Day in the Life of a Japanese Manga Creator

This is a day in the life of a mangaka This is Reiji Miyajima 34 year old manga creator also known in Japanese as a mangaka living in Tokyo and this is how he starts his day He has a wife and kids but they don't stay with him in this apartment as he rents this place out as a separate office So he can focus on creating manga as sometimes he requires complete silence to work Plus he sometimes uses this office apartment as a place to sleep when working late like last night By design his apartment office is only a short walk away from his home studio It's typical for mangaka in Japan to work from their home In Reiji's case The first floor of his home is used for the office while the upper floors are for family use So firstly in the morning, he always cleans the first floor bathroom since his home is also used as an office It's important for him to provide a clean toilet or his assistants All right, so it's about 6 o'clock in the morning and he's about to come through into the office Good morning You're up so early What time did you sleep last night? So this is a studio office all the extra desks are assigned to his assistants who'll be arriving later today He built this house about five years ago and had this area designed specifically for his manga studio It's a bit nicer and more modern compared to your stereotypical mangaka studio in Japan So he creates the manga called Kanojo Okarishimasu which translates to renting a girlfriend popular love-comedy rensai in a japanese weekly shounen magazines since 2017 Rensai means it's been turn into a comic series in partnership with the publisher Most of all mangaka (?) are Rensai satus as it signifies that the manga is popular enough for a weekly mass audience But as soon as a manga is no longer popular Publishers will usually cancel the series so manga can have the pressure to continue to produce and deliver high quality manga every week Today's Wednesday And it's a critical part of the weekly publishing schedule as reiji's last full day before he needs to submit a genko Which in Japanese means a final completed draft of the weekly manga to his publisher Kodansha It's also launch day for his latest manga in the Weekly Shonen magazine So in the morning He usually draws a colored illustration to post on his Twitter account to promote the new release you draw everything digitally? I heard that many Mangaka have trouble making their weekly deadline, especially paper-based ones But you seem so calm today, So that must make you that fastest mangaka in Japan right? So did you study how to draw? So he did learn in school But he believes he learned more and more as he worked with various publishing editors overtime And what was your first paid job and how much was it? So he says the manga was about 55 pages with a colored title page, nine thousand yen per page Which is about 82 dollars and the color title page was about double that Which means he got about four thousand six hundred and seventy five dollars That's pretty good for his first paid job, for those of you who aren't familiar with manga Let me explain how a manga is created Mangaka start by creating a rough sketch called Ne-Mu which is reviewed by editors from the publishing company who review the sketch in red Reiji told me that the ne-mu process takes the most time as it requires about four to five revisions once editor satisfied with a sketch, a mangaka draws a final draft called genko inking the sketch now done digitally and meticulously adding tones and filling drawings in black So this is pretty much Reiji's morning, he gets here at 6:00 and he's just pretty much the drawers all morning Very very simple, but it takes a lot of dedication and I think the staff doesn't come in until 10:00 So I guess we'll just wait for them to arrive.

So while he's working on his manga, let's go explore a little bit So just right out to the office it looks like he has this like kind of little workout in gym area It has a bicycle and he even has an exercise ball So on the other side, what's also pretty cool is that he has a full-on wall as a chalk board if you go On this side is a chalk board And look he even has a slippers for he's assistants And I think just over here there's another room Let's go see what's inside So this area it looks like another office space just to the right of me here there's a huge drawing pad and you have all of his books behind me Maybe let's get him to come inside here and explain a little bit more Reiji what's that? Oh, I see he used actual models for his drawings, so can I ask you a favor? Can I draw one line in the manga? So he's gonna let me draw right now.

Like he just gave me the pen All right, so I guess it's not that hard to be a mangaka, so easy right? Wow you guys my line will be an episode 118 page 13, so check it out There's the first assistant So how long have you been an assistant? And why are you wearing the same shirt? Oh and there's another one Hey, did you hear the assistant call Reiji sensei which means teacher in Japanese? It's typical for our assistants and editors to call professional mangaka sensei In Japan there are certain jobs that are given the title sensei other than teachers like lawyers doctors governors and mangaka as a way to show respect Now that everyone's here he instructs the each person on what to do one by one and they share all the drafts in Dropbox Which means that reiji rarely needs to get out of his seat to work with his assistance So it usually has four to five assistants come in every Wednesday, but some mangaka hire ten assistants on a shift basis It really depends though on each mangaka and how they like to run their studio It's also interesting that each of them using different drawing tools I guess it really depends on each Mangaka And what makes them feel comfortable when they draw did you work as an assistant back in the day? So looks like all four staff have already arrived while their here Let's ask them a few questions to see how their jobs are like How long have you been working here? How did you find this job? How about you? How did you find this job? Do you have rensai? So when I'm finding what's different than most offices is that they actually Like talk of a lot of the time while they're working for some people that may be the perfect job So reiji's two male assistants have actually got the rensai And usually when this happens assistants quit to start off on their own But both have decided to continue to work with Reiji Which says a lot, but let's see is Reiji a good boss? Yay, finally Lunchtime he often goes to lunch with his assistants But since it's a nice day, he's gonna take his dog for a walk in the park while also grabbing a small lunch So lunch hasn't finished yet They still have about 10 to 15 minutes before lunch is over and it looks like all of them are back here They're using their own free time to work on their own manga So, what are you working on now? I think it's like just a little after one they're pretty much gonna be doing this the rest of the day And took us 6 o'clock so…

So let me just take a little bit of time and explain how kind of this whole mangaka thing works Since his manga appears in a weekly magazine He has a one-week production cycle He meets publishers decide the plot on Monday works on the final sketch on Tuesday Finishes the genko final draft with his assistants on Wednesday and from Thursday through Sunday He worked on drafting and creating the story for the next ne-mu as well as gathering information Like taking photos for Backgrounds and then back to the publisher meeting on Monday Okay, That was the first time he moved from his desk and during work hours You just witness the biggest action scene at a mangaka So what do you advise people to do who want to become a mangaka? He says that the manga industry is short with assistants So if artists have a set of skills, maybe that person can contact the publisher or mangaka directly for a job He thinks is important to keep trying to submit your manga to publishers or other manga websites like pixiv and also to find your own unique strengths That can compete with existing popular mangaka Look, he uses women's magazines as a reference for female characters And he even pulls out his heroine Miso Haru's outfit from the fashion magazine (?) Interesting So we're reaching the end of the day and it looks like the manga actually starting to come together You can see that the pictures are starting to get filled out You can see the tone so they have to actually finish all of it today and send it to the publisher Have you and your assistants finished the genko? I mean all of it? Reiji usually goes straight to dinner with the staff after work But today he has an irregular meeting with his editors So he's joining a bit afterwards So instead of having the weekly meeting at the office Reiji prefers to meet with a publisher at an Izakaya Restaurant So they can heat and drink while they discuss the next episode By the way, Reiji is sitting at the furthest location from the door Which is called Kamiza in japanese It's a top seat within the room meaning the seat of Honor and the seat closest to the door is called Shimoza Which is the lowest seat It date's back to the samurai days when there would be attackers came through the door Usually the first person killed would be the person closes the door with their back turned In Japanese business culture people still decide where to sit and stand Based on this seating rule And the Kamiza and Shimoza also apply to car seats and elevators as well Nice Reiji is finally finished with the publisher meeting and is now joining dinner with his assistants Gathering itself it's called Uchiage in japanese which means a drink and celebrate an event in their case the finishing of this week's episode All right So that's the Day of life of a Japanese mangaka What did you guys think? Let me know in the comments if you liked this video about make sure to like the button So if you want to check out Reiji's social media as well as links to this manga I'll leave that in the description So definitely check that out If you want to see what I'm doing daily Then definitely check out my instagram account You want help spread the channel check out the Tokyo merch If you like these Day in a life videos And I've actually produced several videos already maybe I think this is like the seventh or eighth one and if you've seen all of those then don't worry I have a lot more coming So definitely that subscribe button and the Bell button and I'll catch you guys in the next one

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