by Erica Friedman

Harvey Award-winning Harold Sakuishi, creator of Beck and Seven Shakespeare sat down with me for a few minutes in the middle of his con experience.  Interpretation was provided by Misaki Kido.


Erica Friedman: In the past you’ve talked about being influenced by classic artists like Tezuka and Ishinomori because of the storytelling aspects. What would you say is most important aspect of storytelling that you’ve learned from them?

Harold Sakuishi: As you know in manga as well as movies and everything, there is already a formula established to make it a commercially successful title, in the case of Tezuka and ishinomori, they came up in the time in post-war Japan where there was hardly anything, sot they really wanted to express something to the kids around that time to make them hope for a brighter future.

Especially Tezuka, he tried various businesses, which was also part of the challenge too. Those are the things I really respect about those creators.

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Friedman: You talk about adding “every day elements” to the manga to give it a realistic feel, can you tell us about the way you approach this?

Sakuishi: Actually it’s something I don’t consciously think about, so if you actually point out to me a thing like that, that’s when I might think “Oh, that’s what I’m doing.” (laugh)

What one scene in your work was exceptionally meaningful to you and why?

Sakuishi: That’s a really tough question. However, I was working on the baseball manga back in the day, [the pitcher] throws the ball. It’s kind of a unique aspect to Japanese manga, portraying quick or subtle moments in real life you have to have particularly good eyes to look for those moments in your life to pick up moment to put it into your life.

Friedman: What is your impression of NYCC 2018?

Sakuishi: I went to Alex Ross’s booth just before this. It’s amazing!

Friedman: Congratulations on receiving the Harvey International Spotlight Awards for his contributions to the world of manga in Japan. How does receiving this award feel?

Sakuishi: I’m actually quite surprised. As you know Beck is a music manga and while I was working on it, I was very into and inspired by that culture and American culture.

Friedman: How do you you describe Beck?

Sakuishi: I really like music because I believe that in ordinary life it’s something not ordinary to express a thing that is not fitted to our usual life. So actually music is an approach to some kind of truth and this manga about those people who challenge and look for the truth.

Friedman: What is your impression of ComiXology Publishig Beck and Seven Shakespeares? Is this something you’d like to see more of?

Sakuishi: Of course I kind of rely on everybody else for their effort to bring my work to places outside of Japan. That being said, I’d love to see more of my work available in English.

Friedman: Are you enjoying meeting American fans and doing this signing?

Sakuishi: I couldn’t believe there are even people familiar with my work and would come to see me at the signing. I’m just seriously surprised.

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