Toshio Maeda Interview Part 1
League of Gentlemen fan, professional prostitute reviewer(!) and creator of the Tentacle Porn Manga genre. Mr. Toshio Maeda.
Toshio talks about leaving home aged 16 and his apprenticeship with a manga artist:
Toshio: We had no days off completely…. Zero… We had to wash dirty laundry in Winter outside with cold water and that was our apprenticeship. We had to do it, no washing machine.
David Sausage: So the guy was just using you as a slave? He wasn’t teaching you anything?
Toshio: Yeah yeah a slave exactly, you know we were always crying under such strict circumstances, we couldn’t survive so many of my colleagues left. You know, because there was no money! We couldn’t even buy instant noodles because we had financial problems so we were thin, just skin and bones, we were thinner than zombies!!!
David Sausage: Really?! So what did you eat?
Toshio: Nothing. We… You know twice a day they would serve something and on the weekends we didn’t have anything. Just drink water.
David Sausage: Was that supposed to discipline you or because they couldn’t afford it or just because they were nasty?
David Sausage: Yeah?
Toshio: Of course, that was it. So I just had a hand to mouth existence.
After the car accident you know, I had to go back to scratch so you know, I already knew how to survive without money, with nothing.
David Sausage: So obviously you are doing what you do out of love?
Toshio: Yeah. But you know, some time your dream comes true and you tend to loose your drug of life because your dream came true you need another drug of life. So that’s why I got involved with motorbike racing or golf or listening to records,,, you know that’s the way,,, that’s the way the cookie crumbles (laughs) cookie crumb bells! You know in our country that’s the way the tofu crumbles!
David Sausage: The would be kind of difficult really,,, it would just sort of get messy,,, ahuh,,,
David Sausage: Erm… Who’s work, er anime manga are you interested in these days?
Toshio: You know these days I’m just distributing other people’s manga. Translating my own manga into Spanish and English I mean, asking professional translators to translate. I have an American friend who helps explain all the manga jungle out there to me. But you know business is in the red so,,, I’m looking for the mice to you know,, huh huh huh,,, cook in the spaghetti,,
David Sausage: I heard you went to comic conventions, you were invited to one in New York right?
Toshio: Yes, I went to a convention before. I’m going to COMICON, a convention on November 13th and I’ve written a letter to the people who are running that but you know maybe my poor English misled me there ,, so Im asking them to check what I wrote,, I’m not very confident with my English so,,,
David Sausage: You’re crazy! Your English is good! I’m not going to bullshit, I’ll tell you straight it’s good! Most Japanese here with high English test scores can’t actually speak or hold a conversation like you.
Toshio: You know actually I have a chit chat with English speakers,, I guess I’m kind of irritated in a way because I just started learning when I was 40 and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
David Sausage: I understand you started you’re career making children’s animation. I wonder what you make of PuriKyua! the girls animation? My daughters love it. Here (shows sticker)
Toshio: Aeeeeh…. I’m not familiar with it.
David Sausage: What do you think the difference is in Western attitudes towards erotic cartoons and literature?
Toshio: It’s totally different. You know especially with the X-rated manga for perverts, you know what I mean? You know for Westerners it’s totally different this kind of thing, but for us it is manga for another kind of fan. You know, I don’t know how Westerners get our manga or anime. (For them) is it hideous or exotic? I don’t know.
David Sausage: I think people look at erotic manga from abroad and think “this is fucking crazy” that’s what I think. “What kind of people are they?”. Me and Mrs. Sausage were talking about this the other day. She said that Westerners were suppressing this kind of thing and in a way they were more interested in it than people are here.
Toshio: You mean sexual perverts or maniacs?
David Sausage: I think they’re in every country.
Toshio: I suppose,,, then I am the king of a pervert! (laughs)
David Sausage: Yah,,, I noticed that when I was 12 years old and the first scene in Urotsukidoji, the chap is shagging some girl on top of a glass table an then,,,
Toshio: Yeah (laughs)
David Sausage: That left quite a lasting impression,,,
Toshio: Laughs hahahaa HA Ha HA!
David Sausage: It was a bit shocking,,,
INKFETISH: There’s also the scene where Nicky has to cut off his,,,
Toshio:,,, equipment? In order to get the bigger one? Yes.
INKFETISH: I remember thinking WTF IS THIS?!
Toshio: I thought it might be a shock for men. Men would know how painful it would be,, you know?
INKFETISH: It’s like the ultimate sacrifice for power.
Toshio: No pain no gain. (Laughs)
David Sausage: I read when you were young you ha looked at some really dark Manga?
Toshio: Yes, it’s my nature.
David Sausage: How much of your work was influenced by that manga?
Toshio: My work was influenced by what we call kashihon manga. Kashihon manga means rental manga. We go to the video shop and rent out manga like you do with videos and DVDs. We were poor and couldn’t afford to buy manga so we would go to these places like a library and every single day I would you know, rent out this dark manga. When I was around 10, for many years, until I left my hometown (Osaka) because you know,,, the size, the number (of prints?) was kind of small compared to the weekly magazines so the readership was kind of small and segmented… How can I say? Underground? That kind of agenda or theme we really liked to read hmmm how can I say? It’s hard for me to explain, but I am influenced by such manga. Plus after that I saw comic strips from America and my art style became influenced by that. I was a bookworm, always going to the library and seeking such books.
David Sausage: You must have been off in your own world whilst everyone else in your class were running around, playing, fighting? Don’t mean to sound rude, but did you play around a lot with the other kids or did you tend to spend more time on your own?
Toshio: Actually, how to say, I was an athletic kind of student. Not exactly a jock but I was practicing Karate, Gymnastics and especially, High-bar. I was so good at that. So I was always practicing them or drawing silly cartoons, no time for sleep so that’s why I used to bring the pillow in my bag, into lessons, and sleep on the desk and slept like a log the whole day long.
Toshio: And you know the teacher he really got pissed off. He’d be basically, how do you say? “Bugger off!”
Toshio: (junior high schoolkid voice) “okayyy, sorry!” And the teacher would say ” Are you taking the piss of me?” “YES I AM hahah!”
Toshio: Yeah, that’s me. A rebel.
David Sausage: Yeah, and that’s a difficult thing to do in your country isn’t it? In Japanese you say “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. In the UK I think it’s almost like everyone is striving to be the crazy one. “Heeeey! I’m craZy! Look at me!” in Japan if you want to do something different, something creative, something a little crazy, I think you’ve got to be really really strong mentally.
Toshio: My teacher considered this disruption as a cancer and it was contagious that’s why he told me to get out of the classroom. And I was kicked out and that was my intention because I didn’t want to be in school anyway. I just wanted to do animation that’s why I left for Tokyo. That’s what I thought. I pictured the rosey things ahead for me,, you know being a professional cartoonist, having a fancy car for me, having a knockout (girl?!), and having a shag in the back seat!
Toshio: I thought so, and you know, my parents thought it was a pipe-dream. You know, it’ll never come true BUT I made it.