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Creator Spotlight: Moto Hagio
By Niko Silvester
February 07, 2011
© Mania/Robert Trate
Moto Hagio’s Stats
Name in English: Moto Hagio
Name in Japanese: è©å°¾ æé½ (Hagio Moto)
Birth date: 12 May 1949
Birthplace: Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Who is Moto Hagio?
Moto Hagio is a multiple-award-winning manga artist and writer. She was first published at the age of 20 when in 1969 the manga magazine Nakayoshi printed her story “Lulu to Mimi.” Though Nakayoshi’s publisher Kodansha rejected many of the stories she subsequently submitted, rival publisher Shogakukan accepted them, and published numerous Moto Hagio stories in various of their magazines over the years.
A science fiction fan, Hagio counts a number of celebrated western SF writers as influences on her work, among them Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury (whose “R is for Rocket” she adapted to manga). Some of her most interesting work is in the science fiction genre, and she was even writing vampire stories before vampires were cool—her first big hit was the 1972-1976 series Poe no Ichizoku (titled The Poe Clan or The Poe Family in English), about a vampire boy forever trapped in an 14-year-old body.
Moto Hagio was a member of the Year 24 Group, named after Showa Year 24, the year many of its members were born (also known as the Magnificent 49ers, after the western year 1949). This group, made up entirely of women, was a huge force in the development of girls’ and women’s manga and in opening up the field of manga to female creators. Hagio was also a significant figure in the development of the shonen-ai, or boys’ love, genre. Her 1973-75 work HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_no_Shinzou" Thomas no Shinzou (The Heart of Thomas in English) was an important early example of the genre.
A multiple award-winner, Hagio was given the 21st Shogakukan Award, the 11th, 14th and 16th Seiun Awards, the 1st Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize Award for Excellence, the 27th Nihon SF Taisho Award and the 2010 Comic-Con Inkpot Award.
Moto Hagio’s Work
Although Moto Hagio has been—and will, I hope, continue to be for many more years—an important force in the development of manga, and most of her work remains in print in Japan, relatively little has been published in English. Viz Media included “They Were Eleven” in the 1996 anthology Four Shojo Stories, and published A, A' in a volume that included the title story plus two related stories, “4/4” and “X+Y,” in 1997.
That was all of Hagio’s work that was available until 2005, when The Comics Journal published “Hanshin” in a special Shoujo Manga Issue (#269, July 2005), which also included a lengthy interview, a gallery of Hagio’s art, and a bibliography of her work up to the date of the magazine’s publication. “Hanshin” was also included, along with nine other stories, in a collection of Moto Hagio stories titled A Drunken Dream and Other Stories published by Fantagraphics in 2010.
Moto Hagio Anime
Despite the significance of her work to the development of manga, Moto Hagio has not seen many of her stories reworked as anime. Only They Were Eleven got the anime treatment, in fact, and it came out in English translation on VHS in 1993 and on DVD in 2005 from Central Park Media.