Yoshihiro Togashi (冨樫 義博Togashi Yoshihiro), born in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan on April 27, 1966, is a well known mangaka. He began writing and illustrating mangas at an early age, Shueisha recognized his talent during his time in college. In the past three decades, Togashi had created numerous manga series of various genres, his favorite and most successful genres being science fiction and occult. His most well known manga are Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter, both of which have been published in the popular Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine.
Togashi was born in the city of Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture, where he begum drawing manga casually during his first two years of elementary school. In high school, Togashi joined the fine-arts club and later enrolled at Yamagata University, studying education in hope of becoming a teacher. It was during his years in college that he submitted some of his first manga to the Shueisha publisher. He authored his first manga work in 1986, at age 20, entitled Buttobi Straight (ぶっとびストレート), for which he received the Tezuka Award, the most prestigious award for new manga artists. Afterwards, Togashi authored Jura no Miduki (ジュラのミヅキ) in 1987, becoming a honorable mention in Shueisha's annual Hop Step Award Selection magazine.
His professional career began as a manga artist under Shueisha. One of his earliest published manga volumes was Ōkami Nante Kowakunai!! (狼なんて怖くない!!, lit. I'm not afraid of the Wolf), consisting of five short-story comedies. Weekly Shōnen Jump published some of the stories prior to a tankōbon release in 1989. Weekly Shōnen Jump published some of the stories prior to a tankōbon release in 1989. A four volume manga of Togashi's, entitled Ten de Shōwaru Cupid (てんで性悪キューピッド, lit. An Ill-tempered Cupid in Heaven), ran from 1987 to 1990, which revolved around a young boy befriending a beautiful devil girl.
Togashi became a famous manga artist in 1990, after the major success following the debut of his most popular manga (and later anime) series, Yu Yu Hakusho (幽☆遊☆白書Yū Yū Hakusho, lit. "Ghost Files" or "Poltergeist Report"). It was published every week in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine (along with his other manga) lasting since 1990 to 1994, having reached 175 chapters over 19 tankōbon volumes all the way up to it's last year. It sold approximately 44 million copies in Japan, Togashi received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1994 and an anime adaptation, albeit with less filler chapters adapted into episode, some character origins and violent scenery where modified. Regardless the anime obtained a great cult-following by fans across the world. The story of Yu Yu Hakusho follows Yusuke Urameshi, a dead adolescent who is hired by the land of the dead to protect the human world from malevolent demons, apparitions and even from other human beings with spiritual awareness. The series is based of off Togashi's interest in horror movies and the occult.
As of 1995, he created Level E (レベルＥ), with only three volumes that where published in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1995 and ran until 1997. The story was a science fiction manga, portraying a fantastic universe in which extraterrestrials draw an innocent human into their rather strange intrigues.
Togashi's second hit series was Hunter X Hunter (ハンター×ハンター), a fantasy orientated, action-adventure manga which began serialization since 1998 and still ongoing as of 2010. The series performed very well commercial, having sold 37 million copies of it's first 20 volumes in Japan as of June 2007. It currently has 310 chapters, of which only 290 have been comprised into tankōbon volumes. The manga received an anime adaptation, broadcast on Fuji Television and Animax from October 16,1999 up to March 31, 2001. The anime had only 62 episodes and adapted the manga's first 11 volumes. It also received three OVA series, the first being released since January 17 to April 17 2002, adapting volume 12 and half of 13. The last two OVA series lasted since February 5, 2003 to August 18, 2004, covering volume 13 up to 18, having 22 episode. They where entitled Greed Island and G.I. Final, after the eponymous Greed Island Saga. The story of Hunter X Hunter follows Gon Freecss, a young, energetic and kind-hearted child in search of his estranged father, the professional hunter Ging. The term "hunter" in the manga's lexicon denotes a world recognized explorer, who focuses all his attention in achieving a specific goal, weather it be in the field of history, geography, zoology, cryptology, medicine, economics, art, music, culinary etc. Despite still being an ongoing series, Hunter X Hunter has taken numerous breaks in recent years. The first hiatus was due to Togashi falling ill and the longest running hiatus began on December 3, 2008 and lasted until January 4, 2010. After the publication of chapter 310, in May 2010, the manga entered a new hiatus again. The manga series resumed again around August, 2011 and is now ongoing again.
Togashi is a huge fan of the occult and horror genres, he enjoys watching ghost and zombie movies and considers both Joyû-rei (Lit. "Ghost Actress") and Dawn of the Dead as being his favorites. He also likes board-style video games and bowling with his family. Togashi also seems to harbor a great deal of interest in both sports and puzzle games as they are a recurring theme of his two hit manga series. Togashi is good friends with Masashi Kishimoto, the author of the manga series Naruto. Togashi has referenced and spoofed Kishimoto's manga on a few occasions throughout the Hunter X Hunter manga.
Working with Naoko Takeuchi and marriage
In January 6, 1999, Togashi married Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of the Sailor Moon series franchise. The two were introduced at a party hosted by mangaka Kazushi Hagiwara in August 1997. Takeuchi stated in her short comic-strip "Princess Naoko Takeuchi Back-to-Work Punch!!" that voice actress Megumi Ogata, the voice of Kurama as well as Sailor Moon's Sailor Uranus, had arranged a meeting between them. The following year, Takeuchi assisted him in adding screentone and as a manager on volume 1 of Hunter X Hunter. However the work and the demands proved more than she had expected, so she ended up quitting.
Soon afterwards, the two manga artists began dating and later got married in January 6, 1999. In attendance for the ceremony were several fellow manga artists and voice actors from both the Sailor Moon and YuYu Hakusho anime series. Their personal life is mostly kept to themselves but had mentioned there engagement in Hunter X Hunter's fifth volume, chapter 44. The couple rezide in Tokyo city. They have one son, born in 2001, whom they have nicknamed "Petit Ōji," which means "little prince" in combined French and Japanese, and a second child in 2009, who's gender they have not publicized. For their son's birthday, the couple had collaborated on a children's book titled "Oobo—Nu— To Chiibo'— Nu—" (おおぼーぬーとちぃぼーぬー), written by Takeuchi and illustrated by Togashi.
Art Style and Influences
In the span of nearly two decades and a half, Togashi's art style had undergone considerable changes. During his earliest works such as Buttobi Straight and Ookami Nante Kawakunai, Togashi utilized a rather personal, but otherwise standard manga design for human appearance and background, his characters having large eyes, round heads, and where featured within vividly detailed surroundings (Fig. 1). The usage of various shades of grey was the main color pallet at the time, while black was merely used for outlines, shadows and hair color. This particular form of imagery was all too common within various manga series of the early 70's and around the ending of the 80', with similar art styles being used by fellow 80's manga artists Kazushi Hagiwara and Yoichi Takahashi.
At the start of his career, Togashi's works bared similar plots and story development, revolving around teenage life. The main protagonists where usually young men who find themselves overcoming the impossible, proving there heroic personality and triumphing over arrogant villains. For example, Buttobi Straight followed the exploits of a violent and impulsive boy who sought to become captain of his school's baseball club, and Tonda Birthday Present, was about a delinquent who rescues his childhood crush from local mafia. Such story lines where based off of Japanese school life at the time, Togashi already being in college by the time he began to write manga as a profession.
- Sensēha Toshishita!! (1986, later featured in Ten de Shōwaru Cupid Volume 4)
- Jura no Miduki (1987, featured in Hop Step Award Selection Volume 1)
- Ōkami Nante Kowakunai!! (1989, tankōbon published by Shueisha)
- Buttobi Straight (1987)
- Tonda Birthday Present (1987, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Occult Tanteidan (1988–1989, two parts published in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Horror Angel (1988, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Ōkami Nante Kowakunai!! (1989, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Ten de Shōwaru Cupid (1989–1990, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- YuYu Hakusho (1990–1994, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Level E (1995–1997, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Hunter X Hunter (1998 - ongoing, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Official Hunter × Hunter Guide (2004, published by Shueisha)
- YuYu Hakusho Who's Who Underworld Character Book (2005, published by Shueisha)
- YuYu Hakusho Illustrations (2005, published by Shueisha)
- Oobo— Nu— Tochiibo— Nu— (2005, published by Kodansha)
In a 2008 poll, conducted by marketing research firm Oricon, Togashi was declared as the fifth most favorite manga artists in Japan, along side with Eiichiro Oda, creator of the widely acclaimed, ongoing manga series One Piece.