Female mangaka have contributed much not only to the Japanese manga industry, but also the world comic industry in general. These include Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon’s Hiromu Arakawa, as well as Eisner Awards Hall of Famer and Ranma 1/2 mangaka Rumiko Takahashi. However, it seems that many people still look down on female mangaka, and sexism still exists in the industry itself.
The #MeToo movement has recently reached Japan, and several discriminatory acts have surfaced in various industries. The most recent of these incidences happened at the Tokyo Medical University, where it was found that the university itself lowered the scores of female applicants on purpose. In light of this incident, one mangaka stepped up to talk about an experience she had with a manga editor. She is Naoko Kodama, a renowned yuri mangaka and is known for the NTR: Netsuzou Trap yuri manga and anime.
In a tweet, Kodama mentioned an unnamed male editor who told her that “Female creators can’t draw truly interesting manga after all”. She then reiterated the many female mangaka who have contributed much to the industry. According to the mangaka, the editor wanted to meet with her because he wanted Kodama to introduce him to another female mangaka she personally knows. It turns out that he wanted that female mangaka to write for a new magazine he’s working for. The yuri mangaka then said that his comments perplexed her since he knows both of them were female.
Kodama also reiterated that she never really worked with that editor before, as he just approached her. He was the editor was in charge of a male-oriented magazine, and wanted more female readers. He might have thought that having a female mangaka might draw in more women.
Galaxy Angel and Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Feathers Hen mangaka Kanan then replied to Kodama’s tweet. She said that her husband, Chiichan’s Menu mangaka Masakazu Ooi, thought that that editor was an idiot. He also said that “calling that guy an editor is an insult to other editors.”
Several female mangaka also shared their stories of sexism in the workplace. This includes Today’s Cerberus mangaka Ato Sakurai, who deleted tweets regarding that experience. But before she deleted them, the mangaka tweeted that a male editor once suggested that she have a more gender-ambiguous pen name because shounen manga readers might be put off by a manga created by a woman. Well, that never stopped Rumiko Takahashi and Hiromu Arakawa from having successful SHOUNEN manga like Ranma 1/2, Fullmetal Alchemist, and InuYasha, didn’t it?