Former Truant Japanese Student Inspired by Akira Toriyama Publishes 1st Manga

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Shoichi Tanazono's life could have turned out a lot differently. He found himself unable to get along with his homeroom teachers and began skipping his courses or coming to class very late. His stint as a truant student lasted from elementary school through junior high.

"I was filled with anxiety, feeling inferior about not attending school and worrying about what kind of adult I would become," Tanazono remembers.

His life took a fateful turnaround in junior high when a friend of his set him to meet his idol, Dragon Ball manga author Akira Toriyama. His own mother was a classmate of Toriyama's in elementary school. Together, the two went to visit his home and discuss Tanazono's problems in school and his own dreams to create manga.

The successful manga creator offered Tanazono some advice about utilizing his difficult life experiences. "It might be convenient because you can write about your experience in your manga if you go to school."

The student felt relief at Toriyama's words, began going to school part-time, entered cram school and successfully entered the Nagoya University of Arts. Now 32-years-old, Tanazono worked various jobs while also working on his manga Gakko e Ikenai Boku to Kyu-nin no Sensei (Me who can't go to school and nine teachers) based on his childhood experiences. Futabasha released the compiled volume in February.

"It wasn't like I wanted to encourage truant children," Tanazono said. "I'd be happy if it reaches out to those who can't get along well with others at a company or elsewhere and to those who don't normally read manga. What I want to say is that it is important to embrace children under any circumstances."

He's since gotten positive feedback for his work. One bookstore even displayed Gakko e Ikenai Boku to Kyu-nin no Sensei next to his childhood idol Toriyama's works.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

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