Exclusive interview with Kazuo Koike on darkhorse.com

Mar 16th 2006
March 15, 2006—Now available on the darkhorse.com homepage, Dark Horse
Comics is proud to present an exclusive new interview with legendary
manga master Kazuo Koike. Co-creator on some of the most influential
manga of our generation, Koike has written such monumental works as
Lone Wolf and Cub, Samurai Executioner, Path of the Assassin, Lady
Snowblood, and Crying Freeman. In this interview given during his last
trip to the Dark Horse offices, Koike states his feelings towards the
origins of manga, where it stands today, and how he thinks it will fare
in the future.

Interviewed by one of the few American Manga Scholars, Dark Horse
employee Carl Horn, Koike states “The key factors for the recent ‘Manga
Boom’ are shojo, and the strong characters and storylines you can find
in manga in general. Japanese characters are strong in a different way
from traditional American comics heroes; they have the strength to
fight, but at their core you find tenderness rather than righteousness.
A manga hero is a person, and good or evil, their fight is with other
people. Their weakness isn't some trick, some element or color, it's
that they're people.”

This great understanding and respect for manga is what has helped Koike
develop not only the admiration of his fellow artists, but a program
founded to educate new creators on the importance of character
development in addition to their writing and drawing skills. As if
that weren't enough, Koike has also mastered the area of publishing,
rising to become one of manga's greatest self-publishers.

In regards to his feelings about how manga readers have changed and
evolved, “The seventies in Japan was an era rife with student protests.
There was a lot of anguish in the air towards public policy. The state
was threatened by these movements, and attempted to limit freedom of
expression. There was a lot of resistance and overall, people were very
angry. The mood in the air affected manga creators as well in the
subject and content of their work. And I was not an exception . . . but
the kind of manga readers I wrote The Starving Man for aren't around
any more. The current young generation isn't really protesting or
resisting anything the way they did in the 1970s. Nowadays, I'm not
trying to adjust myself to the personal mood of the readers.
Nevertheless, I still feel the desire to write about resistance.”

This exclusive interview, in its entirety, preceded by an introduction
by Horn, can be read at www.darkhorse.com.

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