Did you know about Higehiro when you first took on the project? How did you feel about it?
Before working on Higehiro, I only knew the name from the online advertisements. But at the time, I didn’t read many light novels, so I first read the book when it entered a competition for manga adaptation. At first, I assumed it was a story with strong erotic elements, but as I kept on reading, I realized the work was really a human drama. When I got to Yoshida and Mishima’s conversation about soulmates, I fell in love with the story. The characters are so realistic it’s hard to believe they’re from a light novel.

In adapting a novel, how do you decide what to focus on in your drawings?
I take special care to draw the manga to bring out what the author Shimesaba-san was trying to express in the original and the parts that readers will find most appealing. The characters in Higehiro all act on their own individual motivations, so I consider what each character is thinking about and acting on, scoop all of that up, and express those motivations as best as I can in my drawings.

Who was your favorite character to draw in Volume 1?
Even before the work was serialized, I’ve always like Yoshida’s colleague Hashimoto. But I think I have to choose from the story’s heroines. My favorite among them changes every time I draw the manga, but I do like Mishima in particular. Realistically, she’s pretty annoying, with her head in the clouds, but her assertive nature really pushes the story forward. So I love her as a character to draw and as a fan, too.

Do you have a message you’d like to send to your readers abroad?
It’s a strange but truly happy feeling to know that people in countries so far away from Japan are choosing to read a manga that I drew. Thank you.
I haven’t gotten the chance to look at the English publication yet, but I’m looking forward to it because just the language change will allow me to look at it with a fresh perspective. I can hardly read or write English at all, so I’d like to try reading the English version alongside the Japanese in order to learn English!
I’ll be very happy if you do keep watching over this charming story about Yoshida and Sayu and all the boisterous people around them. I look forward to this ride together!