Guest writer: Mars#8919
Many people have likely heard of the popular manga and anime series, Hunter x Hunter, but what not many people have heard of is the success and life story behind the mangaka. Join us as we delve into the life of Yoshihiro Togashi!
Yoshihiro Togashi was born on April 27th, 1966 in Shinjō, Yamagata. His family owned a paper shop in the town and this helped foster Togashi’s passion for manga. He began to draw manga in elementary school, where his love for drawing flourished. Later on, he joined the fine-arts club in his highschool and soon enrolled in Yamagata University where he studied education.
In his time at the university, some of his work was published to Weekly Young Jump, and soon thereafter he won the Tezuka Award for a manga he authored called Buttobi Straight. He was also recognized as an honorable mention in the Hop Step Award Selection magazine. After moving past his goal of becoming an educator, he was contacted by an editor of Weekly Shōnen Jump and moved to Tokyo to pursue his dream as a mangaka.
Start of a Career
One of Togashi’s first published works for Shueisha included Ōkami Nante Kowakunai!!, a collection of short comedy manga stories. It was published in 1989. He also authored a series called Ten de Shōwaru Cupid, a romance manga.
Togashi’s big break was in 1990 when he began his work on YuYu Hakusho, a manga about a man named Yusuke Urameshi, who is hit by a car when saving a little boy and is brought back to life as an “Underworld Detective”. The manga had 175 chapters over 4 years and it went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide, earning Togashi a Shogakukan Manga Award and a hit anime adaptation. The next year, he began working on a sci-fi comedy manga called Level E. It was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump and later got an anime adaptation in 2011.
Togashi is married to Naoko Takeuchi, the mangaka of Sailor Moon. They were introduced at a house party and later worked together. They have two children and have worked on a children’s picture book together called “Oobo— Nu— Tochiibo— Nu—”.
He has a brother named Hideaki Togashi, who is also a manga artist. The Togashi Paper store is still open and run by his mother in Shinjō, Yamagata. You can even buy the latest editions of Hunter x Hunter there.
Another Big Break
Togashi’s big break came in 1998 when his next major series, Hunter x Hunter, was serialized.
“Hunter x Hunter is set in a world where Hunters exist to perform all manner of dangerous tasks like capturing criminals and bravely searching for lost treasures in uncharted territories. Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.” – My Anime List
The first 20 volumes sold nearly 55 million copies in Japan, going on to sell more than 78 million copies by 2019. In 2008, Togashi tied with Eiichiro Oda (the mangaka of One Piece; check out our article on him!) as the fifth favorite manga artist from a poll posted by Oricon. It was adapted into an anime series in 1999.
Hunter x Hunter is still an ongoing series and has been going on hiatuses since 2006. 380 chapters have been written into 36 volumes, which total to over 100 episodes in the anime adaptation.
Togashi’s life story may not be the most dramatic, but it’s inspiring none the less. He shows that through hard work and determination, you can make your dreams come true.
“You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want.”
― Yoshihiro Togashi, Hunter x Hunter, Vol. 32
Yoshihiro Togashi has truly created something that has impacted many and inspired the dreams of kids once like him.