Tsukasa HÔJÔ's debut
Tsukasa HÔJÔ was born on March 5, 1959 in Fukuoka Prefecture. He showed no special interest in manga as a kid, until discovering Ultra Q in primary school. Even then though, if he liked drawing, he still preferred watching TV to reading manga. In college, he turned to cinema, hoping to work in this field. At the time, he often studied in a café where he also read a lot of manga. If becoming a mangaka was still not part of the plan, he drew a few one shots while still in college, to enter contests and make some money.
In 1979, he was among the finalists of the 18th Tezuka Award organized by Shônen Jump magazine with Space Angel. That’s when he met Nobuhiko HORIE who was to become his editor at Shônen Jump and drove him to keep writing. He then created Ore wa Otoko Da!, the short story that marked the beginning of his mangaka career in 1980. Ore wa Otoko Da! was later published again in a collection of short stories.
Cat's Eye, the first success
With the success of Cat’s Eye, another one shot at first, Shônen Jump urged Tsukasa HÔJÔ to write more of it. It became a long series that made the artist move to Tokyo. He worked on Cat’s Eye between 1981 and 1985.
In 1983, Tokyo Movie Shinsha made an animated adaptation of the series. That’s how the French public happily discovered on TV the three Kisugi sisters, cunning and lovable burglars who steal works of art that used to belong to their missing father, in the hope of finding him.
the recognition with City Hunter
When Cat’s Eye ended, Tsukasa HÔJÔ’s editor invited him to launch a new manga. When he was still working on Cat’s Eye, he had drafted several short stories, including XYZ, which was to give birth to City Hunter, a long series started in 1985 and which remains the author’s most iconic work. Yet success did not come at once. City Hunter started as a dark story which only appealed to the readers when Tsukasa HÔJÔ added some humor in it, transforming his hero, Ryo Saeba, into a complex character, both a failed womanizer and a charismatic sweeper and private detective, who evolves beside Kaori and many more colorful characters.
Studio Sunrise adapted City Hunter as an anime from 1987 and that’s how it first came to France, with instant success. Since then, City Hunter has had many more adaptations, with several animation films in the 90s or recently Shinjuku Private Eyes, approved by Tsukasa HÔJÔ and released in 2019. Live action films have also been realized, one by Jing WONG starring Jackie CHAN in 2002, and a French one by director and actor Philippe LACHEAU, Nicky Larson et le parfum de Cupidon, in 2019 and which made its way to Japan where it has been released as City Hunter the movie on November 29.
Tsukasa HÔJÔ has also gone further in the world of City Hunter with Angel Heart, from 2001 to 2010, a manga he describes not as a sequel but as an alternative story. Much darker, Angel Heart is about Glass Heart, a 14-year old hitwoman who is transplanted with Kaori's heart, who died in an accident. With her heart, Kaori's memories have survived, especially her feelings for Ryô. Glass Heart sets to find him. Angel Heart is one of Tsukasa HÔJÔ's longest series with a second season published from 2010 to 2017.
From mangaka to film director
After City Hunter came to an end in 1992, Tsukasa HÔJÔ worked on Rash!! (1994 - 1995), a two-volume series about Yûki Asaka, a doctor who succeeds her grandmother in a prison and who has a strong tendency to get into trouble. A year later, he started F. Compo (Family Compo, 1996 - 2000), a manga about family and genre.
Now, Tsukasa HÔJÔ helps to educate young mangaka. He has also come back to his first love, cinema, and is working as a film director for the first time on Angel Sign, an anthology of five silent manga from all over the world. These works have competed at Silent Manga Audition, the biggest silent manga contest in the world and for which Tsukasa HÔJÔ is a member of the jury. He is also in charge of the prologue and epilogue of the film. Have a look at the trailer:
As he will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of his career in 2020, there is no doubt Tsukasa HÔJÔ is one of the most renowned mangaka in the world, mainly due to his famous series Cat’s Eye, City Hunter, and Angel Heart. He got known as soon as his career began and his work is still alive to this day, in his own creations, in new editions of his manga, and in the works of other artists he inspired. In 2017, to mention one of them, the manga City Hunter Rebirth was released, a spin-off by Sokura NISHIKI who worked on the script with Tsukasa HÔJÔ himself.
Japan Expo is honored to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tsukasa HÔJÔ’s career and is inviting you to meet this legendary mangaka at the festival. We’ll tell you more about our Manga Guest of Honor’s program soon but for the time being we can mention a live drawing, signing sessions, and a masterclass.
- Tenshi no Okurimono (short stories, 1980 - 1988)
- Cat's Eye (series, 1981 - 1985)
- City Hunter (series, 1985 - 1991)
- Sakura no Hana Sakukoro (short stories, 1989 - 1993)
- Komorebi no Moto De... (short stories, 1993 - 1994)
- Rash!! (series, 1994 - 1995)
- Melody of Jenny (short stories, 1995)
- F. Compo (series, 1996 - 2000)
- Angel Heart (series, 2001 - 2010)
- Angel Heart Saison 2 (series, 2010 - 2017)