【Interview】 Hirohiko Araki hometown     sendai Jojo Part 1

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Hirohiko Araki

Hirohiko Araki, author of the manga “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” is from Sendai, the City of Forests! In fact, he has been involved with the Hirose River since he was a child. In this “My Interview with Hirose River,” we asked him about his upbringing, the relationship between Sendai City and “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” world, the charm of Hirose River, and much more.

Quote 私の広瀬川インタビュー


Part 1: What is the relationship between “morio town” and Sendai City?

In this interview, we will
We hope that many people will learn about the charms of Sendai, including the Hirose River, by having celebrities with connections to Sendai and the Hirose River appear on the show.
Today we have a manga artist from Sendai City
Hirohiko Araki, the creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Please give him my best regards.

Araki: It’s nice to meet you, too.

It may seem sudden, but since the time of his debut, many names of places and people related to Sendai have appeared in Mr. ARAKI’s works.
We, the citizens of Sendai, are very happy to see this. I see that a fictional city called morio town appears in the fourth part of Jojo’s “Diamond Is Unbreakable”. So, first of all, could you tell us about the relationship between morio town and Sendai?

Araki: Sendai is the city where I was born and raised.
Sendai is familiar to me and easy to draw.
Even though it is a fictional city in my works
I think it is fundamental to use my own experiences as the basis for my work, and
This gives the work a sense of reality.

The manga artist “Rohan Kishibe,” who appears as one of the main characters in the fourth part of the book
Rohan Kishibe is considered by some readers to be a character inspired by Mr. Hirohiko Araki.
After all, we can see that Rohan places importance on reality in his works as well.

Araki: Rohan is not myself (laugh).
But I do want reality.
Unfortunately, there will be a murderer in Part IV.
I was wondering if it would be a good idea to use Sendai as the setting.
So, to avoid inconveniencing the citizens as much as possible, we created a fictional town called “morio-town”.

A Golden Slumber movie was filmed in Sendai.
In the assassination scene, many citizens cooperated as extras. In this day and age, you may not have to worry about such things.I think it might be okay now.

Araki: At the time of serialization (Part IV was serialized from 1992 to 1995)
morio town was set in the suburbs of the city of Sendai itself.
It was not set in the city of Sendai itself.

In recent years, its morio town I heard that the population has increased I heard that it was promoted to morio ward of Sendai city.

Araki: Yes, it seems to have been merged by being absorbed into Sendai city (laugh).

The topographical model of morio town is
Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture? It is said so by fans.

Araki: Geographically, I imagined the area around Higashimatsushima City, which is located north of Matsushima
However, the image of the city as a bed town is not the same as that of
Izumi City (Izumi-ku, Sendai since 1988), which was under development at the time
and Tsurugaya New Town in Miyagino Ward,

I see. So your work reflects the development of these new towns at that time.

Araki: I was commuting to school at Tohoku Gakuin High School tutsujigaoka at the time.
The scenery changed every day.
Roads appeared out of nowhere.
The changes were shocking.
I think some of my experiences may have been influenced by that.

     Tohoku Gakuin High School tutsujigaoka

When Mr. ARAKI lived in Sendai, I think it was a time when the city was changing dramatically along with Japan’s economic growth.
On the other hand, there were still traces of the postwar period
I heard that there was a mysterious part of the city.

Araki: Yes, there were. Um… It has nothing to do with the Hirose River (laugh).
I used to play around Komatsushima and Yohenuma when I was a child.
There was a man who used to live in a place that looked like an air-raid shelter.
That person was not actually a vagrant, but a wealthy man who used to be rich, and there were rumors of buried gold there that his property was hidden.

        Komatsushima Ruins of air-raid shelter

Did you go looking for him yourself?

Araki: Of course I did! Well, I think it was just a rumor (laugh).
It had a strange reality to it, and it made me feel, even as a child, that there was actually something going on, really.
The man living in the bomb shelter had an intellectual air about him, and he could speak English, so I thought, “Who the hell is he? I was like,(Laugh.)

Is he like the guy in the “Jojo” manga? …

Araki: Yes, yes. He is a man who has abandoned society, but there was an atmosphere that something must have happened in his past, which made me think that the story about the buried treasure was not just a rumor…

The 2nd Memories of my childhood

It may have been just the turn of the times that housing developments were being built one after another while there was such a mysterious atmosphere in the air.
Did you ever play on the Hirose River when you were a child?

Araki: My father was born in Wakabayashi, and we lived in Wakabayashi Ward when I was a child.
It was by Miyagi Prison, and that prison is mysterious again (laugh).
I grew up wondering what was happening on the other side of the wall.

         Miyagi Prison

Araki: I feel that “Jojo” was born out of Mr. Araki’s background in the way that it was meant to be born.
Incidentally, Miyagi Prison was built on the site of Wakabayashi Castle where Masamune spent his retirement, and water drawn from the Hirose River flows through the moat.

Araki: Hirose River was close to where I lived at that time, so I often went there to play. Every year on July 1, the open season for ayu (sweetfish) fishing, my father would take me fishing with him, wearing a pair dounaga for fishing.

It is hard to imagine Mr. ARAKI in the river wearing a dounaga. The Hirose River has been a familiar place for you since you were a child.

Araki: Actually, the first word I learned when I was a child was “Dozaemon” (laugh).
(Laugh.) Nowadays, people have only a clean image of the Hirose River, but in those days, dead dogs and other dead bodies would come down the river, and the adults around me warned me, “Be careful when you go to the river because you will become a dozaemon. (Dozaemon is a drowned body.

In the old days, the elderly people in the community were very attentive to such dangers.

It is a rather shocking word for a child to learn for the first time, isn’t it?

Araki: I think they were teaching us how to play in the river. It means that you have to take care of yourself because playing in the river is your own responsibility.

Back then, it was still not uncommon for people to die in flood accidents.

Araki: Nowadays, when there is an accident, the government tends to be blamed immediately, but back then, playing in the river was one’s own responsibility.
Also, before the Minami Gamo Sewage Treatment Center was built, we used to swim and camp in that area and around Yuriage at the mouth of the river.
And in the fall, imoni parties were the usual scene further upstream.

   Minami Gamo Sewage Treatment               imoni

Although it does not appear in the morio town section, did Mr. ARAKI often have imoni parties?

Araki: Of course I did! My father took me to hutakuchi valley and okunikkawa river, and we ate imoni there.

Araki: My father not only fished for ayu, but also shot pheasants and picked mushrooms.

If you live near the Hirose River, you may have hunting blood in your veins.
I heard that a honey producer at the foot of Mt. Dainenji, whom I interviewed this year on the Hirose River homepage, also goes hunting in winter. The person who helped me with the imoni meeting project at Okushinkawa River before was also an expert in mountain stream fishing and mushrooms.

Araki: Mushrooms are difficult to handle.
I heard that some of the same species can be eaten in Miyagi Prefecture, but are poisonous in the neighboring Fukushima Prefecture.
Also, people in Sendai, even after moving to Tokyo, get high on the topic of imoni parties.
They say, “Did you have an imoni party?” or “We do it at the riverbank, right?
But when I talk to people in Tokyo, they ask me, “Do you mean barbecue?” “No, no, no, no. We talk about how imoni parties are for boiling, not grilling meat on the riverbanks (laugh).

People from Sendai can easily communicate with each other just by saying “imoni party.

Araki: That’s right. I think imoni parties are great.
You can communicate with all kinds of people, and you can check your family circle in Kawahara.

Just hearing the word “imoni party” reminds me of Sendai and makes me feel that I have come back to my hometown.

Araki: Yes, that’s right. Is it still a common practice in Sendai nowadays?

The area upstream of Ushikoshi Bridge has become a sacred place for imoni parties on the Hirose River, and although it is mainly students, they take places from the morning when the weather is nice.
It is getting colder, so it seems to be going down already, but just the other day I saw them doing it on the riverbank of Komegahukuro, which can be seen from here.

Araki: Is that so? Do students nowadays barbecue?

I think the main one is still IMONI.

Araki: I see. That’s a relief.

Third: What is the origin of Koichi Hirose’s name?

In the fourth part of “Jojo,” a character named “Koichi Hirose” appears as an important character as the narrator.
Was the teacher’s intention in naming such a character “Hirose” based on the idea of the Hirose River as a symbol of Sendai?

Araki: After all, how could we not have “Hirose River” appear in the show? morio Town is not in Sendai City, though. It also appears in Muneyuki Satou’s hit song, and Koichi Hirose took his name from the Hirose River, the symbol of Sendai. There is no other reason.

A song about the Hirose River associated with Sendai

Thank you very much. This is a very happy story for “Jojo” fans living in Sendai City.
In the past, there was a plan to erect a bronze statue of “Kappa” along the Hirose River with donations from citizens.
If you are a “Jojo” fan, I am sure you would like to build a bronze statue of Koichi Hirose.
Are there any places you miss now that you have left Sendai, or places you still often stop by?

Araki: I still go to Komatsushima, where I played as a boy.
Not much has changed since then.
The area around Yoheswamp is also nice because it is a park area where nature is protected.
I also go to Dainohara Forest Park and the Meditation Pine near Tohoku Pharmaceutical University.

         dainohara forest park

         Meditation Pine

I see that you are going to visit a place that you have missed so much.

Araki: I really used to play around there a lot.
Yes, the good and the bad. I have many memories.

I have heard that you were a boy who liked to follow animal tracks and visit various places.

Araki: It wasn’t a search for buried treasure as I mentioned earlier, but I liked to track all kinds of things, and I am still very interested in animal footprints.

This year there was a bad harvest of bear food in the forest, and bears often come down to human villages. It seems there are bear tracks, etc.

Araki: So bears come down to Sendai, too! I get a shiver down my spine when I see claw marks near a puddle or something.
It makes me think, “He’s really here, he must have passed through here.

By the way, we understand that this year (2011) marks the 30th anniversary of your debut.
It has been 24 years since the serialization of “Jojo” began in 1987, and the social situation surrounding Japan has changed dramatically during that time. Since you left Sendai for the serialization, how do you see Sendai today compared to the past?

Araki: Well, the fine Japanese houses that remind us of the times are gone.
Also, the tasteful coffee shops are gone, which makes me a little sad.
The city itself has become cleaner and more livable, though.

The mysterious atmosphere that remained after the war may have disappeared with the progress of urban development.

Araki: However, as a cab driver told me earlier, he saw a snow bug dancing yesterday, which is said to appear before the snow falls.
I think it is wonderful that we can still feel such nature close by.

I suppose it is a feeling that the symbiosis with nature is currently recovering due to the growing awareness of the need to cherish the natural environment after the “Dozaemon” era of childhood and the pollution problems of the high-economic growth period that you mentioned earlier.

Araki: When you think about it, the scale of Sendai is just right for a city.

Maybe it is compact and just the right size of a city.

Araki: Yes, it is. Whether you go around on foot or by train or bus, the distance is just right, and it is easy to get around wherever you want to go.

Do you drive a car?

Araki: I don’t really know why, but I never thought of owning a car until now.

After all, is it correct to say that you prefer to track on foot?

Araki: Tracking is fun~ (laugh)
But I really think Sendai is an easy city to live in.
In Tokyo, it would be too big.

I read in the author’s comments on the comics that when you started your serialization in Sendai, you had to move to Tokyo because it was too difficult to live in Sendai and serialize your work, as it cost 40 yen per sheet to make a copy.

Araki: At the time, the Tohoku Shinkansen had not yet opened and it took four hours to get to Tokyo by train.
It was a time when the delivery system was just about ready and the Kuroneko Yamato Takkyubin company had just been established, so it was very difficult to write a serial for a weekly magazine, so I had to go even if I did not want to.

In recent years, communication technology such as the Internet has become widespread, making it easier to live in such a natural environment close by. Do you sometimes think that you would be able to live in Sendai and do serialization now?

Araki: Yes, there are. It would be great if I could live in Sendai and write a series of articles.

There are many popular novelists who live and work in Sendai.

Araki: I think it’s almost no problem for novelists.
I can also send manga if I draw it digitally, as long as I have internet access.
Not so for me, because I have to make sure my raw manuscripts get to the editorial office.

Unlike Rohan Kishibe who works in morio-town, is it still difficult for Mr. Araki to live in Sendai while working on his series? ・・・・

Araki: Since his life base such as work relationship and friends is in Tokyo now… It would be difficult.
My assistants also live in Tokyo.

Part 2

Thank you for watching. See you soon!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Hirohiko Araki


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