Ai Yazawa

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Ai Yazawa
Native name
矢沢 あい
BornAi Yazawa
(1967-03-07) March 7, 1967 (age 56)
Amagasaki, Hyōgo, Japan
OccupationManga artist
EducationOsaka Mode Gakuen
Years active1985–present
Notable worksTenshi Nanka Ja Nai, Neighborhood Story, Paradise Kiss, Nana

Ai Yazawa (矢沢 あい, Yazawa Ai, was born on March 7, 1967) is a Japanese manga author. Yazawa's most famous manga include Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai, Neighborhood Story, Paradise Kiss, and especially Nana,[1] the latter being one of the best-selling manga series.


While most of Yazawa's manga is published in Japan by Shueisha, publishers of Ribon and Cookie (Nana was serialized in the latter), series like Paradise Kiss have appeared in non-Shueisha magazines such as Zipper, published by Shodensha.[2]

She also voiced an animated rendition of herself that made a cameo appearance in the final episode of the Neighborhood Story anime. All five volumes of Paradise Kiss were released in English by Vertical, Inc. Nana ran in now-defunct American manga magazine Shojo Beat. In 2003, Yazawa was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for Nana.[3] Nana was made into an anime (produced by Madhouse) and a successful movie with a sequel in Japan.

In June 2009, it was revealed that Yazawa had contracted a sudden illness, and had to be sent to the hospital for treatment, putting Nana on hiatus.[4] She returned from the hospital in April 2010, although it has yet to be revealed when or if she will be continuing Nana.[5]

Yazawa has worked on a variety of small illustrative projects since putting Nana on hold. She provided artwork for singer JUJU's single Iiwake in 2017 and a celebratory illustration for Space Channel 5 VR in 2020, drew a mini-manga featuring characters from her series Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai and Neighborhood Story in 2016, contributed new images to the 2015 Nana calendar, and published a new "Junko's Room" chapter, her first new manga in over three years, in 2013.[6]


Yazawa's storylines are generally centered on young women and their relationships. The characters are always very stylish, and she is known especially for her hip sense of fashion. Yazawa herself attended a fashion school after high school but did not complete her studies there. Another key point is her often rebellious characters, who tend to be juxtaposed against the more traditional ones.[7]

She been compared to fellow manga artist Taku Tsumugi for her play with depth and layering.[8]


  • Ano Natsu (1985)
  • 15-nenme (1986)
  • Love Letter (1987)
  • Kaze ni Nare! (1988)
  • Escape (1988)
  • Ballad Made Soba ni Ite (1989) – 2 volumes
  • Marine Blue no Kaze ni Dakarete (1990–1991) – 4 volumes
  • Usubeni no Arashi (1992)
  • Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai (1992–1995) – 8 volumes
  • Neighborhood Story (1995–1998) – 7 volumes
  • Kagen no Tsuki (1998–1999) – 3 volumes
  • Paradise Kiss (2000–2004) – 5 volumes published by Shodensha
  • Nana (2000–2009) – 21 volumes (hiatus)

Character design:


  1. ^ Rosenbaum, Roman, ed. (2012). Manga and the Representation of Japanese History. Taylor & Francis. p. 111. doi:10.4324/9780203097816. ISBN 9780203097816.
  2. ^ "祥伝社の出版物". Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  3. ^ 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  4. ^ "Nana's Ai Yazawa Puts Manga on Hold Due to Illness". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Nana Manga Creator Ai Yazawa Returns from Hospital". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (October 2, 2018). "NANA's Ai Yazawa Draws Historical Men's Fashion for New Book". Anime News Network.
  7. ^ McNeill, David (September 3, 2005). "Cartoon friends strike a blow for Japanese women". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2005.
  8. ^ Wheeler Macwilliams, Mark, ed. (2008). Japanese Visual Culture. Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-7656-2235-8. OCLC 503447257.

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