Manga Artist Interview: Nariko Enomoto
Nihon Manga Gakuin (Japan Manga Institute) interviewed manga artist Nariko Enomoto in December 2006. Nariko Enomoto's hit title Sentiment no Kisetsu, an eight volume series that was serialized in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits, tackles social issues from the views of women. The manga was later adapted into a TV drama. Enomoto is filled with the passion of creating manga in various fields, as she has also created various yaoi manga.
Date of Birth: November 5th, 1967
Blood Type: B
Favorite Things: I became interested in soccer after this year's World Cup, I watch the soccer games from overseas on Cable TV.
Favorite Manga or Mangaka: Yoshihiro Togashi (Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter X Hunter). I'm looking forward to his comeback.
Favorite Drawing Accessories
Enomoto: Toshima Ward, Tokyo.
Did you like manga when you were a girl?
Enomoto: Of course. My father's friend ran a book rental shop, so I was able to read manga there for free. During those days, manga were not packaged, so I could read all kinds of manga, old and new.
My favorite manga was Umi no Triton by Osamu Tezuka. I like male artists. I also enjoyed reading the works of Shotaro Ishinomori, Sanpei Shirato, Shigeru Mizuki.
Did you become a mangaka because you like manga?
Enomoto: I have read so many manga, I also participated in my high school's manga and drew manga. I had a dream to become a manga artist, but I didn't have determination because I was not good at drawing. When I went to college, I participated in the literature club to write novels, that's when I lost my passion for manga.
When did you change your mind?
Enomoto: After graduating college I found a job, but two or three years later, my mind was caught by Yoshihiro Togashi's Yu Yu Hakusho on Weekly Shonen Jump. After reading Yu Yu Hakusho, I wanted to create another story with Yu Yu Hakusho's characters, so I began to draw a parody manga.
As I drew the manga, I felt the passion once again, so I decided to become a professional manga artist. After working four years in a company, I told my mother about my plan and quit. My mother got mad at me, but I didn't have any regrets because of my passion for manga.
How did you approach the publishers?
Enomoto: I didn't have enough skill to go professional, so I made Doujinshi. I created yaoi and bishojo stories with my favorite manga characters. Soon an editor from Shougakukan read my work and approached for me, later that editor was assigned to me. At that time school girl prostituting was a big social problem, so I centered Sentiment no Kisetsu, which serialized in Big Comic Spirits, around that topic. Back then I was nameless since I didn't win any manga awards, so readers would wonder: "who is she?"
How was the reaction for your debut title?
Enomoto: My title followed the real life of schoolgirls and described their mentality in detail.
"Why are they prostituting?" “What is their background?" I first described the girls' mind, then the social issues.
Each installment of Sentiment no Kisetsu was a stand alone story, I think readers liked it. There were eight volumes total, and I had to create a different story each week, so it could become very challenging.
You had the experience of working in the society, but did you have any trouble when creating a story?
Enomoto: I have a lot of trouble each time creating a new story. I need to do more study. However, my experience from working in the society helped me.
When I start a new manga, at first I have a lot of passion and ideas, but later on, all the ideas become almost identical. It's bad to use too many gimmicks to cover up for lack of ideas, so it was a lot of trouble for me. In my stories, I want to express something that represents the theme of the story, for me that was the heart of a story. I want to make my stories flow naturally, but sometimes stories go in strange and unexpected directions, which can break the heart of the story.
Do you have anything that you constantly remind yourself of when working?
Enomoto: Sometimes I lose track of the purpose of my story. I made stories where I forcibly used techniques that I would later regret on using. I always remind myself to prevent something like that from happening, but sometimes I can't. I always think to myself: "What is interesting?" but thinking to much only confuses me and makes me nervous.
Now I'm working on a manga serialized in a women's magazine, I'm constantly trying to find my own theme and ways to show it to the readers.
Do you have anything you would like to write about in the future?
Enomoto: It's been a decade since my debut. A women's magazine serializes romance manga that deals with different kinds of love affairs. While I want to create romance manga, I also want to create stories that show a person's emotion and existence, works that explore the true nature of humans as a literature manga. I'm also interested in science fiction manga.
Do you have any message for those who want to become a mangaka?
Enomoto: Create stories that you want to create, so you can enjoy yourself while creating it and the story will also be interesting to the readers. The best way to create a story is to make what you want to make.
Please introduce another artist for our next interview.
Enomoto: I introduce Yuuki Kimoto, she is currently working on a manga serialized in Cheese! I received a lot of help from her even before my debut as a manga artist. ＜(＿ ＿)＞