Home How to Become a Mangaka in Japan

How to Become a Mangaka in Japan

Have you ever wondered how to become a mangaka and get your work published in Japan? Well, Mipon teamed up with Ryou Katagiri, a professional mangaka and the author of Tutti! and Chuganji Clan’s Secret, to discuss the process. Katagiri, whose Tutti! manga was published in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine, shared her experiences, and gave viewers insight into how the manga industry works. She also discussed the importance of art school and gave tips to self-taught artists.

Starting out as an artist

For those who are just starting out, Katagiri recommends they try copying the drawings in their favorite manga. Paper and pencil will do just fine. After that, they should try drawing their original work. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look good, since it’s all just practice in the beginning.

Currently, most manga is drawn digitally – around 80%. However, Katagiri says that some Jump authors still use analog techniques. For a beginner, a pencil and paper are perfectly fine. She also points that art school is a good choice for people who want to get better. Katagiri is self-taught, but she recommends an art college to those who love drawing and want to get better.

How to become a published mangaka?

What most people don’t know is that in order to become a mangaka you need to apply for and win a Manga Award. If you win, an editor will start to support you. The first step is to draw one-shots (short stories) for magazines, after which you get an opportunity to publish an actual manga book. Sadly, most people give up before this happens, since it usually takes 2 or 3 years and sometimes even more. If a manga isn’t popular, it’ll be canceled and your career might be over. If that happens, you will have to start all over again.

Katagiri also talked about finding a job as a manga assistant. Manga assistants usually helped published mangakas to clean up their work and finish it on time. She underlined the importance of speaking Japanese for this role since most Japanese people don’t speak English well enough. Most important meetings are also conducted in Japanese. She does, however, mention that many manga assistant jobs can be found online, on websites like GANMO.

How much time does it take to complete a chapter?

For a weekly magazine, a mangaka needs to complete a chapter per week. That is about 15 to 20 pages. Katagiri says that it takes her 2-3 to come up with the story, and 4-5 days to complete all the drawings. The page requirement for a monthly magazine is higher, so it can take a week or two for the story. The remaining two or three weeks are used to complete the backgrounds and the inking. Each story is also 30 to 50 pages long. Mangakas always work on a tight schedule.

Mipon and Ryou Katagiri Interview

If you want to hear more about the manga industry from a published mangaka you should check out the full interview below:

Source: Press Release, Mipon’s YouTube channel
Featured image: Bakuman ©大場つぐみ・小畑健/集英社・J.C.Staff

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