While the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to navigate the perils of working from home for the first time, there is one particular set of the Japanese workforce that is already accustomed to it: mangaka. These creators work day and night to bring us our favorite stories and characters, and more often than not in home studio spaces – hence why Comic Natalie has been asking them for all of their home working tips.
Featured in the series of articles so far are a number of creators, but perhaps the most well known is Paru Itagaki. Readers of our site already got a glimpse into her workspace thanks to her appearance at OTAQUEST Connect, but the BEASTARS creator had plenty to say about the dos and don’ts of working from home.
When asked what are the good and bad points of working from home, Itagaki remarked that while it ends up being more convenient for the ever-busy mangaka, your “societal standing” ends up lowering as a result: “It’s like always being a student,” she said, “You end up longing to wear a suit.”
Perhaps that less to do with the job of a mangaka and more to do with how Itagaki dresses as she works, as a photo of her footstool shows off some pretty gnarly pyjama pants. In any case, she also stressed the importance of “sleeping well” as well as cleaning your work space “daily” – looking at her schedule above, you can see that she dedicates quite a lot of time to these two things.
This is in stark contrast to Saho Yamamoto, author of Mujihi na 8bit and recently featured as part of the Pollyanna official MOTHER comic, who only works late at night and ends up living a life akin to a vampire.
Other interesting tidbits from the Comic Natalie articles include the fact that Kaoru Curryzawa, author of the Kremlin gag manga, has to lock his phone in a timed box to ensure that he doesn’t spend too much time on Twitter. Hideo Shinanogawa, author of the Yama to Shokuyoku to Watashi food manga, also enjoys chopping wood with an ax whenever he needs “a change of pace.” That’s certainly one way to do it.
Going into these articles, I was honestly under the impression that mangaka spent all of their time working, with little room for anything else. By sharing their work schedules, however, these mangaka have shown us that effective home working is all about striking a balance, finding what works for you and giving your brain a chance to rest. As someone who has also always worked from home, that’s certainly advice that I can get behind.
You can read Comic Natalie’s articles on mangaka home working via their official website.