Hirohiko Araki is a well known mangaka, a person responsible for writing or doing the art for manga, mostly known for his hit series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Araki was born on June 7, 1960, into a middle class family in Sendai, Japan. As a child his father was an avid reader of Japanese comics known as manga, eventually passing the interest of manga on to Araki. He grew up with three siblings of which he was the oldest. With his father's interest in illustrated books and having such a huge collection, it developed the interest of becoming an artist himself. Fourth grade is when he made his first manga, and in his first year in high school, he submitted his manga to a local magazine but it was not approved by the magazine, which caused him to become insecure because multiple other younger artists' work had been feared in the magazine.
After being featured in popular manga awards known as the Tezuka Awards, he began working as a full time manga artist. In 1984 to 1985, he wrote and illustrated the manga Baoh The Visitor; it was originally serialized in the weekly Shonen Jump. Shonen Jump is a magazine that features new chapters from popular and upcoming manga. Baoh The Visitor was officially licensed in English and was released monthly chapters by VIZ Media in 1990, which ended up not doing so well financially.
1997 is when Araki released his most popular and well known series, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Phantom blood. This part covers the story of two brothers, with the conflict of the story being their father’s inheritance. This was only the first part in the series, and has sold 100 million copies and has become one of the most successful mangas of all time. There are currently 8 parts to Jojo’s, and part 9 is on its way. In 2005 Viz Media started the production of the anime series. In 2006 the series was voted one of the top 10 manga of all time. In 1997 he released the spin off series Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, The spin off which covered Kishibe Rohan, a side character in the part 4 of the series.
Recently in 2012, Araki had a collaboration with the popular clothing brand Gucci, and created a one-shot manga titled Jolyne, Fly High With Gucci
On January 22 to April 13, 2009 Araki was invited to have his own exhibit at the Louvre Museum in
Paris, France, and made multiple large paintings to display in the museum.
Through the years Araki’s art style has improved exponentially, the best example I can show is the difference between the start of the seventh and eighth installment of Jojo’s Steel Ball Run, and Jojolion. Throughout the two parts you can see his art style mature, and when viewed side by side you can see the character go from a bit cartoon-ish to looking like real people.
Hirohiko Araki embodies the living and growing nature of the art industry. His unabashed passion with which he pursues his unique art style is something that all artists can aspire to and learn from. Araki sees the world through a different perspective than most people and that is reflected in his art in a way that cannot help but be noticed by all who see it. I am confident that Araki’s contribution both to his industry and to the history of art in general will go down as one of the most impactful of our time.
Sonny Nesmith is a senior at Poudre High School and is in his first year at the Poudre Press. Sonny runs Acrylic Arts, a blog based around art curation, creation, supplies, and other tips. Check him out!