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The 'Sunny' side of Taiyo Matsumoto | The Japan Times
"Matsumoto works at what’s considered a steady clip, and says he always starts with the artwork before the story. His settings and many of his establishment shots in “Sunny” appear to be single thoughts, and stories often build into the background through secondary dialogue. He works for the most part without assistants, though his wife, the artist and manga illustrator Saho Tono, helps in prepping and coloring while occasionally giving editorial guidance.

“She helps me a lot — with my erasing, coloring,” he explains. “She reads first drafts and tells me if something is boring.”

Tono’s choice of abstract tones complement Matsumoto’s graphic illustration, but when asked if he assists her work, too, he jokingly dismisses the idea: “Absolutely not. I wouldn’t dare.” At this, Michael Arias joins in the conversation with “Yeah, but her work is so much more far out, too.”

Whether her work is “far out” or not, as a confidant, Tono’s advice regarding protecting Matsumoto’s privacy through editorial strategy has been sound.

“My wife actually suggested that I don’t bring up the fact that ‘Sunny’ is based on my childhood,” Matsumoto says. “She thought I should take the story to my editor and only bring up the back story if it felt necessary.”

The couple also discussed whether he should mention the personal nature of the work in interviews, and he admits to being uncomfortable with calling his work a “biography,” referring instead to the Japanese generic conceit of literary “I-Novels,” or confessional fiction. This, he quickly adds, wasn’t because he was fazed by a memoirist’s responsibility to the facts.

“I knew each character was based on someone, but I couldn’t attribute anyone’s behavior (to anyone specific),” he claims. “And I couldn’t avoid making them all me.”

But at least one old acquaintance of Matsumoto has recognized his illustrations of characters in “Sunny.”

“I got a letter from someone I knew from the orphanage who I hadn’t heard from in 30 years,” he says. “He recognized the people I had drawn and even called it out. ‘That’s so-and-so and that’s such-and-such, no?’ And he was right.”"
taiyomatsumoto  manga  comics  2013  sahotono  michaelarias  sunny 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Interview: Taiyo Matsumoto - Time Out Tokyo
"Were there any artists in particular who really grabbed you?

There was Miguelanxo Prado, a Spanish writer, Enki Bilal and Moebius, who passed away last year – they all had a huge influence on me. I can't read French, so I was only looking at the pictures, but it was a style of drawing I hadn't seen before.

What are the main points of difference between European comics and Japanese manga?

It's hard to say for sure since I can't actually read them, but I felt like they didn't really have any rhythm. I thought there was a lot of text crammed into all the speech bubbles. It's changed a bit since then – there are writers who don't use much dialogue, or who choose to work in black and white instead. Around 25 years ago, all the bande déssinée writers were working in colour, and it was like they didn't waste a single panel. In Japanese manga, lots of panels are just for setting the scene, without any dialogue, but you don't see that very much in bandes déssinées. I've read some of it in translation, and you can't skip over anything, which I think can be a challenge for Japanese readers. You might say the balance is different.

Could you get bandes déssinées in Japan at the time?

I don't think they were available. You had to go abroad if you wanted to get them. Even now, I don't think most people know what ‘bandes dessinées’ are. You hear ‘amekome’ (American comics) much more often.

Were there any manga writers in Japan at the time who were influenced by European comics?
I'm not entirely sure, but Katushiro Otomo and Kamui Fujiwara were probably influenced – maybe Hisashi Eguchi too. I honestly haven't talked with them about bandes dessinées before, but I think that's true."
taiyomatsumoto  2013  interviews  katsuhirootomo  manga  comics  osamutezuka  michaelarias 
september 2014 by robertogreco

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