Some of the popular work I have written include Lone Wolf and Cub (Artist; Goseki Kojima), Lady Snowblood (Artist; Kazuo Kamimura), Crying Freeman (Artist; Ryoichi Ikegami), Goyokiba [Hanzo the Razor] (Artist; Takeshi Kanda), Kōkōsei Burai Hikae (Artist; Keiji Yoshitani) and Auction House (Artist; Seisaku Kanou) and co-authored X-Men Unlimited Vol 1 #50 with Kengo Kaji (Artist; Paul Smith)

In 1977 I founded the Gekiga Sonjuku educational program. Some of the students I have taught Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2), Tetsuo Hara (Fist of the North Star), Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest series), Keisuke Itagaki (Baki the Grappler) and Hiroshi Shiibashi (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan). I hope to keep on teaching my craft to the next generation of authors and artists.

My Proof:

Thank you very much for the questions! I had a wonderful time with you!

Comments: 92 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

0mn0mnomnom8 karma


With the globalization of all forms of media, how would you like to see manga and anime branch out of Japan?

What manga are you following at the moment?

Kazuo_Koike14 karma

From the standpoint of the environment, manga and the amount of paper it uses, may definitely be a problem.

Printed manga may be completely supplanted by digital. You won't flip pages anymore, but swipe them. Because of that, how manga are presented will change.

I do not have time to read them. Even now I am still writing them.

squidthesid8 karma

Outside of Osamu Tezuka, who do you feel are the most influential mangaka? How do you feel about the current state of the industry? That is, do you think that the market is over-commercialized with moe and harem manga?

Also, how do you feel about scanlation, or fan-translations of Japanese-language manga distributed online?

Kazuo_Koike13 karma

Some of my pupils ask me about moe manga as well, but I'm afraid that an 80 year old like me does not know very much about the moe genre.

DokAwesome7 karma

What is the most memorable moment in your career?

And how does it feel to have taught and produced so many great, memorable and succesfull mangaka ?

Kazuo_Koike9 karma

Everything I have written so far is not perfect, and I have high expectations for everything that I will write from now on. Every work I have written in the past, there are certain things that I would like to revise.

I teach them how to become published manga-ka and the reason that they have become so successful is because they had the talent. Of course, I have some students who were not able to become published.

MrBurgundy7776 karma

Do you like Cheese?

Kazuo_Koike6 karma

Yes, I do like cheese, even though I don't eat it that often. I tend to eat steak more often.

shwag9455 karma

Hi Mr. Koike,

It is a pleasure to be able to speak with you! We don't get a lot of opportunities to speak with mangakas in the west or on reddit so this is a rare opportunity!

I have several questions.

  • Over your prolific career how have you adapted to the ever changing nature of the manga industry?

  • What are your thoughts on the new movements to digital manga drawing and other experimental forms of creation? (For example Asano Inio's use of photography, digital drawing, and other computer techniques)

  • Who are some new young mangaka's that you admire and that we should keep our eyes on?

  • How has your partnership with American publishers been like?

  • Finally What do you do on your down time?

Thank you for your time to do this AMA!

Kazuo_Koike10 karma

Over your prolific career how have you adapted to the ever changing nature of the manga industry? Don't think of the story first, but instead think of creating a character and various problems that will entice the reader. By doing this, it becomes unnecessary to worry about those changes of the time.

sleepysloppy5 karma

wow! I really love your story Lone Wolf and Cub and the Crying Freeman.

I know that the Crying Freeman already has a live action movie, so my question is what story would you love to be adapted to live action next?

Kazuo_Koike5 karma

Thank you very much. I would like all of my work to be made into movies.

Duelit5 karma

In your years of teaching, can you reference a time when you may have learned something new from your students? As a teacher, I always find that I am at my most happiest when I learn something new from my students because they branch out or go above and beyond in their studies.

Also, can you name a couple choice manga done by your students you feel best represents growth/progression of technique or storytelling in manga in the past few years? (I love to read haha)

Kazuo_Koike5 karma

I don't feel that I'm teaching my students. I feel like I'm helping them create their own work by sitting down with them and talking to them.

AlexanderThePrettyOk5 karma

Who's your favorite mangaka? What's your favorite manga?

Kazuo_Koike12 karma

I like them all. It really is hard to pick a favorite.

I would have to say that the manga done by my students are my favorites.

catire315 karma

What do you think in fanmade translations?

Kazuo_Koike13 karma

I think the least you can do before translating is getting the author's permission to do so.

I feel that publishing translations online without getting permission is not a good thing.

Godsopp5 karma

I saw the kick-starter for the Lone Wolf and Cub motion comic, which is interesting. I do wonder though, does that rule out any chance of the series ever getting an anime adaption?

Also, what words do you have to artists who are just starting out? I started learning to draw a few months ago and my favorite manga (one being Lone Wolf and Cub) are definitely a major influence in that decision.

Kazuo_Koike7 karma

I am currently planning many different projects. These projects are going to be released through many different forms of media. Beginning with the Kickstarter and the motion comic, I am planning on working through many new forms of media.

As to my advice to starting artists, I would say; create a dynamic and interesting main character.

diamondisunbreakable5 karma

What are your hobbies besides manga?

Kazuo_Koike12 karma

I like golf and mahjong. I also like watching American TV series. I want to see Jack Bauer again.

Arcterion4 karma

What is one trope in manga that you absolutely cannot stand?

Personally I grow rather tired of violent tsunderes.

Kazuo_Koike8 karma

I guess I've never really considered this.

konaixshurikens4 karma

Any comments about the Japanese Government passing the bill to Ease Visa Rules on Foreign Animators and Designers?

Kazuo_Koike8 karma

This made me remember a trip I took to San Diego while carrying a real Japanese sword with me. I was stopped at customs, but one of the employees there was a Lone Wolf and Cub fan, so they let me through normally.

I believe that the Japanese government should value artistic content more. There are lots of students from abroad studying at my school. Having quality communication with those students is rather hard however.

2th4 karma

What little rituals or quirks do you perform when working? By that do you have to keep your pens in a certain or, sit in a certain position, listen to specific music?

Kazuo_Koike9 karma

I find it hard to write while staying in one spot, so I tend to move around a lot when I write.

Zerutah4 karma

What's it like working with Ryoichi Ikegami?

Kazuo_Koike8 karma

He was still very young at the time, and very passionate. I felt his passion and was being inspired by it, I was also able to work passionately thanks to him.

When I made some good drawings he would try to write a worthy story for them, not wanting to lose. It was this form of competition between us that made us work really well together.

brahmaputrastt4 karma

I have always wished to be able to talk to a mangaka, and behold, one of the most influential at that!

Some general questions about manga as a medium:

  1. What are some works that are a must read in your opinion (aside from all your works, of course!) Can be series that are very influential in the history of manga, or your personal favorite works.

  2. The lack of English official releases for manga, is this due to the little profit, or something else? There's a large demand for them here, and I always find this confusing. It's painful not being able to read critically acclaimed series because they don't have an english version.

  3. How do you see the future of manga as a medium? From the conception of manga until present times it has been a medium almost exclusive to Japan in terms of production. Will it remain so, or do you think it will go international instead?

And a bonus random question:

  1. Favorite non-japanese food?

Kazuo_Koike5 karma

3.I think Japanese manga will continue to spread. It won't be on paper, but in digital form.

In Japan, there were so many people reading manga on the trains in the past. But there are fewer people reading magazines, just people looking at their smart phones.

bonus: I really like steak, and bread also. So I don't mind if I have to spend a lot of time in America.

  1. I don't think there are any "super characters" in this generation of manga. I think Japanese manga artists have to work towards creating these characters.

ckrit4 karma

How do you approach teaching what you know to your students?

Do you focus on theoretical knowledge or take a more practical route?

Do you like to teach more about art or storytelling?

I can imagine it must be a wonderful experience to get to teach those that go on to become well-know manga artists themselves. Are there you are still close to today?




Kazuo_Koike9 karma

I teach how to create characters and mystery. How do you approach teaching what you know to your students? How to build a character clearly, and then put that character into a puzzle they need to get out of. With those two key things in place, the story comes into place. I do not believe creating the story from the outset is a good way to begin.

I can imagine it must be a wonderful experience to get to teach those that go on to become well-know manga artists themselves. Are there you are still close to today? I am still very close to them. Even now, my pupils will hold parties for me, and these parties often have a big crowd of famous manga artists.

Do you like to teach more about art or storytelling? I don't teach either. I teach about how to create a good character. The first thing I get my students to do is to create 3 good characters.

Do you focus on theoretical knowledge or take a more practical route? I am always getting information through videos, so much so that people call it a video shower. Through these videos, I catch up on a lot of information.

HessuCS4 karma

What do you feel like is the best product of your career personally?

Kazuo_Koike8 karma

I would say Samurai Executioner. For Samurai Executioner, I had to complete a single chapter in just 16 pages, which was very hard to do. But once it was done, it attracted a lot of fans, and turned out to be a very good piece.

MayhemHavoc3 karma

Which mangaka do you wish to work with most? And what manga do you think was so good you wish you could read it again for the first time?

Kazuo_Koike9 karma

I would like to work with Stan Lee.

When I retire, I want to take a good, long reread of Lone Wolf and Cub.

I worried an entire week about what to write as the final line in Lone Wolf and Cub. Then a week later, it just came to me, "My grandson."

Kunsan3 karma

What is has been your favorite project? any favorite western movie?

Kazuo_Koike6 karma

I think it would have to be High Noon.

I like westerns because the character and mystery are very simple which makes for an interesting watch.

iYube3 karma

Thank you for all those enjoyable works that you've created both in the past and presently!
If you could change one thing in the manga industry as a whole, what would it be?
Who were your biggest inspirations when you first started drawing manga?
Also, lately I've watched Urasawa Naoki's Manben aired on NHK a while ago, and it would be an extremely nice experience to see you on one of the episodes that will air starting this month.

Kazuo_Koike6 karma

Who were your biggest inspirations when you first started drawing manga? Who were your biggest inspirations when you first started drawing manga?

I found inspiration in Japanese graphic novels and American comics such as Superman, Batman and the Hulk. Also in American movies like Dirty Harry. Rather than the cartoony manga, I would say I am influenced by the realism of graphic novels.

vanime3 karma

Have you ever had writer's block? If so, what do you do to get past that and write a good story?

Kazuo_Koike7 karma

I think speaking and writing are the same thing, so as long as I can speak, I will never stop being able to write. I have many different ways to get unstuck when I cannot think of any good ideas. I think to go drinking and eating is running away from the realities, so what I do is watch or see a brilliant work. When I do this, it usually motivates me to create a work that does not lose to this work.

zel03 karma

Which artist did you have the best experience working with? Which artist would you like to work with in the future?

Kazuo_Koike6 karma

Goseki Kojima and Ryoichi Ikegami. Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

One more would definitely be Kazuo Kamimura.


Any advice for a foreigner trying to become a Japanese mangaka?

Kazuo_Koike9 karma

Manga artists in Japan draw three hit worthy faces everyday. In one year that's 1000 faces. If you do that, you will be able to draw some amazing pictures. Students who are able to keep this up will surely make it.

I have only seen three of my students do this. What's important is that you keep it up.


Koike Sensei,

Are planing on putting out a new manga anytime soon?

Kazuo_Koike6 karma

I'm currently working hard on the production of a new manga. This one will be adapted into a motion comic as well.


Hello Mr. Koike, how did the use of ン instead of ん started?

Also want to say thank you for your inspirational tweets, they really help youngsters like me to take a step back and reevaluate my life.

Kazuo_Koike4 karma

Thank you very much.

zoullyka2 karma

What's your favorite type of manga ?

Kazuo_Koike5 karma

Motion comics!!

PublicName2 karma

What's your favorite Angry Birds level?

Kazuo_Koike10 karma

I haven't played it, but I do enjoy Kankore. (艦隊これくしょん)

Zerutah2 karma

How did Hanappe Bazooka happen? What's the story behind that?

Kazuo_Koike7 karma

I asked myself if there was anything I couldn't do, and started writing. I worked with Nagai Gou and that was the piece we created.