Sato’s Road to Manga #44

That night, 40 voice messages were left on my answering machine.   After slamming my fists on the table the restaurant and walking out on my editor, I went back to my studio/home. 30 minutes later, my doorbell rang. I ignored it, and then my telephone rang.   “I won’t tell the chief about this. So please, just answer the phone, sensei. Please!”   Streaming out from the answering machine was the voice of the second generation F-san. I just couldn’t pick up the receiver. “Talking with you is just a waste of time. iphone 7 case credit card Just hurry up and bring the chief here already,” I had said. So why, then, did he reply with “I won’t tell the chief about this?” I couldn’t believe how he could possibly act like he was doing me a favor here.   After that, every 30 minutes, my doorbell rang again and again. My phone also continued ringingly endlessly.   “I know you’re in there. Do you know what’s going to happen if you keep doing this?” he asked in a low voice, during one call. And then, just when I thought he was about to threaten me, he went… jack wills phone case iphone 8 “Sensei! Please! I still haven’t told anyone about this! Please just answer the phone!”   “Hey, Sato… cut it out already, or I’ll really bring the chief here.”   “I’ll wait just one more hour! I bear no responsibility for what happens afterwards!”   “Today, I’ll wait just one day for you… so just answer the phone.”   “Sorry about earlier. iphone 6 full cover silicone case I’ll forgive you this time, just please, answer the phone.”   Apparently, the new F-san was walking around outside my apartment, hoping he could catch me, and calling me over and over again. Now I couldn’t take a single step outside. ted baker shannon iphone 6 case My refrigerator was empty, and I was starting to get hungry, but my editor was standing right outside my door. Even after it got dark, I didn’t turn on the lights, and since I had nothing else to do, I decided to go to sleep, and curled up on my futon.   As I did this, a vague thought passed through my head. silcon iphone 8 plus case “Guess I’ll just have to give up manga now.”   Right after telling my editor that I wanted this arc of Umizaru to be the last, he had switched himself out for a new one, who absolutely refused to take any part in a discussion concerning the end of the manga, and no matter how many times I called the editor’s office and asked them to let me speak with the chief, they wouldn’t let me.   What was I supposed to do?   If I had pushed my way into the editors’ office and gone on a rampage in the reception area, screaming “Let me see the chief,” would they have let me? If I had committed some crime and got on the news, would they have let me end my serialization? I had only ever spoken with the chief once, right after the old chief left, when I introduced myself to him. After I finished speaking, all he had said to me was: “Your art’s too black. Can you make it a little whiter?”   Unfortunately, Umizaru was a very popular series. And as long as a series was still making them money, they were going to try and make it drag on as long as they could. I knew that was how they did things. I liked Umizaru. The characters in that manga felt like they really existed. To me, they were no different than living people – they lived inside of me. iphone 8 plus case tough And the only one who could let their story come to an end when they asked for one was me. It was a way for me to show my love to them and the manga. The circumstances of the magazine had nothing to do with me. I knew how the editor’s office was cutting off “fatty” manga one after another, in the name of the new editing policies. I also knew what the editors’ office said to those authors.   “This is the joint opinion of the entire editors’ office. How many people do you think are involved in this magazine? How many mouths do you think it feeds? You can’t expect us to listen to the selfish requests of a single person.”   Please cancel my series, just like you did theirs. I know this magazine won’t last for another decade anyway. I don’t want to draw manga as someone’s dog.   Releasing a work to the world is the same thing as killing someone. Someone who reads your work may be influenced, and may even go off and commit a murder. That’s how horrifying a thing drawing manga is. How could you do something like that while being ordered around by someone else?   As the dozens of calls continued, I got a call from W-san, the woman I was dating. When I heard her voice flow through the answering machine, I picked up the receiver.   “I think I’m going to stop drawing manga,” I told her. She didn’t object.   I had no idea what I was going to do after I quit. I’ll have to move into a smaller room, I thought. And once I leave my studio, I wonder how much severance I’ll have to pay my staff members?   I thought back to when we had started going out. iphone 6 apple case leather The day I asked her on our first date, she said something to me while we were riding the train toward our destination.   “I also got asked out by __ yesterday.”   When I heard that, I felt said, but I mustered up all my courage and gave her a reply.   “Can I like you too?”   If I stopped drawing manga, would she start to hate me?   Soon, it became late, and the doorbell chimes began to dwindle.   If the next chapter of Umizaru doesn’t appear in the magazine next week, what will the readers think?   The next day, I received a call from my old editor, the first generation F-san. After hearing his voice on my answering machine, I picked up the phone.   Several hours later, the old F-san appeared at my apartment and sat down at the table across from me. And then, I repeated something I had said many times before.   “Please let this be the last arc of Umizaru.”   F-san replied quietly. “Alright. We’ll let you end it here.”   That was the moment in which Umizaru’s end was finalized.


Sato’s Road to Manga #46

Are there only corrupt people in the manga industry?   If that’s true, then is it a mangaka’s duty to let these corrupt people abuse him or her?   At one time, I had thought about quitting manga, but for some reason I couldn’t fully bring myself to give up. I’d done nothing but draw manga so far, so even if I quit, I had no idea what else I’d do, and I knew that even if I got to the point of wanting to die, I wouldn’t have the guts to do it.   When Umizaru ended, the waves started getting rough around me again. After meeting with the editors from Kodansha’s Morning magazine, I got a call from a man named S-san who worked at Takeshobo. He was one of the supervising editors of F-san, the first mangaka I worked under. I had known him for 6-7 years, since I started working for F-san, but he had never so much as glanced at me. iphone 8 plus case gel Naturally, I was happy to get the call, so I decided to meet with him.   We met at an okonomiyaki restaurant in front of the station.   We ordered some beers and made a toast to our reunion. The editors’ office S-san worked for published a mah jong manga magazine, and he wanted me to draw a mah jong manga for them.   He praised my work. “You’re the artist I want to work with the most, more than any other person in the industry,” he said, then went on to explain just how amazing and charming Umizaru was, in a tone so exaggerated that it embarrassed me.   “I’ve never wanted to draw a mah jong manga,” I replied. iphone 8 case red spigen   “There are a lot of artists who draw manga without knowing the rules to mah jong,” he countered. “The editors will take care of that, so don’t you worry. ‘Mah jong’ is the key word here, so as long as you touch upon that, you actually might experience more freedom than you even get in a normal magazine. The good thing about mah jong manga is that anything goes.”   He spoke passionately, with his teeth set on edge, trying again and again to convince me. I was nothing but an art staffer when we first met, yet he was very polite and treated me with respect. I had just come from deciding that there were nothing but corrupt people in the industry, but he made me realize that good people do exist as well.   He asked me how much I got for manuscript fees, so I answered him honestly.   “That’s too cheap,” he said, and offered me a higher fee right then and there. “Shogakukan (the magazine I had previously worked with) doesn’t value its artists enough. There’s no future in editors who simply sit on their butts and use up artists like tools.”   The way he suddenly started badmouthing the magazine left me scratching my head, but it seemed like he had his reasons. Apparently, there were a lot of publishers and editors in the industry who wanted my contact information. Those people had to go through Shogakukan’s offices first, but Shogakukan kept themselves closely guarded, and didn’t give anyone any information.   “They keep too tight of a guard.”   Finally, some people came around to S-san’s office, asking if anyone knew my contact info. S-san replied with “I know him, but I can’t just give his information out to anyone. Next time I’ll see him, though, I’ll ask him if it’s OK, so please wait until then.”   It was basically the same thing that the Kodansha editors had told me the other day. At this point in my career, I was completely used to other people treating like a newbie, or like a child, so it was hard to really believe that there were a bunch of editors out there who wanted to hire me. I thought the only reason the Morning editors had contacted me was because T-san, one of my previous employers, had done some work behind the scenes.   S-san went on. “Of course, we’d like you to draw manga for us, but artists aren’t company employees, nor are they entertainers who belong to talent agencies. Hiding jobs from people and stealing opportunities isn’t what a publisher should be doing. When other companies contact us about artists, we answer them, after getting the artists’ permission first.” (Incidentally, after I met with S-san, I started getting a ton of phone calls from other companies.)   I was surprised by how greatly the values of publishers differed. Perhaps the entire industry was already aware of how badly Shogakukan treated its artists.   Well then, what should I do?   Seemed like I’d still be able to work even after Umizaru ended. If I decided to draw a manga for Morning, I knew they wouldn’t give me a serialization immediately, because they were such a big company. I decided the more realistic option was to work at Takeshobo for a bit, do some good work for a monthly magazine, and foster my art staff members.   If I could go on working as a mangaka, then I wouldn’t need to fire them. A mangaka who gathers and fires his art staff based on the conditions of his own career won’t last long. To me, employing staff members as long as you can and working them into every facet of your career is how an employer should be. The only time I would ever close my studio is if I went out of business.   In the end, I decided that if a mangaka’s job is to be abused by corrupt people, then I’d just have to get dirty as well and let them abuse me. Although, S-san from Takeshobo wasn’t corrupt at all.   There were still a few months left until Umizaru finished its run, and over the course of that time I met with S-san and the two Morning editors over and over. The Morning editors wanted to have a meeting concerning a possible serialization, while at Takeshobo, it had already been decided that I’d have a serialization. It seemed that S-san really did admire my work. I hadn’t even drawn any storyboards, but they had already decided everything. It was more than a bit of a surprise.   I had stayed up all night playing mah jong when I was a student, so I knew the rules. And so, without telling them how I had considered quitting my career as a mangaka, I told my staff members that Umizaru would be ending, and that we’d be working on a new mah jong manga for Takeshobo.   Kodansha’s Morning magazine sold way more copies than the magazine that had featured Umizaru, so my meetings with them didn’t go so easily.   “How about drawing for us?” they asked, but still seemed to be looking down on me. The general feeling of the atmosphere seemed to be “If you can draw us a good storyboard, then we’ll put it in,” and I wasn’t sure what I could put my faith in.   Whenever we met, we were always probing each other to find our our true intentions.   “How about a story like this?” I’d say, offering an idea, but they had no interest in what I wanted to draw. iphone 7 slim battery case Instead, the question on their minds seemed to be “What should we make him draw,” and that came out quite clearly in the way they looked at me. 8 iphone cases glitter   In the end, it left me feeling distant from them. All I need to do is understand that this is the way these people work, then accept that and draw some manga for them, I thought. Apparently, I still had some desire to draw a manga in a major magazine.   Until Umizaru ended, I focused only on drawing manga, then took a two month break for preparations before I dove into my next piece. I actually had a lot of things I wanted to draw, if it was possible for me to go on being a mangaka. For years, I had come up with all these ideas, but I wasn’t able to do anything with them. It felt like my suppressed emotions were about to explode.   I’m not saying Umizaru was something I didn’t want to draw. I drew it with all my might, and nothing will ever change that. There was a lot I wasn’t able to do, though.   W-san often lent me an ear in times like these. scania iphone 8 plus case She got angry with me at the editors’ unreasonable behavior, listened to my ideas about my next piece, and told me her thoughts. She had worked with me since chapter 1 of Umizaru, and even when the editors were treating me horribly, I told her: “I’m still happy that I’m drawing manga, because it let me meet you.”   I trusted her more than anyone else, in all facets of my life. iphone 6 element case   “Once Umizaru ends, I’m thinking of giving everyone two months off. Of course, you’ll still get fully paid, but I’m sure that weekly schedule has tired everyone out. I’m going to take a whole month off myself. Then I’ll spend the next month drawing the storyboards for my next piece. So, how about getting married in the month we have off?”   And so, we decided to get married.


Sato’s Road to Manga #48

In April, Umizaru’s serialization ended, and I started drawing a serialization for a Take Shobo mah jong magazine in September.   After making my debut as a mangaka, I hadn’t taken a single day off for three years, but after Umizaru ended, I took a month-long break, then started writing my next piece in the next month.   In October, I had my staff members return from their paid vacations to their new office, and we officially got back to work. If I stopped here, people would just start saying “I haven’t seen Sato Shuho’s name anywhere,” or “He just disappeared.” The two editors from Morning said they were planning my serialization, but in the end, if the storyboards I submitted weren’t interesting, it would have been like we had never spoken at all.   I had to draw 24 pages each month for Take Shobo’s monthly magazine. I had three staff members, so I actually struggled finding things for everyone to do. We had made it through a weekly serialization this way, after all. Economy-wise, I was paying out over 500,000 yen a month in personnel expenses alone, and if I included office rent and materials, that easily became nearly one million yen per month. Calculating the manuscript fees from that meant that I’d have to draw 80 pages a month to stay out of the red. I also needed to make enough for my own living expenses. If this serialization with Morning didn’t work, then I wouldn’t be able to sustain my office. Still, “letting staff go” wasn’t a choice to me – unless I gave up on drawing manga, that is. When an employer hires someone, they need to keep them employed. french bulldog phone case iphone 8 In other words, securing that serialization with Morning was the only choice I had.   What I needed to do was “create a stock of pages for the Take Shobo serialization at a weekly pace, so my staff members have something to do” and “start drawing a good storyboard for the Morning serialization.” After I calmed down, I realized just how frightening a gamble I was about to engage in.   Every few weeks, the two editors from Morning would come to a family restaurant near my office and talk to me absent-mindedly for 30 minutes. At the end they would always say “Let’s think about this again later” and leave.   The framing of my manga as a “medical” one had already been set, so I wanted to hurry up and start gathering data so I could draw a storyboard, but they didn’t want me to start just yet. I wasn’t sure whether they were really serious about this or not, so I went out and bought a bunch of medical-related books so that I could start thinking up the structure. After several more weeks, I explained this structure to them at our next meeting. They didn’t really seem interested, though, and repeated the “Let’s think about this again later” thing. blue marble iphone 8 case   It seemed like their plan was just to succeed in capturing a serialization author from another magazine. They repeated the “planning” spell over and over, but they weren’t really interested in beginning the serialization immediately.   At our meetings, they’d often gloat about other authors they’d work with. “We gave this author this advice, and he was able to draw this sort of thing” or “I thought up that project.”   Oh, so these are the kind of editors who take all the credit for themselves, I thought. I listened to the rest of the stories with half an ear, and couldn’t help but feel a bit depressed. Even if they do agree to let me do the serialization in the end, are they just going to turn me into another one of their accomplishments?   Even though I had changed publishers, there was no escaping from the problem of editors treating authors as pawns. I was just one of the many authors they had control over, and they only gave me 30 minutes every few weeks. They were salarymen, and I was a freelance author. I’m pretty sure we had different ideas about the economic use of time. And so, as we continued to have our meetings, my savings dropped by hundreds of thousands of yen. iphone 7 plus case with belt   I was working on creating a stock of pages for the mah jong manga, but in the end, since there was no real deadline, I was unable to keep drawing pages at a weekly pace. This was supposed to go weekly, not monthly… I panicked.   Take Shobo didn’t go far enough to say “We’ll take whatever you draw,” but they possessed a looseness that was close to that and OKed my storyboards in no time at all, so in a way I felt like I wasn’t really getting any work done. iphone x case mirror And unfortunately, the magazine wasn’t very popular inside the magazine. When that news reached me on the phone, my editor S-san dropped his tone of voice. At first he had told me that I was the author he most wanted to work with right now, but all of a sudden my calls were ceasing to get through.   My new office was close to the office of F-san, one of my teachers. It was a complete coincidence, and F-san had just moved there himself, so we didn’t even know at first. Then, when I thought about contacting him to let him know that I was getting married, I realized that he lived nearby, so we decided to have lunch together. F-san was one of the biggest authors in Take Shobo’s mah jong magazine, so he was very keen on what was going on inside the editors’ office, and also knew that my series wasn’t very popular.   When I told him that I was thinking of drawing a serialization for Morning, he said: “Even for a veteran, having a serialization planned for a major magazine is quite an accomplishment. If Umizaru was popular, you should have kept it going until it lost popularity, right? You’re such an idiot, Shuho. At this rate you might just disappear.”   Several months passed, and the Morning editors finally decided that they wanted to do something. They started bringing data to me, and I also went out to go do research. I had done this many times when working on Umizaru, so I had developed my own method. I would take in the entire scope of something as an observer, while K-san would ask questions, and the camerman would take reference pictures. The stories we heard from people were also very important, so I would free up my five senses and just try to imprint as much of the people and atmosphere as I could in my mind. Going to do research and getting so focused on the pictures inside the lens of the camera is pretty terrible, I think. But the only reason I was able to research so freely was because the editors had prepared everything for me, and I had come to expect it. In that respect, they really had gone all-out for me, and I’m thankful to them for that.   Research with Morning was an editor bringing in a medical writer, a doctor, and a medical intern. Then, I’d talk with them and listen to what they had to say. I didn’t get to go and see an actual hospital, but I just thought: This is probably the initial stage of the research, and they’ll let me go and see one next time. But next time, all they did was bring in someone else. Over a period of two to three weeks, I met with nurses, a director of a public health center, and overall about 7 different medical professionals. case iphone 6 What they said was really just a rehash of what had been written in the research documents Kodansha gave me, so these meetings didn’t really seem too meaningful to me. Only one time did I have a chance to go to an emergency center and stay there for 24 hours and take pictures. But once it got to around evening time, my editor said “Don’t you think we’ve seen enough?” and went home. The cameraman also left, so I had to the rest all by myself.   Compared to the research I had done for Umizaru, this felt really lacking. But it was still just the beginning, so I was prepared to keep fighting as things progressed. Then, all of a sudden they said to me: “Now draw a storyboard.”   I was shocked. “Huh? I’ve met several people, but I’ve still only been to a hospital once.”   I asked them to let me go on more detailed hospital research trips, but they just kept ordering me to draw. It was all they ever said, so I really had no choice in the matter. We had had a few meetings so far, but the contents had all been so abstract, and none had really gone in a specific direction. All the details had been left up to me, which was of course fine, but when I showed them what I came up with, they didn’t really seem to like it, and made me redraw it. All it made me think was: Tell me what you want in the beginning!   I redrew it immediately, and this time they gave me the OK. iphone 7 minnie mouse phone case   What? I thought. They’re OK with this? I was beside myself in astonishment. What are they going to do next, ask me to draw the second chapter?   Then, they told me: “We’re interested in seeing what sort of art ends up in these frames, so do a rough draft and let us check it again.”   Does this mean I’m getting a serialization for sure? I wondered.   It took me two weeks to draw the rough draft. When I showed it to them, they both nodded and said it was good, then said: “Please let us use this as the manuscript.”   They had managed to shock me yet again. “I could add backgrounds to this rough draft, but if you want it to be completed, then I’ll need some documents so that I know how to draw the details of the hospital. I took photographs when I went to that emergency room, but his part-time hospital and other hospitals also appear in this chapter, so I want to prepare data on those as well. I can’t draw all of them just with what I have now.”   This was their response. “If you want to know how to draw a hospital, just go look at a photo gallery or watch a movie or something. There are a lot of medical dramas out there, right?”   “No,” I replied, standing my ground. “I’m drawing a medical manga here. I can’t just use generic data books or rip off stuff from TV, right?”   “You’re the first person who’s ever asked for something like this…” One of the editors muttered.   In the end, though, they let me go to a hospital in Chiba that had yet to open and take pictures of the inside. iphone 8 plus case supcase Nowadays, I have the skill to make plans on my own and go and do my own research, but at the time, I had no choice but to rely on editors for research at special institutions. Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much of my editors.   After taking photographs at the Chiba hospital, I still lacked a lot of the data I needed, but I eventually succumbed to the “We’ve done so much for you already, just draw it!” pressure from the editors and started drawing the manuscript. I still wasn’t really sure at what pace they were planning to proceed. First they had told me not to draw anything, and now they wanted me to draw the entire thing. But I knew that I had to do what I was told, or else I’d be out of luck. I spent another two weeks perfecting the manuscript, and what did they say?   “Pff, look! You drew all these hospitals perfectly!”   Actually, it took me a lot of work to come up with what I did, because I lacked data on entire subjects…   As they continued to stare at the finished manuscript, they asked: “What should we do about a title?”   The full-time editor S-san spoke up. “Since it’s a medical manga, how about working ‘Black Jack’ into the title?” *Black Jack is the title of Tezuka Osamu’s famous medical manga.   I wasn’t sure about using the title of another manga in my manga’s title, but they told me that copyrights don’t exist for titles, so people are free to use them as they please. If we asked Tezuka Productions to give us permission to use the title, they would ask for money or something even more complicated might happen, so they just planned to send a notice and be ethical about it. Afterwards, I heard them complain about Tezuka Productions for quite a while. Even though Mr. Tezuka had passed away, they still considered themselves a leading figure in the manga industry, and tried to strongarm the whole deal.   When I heard them getting so angry over it, I spoke up. “How about we think up another title without Black Jack in it?”   But that seemed to only make them angrier. Eventually, I gave up. No matter what I say, they seem committed to only proceeding things at their own pace.   “How about ‘Leave it to Black Jack?'” I asked. I decided to suggest the worst possible name that included Black Jack that I could come up with.   A few days later, after I faxed the completed manuscript of the second chapter to them, they called me back. “The second chapter looks great. By the way, we decided on a date for the serialization to begin. Five weeks from now, next month.”   “Huh?”   “We got you a space five weeks from now. Congratulations.”   “But I’ve still only drawn two storyboards. I completed the first chapter because you ordered me to, but I haven’t made any preparations. And we still haven’t come up with a title…”   “The title? It’s ‘Leave it to Black Jack.’ We already created a logo for it. So, five weeks from now. Got it?” the editor said, then hung up. The serialization was official now.   Umizaru ended in June, my Take Shobo serialization started in September, and then two months later, my serialization with Morning was going to begin. Over eight months, my savings had dropped by 600,000 yen.


Sato’s Road to Manga #43

One day, a page I had drawn appeared in the magazine upside-down.   It was a spread double-page bird’s-eye-view of Hakata Bay. But in the magazine, it depicted the landscape in the opposite way you would see it on the map, and there were no text indicators, so readers who hadn’t looked in a map in a while might have gotten confused.   Ever since the second F-san became my new editor, his low-level mistakes and misunderstandings continued in rapid succession, but even I was shocked by what he had managed to do this time. I immediately contacted him, told him that the manuscript had been published upside-down, and asked him to fix it. It was just such a basic, unthinkable mistake.   I was shocked by how he responded.   “In this situation, does it really matter whether it’s upside-down or not?”   For a moment, I didn’t quite understand what he was trying to say, and just replied with: “Huh?”   “There are no words, so it doesn’t really matter, does it?”   “Of COURSE it matters. It’s upside-down. deadpool phone case iphone 6 plus Please fix it. The magazine’s already been released, so I know you can’t fix that, but please fix it so that it appears right-side up in the volume.”   “Sato-san, it’s already appeared in the magazine like this, so I think that if we change it now, it’ll confuse the people who read the chapter in the magazine. And that isn’t good, is it? I think you’re being too selfish here.”   “What are you talking about? You’re the one who made the mistake here. North and south are upside-down. It’s like publishing a map of Japan upside-down. There’s no possible way that this could be OK, no matter how you look at it.”   “No, I’m just saying that it’s not good to confuse the readers. Sato-san, don’t you understand what I’m saying? This is a really important thing, you know. Sheesh…”   He even made sure to throw in a few calm sighs as he spoke. In short, he didn’t want to let his superiors know that he had made an irreconcilable mistake, so he was trying to twist it around on me, insisting that no one would realize that Hakata Bay was upside-down. In order to make it all the way to the magazine like that, it had to have passed through proofreading, which means that none of the editors must have caught it. Although these sorts of things kept happening over and over again, I was still shocked by how he wouldn’t even acknowledge his mistake, let alone apologize, and just kept trying to pass it off as insignificant. camo iphone 8 case   Because of this sort of behavior, it became extremely difficult to talk to F-san about ending the serialization. Hardly any time had passed since he became my new editor, but I still had to break into the topic somehow.   “The previous F-san told me that I should talk about this with you, so that’s what I’m going to do. I want this arc to be the final arc of Umizaru.”   After approaching him as directly as I could, F-san pretended not to hear me. Ignoring things that were problematic to him was something he had tried numerous times before. I changed my approach.   “F-san, I’m sitting here in a coffee-shop with you, trying to talk to you. Can’t you tell that I just said something to you?”   As he continued to ignore me, I continued to speak.   “Before you came along, I had been talking with the old F-san about ending Umizaru. iphone 7 case genuine apple You became my new editor in the middle of that discussion, but it hasn’t ended. I believe that Umizaru has reached its endpoint. If I just decide to end the series without contacting the editors’ office, it may cause problems for them, so I want to discuss the matter beforehand. Please let this arc be the final arc. I think I can finish it in about two volumes.”   He ignored that as well, so I said one more thing.   “F-san, I’m speaking to you alone in a coffee shop. Can you hear me?”   Then, he finally opened his mouth.   “I can’t. iphone 6 palm tree case I can’t hear a single thing you’re saying.”   Wow. gear4 iphone x case There are actually adult, fully-employed males who behave like this… I was shocked out of my mind. And so, as if explaining something to a child, I slowly explained why the manga had to end. As I did this, F-san glared at me, and further distorted his asymmetrical face.   He was trying to intimidate me, as unbelievable as it may seem.   Then, when I finished speaking, he lit up a cigarette and replied. “It’s not gonna end. Because I don’t think it should.”   Now, he just sounded like some low-level thug. He switched from the polite pronoun ‘boku’ to the rude, more informal pronoun ‘ore,’ and tried to sound tougher to me.   “Sato-san, man… what is it with you? The editor-in-chief changed, and we’ve switched out a bunch of series. You have no idea when they might cut you off as well… if the editor-in-chief wants to keep doing it, then that’s what we’ll do. It’s not your decision.”   After hearing this new speech pattern of his, I opened my mouth to reply, but he cut me off. “Shut up. You’re going to keep drawing, it right? In times like these, you have to say ‘Yes.'” He wasn’t even going to listen to me anymore.   By this point, he was mixing polite and rude speech together, and none of it made any sense to me.   My clenched fists were shaking. iphone 8 battery charger case “When I try to discuss things with you, we never get anywhere. Please let me talk to the editor-in-chief,” I said, and left. I had to. I felt like if I stayed there any longer, I’d end up punching him.   After that, I kept requesting to speak with the editor-in-chief. But whenever I mentioned anything about ending the serialization, he would always start trying to intimidate me with threats and menacing statements. Our discussions never got anywhere, so I just kept asking him to bring the editor-in-chief out. Every time we had a new meeting, I’d think “OK, this will be the week he finally brings the editor-in-chief” only to be disappointed.   There was a lot I didn’t like about the old F-san, but he would always explain his editing policies and how that related to his own opinion, so for better or worse, at least he never lied. That’s why, even though I didn’t like him, there was still something about him that I could respect. People who have no personal pride are trouble. The only thing the second F-san had pride in was his role as the “gatekeeper,” and unless the artist decided to agree with the editing policies unconditionally, he’d just keep trying to shoo them away.   The old F-san probably realized that I could keep drawing manga without an editor, which is why he entrusted me to this idiotic guard.   Eventually, I just got fed up with him, so whenever he would come to my studio to pick up the manuscript, I’d keep my face glued to my desk, leave a bag containing the manuscript by the door, and force him to leave immediately, among many other childish things. But I thought that if I kept giving him these strong signs, the problem would spread to the entire editors’ office, and I might finally get a chance to right things.   Hm? You think that instead of trying all those roundabout tactics, I just should have tried calling the editor-in-chief and speaking to him directly? Of course, I tried to call him. Many times. His secretary wouldn’t even give me the time of day. I imagine that at the time, not letting Umizaru end was a supreme directive of the editors’ office. The volumes were selling well, and it was a popular series. oasis phone case iphone 8 Ever since the editor-in-chief changed, the magazine had forcibly cut off every series that didn’t fit with the new editing policies. But Umizaru was drawn by a newbie author, so they thought that instead, they could mold me and fit me to their own devices.   But there’s nothing worse than an editor who won’t work for the sake of the manga. I didn’t expect him to do any work for my sake, and since he was an employee at a company, it was only natural that he would do work for their sake, but unless it was benefiting the manga in some way, it wouldn’t really end up benefiting the company. Mangaka bet everything they have on their manga. Of course, I know that there are some artists who don’t think like that, but still. I wasn’t trying to end the manga for my own sake. I was doing it for the manga. I wanted it to end when it was still at its best.   At that time, to me, Umizaru was everything to me. OK, maybe not everything. Sometimes, I would think about perverted stuff. I always thought about W-san, as well, who I was still dating, and I also racked my head over my staff members and their salaries. But despite all that, the majority of the time I spent at work – in other words, all my waking hours – was spent thinking about Umizaru.   One day, I brought up the topic of ending the series again to F-san. However, since I knew he had a hearing problem, I made sure to say it in a very big voice, one that would surely reach his ears.   “I’m the author, and I’m serious about this. Talking with you gets me nowhere, so please bring the editor-in-chief here!”   This happened about two or three months after he became my new editor. I had reached my breaking point.   “If you continue to ignore me, then I’ll stop drawing the manga. I just can’t anymore.”   This is how F-san replied.   “You cocky little newbie. If you keep saying things like that, then I’ll tell them to the editor-in-chief. And then you’ll be the only one in trouble, because you’ll lose your job. Wouldn’t you agree?”   Something inside me snapped.   “Please, hold on a second. What are you going to tell the editor-in-chief? I haven’t even said anything yet. I just keep asking you to let me speak with him.”   “I can’t hear you.”   “You have ears, don’t you?”   “Who are you? Who are you talking to? I’ll really bring him here. Are you sure you want that?”   “Yeah. Bring him here. Talking with you is just a waste of time. Just hurry up and bring him here already!”   “How will bringing him here change anything?”   WHAM!!   I slammed my fists down on the table in that family diner as hard as I could, stood up, and walked out.


Sato’s Road to Manga #31

Soon, I was almost finished drawing my first volume of Umizaru.   The manuscript fees weren’t enough to keep my studio out of the red, so by this point, the 2 million yen of savings that I had at the beginning of the serialization had now been whittled down to 1 million. Of course, publishing the volume would fix that. Once my royalties started coming in, everything would be alright.   Royalties are the payments made by a publisher or record company to the author or artist whose copyrighted works are being sold. With manga, usually, manga artists receive 10% of the list price of every volume that’s sold. That means from a volume that sells for 500 yen, the artist receives 50 yen. If 10,000 volumes sell, then the artist makes 500,000 yen. If 20,000 sell, then that becomes 1 million yen, if 50,000 sell, then 2.5 million, and if 100,000 sell, then 5 million.   With Umizaru, there was also K-san, the person who had been credited with supplying data and the original idea to us. K-san didn’t actually write the story, whether or not he would be paid royalties was a question. He did come up with the original idea, though, and I respected him for that, but his main job was researching and coordinating, and he didn’t take part in the weekly meetings,so although he did help us create the work, it didn’t necessarily mean he could make a copyright claim.   But it’s true that without him, this serialization would have never come to be, so I could understand how one might think that he deserved to receive royalties. But if one starts going down that road, they would also have to include the Japan Coast Guard, since they gave us data, as well as the magazine itself, and lastly, me. (Of course, they could have just hired another mangaka to draw it.) On the other hand, K-san received a monetary sum for each chapter that was published, so in that regard, he was already being compensated for his work.   Deciding who receives what amount of royalties is a very difficult thing to do. iphone 7 8 case It also seemed that K-san mistakenly believed that he was being treated as the “original creator,” so I imagine he also believed that he deserved royalties. Normally, with manga that have both a credited artist and original creator, the 10% of the royalties are split in half between them. If the original creator is a big name and the manga artist is a newbie, they might split it 6-4 or 7-3.   Once I had finished a volume’s worth of chapters, I started thinking about royalties. F-san, my supervising editor, said he was going to look into the company’s policy, and told me to wait a bit for the answer.   “The way I see it, Sato-kun, you’re the one drawing everything, so I don’t think we need to pay royalties to K-san. We have to make sure we don’t do anything different from how we’ve treated similar manga in the past, though, so can you just leave it to me to find out what the company says? I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”   “I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” That didn’t necessarily mean he’d let anything good happen to me, either. When I heard those words, I realized that I’d be better off not raising my expectations. If anything, it felt like he was trying to prepare me to hear some bad news, which made me feel a bit dejected, but I didn’t tell him how I really felt.   I also bet that he was telling K-san something completely different. F-san wasn’t my ally, and the higher I raised my expectations, the more despair I invited on myself. I just kept telling myself that staying emotionless was the way to be, and told F-san: “I wouldn’t get mad if it was 5-5.”   Speaking of which, when was the volume actually going to go on sale?   It suddenly occurred to me that I still didn’t know the exact date. Publishing a trade volume is a big goal for any manga artist, and since I had never actually published one, I wasn’t exactly sure how the procedure went. The chapters were being serialized, so it seemed like we would have to talk about it soon. But when? All I could do was keep waiting. eeyore phone case iphone 8   I was just finishing up the final draft of the ninth chapter, which ended another story arc, and the first volume. When I got done, I was called into the editors’ office. I had worked my hardest in order to finish the first nine chapters on my own, and I wasn’t planning on asking for help for the 10th one. I already prepared an image in my head for it, and researched various sea accident cases to use as references. Still, I was surprised that anyone had yet to ask me about my plans for the next parts. I had heard that if it wasn’t popular, the series would be canceled at the 10th chapter, so as I entered the meeting booth, I wondered if they were going to end my series, and if there wouldn’t be a volume published after all.   When I entered the meeting booth, I noticed that K-san and F-san were already there. It seemed like they had been discussing something before I came. Suddenly, I was handed several documents. There seemed to be some sort of plot (?) written on them, in which a fishing ship capsized and the main character had to go out to save them.   It seemed like they were trying to tell me to write that story. “I think we can have another guy go out and do the research for this, so as soon as we figure out what we’re aiming for, we’ll send him out,” F-san said, as he continued the meeting.   At first, I didn’t really understand what was happening. I thought it was my job to think up the story. All the research on the Coast Guard had been handed to me from the editors’ office, but I was the one who had cooked it up. But now, the story was being pushed along without me. I was being left behind.   Appparently, F-san and K-san had a meeting without me in which they discussed how to handle the story from chapter 10 onwards. And since I had finished the 9th chapter, they had chosen that moment to show it to me.   That’s when I realized that they didn’t think of me as the author. To them, I was just a guy who sat down and drew pictures. “We’re the brains of the operation.” That’s how they saw it.   After that hour-long meeting, we went out to dinner along with ten other editors and the editor-in-chief. There, F-san brought up the topic of the trade volume.   “What do you want to do about the volume, chief? I think summer break may be a good time to publish it. Don’t you think that’d be a good time to publish a volume?”   “Hmmm, yeah, I guess,” the chief answered. “The second volume should be finished by then, so it’ll be easy to start planning it there.”   “In that case, let’s sell the second volume in August, two months later. That’ll make more of an impact. The bookstores will be like ‘Wow, they’re really serious about selling this,’ don’t you think?” F-san asked.   “No, the readers probably won’t have enough money to buy them both that close together. They’ll be using their money on other things during summer break.”   “Oh, come on! Kids these days get enough allowance to buy a volume of manga a month, you know! Gahahaha!”   And on and on they went.   My serialization was not being canceled, and they also planned to publish a volume of collected chapters. Of course, I didn’t find out about this until February, five months after July, after going in over 1 million yet of debt from drawing Umizaru for four months. At this rate, by the time the volume came out, I would not only have spent my entire savings, but I would probably have to borrow money to go on living. iphone 7 case matt black When I made mention of this, F-san got angry at me for managing my staff badly. heavy duty iphone 6 plus case   “You pay them too much,” he said.   At the time, they made 150,000 yen a month. baby blue iphone 6 case I rented a beat-up apartment that I also used as my studio for 67,000 yen a month, gave them no insurance, and had them work 12 hours a day there. I tried to fix it so that they wouldn’t work more than 40 hours a week, but honestly, not giving them insurance was against the law. Every month, as I looked at my balance drop lower and lower in my checkbook, I always wished that I could pay them more.   Publishing that trade volume was a life-or-death situation to me, and I didn’t understand how they could talk about such a thing in front of me, as if it had nothing at all to do with me. I also couldn’t believe that they could pay me such cheap manuscript fees and then yell at me for paying my staff “too much.”   Eventually, I just stopped talking. I completely lost my will to speak.   At first, F-san got angry at me for this, but then he coaxed me into going to a second place with him.   Soon, K-san, F-san, and myself were sitting in a dimly-lit bar. There, I finally opened my mouth again. I felt as if I would never be able to go home unless I did.   “Aren’t I the one who’s drawing this manga?”   F-san and K-san stared at me in shock.