Who are the famous women mangaka in Japan?
Manga is relatively famous in many countries, especially in Asia, where Japanese animation has become popular, too. The term manga (まんが) means comics and cartooning originally created using the Japanese language and published in Japan. Manga comics or otherwise called イラスト (irasuto or illustration in english) is widely read and loved not just by the japanese people but also people from all corners of the world. My childhood memories in my home country is entangled with nostalgic recollection including Sailor Moon, Fushigi Yuugi and Sakura Card Captor. Japanese Animes are very popular that’s why it became a benchmark for cartoon animation all over the world. In fact, I think that is how Japan introduced its talent to the rest of the world.
Business and commerce, science fiction, action, comedy, and romance, among others, are just a few of the many genres you will see in bookstores and manga shops. Did you know that some of the famous manga artists or mangaka who have produced works widely read across the country and globally are women?
You have most probably watched the live action and anime adaptations of their works but didn’t know that these women mangaka (illustrators) were the ones behind the original stories published as manga.
Get to know some of the top women mangaka in Japan whose other works you might also want to read and collect.
is the creator of Pretty Sailor Guardian Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn)or globally known as Sailor Moon, one of the most popular and successful manga publications around the world. The Sailor Moon series has also earned Takeuchi the Kodansha Manga Award in 1993. Most mangaka study at an art college in Japan, sometimes under an apprenticeship program, but a few like Takeuchi made it into the industry through a contest. It’s also notable that Takeuchi was taking up a degree in Chemistry, a totally unrelated science degree, while working on her manga series.
is the male pen name of the woman behind the manga Fullmetal Alchemist ( 鋼の錬金術師 Hepburn: Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, lit. “Alchemist of Steel”). Arakawa has written and drawn the series that was published in Monthly Shonen Gangan in 2001. I remember watching the anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist back in high school on a local television network in the Philippines. In 2003, Arakawa’s work was also adapted into feature-length animated movie. Mangaka becomes popular because of the quality of their work and the number of copies sold, among others. Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist has sold more than 60 millions copies on its first publication.
is a Japanese Shojo manga artist, whose works I have read and watched. I have a collection of her Fushigi Yuugi (ふしぎ遊戯: The Mysterious Play or Curious Play,) manga with English translations already and have also kept copies of the anime and film adaptations of her famous works like Ceres, The Celestial Legend (Ayashi No Ceres) and Absolute Boyfriend (Zetai Kareshi). Her Fushigi Yuugi The Mysterious Play was adapted into an anime series and films which became very popular in other countries like the Philippines. I was once convinced I wanted to become a mangaka, too, because of Yuu Watase. I must also admit that once upon a time, I was crazy about one of the characters in Fushigi Yuugi, one of Miaka Yuki’s seven warriors named Tasuki. If I ever meet Yuu Watase in this lifetime, I will really ask a lot of questions about her creative inspiration for Tasuki’s character.
is another affluent mangaka whose works like Urusei Yatsura and Inuyasha (戦国御伽草子 犬夜叉: Sengoku Otogizōshi Inuyasha)earned her the Shogakukan Manga Award twice. Her works have been translated into different languages. Inuyasha was also adapted into an anime television series that also became very popular. Back in high school, Kagumi, the female character in Inuyasha was one of my favorite sketching subjects.
Other notable women mangaka you should also read are Moto Hagio and Miki Miura, the former is considered the founding mother of modern shojo manga, and the latter famous for its long-running award-winning manga Chibi Maruko-chan. You can’t also miss Sato Fumiya who has earned the Kodansha Manga Award for her works Kinda’ichi Case Files and Detective School Q.
In Japan, the Kodansha Manga Award and the Shogakukan Manga Awards are among the major manga awards sponsored by most-respected publishing companies. These awards have categories for shonen (young men audience), shojo (girls audience) and general audiences.
If you cannot afford to start your manga collection just yet, worry not because Japan has a number of manga shops where you can borrow some of the works of your favorite mangaka. Reading manga is also one way to learn about Japan’s culture and it will also help you improve your Nihongo fluency.