The Otaku community in Kenya is quite diverse. I’d say the different types all mentioned here have a fairly great representation here in Kenya. So, we thought we’d introduce you to a truly amazing person, Shin Kyouketsuki, a Kenyan mangaka, to help give you a better understanding of our Otaku community. I do hope you enjoy reading this interview as much I did typing it out. 🙂
Shin, is just your average mangaka. I don’t think I have anything that really sets me apart. As for my name, well, himitsu desu (secret). 🙂 My journey with Japanese is a continuous learning journey that is always changing and evolving. I started getting interested in it when I was around 15, when I started high school.
The Japanese culture is so big and has so many interesting aspects to it. I like the attention to detail it has and the deep meanings that it can attribute to things that even look like just ordinary everyday things, and that the fact that Japanese people keep pushing themselves to do better at everything they do. I like that kind of mindset. I also enjoy the food culture that Japan has. They have great cuisine. I’ve participated in a couple of Japanese events, like the speech contest, which is always very scary, and also anime festivals and which incorporate a form of karaoke called Nodojiman, and Cosplay, where we get to dress up as beloved Manga/Anime characters.
For the most part, I taught myself how to draw, but as I got older and interested in doing complicated drawings, I have had to draw from the experience of seasoned mangakas. I’d always wanted to draw my own stories, or at least work on those really famous ones that were out there. I must have been in like in primary school when I started dreaming about being a cartoonist. Deciding to be a mangaka came later in high school.
I like thinking that Rurouni Kenshin is what got me started on the path of wanting to pursue manga as an art form, it wasn’t the first manga I’d read but it was definitely the turning point. I drew a lot of inspiration from the mangaka who worked on it. His name is Nobuhiro Watsuki.
I also like the style Obata Takeshi (artist of the manga Death note). He does really intricate work.
As I continue to grow I also get inspiration form artists who aren’t necessarily Mangakas but do comic books. I like really detailed works, so am more drawn to artists who like to do complex drawings, where you have to sit back and look at it for a minute, take it all in and understand what’s going on.
I think all writers go through writer’s block; sometimes you have two ideas but just don’t have the bridge to connect the two stories you want to tell. When I face writer’s block, I will normally watch things that aren’t even related to manga sometimes, so that I see things from an outside perspective.
On Negative Criticism:
The best piece of advice that I have received regarding my work is that I should keep moving forward despite people criticising my art style as being too Asian. I get asked why I don’t draw in a ‘more African style’- What is an African style?
So the best advice I’ve received and use is, “Keep drawing what you like.”
Well, that’s it for Part One! Keep an eye out for Part Two for some pretty exciting stuff. The secret to his name is not revealed, sadly, but we’ll be discussing about Shin’s past, present and maybe future anime and manga projects! 😀
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In a perfect world, Gillian would be travelling round the world in her red vintage VW T1 van (Hippie Van) gathering stories of the people she meets and retelling them to those ready to listen. She is in the process of building this world which is now going to have all of you in it.