Part 1 | Part 2 | Parts 3 & 4 | Parts 5 & 6

And that’s all. I think my translation of the whole thing adds up to over 5,300 words. Ouch. At least this makes the remaining interviews look miniscule in comparison. Hopefully everyone learned something new about our dear Ume-tentei!

A Long History with Doujin

[In Japanese, “doujin” by itself refers to all types of amateur works and not just the printed material, “doujinshi”.]

When did you start drawing manga?

Ume: During my third year of elementary school, I filled my notebooks with shoujo manga.

What kind of manga was it?

Ume: At that time I was reading the manga magazine “Ribon“, so they were similar to those manga. After that, they leaned a little more toward fantasy.

By fantasy, you mean like the contents of “Wings“?

Ume: Yes. I didn’t buy the magazine, but at that time the works of CLAMP and Yun Kouga were serialized. I was influenced by their works then. I was amazed to see those kinds of drawings. Up until that time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Later, around my second year of middle school, I liked “Here Is Greenwood“. During my third year, I would go to an full-blown place called a Game Center and play tons of arcade games. At that same time, I ended up participating in Ikebukuro doujinshi conventions and also played things like bishoujo games. What a mess.

What games?

Ume: “TokiMemo” and “Kizuato“.

You got into PC games too?

Ume: In those days, “Kizuato” and “Shizuku” were extremely popular. I found out about them because they were illustrated by a doujin artist I liked. I didn’t always play the games themselves, but caught glimpses of them through doujinshi and magazines.

You knew about a lot of different works?

Ume: I was omnivorous. I dug into both male- and female-targeted works.

So you’ve been active in doujin for a long time.

Ume: I’ve been participating in circles at doujin events since the spring of my third year of middle school.

It’s different to  participate as part of a circle rather than simply attending, so that made you an early bloomer.

Ume: I might have been for that time. I only attended an event as a visitor the previous year.

What kind of doujinshi did you come for?

Ume: Well, normally, some female-targeted works here and there. (laugh) Back then I still wasn’t used to male-targeted works, so I was scared of the “Male-Targeted Section” sign at the convention center. I was young. (laugh) That’s how I felt at first, but starting around my third year of middle school, I was buying things aimed at boys as well…

That’s young! Isn’t that like the extreme otaku elite?

Ume: When I think about my history with doujin, it’s pretty long.

What was the first book you ever made?

Ume: I can’t remember clearly, but I think it was something based on a beat-’em-up game.

Were you drawing parodies the whole time?

Ume: It wasn’t until recently that I was drawing a lot of original work.

You said the classes in “Hidamari Sketch” were modeled after the art prep school you went to, but did you attend that after finishing high school?

Ume: I intended to go to a technical school to study manga after I graduated high school.  I submitted all the paperwork and the formalities were almost completed, but at the last minute, I suddenly changed my mind and did not enroll in the school.


Ume: …Hmm, I can’t put it into words well… it was like my fixation had changed. If I went to a technical school like that and would only make manga the whole time, my own field might not expand. That was worrying. Of course, I could have gone to that school and emerged successful, but I felt it wouldn’t be a good match for a naturally indoors type like me.

At the time, was that a sign you wanted to go to an art college?

Ume: I thought it was disappointing to my parents, but they let me attend the art prep school I set my eyes on. I went for one year and was able to enter art college without any problems. But I was kind of a bad student. (laugh)

Did you continue your doujin activities while in prep school?

Ume: I only went to Summer Comiket. After that, I tried to study hard for the exam.

Did you resume your doujin work in college?

Ume: I played a doujin PC game. Before I knew it, I was addicted again…

And when did you start drawing anthologies?

Ume: About five years ago. I think my first job came from “Nekoneko Soft“, to illustrate a user manual.

A Nonfiction Manga in Due Time

What kind of work do you want to draw in the future?

Ume: Well. “Hidamari Sketch” is a realistic, down-to-earth story, so I’d like to try a somewhat out-of-place, unrealistic work. Humans soaring through the air! That type of atmosphere. Besides, I want to draw many different things without restricting myself. But I won’t draw any horror!

Do you not like horror?

Ume: No! It’s my weakness!

Would you read or watch any–

Ume: No way!

There was a scene where Yuno accidentally saw a horror movie, wasn’t there?

Ume: That was a real experience, though I didn’t have a cold at the time. …Those late-night movies and game commercials… They have no mercy, do they? Even with horror movies being separated, I should be fine with turning on that channel at 2:00. But then those commercials suddenly come on. …Why do I have to see them…

All of a sudden, violence breaks out on the screen?

Ume: Yes, yes it does!

Are you a scaredy-cat?

Ume: I haven’t been compared to other people, so I don’t know if I am…

But to be scared of a commercial, I think that makes you so. (laugh)

Ume: Really? One horror movie commercial was about getting extremely angry at the world, or something? After that, the commercials became more gentle.

And that was relieving.

Ume: Just a little.

That aside, what about the story you wanted to try drawing someday?

Ume: Someday, which might mean when I’m around 40 years old, I want to draw both a diary manga and a nonfiction manga.


Ume: I don’t have any reason in particular that that age, but I think I’ll settle down or something and be able to draw a diary manga. If I have any kids, I want to try drawing a manga about raising children, or a travel manga. Like a work that’s about a hobby yet has practical use. …Although “raising children” isn’t a hobby. (laugh)

Do you like traveling?

Ume: I’m not really able to, but yes.

If you put so much effort into making it a manga, you’d need to take some dangerous trips. Like being left alone in the Sahara Desert. (laugh)

Ume: Even though I can only speak Japanese, if I’m left behind overseas, I could say enough to return home from there. (laugh) But dangerous places, no.

So if you could do anything you wanted, it would be to write a nonfiction manga.

Ume: Until then, I’ll come charging at anything and everything recklessly.