Guest of Honor : Tsukasa HÔJÔ
From City Hunter to Cat’s Eye, F. Compo and many more, Tsukasa HÔJÔ’s work is part of the History of manga and he is still to this day one of the most iconic mangaka for whole generations. He is the Manga Guest of Honor of Japan Expo 2023!
The debut of Tsukasa HÔJÔ
Born on March 5, 1959 in Fukuoka prefecture, Tsukasa HÔJÔ didn't show any real interest in manga at first, until he discovered Ultra Q in elementary school. Although he liked to draw, he preferred to watch television than to read manga. At the university, he studied in the hope of working in the film industry. He spent a lot of time studying in a cafe where he also read manga. He still does not intend to become a mangaka, but he draws some one shots in parallel of his studies, to participate in contests and earn some money.
In 1979, he participated in the 18th Tezuka Prize organized by the magazine Shônen Jump and was among the finalists thanks to Space Angel. It is there that he meets Nobuhiko HORIE, who will become his editorial manager at Shônen Jump and who pushes him to write regularly. He then created I'm a Man! the one shot which marked the beginning of his mangaka career in 1980. I'm a Man! will be published later in a collection of short stories alongside The Angel's Gift (1988) and Cat Story (1985).
Cat's Eye, first success
Faced with the success of Cat's Eye, a one shot at the beginning, Shônen Jump offered to Tsukasa HÔJÔ to write the sequel. It will become a long series which forces the artist to move to Tokyo. He worked on Cat's Eye between 1981 and 1985.
In 1983, the Tokyo Movie Shinsha made an animated adaptation of the series. Thus, in France, we soon discover on television the trio of the Chamade sisters (Kisugi in the original version), burglars as skillful as endearing who seek to steal works of art that belonged to their missing father in the hope of finding him. The series is a success in France where it is known as Signed Cat's Eyes.
City hunter, the consecration
When Cat's Eye came to an end, his publisher proposed to Tsukasa HÔJÔ to launch a new series. In parallel to Cat's Eye, the mangaka had drafted short stories such as XYZ, the first steps of City Hunter, a long series that the author started in 1985 and which is still his best known. The success is not however immediate. City Hunter starts as a dark story which will find its audience when Tsukasa HÔJÔ decides to add a good dose of humor to it, making his hero, Ryô Saeba, a complex personality, at the same time an inveterate (and failed) flirt, and a charismatic cleaner, alongside Kaori and a multitude of colorful characters.
The Sunrise studio adapted City Hunter into anime from 1987 and this is how the series was soon discovered in France, renamed Nicky Larson, with an undeniable success. City Hunter has since given birth to many adaptations, with several animated films in the 90s or more recently Nicky Larson Private Eyes, approved by Tsukasa HÔJÔ and released in France in 2019. Live-action films have also seen the light of day, Niki Larson by Jing WONG with Jackie CHAN in 2002, and the film by Frenchman Philippe LACHEAU, Nicky Larson et le parfum de Cupidon, released in 2019 and which has made its way to Japan where the public can discover it in theaters since November 29.
Tsukasa HÔJÔ also extended the universe of City Hunter in Angel Heart from 2001 to 2010, a manga that he himself describes not as a sequel but as an alternative story. Much darker, Angel Heart features Glass Heart, a young 14-year-old hitwoman who has Kaori's heart transplanted to her, who died in an accident. With the heart remained Kaori's memories, in particular her feelings for Ryô. Glass Heart then sets out to find her. Angel Heart is one of the longest series of Tsukasa HÔJÔ with a season 2 published from 2010 to 2017.
from mangaka to director
Tsukasa HÔJÔ helps young mangaka to learn the profession. He also returned to his first love, cinema, and worked for the first time as a director on the film Angel Sign, an anthology of five stories adapted from silent comics from around the world. These works were presented at the Silent Manga Audition, the largest international silent manga competition, of which the artist is a member of the jury.
See you at Japan Expo Paris from July 13 to 16, 2023 to meet Tsukasa HÔJÔ during conferences and signing sessions!