Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Interview with the Artist of Kochi-Kame
With this month being Kochi-Kame's 30th year of serialization in Weekly Shounen Jump, Mainichi sits down with the artist of Kochi-Kame and talks about what it's like being the creator of the longest running manga series.
Everyone in Japan knows "Kochi-kame," the shortened nickname of "Kochira Katsushika-ku Kamearikouen-mae Hashutsujo" (This is the police station in front of Kameari Park in Katsushika ward). This September marks the 30th anniversary of Kochi-kame’s serialization in Weekly Shounen Jump, a competitive battlefield of popular manga series. Today Kochi-Kame has 151 volumes in circulation, with over 135 million copies sold.
"My source of power is the joy of creation. I've been able to keep working with 100% of my ability. There was nothing that annoyed me." Said Osamu Akimoto, mangaka of Kochi-Kame.
Osamu Akimoto avoided saying "I'm enjoying it," since it is very difficult to survie in the "jungle” known as Shounen Jump, but "I have survived for the past 30 years. I guess I can be honest now".
Kochi-Kame is a comedy manga about a reckless policeman "Ryo-san," who always create troubles for his colleagues and the residents of Kameari. The series became a TV anime series in '96 at the time of Kochi-Kame's 20th anniversary, which attracted new fans. The theme of the series has also gradually changed around that time.
"I created Kochi-Kame in accordance with the trends of that time, but I also began to introduce some of the former Kochi-Kame episodes for my old fans." Said Osamu Akimoto.
The biggest problem when creating the manga is to stay awake. "Booze is my enemy." Said Akimoto. The stories are based on Akimoto's knowledge about models, popular music, festivals, etc., Akimoto also works hard to gather new knowledge, usually he would run around with camera in hand until he gets tired.
"I can't stop, I want to incorporate many new ideas into my story, so fans can say, "Kochi-kame is still interesting."
Today many KochiKame-related projects are in the works, such as collaborations with other mangaka, and a data CD called "Super Kochi-kame", all of which are part of the Kochi-kame 30th Anniversary project.
Translated by T. Ohara