Hataraki Man Creator Moyoco Anno Shares Her Tips For Work-Life Balance

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Manga creator Moyoco Anno was interviewed in NewsPicks Brand Magazine's spring 2020 issue for their feature on working life in modern-day Japan. Anno found fame drawing the Hataraki Man manga from 2004 to 2008, and she said that her inspiration for drawing the manga at the time was to depict various different attitudes towards work ethic.

The story of Hataraki Man centers on Hiroko Matsukata, who is a woman who works for a magazine company. She puts all she has into her work, and is known as a strong, straight-forward working woman, who can at will turn herself into Hataraki Man (working man) mode. Despite Hiroko's success at work, her life lacks romance. Even though she's a hard worker, she'd leave early any time to go on a date. Too bad her boyfriend is an even bigger a workaholic than Hiroko.

Anno said that she didn't think it was a bad thing to place importance on high-quality work. However, having experienced burnout herself (Hataraki Man went on hiatus in 2008), she said that it was very important for people to have perspective on their work.

"I went on hiatus in 2008, but I've been told that in the 7-8 years before then my output was greater than the average manga artist. But then I rested for 10 years, and when you look at the 18 years total that I've been active, my output flattened out, so it's not a particularly large or small amount, bur rather very average. I came to think that when you put things in perspective, you can get the same results even without pushing yourself too hard. From then on, I was able to work without fretting too much about it."

Anno also emphasized taking care of one's health. "When you're young, you've got a lot of stamina to spare, so you're able to neglect your body. But nowadays, I'm careful not to drain all my batteries and to work without putting a strain on my body. Also, I've been going to the gym and thinking of it as part of the job. I recommend improving your stamina through muscle training and so on. This might sound like I'm stating the obvious, but if you exercise your body, you'll be able to meet your deadlines more easily, and you'll be able to recover from exhaustion more quickly."

Anno was very conscious of how drawing manga is actually a very physically demanding job. "If you just look at my age, you'd think that I still have a long career ahead of me, but as a manga artist, I think I have about 10 more years left of being able to see clearly and using my hands intensively. When I think of it that way, I feel a very strong responsibility about the things that I draw."

Moyoco Anno is also known for her sensual and emotional manga stories like Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen and Sakuran. Her other works include The Diary of Ochibi-san, the Insufficient Direction autobiographical manga about her life with her husband and Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, Sugar Sugar Rune, In Clothes Called Fat, Happy Mania, and Buffalo 5 Girls.

Source: NewsPicks Brand Magazine Vol. 2 spring 2020 issue

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