Kyoko Okazaki

Kyoko Okazaki
Born (1963-12-13) December 13, 1963
Shimokitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Area(s) Manga author, Illustrator
Notable works
Pink, River's Edge, Helter Skelter

Kyoko Okazaki (岡崎 京子 Okazaki Kyōko, born December 13, 1963) is a Japanese manga artist whose manga are popular for their unorthodox style and controversial topics, for instance sex, sadomasochism, drugs, homosexuality, rape, murder and prostitution. The Tokyo born Okazaki often focuses on urban Japanese life in the capital from the 1980s and 1990s. Her writings are often studded with modern jargon. Okazaki's manga are not typical, in that while it is a part of the "shōjo manga" (girl manga) demographic, her works are not conservative enough to fit the typical shōjo manga demographic completely.[1] Okazaki, along with manga artist, Shungicu Uchida, are two examples of today's leading female manga artists, who contributed to the rise of a new style of manga, known as "gyaru manga". Gyaru literally translates to gal, and this genre of manga is aimed towards those who are interested in a love story about a girl, but are also interested in topics like sex and drugs.[2]

Life and career

In 1983, while studying in Atomi College, Okazaki made her debut in Cartoon Burikko, an erotic manga magazine primarily aimed for male adults. In 1985, after graduating from college, she also published her first manga Virgin. After this, Okazaki wrote Pink in 1989, which firmly established her reputation as a manga artist. Some time during the 1980s, Okazaki's also wrote a long-running series called Tokyo Girls Bravo in CUTIE (a mainstream Japanese fashion magazine), which was highly successful.[3] In 1994, Okazaki put on a solo exhibition at the grand opening of the experimental art space, P-House, in Tokyo. From 1993 to 1994, she did a serialization called River's Edge, in which she portrayed the conflicts and problems experienced by high-schoolers living in a Tokyo suburb. This series had a big influence on the literary world.[4]

Okazaki is also an impressive fashion illustrator, and her manga illustrates the cutting edge fashion and customs of Japan during the 1980s and 90s. Okazaki's manga also vividly describes the loneliness and emptiness that was present during this time period. After the 1980s, Japan and its foremost symbol, Tokyo, were overflowing with goods and information. Greed and desire colored the nation. Okazaki was one of the rare manga artists to successfully capture the mentality of the young people who lived during this period in a realistic manner.[5]

For Helter Skelter, she won the 2003 excellence prize at the Japanese Media Arts Festival, and the 2004 Osamu Tezuka Culture Prize.

Her work has been translated into Chinese, German, and French.

Personal life

Okazaki was born in Shimokitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan. Okazaki grew up in Tokyo in a large household, of around fifteen people. Okazaki's father was a talented barber. The whole family lived together: grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and even apprentice hairdressers. Okazaki failed to feel completely comfortable in this extended family.[6]

On May 19, 1996, Okazaki was hit by a drunk driver while out on a walk with her husband, and as a result, suffered severe physical and mental injuries. She is currently undergoing rehabilitation and becoming well slowly.[7]



Title タイトル Publisher
Published in
Virgin ヴァージン Byakuyashobou
Second Virgin セカンド ヴァージン Futabasha
Boyfriend is Better ボーイフレンド イズ ベター Hakusensha
Taikutsu ga Daisuki 退屈が大好き Kawadeshoboshinsha
TAKE IT EASY テイク イット イージー Sony Magazines
Georama Boy Panorama Girl ジオラマボーイ パノラマガール Magazine House
Suki Suki Daikirai 好き好き大嫌い Takarajimasha
Pink ピンク Magazine House
Kuchibiru kara Sandanjuu VOL 1 くちびるから散弾銃 VOL 1 Kodansha
Kuchibiru kara Sandanjuu VOL 2 くちびるから散弾銃 VOL 2 Kodansha
Chocola na Kimochi ショコラな気持ち Fusousha
ROCK ロック Takarajimasha
Happy House VOL 1 ハッピィ ハウス VOL 1 Shufu to Seikatsusha
Happy House VOL 2 ハッピィ ハウス VOL 2 Shufu to Seikatsusha
Chocola Everyday ショコラ エブリデイ Mainichi Shinbunsha
Kikenna Futari 危険な二人 Kadokawa Shoten
Cartoons カトゥーンズ Kadokawa Shoten
Tōkyō Girls Bravo VOL 1 東京ガールズ ブラボー VOL 1 Takarajimasha
Tōkyō Girls Bravo VOL 2 東京ガールズ ブラボー VOL 2 Takarajimasha
La Vie d'Amour 愛の生活 Kadokawa Shoten
Magic Point マジック ポイント Shodensha
River's Edge リバーズ エッジ Takarajimasha
End of the World エンド オヴ ザ ワールド Shodensha
Watashi wa Anata no Omocha nano?
(I Wanna Be Your Dog)
私は貴兄(あなた)のオモチャなの Shodensha
Heterosexual ヘテロセクシャル Kadokawa Shoten
Chiwawa-chan チワワちゃん Kadokawa Shoten
UNTITLED アンタイトルド Kadokawa Shoten
Helter Skelter ヘルタースケルター Shodensha
Like What Is Falling Love? 恋とはどういうものかしら? Magazine House
Utakata no Hibi うたかたの日々 Takarajimasha
Boku Tachi wa Nandaka Subete
Wasurete Shimaune
ぼくたちは何だかすべて忘れてしまうね Heibonsha
Onna no Kemonomichi 女のケモノ道 Bungei Shunju
Aki no Hi wa Tsurubeotoshi 秋の日は釣瓶落とし Futabasha
Touhou Kenbunroku 東方見聞録 Syogakukan Creative
Okazaki Kyoko Mikan Sakuhinshu Mori 岡崎京子未刊作品集 森 Shodensha
Rudo Boy ルードボーイ Takarajimasha
Rarities レアリティーズ Heibonsha
Okazaki Journal オカザキ・ジャーナル Heibonsha


Selected works

Pink (1989)

Pink is a manga about a Japanese girl named Yumi, a beautiful girl in her early 20's. During the day, Yumi works as a regular office lady, but by night, she works as a prostitute. Yumi needs her two jobs to make ends meet. She also needs the extra income to feed her unusual pet, a crocodile, which she keeps in her apartment. Working in an office is quite normal for young Japanese women, but keeping a pet crocodile, and being a prostitute makes Yumi stand out. In truth, few girls are like Yumi, however, many readers can empathize with her. Young women love their "something", symbolized by her pet crocodile, and many can also identify with Yumi's "wild at heart" nature.[12]

Happy House (1990-1991)

Happy House is a manga series from July 1990 to October 1991 in Comic Giga, a monthly journal. In Happy House, Okazaki portrays how the economic boom in Japan of the late 1960s had profoundly changed the behavior of Japan. More and more Japanese women had started working, and in the mid-1970s, many were more likely to keep their career after marriage or even after childbirth. Women began to express independence, refuse the traditional role of being a housewife, and divorce became more common. The heroine in Happy House is a thirteen-year-old girl. Her father is a television director and her mother is an actress, who is often too busy to care for her children. When the teenager faces the possible divorce of her parents, she does not want to live with her father or mother, because she feels that she cannot be happy with either one of them. Instead, she dreams of leaving her home to live alone and earn her own money so she can emancipate herself from her parents.[13]

River's Edge (1993-1994)

River's Edge is a very deep and refreshing manga that presents a side of life not typically seen in manga. The story takes place in a suburban housing area in Tokyo, constructed during the period of high economic growth, and the series takes a very realistic look at the tough life of a number of high school teens in a small city. It deals with a number of real life issues such as homosexuality, rape, and murder. Troubled characters include a teen that is always treated like a social outcast, a sad young girl who becomes a slut, as well as several others, each suffering in their own individual way. A relatively conventional setting at first glance, betrays the reader’s expectation as the manga follows one of the character’s blank gaze on a corpse found in the grass of a nearby riverbed, without neither signs of fear nor reality. The emergence of the new generation – the so-called "Shin-Jinrui", which literally translates to "new human species" in Japanese, the bubble economy and its burst/destruction, and the incident involving Tsutomu Miyazaki (Miyazaki killed 4 young girls by between 1988 and 1989, and became to be known as the "otaku" murderer) are some phenomena of the period which signified the disintegration of the social cohesion, until then held together by the universally shared vision and values in reconstructing and modernizing the nation. In River's Edge, Okazaki firmly established her position as a manga artist by acutely depicting the emptiness of modern Japanese life.[14]

Helter Skelter (1995-1996)

Helter Skelter features a beautiful model, Ririko, whose body underwent head-to-toe cosmetic surgery, and illustrates the accelerating derailment of her success. Years and yens of plastic surgery turned top celebrity Ririko into a beauty icon. However, as her body starts to show signs of deterioration, she descends into despair and becomes recklessly determined to make other people's lives as miserable as hers. In addition, Ririko must also face the appearance of a younger and fresher face at her modelling agency, the engagement of her rich lover, and constantly living up to the pressure of her manager, who Ririko refers to as "mom" even if she's not her biological mother.[15]

See also


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