Daisuke Igarashi

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Daisuke Igarashi
Born (1969-04-02) April 2, 1969 (age 54)
Saitama, Japan
Area(s)Manga artist
Notable works
Little Forest
Children of the Sea

Daisuke Igarashi (五十嵐 大介, Igarashi Daisuke, born April 2, 1969) is a Japanese manga artist. Active since the 1990s, he is known for his detailed depictions of nature in combination with spiritual or surreal themes. Manga series like Witches and Children of the Sea have been critically acclaimed and translated into several languages.


Igarashi was born in Saitama in the suburbs of Tokyo. As a child, he would often spend time in a grove of Tsuki-jō [ja] in Saitama, consisting of trees that were several hundreds of years old. He started drawing, because he wanted to depict the beauty of these trees.[1][2] He graduated from Tama Art University,[3] where he studied oil painting from 1989 on. He was classmates with fellow manga artist Hiroaki Samura, but the two of them only properly met later while working for the same manga magazine.[4] After graduating, he travelled through Japan and sketched landscapes that he saw.[2]

In 1993, Igarashi won the newcomer award Afternoon Shiki Shō [ja] ("Afternoon Seasons Prize") of the manga magazine Afternoon with the short story "Ohayashi ga kikoeru hi" ("A Day Festival Music Is Heard") and its publication in the February 1994 issue of Afternoon was his debut as a professional manga artist.[5][3] The short story is set in Tsuki-jō shrine.[2] He had previously submitted the manga to the shōjo manga magazine LaLa, but the magazine's editors rejected it due to its lack of romance in the story and advised Igarashi to submit it to a seinen manga magazine.[4] "Ohayashi ga kikoeru hi" became the first chapter of the series Hanashippanashi, consisting of different short stories. He focused on a series consisting of short stories in order to still experiment with styles and themes in the beginning of his career.[1] Hanashippanashi was serialized in Afternoon until 1996. In the following six years he only published some short stories, which were collected in the book Sora Tobi Tamashii in 2002.

His career took off in 2002. He made a name for himself with the series Little Forest, which he published in Afternoon from 2002 until 2005 and which was based on his own experiences of living an autark life.[5] Igarashi lived for three years in the countryside of Iwate Prefecture, where he was working in rice fields, and his editors approached him about making a manga series about his life.[1] The series was adapted into two live-action films in Japan 2014 and 2015 and into another live-action film in South Korea in 2018.[6]

In 2003 he started working for other publishers than Kodansha. In Shogakukan's then new manga magazine Ikki, he published the series Witches until 2004. From 2006 until 2011 he drew Children of the Sea for the same magazine. Both works received awards and Children of the Sea was adapted into an anime film in 2019 by Studio 4°C. Under Shogakukan's Ikki Comics imprint, he published the two-volume series Saru in 2010 as a collaboration with novelist Kōtarō Isaka, who published the novel SOS no Saru at the same time, with the novel and the manga referencing each other.[7]

He also drew smaller work for publishers other than Kodansha and Shogakukan. In 2005, French comic artist Frédéric Boilet invited him to create a short story about Iwate Prefecture and the cover illustration for the French-Japanese anthology Japan: As Viewed by 17 Creators.[1] Igarashi has also published short stories in the alternative manga magazine Manga Erotics F, the lifestyle magazine Brutus and Shueisha's manga magazine Jump X.

He returned to working for Kodansha in 2015, publishing the series Designs in Afternoon until 2019. Since 2022, he works on Kamakura Bake Neko Club, which is his first work serialized in a female-oriented manga magazine, the josei manga magazine Be Love.

Style and influences[edit]


Igarashi aims to show the beauty of different aspects of nature in his work.[1] With Children of the Sea, he focused on showing the depth and greatness of the sea: "The movement, the sounds, everything about it draws you in. Those are the sorts of things that captivated me."[8] While growing up, he didn't live by the seaside and his inspiration mostly come from vacation in Okinawa. After having started to work on the manga, he himself moved from the mountains to the seaside.[1] He is known for drawing plants and animals with a lot of realism as well as for his "maximalist" spreads showing panoramic landscape views.[9][10][2][11]

Many of his works deal with spiritual themes and folklore.[12] For Witches, he did research around Japanese festivals that have similarities all across Japan and mythology that has similarities all across the world. He states: "Maybe that, a long time ago, there was a sort of community that used to share a similar way of thinking, across the world."[1] Saru is loosely adapted from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.[7]

Most of Igarashi's human characters are often drawn in a simple and sketched way in order to differentiate them from detailed backgrounds and accounts of nature. He has claimed that he is much less interested in depicting humans than nature.[4] Most of his human protagonists are girls or women. He reasons that femininity is connected with nature and that drawing cute female characters gives his work a bigger mass appeal.[2] In Witches, he draws on mythology and fairy tales around femininity to show different women being ostracized or excluded from society by patriarchy.[11]

Drawing process[edit]

Unusually for the manga industry, he draws without assistants. After creating a pencil sketch, he starts his inking process with a maru pen and fills in details with a ballpoint pen. Often he draws landscapes directly with a ballpoint pen without a previous pencil sketch. He draws sound words with a brush pen. At the end, he attaches screentone and scratches light effects into the screentone or uses it to make the focal point of a drawing stand out.[2]


He names Hinako Sugiura as his favorite manga artist and he used to read Akira Toriyama and Rumiko Takahashi. Hayao Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro was a key influence on his decision to become a manga artist: "Totoro helped me realize that it’s okay for me to totally focus on drawing manga about things like, say… clear, slightly cold water."[10] He often copied Yasuhiko Yoshikazu's drawings. In high school, he read a lot of shojo manga like Taku Tsumugi, Megumi Wakatsuki [ja], Minako Narita [ja] and Izumi Kawahara [ja].[2] Fumiko Takano and Miyazaki's manga Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind have been praised by him in interviews.[10][2] His style has earned comparisons to the films of Hayao Miyazaki.[1]


His work has received praise from other manga artists like Taiyō Matsumoto,[10] Hiroaki Samura[4] and Naoki Urasawa.[2] The manga artist Yuki Urushibara cites him as an inspiration.[13]

Several of his manga have been translated into other languages, among them English,[14] Korean,[15] French,[16] Italian,[17] Spanish,[18] Czech[19] and Polish.[20]

For his work, Igarashi has received the following awards and nominations:

Award Year Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Afternoon Shiki Shō [ja] 1993 Winter Award "Ohayashi ga kikoeru hi" Won [3][4]
American Library Association 2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Children of the Sea Won [21]
Angoulême International Comics Festival 2007 Prize for Best Album Witches Nominated [22]
Japan Cartoonists Association Award 2009 Excellence Award Children of the Sea Won [23]
Japan Media Arts Festival 2004 Excellence Award Witches Won [5]
2009 Children of the Sea Won [5]
Kono Manga ga Sugoi! 2017 Men's Manga Designs 18th Place [24]
Manga Taishō 2011 Saru 13th Place [25]
Seiun Award 2011 Best Comic Saru Nominated [26]
Sugoi Japan Award 2017 Manga Award Designs Nominated [27]
Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize 2005 Grand Prize Little Forest Nominated [28]
2008 Children of the Sea Nominated [29]
2009 Children of the Sea Nominated [30]


Title Year Notes Refs
Hanashippanashi (はなしっぱなし) 1994–1996 Serialized in Afternoon
Published by Kodansha in 3 vol.
Little Forest (リトル・フォレスト) 2002–2005 Serialized in Afternoon
Published by Kodansha in 2 vol.
Sora Tobi Tamashii (そらトびタマシイ, "Spirit in the Sky") 2002 Short story collection published by Kodansha in 1 vol. [34]
Witches (魔女, Majo) 2003–2004 Serialized in Ikki
Published by Shogakukan in 2 vol.
Published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment
Kabocha no Bōken (カボチャの冒険, "The Adventures of Kabocha") 2003–2007 Serialized in Animal Paradise
Published by Takeshobo in 1 vol.
Children of the Sea (海獣の子供, Kaijū no Kodomo) 2006–2011 Serialized in Ikki
Published by Shogakukan in 5 vol.
Published in English by Viz Media
Saru 2010 Collaboration with Kōtarō Isaka
Published by Shogakukan in 2 vol.
Designs (ディザインズ) 2015–2019 Serialized in Afternoon
Published by Kodansha in 5 vol.
Kyō no Ani Imōto (きょうのあにいもうと) 2015–2017 Serialized in Hibana [38]
Umwelt (ウムヴェルト) 2017 Collection of short stories published 2004–2014
Published by Kodansha in 1 vol.
Kamakura Bake Neko Club (かまくらBAKE猫倶楽部) 2022–present Serialized in Be Love [40]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Guilbert, Xavier (January 26, 2008). "Igarashi Daisuke". du9. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Urasawa, Naoki (2016). "五十嵐大介" [Daiuske Igarashi]. Urasawa no Manben. Happinet Pictures. NHK Educational TV.
  3. ^ a b c "Excellence Award - WITCHES | Award | Manga Division | 2004 [8th]". Japan Media Arts Festival. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e "本日発売の「アフタヌーン」8月号に掲載された【沙村広明×五十嵐大介 四季賞出身作家特別対談】を公開!". Afternoon (in Japanese). June 25, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "IGARASHI Daisuke | List of Committee Members & Artists". Japan Media Arts Festival Archive. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Daisuke Igarashi's Designs Manga Enters Climax (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Ishii, Anne (July 28, 2009). "The Changing Face of Manga: Talking with Hideki Egami". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  8. ^ "Interview with Kenshi Yonezu and Daisuke Igarashi". Official website of Children of the Sea anime (in Japanese). Retrieved January 25, 2023. (English translation)
  9. ^ Morrissy, Kim (April 19, 2019). "Manga Artist Daisuke Igarashi Shares Inspirations Behind Children of the Sea". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d "Conversation between Taiyo Matsumoto and Daisuke Igarashi". Brutus. 2012. (English translation)
  11. ^ a b Raady, Chris (July 7, 2022). "Witches: The Complete Collection". The Comics Journal. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  12. ^ "Daisuké Igarashi". lambiek.net. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  13. ^ "2003 (7th) Award-winning Works Manga Division Excellence Prize: MUSHISHI". Japanese Media Arts Festival. Archived from the original on December 24, 2005. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  14. ^ a b "VIZ: The Official Website for Children of the Sea". Viz. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  15. ^ "먹는 것이야 말로 인생이다". 오마이뉴스 (in Korean). October 24, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
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  17. ^ "Daisuke Igarashi - Umwelt". www.shop.dynit.it. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  18. ^ "LOS NIÑOS DEL MAR 03 - Librería Joker". www.jokercomics.es (in Spanish). Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  19. ^ "Myšlenky smyšlenky 1". CREW (in Czech). Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  20. ^ "Daisuke Igarashi". Lubimyczytać.pl (in Polish). Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  21. ^ "2010 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). January 19, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "Bart Beaty at Angouleme 01: The Prize Race Handicapped". The Comics Reporter. January 20, 2007. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  23. ^ Loo, Egan (May 8, 2009). "38th Japan Cartoonist Awards Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  24. ^ Ressler, Karen (December 9, 2016). "Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Reveals 2017's Series Ranking for Male Readers". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  25. ^ Loo, Egan (March 17, 2011). "Umino's March comes in like a lion Wins Manga Taisho". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  26. ^ "Japanese Science Fiction Con's Seiun Nominees Posted". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  27. ^ Stimson, Eric (November 18, 2017). "Voting Begins for Yomiuri Shimbun's Sugoi Japan Awards 2017". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  28. ^ Mays, Jonathan (April 8, 2006). "10th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Award Finalists Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  29. ^ Loo, Egan (March 14, 2008). "12th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Nominees Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 14, 2008.
  30. ^ Loo, Egan (March 5, 2009). "13th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Nominees Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
  31. ^ "『はなしっぱなし(1)』(五十嵐 大介) 製品詳細 講談社コミックプラス". Kodansha Comic Plaza (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  32. ^ "『はなしっぱなし(3)』(五十嵐 大介) 製品詳細 講談社コミックプラス". Kodansha Comic Plaza (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  33. ^ "ディザインズ". Afternoon (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  34. ^ "そらトびタマシイ - メディア芸術データベース". Media Arts Database. Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  35. ^ "魔女(漫画)". Mangapedia (in Japanese). Voyage Group. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  36. ^ "五十嵐 大介(漫画家)". Mangapedia (in Japanese). Voyage Group. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  37. ^ "五十嵐大介描き下ろし単行本「SARU」が2月25日発売". Comic Natalie (in Japanese). February 1, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  38. ^ Ressler, Karen (August 6, 2017). "Hibana Magazine's Individual Series' Plans Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  39. ^ "『ウムヴェルト 五十嵐大介作品集』(五十嵐 大介) 製品詳細 講談社コミックプラス". 講談社コミックプラス (in Japanese). Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  40. ^ BE・LOVE. "かまくらBAKE猫倶楽部". BE・LOVE公式サイト (in Japanese). Retrieved January 23, 2023.

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