Popular Manga artists work together to create a book to help orphans in Fukushima

Fujihiko Hosono at his studio in Tokyo’s Ota Ward (Kazunori Haga)

Fujihiko Hosono at his studio in Tokyo’s Ota Ward (Kazunori Haga)

The book will be published by Tokyo-based Shogakukan Inc. in late April, with all proceeds donated to a fund supporting orphaned children.

“We want to extend help in a way that only manga artists can,” said Fujihiko Hosono, a renowned cartoonist and the man behind the project.

The book will include Hosono’s “Gallery Fake,” Iwate Prefecture-born Sensha Yoshida’s “Utsurundesu” (It is infectious), and “Cyborg 009” originally created by the late manga giant Shotaro Ishinomori, a native of the Tome city, Miyagi Prefecture.

All the manga will be like sequels to originally published works that remain popular.

The book’s title, “Heroes Come Back,” was picked because manga heroes are coming back to the disaster areas, Hosono said.

Hosono came up with the idea of creating a manga collection when he visited Ishinomaki for an autograph-signing session three months after the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

He said he was shocked by what he saw.

“Everything had been washed away by the tsunami as far as the eye could see,” Hosono recalled. “I was almost speechless.”

He brought his plan to Shogakukan in December 2011 and sought cooperation from other manga artists.

The manga the eight artists created started to be published in Shogakukan’s magazines in October 2012. The publisher will compile the works into “Heroes Come Back.”

“The professional creators put a message into each work,” Hosono said. “We are all proud of the works, and I hope many people will pick up the book.”

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