Welcome :D

Let me show you some of my 4koma (about my life with cats).
Nao-p is my nick name my friend Mami Tachibana gave me. And I call her Mami-p. Of course it comes from Wedding Peach "Momo-p". No one calls me by the name except for her, but I love the 4 koma cartoon "Go Go Momo-pi (Gan-bare Momo-p)"(In the paperbacks) so I use it. :)
Oh, I'm a manga artist Nao Yazawa, and author of Wedding Peach, by the way. :)

These "comic strips" come from my 4-koma blog (in Japanese). You can see all of them in original here. If you have a request which 4koma will be next, tell me. :D
Other Japanese blog


When do you start reading manga?

I had 3 things to do during my Europe Tour this summer.

One: Having 4 days intensive lessons at Toulouse Manga
Two: Having a meeting with Saeko in Paris for Kaigai Manga Festa.
Three: Attending a convention in Austria. (AniNite)

I've had manga-workshop sometimes, at museums, conventions, high schools etc. But it was the first time I had intense lessons at Manga School in overseas. 4 days, from morning to evening... I had time to know my students and talk with them.   
C-chan, the school director think manga means panel work (manga-style illustration is not manga. I agree with her) So we put "making storyboard" in the program. The time was too short to learn storyboard, the concept is very Japanese, it's very difficult subject. but C-chan wanted student learn the idea of Manga Composing and we thought listening what the artist try to show with composing was good, even the student couldn't understand everything,

After a short lecture, I asked students to make 2 spread pages storyboard based on a scenario I wrote. (I used some part from my work Moon and Blood) The students nodded during the lecture, they understood what I was talking, but still, when they compose the storyboard, the storyboard was not like manga, something between comic/BD and Manga.

In the students panel-works, the characters were still, something flat, they didn't have manga-dynamism. The (imaginary) camera didn't move as well.

If you ask me "Can Japanese students compose a storyboard with dynamism, even if they are beginners ?" - the answer is "No, they can't." Still, the kind of clumsiness is something different from Japanese one.

During the classes, I asked to students when they started to reading manga. The answer was around 12, rather late than I thought. I knew they watched anime since they were little kids, but not manga. Why? Someone explained because there were not so many translated manga for kids, the main stream was for teens, that's the reason.
The students

I said "we Japanese start to reading manga at a very young age, so Japanese learn manga grammar(manga rule, in other word. Knowing how to read manga is the first step knowing how manga should be composed) without knowing. In that point, you got a late start than Japanese, this might be a huge disadvantage. You need to learn harder than Japanese." (hahaha, what do you think you are? - a teacher! )

After back to Japan - I read a story on twitter, it was about some manga expressions were rejected by an editor because the reader (kids) can't understand the style. WHAT? Japanese kids can't understand manga expression??

I've drawn manga for little kids at some magazines such as "Korokoro Comic" "PyonPyon", and my editor asked change some words because he thought it was too difficult for kids, but I've never asked to change the manga expressions. It was ages ago, (nearly 20 years) so the situation has been changed?

Personally, I think you don't need to change both expressions and words, because readers learn from new things. It's ok as long as the whole manga was fun.
BTW, this is Wedding Peach anime-manga which was on a magazine for kids from Shogakukan. This magazine is for preschool children. They don't know how to read manga yet, so it has the number in every panel. (this image hasn't because I put off the number cell when I scanned the image) you know, the first panel has (1), the second does (2)...

I regret that I didn't ask student if kids had chance to read manga belonging to elder brother/sister or friends. I'll do next time.