Keiko Takemiya: ‘Preserving Original Drawings as Assets’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Keiko Takemiya

Keiko Takemiya, 73, played a leading role as an artist of manga for girls in the 1970s. Her most noteworthy works include “Kaze to Ki no Uta” (The poem of wind and trees) and “Toward the Terra.”

Now she is a professor emerita at Kyoto Seika University. Since 2002, she has led a project to reproduce original manga drawings in an elaborate way, called Genga Dash.

The project aims to prevent original manga drawings from deteriorating and going missing. In Genga Dash, scans of the drawings are stored in a computer system so that copies of them can be passed down to future generations.

Takemiya said she is storing about 26,000 pages of her 180 works near her house. “From the time I began drawing manga, I made efforts to ensure I would get the original drawings back. There are still some I lost despite my efforts,” said Takemiya.

“Original drawings are extremely delicate. Those of manga works for girls are especially so, because the colors are subtle.”

Considering the requirements for handling delicate original drawings, Takemiya explained that there have been cases of copied images from the Genga Dash project being exhibited in recent years.

“Looking at original drawings makes us understand how hard manga artists work to draw good quality pictures while sacrificing everything else. So the persuasive power is different.”

Takemiya believes that the opportunity to see original drawings is special for those who love manga all over the world, saying, “It is an asset that Japan should preserve and manage.”