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Top>People>Known for the Smash Hit Dr. Koto's Shinryojo Manga Club Alumnus Mr. Takatoshi Yamada


Mr. Takatoshi Yamada

Mr. Takatoshi Yamada [Profile]

Known for the Smash Hit Dr. Koto's Shinryojo

Manga Club Alumnus Mr. Takatoshi Yamada

Mr. Takatoshi Yamada

Mr. Takatoshi Yamada, who withdrew from the Faculty of Commerce and is known as the creator of the smash hit manga Dr. Koto's Shinryojo, visited the Tama campus as part of on location shooting for a television program the other day. The on location filming was for a program called Kokoro no Tabi (Journey of the Heart) from Kansai Telecasting. In it celebrities visit the places and people who formed their base. Mr. Yamada chose Chuo University, the starting point of his career as a cartoonist.

10,000,000 Volumes Published Turned into a TV Drama by the Fuji Television Network

The cheerful and frank Mr. Takatoshi Yamada

Mr. Yamada's Dr. Koto's Shinryojo was first serialized in 2000 in Weekly Young Sunday and is still being serialized in Big Comic Original. It has a smash hit recorded with 10,000,000 volumes published, and it was also turned into a drama by the Fuji Television Network in 2003. In 2004 it won the 49th Shogakukan Manga Award in the General category.

On the day he visited for the on location filming at the Tama campus, we were able to interview him during his break time between shoots and while riding in a car between locations. Mr. Yamada is a frank and particularly interesting person. When I introduced myself, he responded with a smiling "you can write whatever you want however you want," and he made the TV station staff laugh nonstop with his interesting anecdotes until it was time to start filming.

Mr. Yamada withdrew from the Department of Marketing and Trade of the Faculty of Commerce in his eighth year. When he was a 4th year student, he had debuted as a cartoonist and strived to complete his studies while working, but his final exams and the deadline for a manuscript came at the same time, so he withdrew at the end of the term.

He Joined the Manga Club Because He Could Read for Free and Didn't Draw Manga until His 4th Year

"My student life was rosy." When asked about his days as a student, those were the first words to come out. Just how was it rosy? Mr. Yamada says, "I was saving all kinds of money." He worked a part time job at a family restaurant and got his meals for free, so he didn't have to spend any money on food. Additionally, he shared a room with a friend, so his rent was half off. Mr. Yamada nostalgically told us, "With that extra money, I'd buy a school lunch or a beef rice bowl for the lower-classmen in the Manga Studies Club I was a part of at the time."

The reason he joined the manga club was because "the upper-classmen didn't use you too much" and because "I could read manga for free." Mr. Yamada, who says "I didn't have any desire to draw manga," just read manga every time he went to the club room after joining the manga club.

We were a little surprised when he said, "I didn't draw any manga until I was a 4th year student." With graduation drawing near, the thing that led him to start drawing manga was a friend telling him "You can't even draw manga, right?" The friend didn't like hearing Mr. Yamada's doodles being praised with "Yamada, your drawings are good" by Mr. Atsuji Yamamoto, at the time already a professional manga artist and one year older, and prodded Mr. Yamada.

His First Work Received Honorable Mention for a New Manga, His Second Debuted in Serialization

Mr. Yamada told us laughingly, "I asked my friend, 'well, if I draw a manga, what will you do?' and he said, 'I'll buy you a cutlet rice bowl.' So, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try just drawing one manga. At that time, a cutlet rice bowl was worth a bunch to the manga club members." Mr. Yamada's life as a manga artist began that day.

With the assistance of lower-classmen, he was able to complete his first work, Futari Bocchi (Alone Together). Mr. Yamada told us that "Every day the lower-classmen would take turns coming to help me. I got a good feeling then of how important human relationships are."

At the urging of the lower-classmen, he submitted the completed Alone Together to the Kodansha New Manga Artist Award contest and received an honorable mention.

"Because I couldn't use perspective or draw buildings, I set Alone Together during the aftermath of a near-future war. Because it was all rocks, and trees, and deserts, there was no need for a background. And because it was alone together," I only had to draw two characters. I hear this was actually what the editors valued."

Mr. Yamada told us in a joking manner about why his first work received a prize, but it was no accident that it won. His second work, Mashuzu Kokoro no Sakebi (Matthews-Scream of the Heart), was selected for the same award and his manga debut was decided. After that, he came to have several serialized works, and in the year 2000 the serialization of Dr. Koto's Shinryojo began.

The Model Was a Clinic Doctor on an Isolated Island - A Human Drama about the Doctor and the Islanders

What kind of idea gave birth to Dr. Koto's Shinryojo? Mr. Yamada says, "At first I was thinking about writing about a remote island. And then an editor told me there was an amazing doctor out on a remote island." A look of passion came over Mr. Yamada as he reminisced about that time.

The model for Dr. Koto's Shinryojo was Dr. Setoue Kenjiro who runs a clinic on the Kagoshima Prefecture's Koshiki Island. Dr. Setoue was a super doctor like the main character Kensuke Goto. In his thirties, he was the head of surgery and went to work at the clinic for public service while his hospital was being built. He thought he would be greeted with open arms by the islanders, but in fact he was not trusted, and when people caught a cold they would end up going to a hospital on the mainland. He performed surgery on a resident of the island for appendicitis, however, and this gained him the trust of the islanders. Eventually, Dr. Setoue spent nearly 30 years working as the island doctor.

"I thought if I actually interviewed him and drew a human drama based on him, it would definitely be good. Basically, the doctor comes to the island alone and has to earn the islanders' trust, and that story could be told from the islanders' perspective as well. It also has an element of life and death to it."

When reading Dr. Koto's Shinryojo, you can feel the heavy weight of life and the passionate human drama between the islanders and Kensuke Goto who has come to the remote clinic.

In closing, we pass along this message from Mr. Yamada for Chuo University students.

"Finding work is hard these days, but definitely don't do something you dislike for a long period of time. In the future you'll find what you are to do one day. So you should take your time and search hard for the best path for you. I want you all to be that kind of Chuo University student.

Offered by: Hakumon Chuo 2010 Summer Issue, Student Reporter: Takito Hori; 3rd year student in the Faculty of Letters

Mr. Takatoshi Yamada
Born in Gifu prefecture in 1959. After graduating from Nagara High School in Gifu, entered the Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University. Started drawing manga at his 4th year of the university. Received Kodansha Honorable Mention for a New Manga for his first work Futari Bocchi (Alone Together). Dr. Koto's Shinryojo which was serialized in 2000, became a smash hit and adapted into a TV drama. Also received the 49th Shogakkan Manga Award in 2004.