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Major Manga Creator Draws Illustration to Celebrate Japan's WBC Win

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Takuya Mitsuda also shared his motivations for drawing a manga about the Major League baseball

Takuya Mitsuda, creator of the classic Major baseball manga, drew an illustration to celebrate Japan's recent win at the World Baseball Classic (WBC). The sport newspaper Sponichi published the illustration in print and online on Saturday.

The illustration depicts star baseball athlete Shohei Ohtani next to Major protagonist Goro Shigeno. Mitsuda also commented: "Congratulations to all the representatives of Japan! In particular, I take off my hat to the manager (Hideki) Kuriyama; you did well out there. I think he was able to bring the athletes together because of his kind-hearted personality."

He further commented that he was impressed with Ohtani's plays in the final inning of the semifinal match against Mexico. "When Ohtani scored a two-base hit and his helmet came flying off as he ran to rouse his teammates, I felt his manliness."

Mitsuda also reflected on his motivations for creating Major, saying that it was an era when many Japanese people were excited about the World Cup in soccer and wanted to see that applied to baseball. This was around two years before the first WBC in 2006. Although Mitsuda did not regard soccer negatively, he was worried that children would be more drawn to soccer than baseball. Out of the desire to convey the fun of baseball, he began drawing Major.

Most baseball manga at the time did not portray the professional league. Mitsuda said that he heard from a manga editor that readers find it more difficult to get emotionally involved in a story that starts with Major League baseball rather than a school setting. It takes a lot of time to portray the escalation from high school baseball to the major league, which introduces a tall hurdle for manga artists. Nevertheless, Mitsuda was keen on portraying baseball on a global scale.

"Largely, it was because [Shinji] Mizushima, whom I greatly respect, wasn't drawing Major League baseball. I had a feeling that I would only be drawing a pale imitation if I were to tackle Koshien or the Nippon Professional Baseball, so I wanted to create something new."

Mitsuda serialized the first Major manga series in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1994 until 2010. Shogakukan published 78 compiled book volumes for the series. The story begins when Goro Honda's father, a professional baseball player, dies in an accident. This gives him the motivation to try and become a pro baseball player himself.

Mitsuda launched the Major 2nd sequel manga in Weekly Shonen Sunday in March 2015 as the first new installment in the manga series in five years. Both series have inspired popular anime.

Source: Sponichi via Livedoor News, Hachima Kikō

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