanese people can get it at a time because of the narrowness. That cannot be realized in China, USA, and the like.
■ Their lands are so widely and it is almost impossible to share a magazine at the same time.
Y: Voluminous, quick rotation, and mostly no time rags. They are considered as reasons of great growth of Japanese manga. In 1960s, like an example of Ashita no Joe, people got to stop graduating from comics. It realized the expansion of readers and the beginning of subdivision.