What do you want to ask Moto Hagio?

Party celebrating Moto Hagio’s 40th year as a professional manga artist

This month I will be attending the San Diego ComiCon (my first ComiCon ever!) with Moto Hagio. When I asked Hagio sensei what she wanted to do with her Spotlight session, she said she wanted me to interview her.

You would think that would be a no-brainer for me, but I’ve interviewed and spoken informally with Hagio sensei so many times over the past fifteen years or so, I find that I’m not sure what I should ask that would be interesting to an audience at ComiCon. Left to my own devices, I would probably ask her to expand on her ideas about left-brain/right-brain and how it relates to comics reading, or about the relationship between eating meat and the evolution of the human brain.

So I’m asking for help here. What would you like to ask Moto Hagio?

  1. Snarp’s avatar

    What recent manga she’s reading!

    (Though, uh, this may possibly be a subject which has been covered in the past.)

  2. Matt’s avatar

    Great question, Snarp. And it doesn’t matter if it’s been covered in the past, since presumably the manga she’s reading currently have changed. (^_^) See? I would never have thought of that question, even though I’ve talked with her about it in private conversation several times over the years. This is exactly what I need. Thanks!

    Come on, people! Pour it on!

  3. Tara’s avatar

    This may be a rude question, I’m not sure! I have no idea. But if you’ll forgive the fannish fervor, it’s the kind of question I always think about and it’s probably easy enough to ignore, so, uhm.

    What kind of stories does she *like* to read most? When she reads. Because some people like to read very different things than what they like to write, you know?

    Also, building on Snarp’s question: what’s the last movie she saw? What did she think of it?

  4. Matt’s avatar

    Tara, if you think that’s rude, you should check out my interview with Hagio in The Comics Journal #269. One Amazon.co.jp reviewer described the portion I reproduced for the book I introduced in my previous post described it as “shocking.”

    Good questions, and ones I’m sure she’ll be happy to answer.

  5. Nikki’s avatar

    It would be great to have more insight into her working method.. i’m particularly curious about how she writes so deftly from the perspective of the opposite gender (and even of a different generation), seeing as a good number of her work deals with the narrative from an adolescent boy’s POV. Also, they often take place in a foreign setting, i wonder how much research (and HOW she researches) she puts into each of her series?

    And maybe something about readership response. Of course i’m a huge fan of her stories, but i wonder what guys think about it (well, other than you, Matt), and if feedback towards her stories has changed over the years.

    Sorry if these have been asked before!

  6. Caro’s avatar

    Hi, i will like to ask:
    1.- What Hagio-sensei think about today yaoi, is worst? its ok? will she do a yaoi manga? What the yaoi pionner will say about this.
    2.- Will sensei do a new manga (serie) not an oneshot in the future?
    3.- Do she has thought to retake some of her unfinished manga, i mean those manga before her debut.
    4.- What sensei’s manga she will take and rewrite?
    5.- I think Hagio-sensei and CLAMP should do a collaboration manga together ^///^

  7. Erica Friedman’s avatar

    I’d like to hear her overview of how much things have changed/not changed. She was there in the very beginning of what is now an established genre, with sub-genres of its own. That’s not something we get to hear about often.

    What were the biggest challenges they faced in the beginning – how have things gotten better, or worse? What does she think about today’s “shoujo” manga? When she sees something become really successful (on the order of Fruits Basket”) what is her reaction?

    Where does she see manga going? What is her opinion of the shift to digital? What words doe she have for young Japanese mangaka and young Westerners wanting to create manga in a world that doesn’t quite yet have a model for them?

    It’s not often we get a chance to talk to a matriarch of our world. I want, not the wisdom of her age- but the feelings in her heart when she looks at manga now.



  8. Erica Friedman’s avatar

    My wife also submits this, “Looking back on everything now, what might you do differently?”

  9. Pata’s avatar

    From a creative standpoint, what does she think is the biggest problem facing today’s manga-ka and what must they do to fix it?

  10. KrebMarkt’s avatar


    If you remember that comment you made back in 2007 at:


    Can you ask her if she has some kind of photographic memory. Thanks.

  11. Cryou’s avatar

    My questions for Hagio would be:

    1) How much faith do you have in Fantagraphics to release your work?

    2) Are you willing to allow your work to be available in not only print but digital format as well?

    3) If yes to #2, then, do you think that it will set an example for other mangakas in Japan?( because you are a mother of shoujo manga)

    4) What would you say is different about manga of today VS manga of the magnificent 49ers? (besides art, but stories and ideas etc.)

    5) This may be a personal question, but on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your mutual friendship with Matt Thorn? (the higher it goes the better it is:)

  12. William Flanagan’s avatar

    1. What she particularly likes (or dislikes) about the Japanese editorial system, or traits in editors that she likes (or dislikes).

    2. Are there any mangaka who became successful that she knew when they were just “tamago”? I’m referring to those people she is particularly proud to say, “I knew this person when.”

    On a personal note, I hope you and I can finally meet up at SDCC (I attend every year). Maybe I can get Mari to introduce us.

    Bill Flanagan

  13. Matt’s avatar

    Wow. What a response. You people have done all my work for me. (^o^)

    I will definitely use many of these questions, though they might be altered somewhat.

    By all means, keep the questions coming.

  14. Aliana’s avatar

    This could be somewhat of a fangirl question but my question is

    “Have you ever considered making a yaoi manga?”

    I’m talking about the yaoi where two men engage in a passionate and lustful relationship rather than just kiss and go out for ice cream. Yes, that type of yaoi, not the yaoi where you give them a kiss and bid them a, “good-night.”

    We all know that Hagio has made stories involving romance between 2 boys, but how about f something with lust in between the kisses?

  15. William Flanagan’s avatar

    Ah, just in case, my last paragraph was directed at you, Matt. I’m not expecting introductions to Moto Hagio.

  16. Nikki’s avatar

    By the way, Matt,

    If possible, do provide a transcript or video of the interview after its done.. not all of us are able to attend Comic-con this year i’m afraid T-T

  17. Wesley’s avatar

    Ask her if she’s read any of the other manga you plan to curate for Fantagraphics.

  18. Seratos’s avatar

    I would like it if you would please ask Moto Hagio if she has ever heard of the author Ryohgo Narita.

    More specifically, if Hagio has seen or heard of Narita’s series (a.k.a Baccano!, Durarara!!, etc.)

    I swear, Ryohgo Narita could set a revolution of his own if he wanted, and that’s what’s most exciting:)

  19. grace’s avatar

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for this opportunity to ask questions! I echo the questions Erica has asked above. But here’s one more:

    I know Hagio-sensei, along with many other mangaka and industry groups opposed the so-called “Non Existent Youth” bill (Tokyo’s Youth Healthy Development Ordinance) — now that the bill has been defeated (for the time being), I’d like to know her thoughts on or if artists in Japan have had to deal with censorship and criticism issues more now than before? Has something shifted within society that the govt. wants to effectively quash freedom of expression?

    I hope you get the gist of my question as I might not be as articulate as I’d wish to be. Thanks, Matt!

  20. ridiculus’s avatar

    1. Was Devilman an influence on the female mangaka scene of the early 70-ies?
    2. Who she thinks is the funniest mangaka out there?

    Thanks in advance.

  21. David Joslin’s avatar

    Matt, will there be a panel discussion featuring Moto Hagio at Comic-Con? Can you tell us anything about it? other guests? etc? Will advance copies of your book be available?

    Now I’m really looking forward to Comic-Con!

  22. David Joslin’s avatar

    Of course, I mean in addition to the spotlight session.

    I wonder if how Hagio feels about the conventions of the genre–does she feel limited by them, or do they provide a necessary vocabulary that allows her to say what she wants? As a follow-up, does she write for herself, or does she have the manga’s audience in mind? Would she call herself an artist, or a craftsman?

    Granted it’s artificial to separate the visual from the narrative in her work, but does she feel her own genius to be more closely aligned with one or the other? Without any idea how she’d answer this, how does she read the visual component of other people’s work? of her own work?

  23. Soniasonia’s avatar

    I would like to hear what Hagio Moto thinks of yuri – not pseudolesbian porn for men, not fanservicy titles like “Simon”, “Strawberry Panic” or “Kannazuki no Miko”, but yuri like “Onii-sama e” or “Shojo Kakumei Utena” – yuri for girls and women. Did she ever consider drawing a yuri manga?
    Also, doujinshi. Since the first doujinshis were based on her works, what does she think about them? I am especially curious about her opinion on the slash and erotic ones.
    Keiko Takemiya doesn’t like most of modern yaoi mangas. And Moto? Have she ever read titles like “Sex Pistols”, “Pure Romantica” or “Viewfinder”?

  24. Aaron’s avatar

    honestly I wouldn’t ask her anything just thank her for writing The Heart of Thomas it took me three times to finally read it all the way through but I can say now having read it all the way through. I am a better man for it so I wouldn’t really know but if pressed for a question I would probablly ask o ask “how does it feel to be so critically lauded in Japan but so unknown in America?” But really I would just want to thank her for writing the Heart of Thomas. So if anything and I know this may not get beyond this blog please comunicate the true good Hagio-Sama’s work does and has done for all people not just me.


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