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■ Featuring "Ice Cream," August 31 to September 29







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■ Muroyama Mayumi consists of Mayumi and you. Why is the name your older sister’s?

M: We are Mayumi and Mariko, aren’t we? Originally we were making debut using the pen name “Yumi Mariko”. Both came to Tokyo, from Kumamoto, for becoming manga artists, in 1970s. Mayumi also worked at a usual company and an editor called the company. It cost a lot having a phone at the time and the editor kept in touch with nothing but the company Mayumi belonged to. My older sister rightly explained we created together and our pen name was Yumi Mariko. But the editor simply said “I don’t like pen names.” Then, our pen name became Muroyama Mayumi.


■ If you had a phone at the time…

M: Mayumi was on work at the company and I would have received. So it might have been “Muroyama Mariko.” And we have let it stay for a long time because of a prejudice which says it is impossible to change a pen name after a debut. So we got great trouble.


■ It makes you just like a ghostwriter.

M: It doesn’t matter at all. I had few friends and so no one said “Aren’t you making debut yet?” I am just a nameless worker under “Muroyama Mayumi” and it means they levied a great amount of the tax only on Mayumi, not on us.


■ Publishers didn’t divide payment slips or so?

M: I had no idea about taxes at all. I was only 18 and Mayumi was just 20 at the time. Mayumi desperately held to a tax office clerk who did nothing but reject. That’s a memory of regret.


■ My sympathies. Now, let me change a topic. Why did you decide to finish “Asari-chan” with the volume 100?

(C) Shogakukan / Muroyama Mayumi
M: Because the mass media must pay attention to volume 100, mustn’t they? LOL And we felt it was kind of hard to keep on too long.


■ Sure. No bookstores have all volumes of “Asari-chan.”

M: They mostly have only a new book. Moreover, women almost don't keep on reading the same manga so long time. Some of men keep on buying. In my case, it makes me feel tired getting to volume 20 or 30 of my favorite book. Maybe we had better have finished “Asari-chan” at volume 50 or some and made restart as “New Asari-chan.” LOL It completely came a day after the fair.


■ How about around volume 50?

M: Rereading let me notice poor stuff converged upon around volume 50. Then, we revived around volume 80.


■ I see! Now, tell me your idea. What is gag?

M: I have seldom been aware of gag. I guess “Asari-chan” is a life manga or a manga for children. I hope only that readers enjoy it. I wish someone gets to read somehow, enjoys with laughter and closes the book. There are a few of parts to raise some issue. Basically, all through 100 comics, it is nothing but manga to enjoy. I am happier when it makes readers give a little chuckle.


■ Your works call a lot of laughter, ma’am.

M: It’s difficult to get what gag is. Some criticisms have come to the point we set for calling reader’s laughter. As long as making “Asari-chan,” we have all been mindful of what children understand; needless to say it is important to make adults enjoy.


■ I heard you got letters which said “Asari-chan” included some stories beyond children’s understandings.

(C) Shogakukan / Muroyama Mayumi
M: Well, there is no way to say “You, stupid kid!” LOL I long for 80% of children readers to understand even if it was accepted by not all children. I guess those letters which say “it is difficult to read and understand” have come from adult readers rather than children, however. LOL



Interview and Text by Misaka Youhei
Many Thanks to Ishii Maiko (Shogakukan Inc.)

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