An Interview with Masao Ohtake

1. Where did the idea come from for reversing the roles of a yakuza thug, who we usually consider the bully of society, and a little girl, who we think of as one of the most vulnerable persons of society?

Switching up power roles is a pretty common comedic device, so I actually didn’t really think too hard about it. I just did it! Haha!

2. Do you have a particular interest in yakuza culture? Did you have to do some yakuza research to make the characters believable?

In Japan, yakuza are prominent in movies, manga, novels, a lot of fictional media, the news, and documentaries. So, it was only natural for me to encounter information on them in my daily life. The majority of people in Japan are raised with a vague idea of the yakuza. This work (Hinamatsuri) is a comedy, so rather than use a realistic portrayal of the yakuza, I created one based on this common idea the general public in Japan has. In other words, I did zero research. Haha!

3. Do you have a message you’d like to send out to your fans overseas?

To be honest, I thought that different countries had different comedic sensibilities, so I never thought people overseas would read my manga. But I’m pleased to know that what I thought isn’t actually the case. Surely, in other countries, and among other people in the world, there are things that are funny to everyone in Hinamatsuri. It makes me happy to know that many different people are enjoying it, crossing international comedic barriers! Adios!