Toshio Maeda Interview part 4
Inkfetish: Do you update your site daily?
Toshio: Yeah, we update daily with a photo yeah mmm (see Toshio’s photos here)
David Sausage: You were reading a lot of books when you were younger,, do you still read a lot of books now?
Toshio: Errr … Now I tend to read a lot of books in English because I have already read a lot of books in Japanese.
David Sausage: Who’s your favourite Japanese author?
Toshio: Probably you know Natsume Soseki. So many times I have read the same book. You know when you get older… Your angle changes because you get mature. So I read it again and again and again.
David Sausage: Hmmm it’s almost like books have a life of their own the books are like people. They seem to change when you come back to them.
Toshio: They change… The content of them changes. It all depends on YOU!
David Sausage: It’s not what you’re taking it’s what your giving.
(Everyone is munching snacks)
David Sausage: What do you think about the porn industry here in Japan? It’s very visible everywhere you go…
Toshio: It’s the same as everywhere, as London and America.
David Sausage: Yeah but even in London if you wanted to go to a sex shop the windows might be blacked out or covered. You might have a curtain to hide customers like the love hotels do here to hide car number plates.
Toshio: Is that right?
David Sausage: Things are put in brown paper bags it’s all very discreet. This kind of thing… If you walked around with this kind of thing…
Toshio: Well err.. How about on the website?
David Sausage: Well of course because, that’s private that’s in people’s house. People are very private about sex.
Toshio: Yeah yeah, your country… No sex actually!
David Sausage: I think that’s a bit rich coming from Japan! Japan is very sexual in it’s nature, but in terms of the amount of sex people are having here, Japan ranks very low.
Inkfetish: Yeah I heard the government are trying to encourage more people to have sex.
David Sausage: Yeah well, the birth rate is very low…
David Sausage: People aren’t having sex,, well actually, people are having sex in love hotels…
Toshio: Well you know the average couple have a shag once a month, or two months, I guess.
Inkfetish: Once… a… month?
Toshio: Every month.
Toshio: Yeah , you know including the married couple. It’s like you know, we are the Nymphomaniac, but we are not…
David Sausage: But why is that? Because it’s more open and more visual, you can see it in public places, in Shinjuku and Shibuya, you can walk outside and see thi…
Toshio: You know, we have history from Edo era. You know that, from that era there were so many printed materials, you know, filthy art, we saw it. So it’s nothing for us. And then when you are really into a, how can I say? Such websites or cybersex you are really hooked up. You tend to lose your real interest in…
David sausage …the world?
Inkfetish: …real sex?
Toshio: …real lady. Reality. Why? Probably we like a… the idea…
Inkfetish: yeah yeah I think that’s true. That’s the problem with Japan.
Toshio: … Of a cyberlady because they are flawless and they aren’t nagging. You know, Bitching out, they don’t complain right?
Toshio: And you know, the men really like that. It’s better to wank off then deal with a nasty…
David Sausage: …human.
Toshio: After you have had that several times you tend to lose interest. Not as a human but as a sexual animal right?
David Sausage: Yeah.
Toshio: Right? So we men are just like that. Ladies don’t understand our sex drive.
Inkfetish: No, it’s true.
David Sausage: They don’t do they? Well, it’s like you said earlier. You’ve written,
David Sausage: You’ve written erotic stories for women and they’re asking for details in these kinds of things. What is it women want from…
Toshio: You should read Nancy Friday. You know, Woman on Top, the author of that? Secret Garden or Forbidden Fruit, she wrote that. So, you know how promiscuous they are in all this.. Hehehehee haa haha! It is about the nasty fantasy they have.
David Sausage: Hmm maybe I don’t wanna read that!
Inkfetish: I think women think about sex as much as men.
Toshio: Hmm but they never say. It’s nastier than you know the locker room talk of men.
Inkfetish: If you get girls together they will talk together about sex, graphically.
Toshio: But you know we (men) share our sexual bloopers or fiascos as fun. You know? How you really fucked up with a particular lady or something like that you know. Premature ejaculation because you just didn’t make it or something like that you know and we are laughing each other but yknow their talk is a little bit serious.
Toshio: But you know in Britain you have a little different attitude toward sex am I right?
David Sausage: NO SEX PLEASE WERE BRITISH! A lot of British people are like that. Not necessarily the younger people.
Toshio: But you are younger right? I don’t mean the teenager but now.
David Sausage: Yeah.
Toshio: So, you guys you don’t talk about sex when you were young? About how to make out or seduce or…
David Sausage: I think that’s all we talked about!
Toshio: So how come sex becomes the secret agenda?
David Sausage: I guess when you’re younger sitting with your mates, guys or even a group of girls you could talk about it.
Inkfetish: I think it’s different though. If you’re in a relationship with your girlfriend, I feel different talking about sex with my girlfriend then when I’m talking with my friends.
Toshio: Of course!
Inkfetish: But if I have a one night stand I tell everyone!
Toshio: Yeah yeah yeah have fun. But you don’t talk about general sex.
Inkfetish: How’d you mean general sex?
Toshio: Not sex between you and a particular person but just sex in general.
David Sausage: Not really.
Inkfetish: No. Not the graphic details.
Toshio: You know I think women are worrying about it. The details with their friends,, and men don’t.
David Sausage: Obviously I think the main difference and it’s been said a lot already, is that men get off on things visually right? It’s a visual thing.
Inkfetish: With women it’s more situational.
David Sausage: With women it’s more, getting into a mental state.
Toshio: Hmm yeah. But when you are young you need that right? It’s a hormone…
You know always cartoonists are talking about sex a lot because sex is the big theme about our work, our manga. Right?
David Sausage: I remember seeing some of the drawings by the early Disney studio animators,,, not necessarily things that got made into animations but things they did for themselves an each other and they were really filthy and smutty, rather like yourself!
Inkfetish: When you draw something like Urotsukidoji did you think “I wanna draw something that might turn someone on?”
Toshio: No. Nothing.
Inkfetish: Was it something you found to be fantasy?
Toshio: Err.. Hmm.. You know I just choose some things…
Inkfetish: .. A combination of things?
Toshio: Yeah a combination of readers taste and things. It might be better for readers, but mostly I don’t care!
Toshio: But it’s not my taste,,, mostly means nothing.
Inkfetish: I thought Megumi in Urotsukidoji was very sexy. She was Amino’s sister with the green hair.
Inkfetish: Is that based on anybody?
Toshio: Errrr imaginary. Of course you know it’s a typical type of person you know, cocky, greedy, selfish girl that exists in Japan.
Inkfetish: And another interesting thing is there are scenes where Amino is watching Megumi have sex with a monster…
Toshio: Hmmm hnn
Inkfetish: …and you know, its like, that’s strange
David Sausage laughing
Inkfetish: Cos that’s like a brother watching his sister… Getting fucked. And that was strange because that’s another taboo.
David Sausage: I remember watching TV here and a group of Japanese comedians telling funny stories and one guy was talking about when he was 12 or 13 and sneaking over to his sister’s bed and slowly lifting up the blanket so he could get a cop of her breasts…
Toshio laughing a lot
Toshio: You know, that kind of taboo, I wanted to depict that.
Inkfetish: Yeah but I think it’s healthy to do that to an extent.
David Sausage: So long as it doesn’t go too far yeah.
Inkfetish: It puts it out there and it’s liberating, to explore ideas like that…
Toshio: Hmmm yeah, it seems we are civilised – we are not. Basically we are animals. We like to rape if it is possible.
Goes very quiet
David Sausage: I can’t actually vouch for that Toshio.
Inkfetish: I think what he’s saying is, when you see a girl on the street there can be an instant reaction – I wanna fuck her.
Toshio: You can imagine her face is sucking your dick, sometime, men are just like that. If you are tied up with the law or a relationship or something like that, you know, if you really want to do what you can, you know what I mean, probably you just have a shag with a woman. You know with the knockout on the train, you know, not do on the train…
Toshio: …but somewhere else. But that’s our fantasy right?
David Sausage: Yeah
David Sausage: It’s very simple. But I imagine that’s the same for all men. I guess for women their fantasy is a bit more elaborated from what you’re saying.
Toshio: That’s what I want to depict in my manga you know? If you are human, or omnipresent or omnipotent… You are almighty god! You can do whatever you want and you know you will do that. It’s a theme.
Inkfetish: It’s like the movie hollow man have you seen that?
Inkfetish: It’s about a scientist who finds out how to become invisible and slowly slowly slowly he starts to become evil. Because he starts to think what can I do now?
Toshio: Title is Invisible man? Hollow man… Hollow man… Hollow man
Inkfetish: But he ends up raping women and it’s what you would do if suddenly there were no consequences and no one could catch you, what would you do? How far would you go?
David Sausage: Hmm it’s an interesting subject isn’t it? How far would you go? Well I guess we have society and family so we can’t really do these sort of things, society is not going to work but it’s interesting yes, if you are unrestrained… Where would you go?
Toshio: In the chaos as I mentioned before, people tend to show their own flag, their true colours,,, so like that you know… Until then you don’t know who you are.
Inkfetish: Yeah. It’s scary.
David Sausage: HEEEY!
David Sausage: Hello!
Toshio: It’s the boogey man inside of me!
Inkfetish: Yeah I think that’s really true. The horror film I told you about, Martyrs, is about that subject. The story is, it’s a horrible story but, they want to torture these women, to the point where they feel so much pain that they, er.. That they get sight into er… Another dimension, they can see beyond reality… It’s called er…
David Sausage: Into a hypnotic state?
Inkfetish: Yeah yeah yeah and they have a sort of out of body experience and … Not let them die si they can come out of that state and report back what they saw when they were in that state so they can … but maybe you should watch it? I know you don’t like horror films
Inkfetish: But it’s quite intellectual.
Toshio: Yeah that kind of horror might be ok but I don’t like to see you know, just the splatter films…. The intestines.. Just spread or something like that.. Aaaah it’s so scary believe me I don’t like to see horror movies.
David Sausage: I’m surprised to hear you say that!
Toshio: I can’t see that!
David Sausage: I’m trying to remember your work and… Isn’t that kind of thing in your work?
Toshio: You know a drawing is another story. That is a totally different. But I cannot see scary movies.
David Sausage: But how much do you think making something like a drawing or a piece of art, makes something happen after it? Makes people want to it or feel that emotion or whatever that’s trying to be depicted? Hmm what I’m getting at is…
Inkfetish: Do you ever worry that your…
Toshio: Ah the effect yeah yeah yeah like the Matrix err the man saw the Matrix and killed his parents because he believed himself, he was living in the Matrix world? Just like that right?
Uhh I think manga you know manga is just manga. You know now people are blaming the video games or the DVDs but before that the movies were always the target. Because in the films the guns and knives… well such people are seeking a flimsy excuse for what they are doing. ‘Of course I was impressed by this filthy manga’.
Inkfetish: These people who go crazy and do stuff, if it’s not er, if they didn’t watch Urotsukidoji and do it they would watch Die Hard and do it or something else. If they’re crazy theres always something there that’s going to make them do it.
Toshio: You know I hate the pedophile manga that’s why I’m making the sci-fi manga. You know it’s a completely made up story if it’s sci-fi.. The creature is raping the girls. No human is… How can I say this… I’m really against such manga with pedophile. The victims look like…
Inkfetish: What do you call it? Loli manga.
Toshio: Loli manga.. Five or six years old. I HATE that. That’s why my art style is American. You know sometimes the High School girl gets raped but they are mature. I believe they are mature enough to do that.
David Sausage: But it’s interesting where you draw the line at… You know, you can draw violent things and sexual things but you can’t draw children because the argument is it’s ok to draw violent and sexual things because people will do that anyway, because that’s how people are. But it’s the same kind of argument in a way, I’m not saying it’s acceptable, but it’s the same argument in a way.. The argument is flawed.
Inkfetish: …As fantasy material.
David Sausage: It just shouldn’t be there.
Toshio: But there is the line, as for myself.
Inkfetish: You know the love dolls? Realistic sex dolls… You can buy for really expensive money. They have dolls made to look like children.
David Sausage: I remember seeing that on Justin Lee Colins TV program “Turning Japanese”.
Inkfetish: But there was the argument on there that… It was a way for them not to do it in real life. That it was an outlet for their twisted fantasies or whatever. I don’t think you can blame the manga artists you have to look at society.
David Sausage: Yeah.
Inkfetish: Its just that manga is a reflection of the society rather than manga influencing audiences. Obviously you’ve got daughters so you’re going to have stronger views.
David Sausage: Well… we’ve all got mothers, sisters, daughters, wives.
Toshio pulls out some original artwork.
Inkfetish: Which one is this, La Blue Girl?
David Sausage: Culture Club?! Boy George!
Inkfetish: 80’s classic!
David Sausage: That’s beautiful.
Toshio Maeda Interview Part 3
This time we talk zombies, chikan, graffiti and a seemingly endless attempt to twist Toshio’s tentacle to come an paint with us…
David Sausage: Where did all the ghosts, monsters and creatures come from in your work?
Toshio: I don’t know, it just sort of came,,, you know of a monster or a creature,, maybe from older manga books or a miss(?)
David Sausage: Mist?
Toshio: Mist, how can I say? Actually, I don’t like depicting such creatures. It’s creepy or eerie, ghosts or spirits. It’s just a weird feeling Japanese get watching that kind of thing but zombies? Why Westerners are so afraid of such things?! It’s nothing! (zombie sound) moving slow! Just try to bite you err… That’s it.
INKFETISH: Adventure kids had a lot of Zombies,,, Zombie Nazis didn’t it?!
Toshio: Yeah yeah, so probably,,, I’m really afraid of myself, inside of me, because sometimes I don’t know who I am. That’s the most scary part. I’m just really scared with human beings. Sometimes I really scare the shit out my wife.
David Sausage: Have you ever wanted to try spraypainting?
Toshio: I haven’t done that.
David Sausage: Have you used airbrushes before?
Toshio: Yes. I used to do that.
David Sausage: It’s similar to that on a larger scale.
Toshio: So how could you have an image at the same time as creating a big picture? because it’s really hard to take a look right from a distance. Basically you are really close to the wall.
David Sausage: It’s in your mind. Already. Like the whole picture is there and you’re already standing back. I never think about it really. You just get a feel for the whole image.
INKFETISH: When I start I do a sketch. So I sketch first and then I usually stand back. Look at it. Then say “that needs to change, that bit needs to change..” come forward change a bit, stand back and look at it.
Toshio: Oh, I see.
David Sausage: I wonder if Toshio would like to paint with us?
INKFETISH: That’d be amazing wouldn’t it?!
Toshio: With spray?? I.. I think it’s impossible!
David Sausage: Ahh…
INKFETISH: it’d be interesting for you…
Toshio: It’s ah,,, how can I say (Arnie-type movie voice) not under my jurisdiction!
Toshio: How many colours available?
INKFETISH: err.. thousands. If I paint a wall I usually bring this bag and put like 20…25 cans in there.
Toshio: oh… Can you mix?
INKFETISH: You can mix but it’s very complicated. But you can also get shadow paint now so you can use paint to make it darker… It’s hard to explain.
Toshio: like white highlighting?
INKFETISH: Yeah kind of. Graffiti now is a multiple million dollar industry.
Toshio: you can be rich?
INKFETISH: You could become rich. Some people have made money from it because they’ve paint for like twenty years on the streets and then they start painting canvases and going to galleries.
When people buy their work, it’s not just the artwork they are buy because they know this person is famous for painting on the streets for twenty years so it makes their artwork more valuable.
Toshio: Hmmm hmmm
INKFETISH: because they have this notorious background.
Toshio: Do you think you are ahead of the game?
INKFETISH: No. I’m quite young so… Graffiti started in the 70’s
Toshio: So long ago?!
INKFETISH: Yeah, so it’s still a new artform because it’s still only thirty years old. Some people we call them like the oldskool, some of the oldskool writers are like ten years older than me… they’re thirty five… forty… But no I’m still quite young. I’m quite well known. I know most of the graffiti artists and they know who I am… Everybody knows each other and we paint together.
Toshio: that’s the thing. To be a painter of course you need an artistic sense but… On top of that you also need…
INKFETISH:… good can control. You know, technically good.
INKFETISH: Also, if you have done illegal graffiti you get more respect.
Toshio: Wow it’s quite risky!
INKFETISH: Yep… So if you do a train, if you paint a train those people are considered to be most popular.
Toshio: Its like the skating on a thin ice. Once you get busted you get in the trouble, right?
INKFETISH: Yeah. But they think it’s worth it because they get respect from the streets , their name becomes famous. If a graffiti artist gets his name in the papers then the media talk about him, but he actually likes it because it makes him more famous.
Toshio: Like the same line of joke. We are talking my friend and I and once,,, you know he got busted as a rapist and you know,,, the reputation is getting better as you know, the x-rated cartoonist…
Toshio: haha you know, obviously its a joke.
INKFETISH: y’know Ricky Gervais, he said at some award ceremony, he got into trouble for saying “being famous is easy these days, if you want to be famous go and kill a prostitute”
Toshio: ahh yeah.
INKFETISH: You know it’s true. If all you want is people to talk about you just go and do something bad.
David Sausage: Or go on twitter.
Toshio: You know we are always talking about the sexual pervert, on the train… and we get busted… Just like that. But it’s a no news because it’s explained… He’s an x-rated cartoonist
David Sausage: That’s a big problem in Japan these days isn’t it? Chikan. But these days women are accusing men who haven’t done anything.
Toshio: I don’t know what their purpose to do that is,,,, they just doing that…
David Sausage: Scary isn’t it? Especially if you’ve got a family.
INKFETISH: Or an important job.
Toshio: Some guys put both hands on the handrails now to show they are innocent, I’m not doing anything wrong.
David Sausage: Aha…it wasn’t me,,, that was just my tentacle coming out!
David Sausage: When did you start painting, INKFETISH?
INKFETISH: When I was about thirteen or fourteen, but only just tagging. I started painting more artistically when I was about nineteen or twenty.
David Sausage: Did you have somebody take you under their wing?
INKFETISH: I started painting with a lot of guys from London who were a lot older and they’d already done all the illegal stuff and they just wanted to chill out at the weekends and paint walls. Oldskool guys like Skire. Because I wasn’t up to their skill level I wanted to impress them. I’d seen their stuff in magazines for years I just wanted to be as good as those guys, you know what I mean? I think that gave me the pressure to develop my style quickly. I just watched how they painted you know, to see how they did it. I’m not the kind of person who’ll ask questions “How’d you do this?.. How’d you do that?..” I’d just stand there and quietly watch. But I don’t think graffiti is particularly difficult if you are an artist and you already draw or paint.
David Sausage: That’s what I was saying to Toshio. If you can already use an airbrush…
Toshio: It was thirty years ago I used to do that for the cover of a magazine.
INKFETISH: I’ve used airbrush before but you had to change each colour and clean it out each time, it’s too much labour. With spraypaint you can cover a huge wall in two or three hours. It dries very quickly two or three seconds later.
Toshio: Is that right?
David Sausage: Good paint will go on to ANYTHING brick, paper, glass, fabric,,, furniture things like that.
Toshio: So how do you get rid of that?
INKFETISH: With special, powerful chemical blasting sprays. They hire special graffiti removal teams.
Toshio Maeda Interview Part 2
We pick up where we left last time,,, this time Toshio tells us about his horrific road accident, women’s sex fantasy requests and BOOK OFF!
Toshio: In the end I faced the music after the car accident.
David Sausage: How did that car accident change you physically?
Toshio: Well you know I couldn’t move my right arm for four years. I just had the right hand and the shoulder blades and legs fractured so my right side completely went numb. I told my bankers the truth: I wouldn’t be able to move my arm for four years… I wouldn’t be able to work anymore… For four or five years so… They took action.
David Sausage: Did they help you?
Toshio: They took all my assets and then,,, my wife,, my ex wife, left me.
David Sausage: She left?! Because of the money?
Toshio: Of course, because of the money.
David Sausage: Because of the money…?!! That’s cold!
Toshio: No no no no no no,,,!!! It was the happiest day,,, of my life!
Toshio: You know, because I didn’t like that hideous hag so you know I said Ohkaaaaaay! :-))))) I just went back to scratch from there. Its nothing,,, I couldn’t complain.
David Sausage: That’s wise looking at the good side of any situation.
Toshio: Yes! The glass is half full. You know life is full of happiness, I’m optimistic yeah? The sea is full of fish all the time you know? It’s nothing so, I remarried last year I’m a newly wed man!
YEAH! (High Fives)
Toshio: That the way it is. Life is yknow really full of happiness. Even if you have a little blip or bump,,, it’s nothing! It’s OK.
David Sausage: How did you feel straight after the accident when you opened your eyes?
Toshio: I thought my life had ended. You cant even twitch your right hand. I really had a hard time with physiotherapy. Yeahhh, it was really a kind of torture you know I tied up my right hand and using my left… And the exercise every single day,, eight or nine hours a day. I took pills you know, painkillers because it was too painful… Ahhh… But you know! It’s nothing!
It’s nothing compared to my assistant days.
INKFETISH: What happened? How did the accident happen?
Toshio: I was trying to change lanes and you know the truck,,, tried to change the lanes too before me so the scooter collided into the side of the truck and the rear tire run over me,,, four tonne truck ran over me,, this side here (right side)
And you know, the most scary moment was, when i was laying down on the street and the truck driver was talking to another driver and he was asking… (if) it was my fault… And I was one meter in front if him on the floor… And I was thinking “,,,why? Because I’m going to die?”
INKFETISH: Yeah god…
Toshio: Yeah because he didn’t give a shit my listening to him. He asking out loud “please, this supposed to be HIS fault” so I tried to move my toe or neck because you really care about your spinal chord so you know you could be the SUPERMAN you the,,, actor,,, Christopher Reeve ,,, you know neck-down paralysed right? You know he just passed away a couple of years ago,,, several years ago,,, like that I would be I was really worried about that so I could feel sharp pain around my toe… WOW! I could be recovered!
INKFETISH: I bet pain never felt so good!
Toshio: Yeah yeah yeah! I was really gratified with that and sooner or later I could be fine.
David Sausage: After that I heard you continued working with the help of an assistant?
Toshio: Yeah after that I almost couldn’t do my work so I continued to hire my assistant to run errands for me because I’m kind of disabled you know.
David Sausage: And I read there’s a whole area of manga made exclusively for women and you afterwards you became involved in that?
Toshio: Yeah, I became involved not as an artist but as a writer for, how can I say?,,, girls manga you know the manga for females. It’s supposed to be erotic and they read it after their work so I was writing the scenario for another manga artist…. Lady’s comic for ladies, only horny ladies read it so you know,,, nasty story,,,
You know I get fan letters from the readers and they want nasty nasty nasty in the details,,, how the captors want to have a shag with this or that you know,,, SO many requests I got from women, real ladies and they are so greedy in the details they are really fussy on the details but men, on the other hand they are more ambiguous,, “more nasty scenes please”
David Sausage: So what you’re saying is women are looking for more dark, more perverted, more specific details and things in their requests?
Toshio: Yeah yeah yeah! They want crotchless panties and double dildos and for things like that, yeah!
Toshio: (Laughs) yeah so, you know really greedy,,, about everything. I learned a lot from direct message from readers.
David Sausage: When you made Urotsukidoji, I know there’s a big Market for that in Japan and..
David Sausage: Ahhh…
Toshio: No, I’m afraid not.
INKFETISH: Not anymore…?
Toshio: Not now. At that time, yeah.
David Sausage: Erm… Okay…
Toshio: Actually, it seems like manga is booming. It’s not. In those days it was A-OK but now,,, WOW! You know so many of my acquaintances quit and went back to their hometown to become farmers, or security guards and traffic directors. Many manga artists are disappointed with the situation right now you know.
David Sausage: How would you like to see that change? What’s the problem?
Toshio: It’s a little complicated. You speak to distributers about the books and they’ve changed their system. You know it’s hard to explain but in the beginning when the small publishers printed you know 20,000 copies, the distributor give you money for that.
David Sausage: As an advance right?
Toshio: Yup, but now it’s pay for what you sell. So yknow in the beginning the publisher print a lot because you know,,, they need the money,,, so you get the unsold book back they had to give money back to the distributor so they made more and more and more each month. Vicious circle like that. All of a sudden the distributor changed the system and they couldn’t have money back from the distributor so the system is different now. Plus, nowadays there are the copies, a lot.
David Sausage: Youre taking about the Internet and piracy?
Toshio: Yeah they are carrying the manga illegally you know and uploading to the website and you read. Plus, there’s a shop called BOOK OFF
David Sausage: My favourite shop!
INKFETISH: I’ve never heard about it…
Toshio: You know, once you sell the book and another reader could buy it, and after they read it, they can sell it
INKFETISH: it’s like that place I visited earlier… Ah what’s the name nak… The one that you mentioned the other day.. Naka.. Sun
David Sausage: in Nakano Broadway? Mandarake?
INKFETISH: that place,, the whole three floors,,,
David Sausage: INKFETISH what he’s talking about is BOOK OFF which is like this massive chain and you can find all over Japan. You take in a box of your old used books and novels and trade them all in.
Toshio: You know now we are in the middle of a phase between the printed and the digital. But you know, this kind of manga not so many people could read so we are stuck in the middle of nowhere… behind the 8 ball you know. Yeah! Like that, where we should go? With just manga and some artists are just so old to change their habit or learn a new style, to learn the new technology. I’m one of them. I’ve really struggled hard to adjust to the new style but I can’t… This new kind of culture.
David Sausage: I don’t think you missing anything too important.
INKFETISH: He is on twitter though.
David Sausage: I guess that kind of improves some things. This is how I met you and INKFETISH today for the first time. I’ve heard people complaining about how things were simpler and easier before the Internet but it means people get connected a lot more and you meet lots of interesting people like you guys. So, it’s got it’s good side.
Toshio: Yeah but you know, I don’t believe in Cyberspace. We should meet face to face, in the end, otherwise we can’t build the trust circle don’t you think?
David Sausage: Yeah absolutely
Toshio: Because you know you can’t see the face,,, I mean if course we can see the face the face on the screen but I mean the real face
David Sausage: Yes, face to face.
Toshio: Yeah that’s always needed.
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.