Taiwanese mangaka gets noticed in Japan

  • By Jonathan Chin / Editor, with CNA

Taiwanese manga artist Gao Yan (高妍) launched a standalone edition of the manga series Lu Zhih Ge (綠之歌) in Taiwan and Japan on Wednesday.

Gao has been working in manga art since childhood and was working as an illustrator in 2018 when she published the critically acclaimed Lu Zhih Ge as a short story, the 25-year-old creator said at a book launch. in Taipei.

“It was thanks to Lu Zhih Ge that I found my way as a manga artist,” she said.

Photo: ANC

The story – Gao’s first manga to be published – revolves around a young Taiwanese woman nicknamed Lu (綠) and real-life Japanese lyricist and musician Haruomi Hosono, who fronted the band Happy End, she said. .

The independently published work was applauded after band member Takashi Matsumoto penned a rave review on social media.

The following year, Hosono traveled to Taiwan and invited Gao to join a production of No Smoking, a biographical documentary about Hosono that screened later that year.

Gao has also been featured in several high-profile international manga art exhibitions and illustrated the cover of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami’s literary self-portrait Abandoning a Cat, When I Talk About My Father.

Last year, Gao developed Lu Zhih Ge into a full manga that was serialized in the Japanese-language magazine Comic Beam before releasing the series in a two-volume standalone release.

“I’m just a regular Haruomi fan,” she said. “I never imagined that Lu Zhih Ge would attract Takashi’s attention.”

She said that the story’s protagonist, Lu, is an homage to a character in Murakami’s novel, Norwegian Wood, whose first name contains the kanji rendered Lu (綠) in Chinese.

“I also didn’t expect to draw my first real commercial illustration for Haruki,” she added.

“I believe Lu Zhih Ge has power in his goofy honesty that drew people in, Gao said. “Creation can take me to faraway places that I could never have reached in my own strength. This is the power of books.

Although the title is serialized in Japan and tied to that country in context, the story is predominantly Taiwanese, she said.

“I hope that the publication of this book can give confidence to Taiwanese people and make them realize that they come from a talented country,” she said. “Young artists and authors need to know that their creations have power.”

Lu Zhih Ge bears the mentions written by Matsumoto and Murakami.

“Gao’s drawings are full of fresh air as if transported in a tunnel. It evokes a sense of comfort and resonates with nostalgia,” Murakami wrote.

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