1. Manga Mondays ~ Hajime Isayama

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    Hajime Isayama is the Japanese manga artist of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). The series has become a phenomenal commercial success. As of July 2015, the manga has 52.5 million copies in circulation. Its popularity was spurred on with the release of the anime adaptation of the same name.

    Isayama would doodle “ugly stuff” as a child. By the time he reached high school, that was almost all he would draw. It was during high school that his ambition to make a living from drawing manga grew. And so He began submitting his artwork to contests. After high school, he enrolled in a manga design course at Kyushu Designer Gakuin.

    He submitted a one-shot called Shingeki no Kyojin to the Magazine Grand Prix (MGP). Which won him his first ever prize, the “Fine Work” award. At age twenty, Isayama moved to Tokyo to pursue a career in manga. He left the idea behind him, with no intention of revisiting it.

    He found work at the Weekly Shonen Magazine and entered his mangas to their Freshman Manga Award. He won a Special Encouragement Award, and the following year his manga, orz, was chosen as a selected work. Isayama’s editor suggested to him to make Shingeki no Kyojin into a long-term series.

    Isayama spent half a year expanding the world and its characters. His editor also insisted that he have an ending in mind. In 2009, Isayama’s first serial work, Shingeki no Kyojin, began its run in the monthly Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. The series was a triumph, winning the Shonen category of the 35th Kodansha Manga Award in 2011, and getting nominated for the 4th annual Manga Taisho award and the 16th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.

    Every one of Shingeki no Kyojin’s English volumes have made The New York Times Manga Best Sellers list. Volume 1 is almost a permanent fixture on the list and has taken the number one slot five times. The huge success of the manga spawned spin-off manga series, two light novel series, a television anime adaptation, several visual novels, a video game, a two-part live-action film, and even a Shingeki no Kyojin themed shop.

    To find out more about Hajime Isayama, you can read this excellent interview with Brutus magazine, and watch this short BBC interview. You can also follow his work on his blog.