Saruta - interview with Japanese manga artist

Saruta is a Japanese amateur manga artist living in Kyoto. He draws bilingual manga drawn in Japanese and English by using digital painting software together. We have conducted an interview with him.

Which kind of details do you look into when you first started to draw bilingual manga?

I bothered how to know onomatopoeic words in English (thud and thump etc.). Fortunately, I found and have used this translation site . If this site doesn't exist, I must have cost much money to buy many comic books in English. And I also bothered how I draw speeches and onomatopoeic words on the same manuscript. Again, fortunately, I have used digital paint softs and applied them to draw.

Please tell us about the current condition and subjects of Japanese manga. Why is this important?

First, although many foreign people may not know, the home market of Japanese manga has continued to reduce. Almost all manga magazines have decreased largely in circulation, even the most popular magazine, Shonen Jump decreases less than one-third of maximum. Although we consider the migration to E-book and the popularization of social network games, Japanese has taken leave from manga as entertainment. Second, about the income of manga authors. Recently, websites showing manga have increased as the popularization of smartphones. But they are basically shown for free and copy money for authors is cheap, and books developing royalty aren't published without considerable popularity. The difference between a small proportion of authors with very popular works and all the other authors is continuing to extend. Some authors draw products with working part-time.

What is the present style and what are your purposes of manga by drawing?

First, I draw the picture without speeches and onomatopoeic words in analog by using pen and paper, and scanned it. Second, I draw speeches and onomatopoeic words in English and Japanese on the scanned image in different layers by the digital software.

My purposes of drawing bilingual manga are various.

Although Japanese manga recently said to have become popular all over the world, I don't think so. The world market size of comics(containing Japanese manga) is slight in comparison with movies and novels yet. I love Japanese manga and would like to let more foreign people know the attraction of it. Under the circumstances, manga is mediated between translation agencies and other publishers until it is sold in foreign countries. So it takes much time and the price also becomes expensive. My ultimate purpose is that Japanese manga in various languages is published at the same time and price worldwide on the internet. This may lead to extend the market size of comics and give many authors the chance to draw more income. At least, I would like to create an opportunity for it.

Do you read/watch any particular manga series? What kind of manga do you personally like to read/watch?

I like all kind of manga basically. I read every manga, if it is interesting. If I must say, I like youth comics. I'm not young now...

What are your expectations of a professional Manga Artist? What kind of skills do you aim to achieve in the near future?

I hope that manga artists from now on study foreign languages containing English to sell their works not only in the country but also abroad.

Authors can hire translators, but I think they had better translate his words by themselves to tell their nuances correctly. Of course, I would like to come in touch with various works and knowledge to heighten my works' quality, and my English skill isn't probably enough and I should improve it.

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