Comic Boom - Comics in Education

Comic Boom - Comics in Education with Chie Kutsuwada and Julian Sedgwick

June 26, 2024 Lucy Starbuck Braidley/Chie Kutsuwada/Julian Sedgwick Season 5 Episode 4
Comic Boom - Comics in Education with Chie Kutsuwada and Julian Sedgwick
Comic Boom - Comics in Education
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Comic Boom - Comics in Education
Comic Boom - Comics in Education with Chie Kutsuwada and Julian Sedgwick
Jun 26, 2024 Season 5 Episode 4
Lucy Starbuck Braidley/Chie Kutsuwada/Julian Sedgwick

Send us a Text Message.


In today’s episode Lucy is joined by a wonderful creative duo -
Chie Kutsuwada and Julian Sedgwick.

 Chie is UK based Japanese manga creator and illustrator. Chie graduated from Royal College of Art, London, and since then has carved out a successful career in illustration. She creates her own illustrated stories and comics strips, as well as working on titles like the manga version of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (SelfMadeHero, London).  Chie also regularly runs manga workshops for schools and art institutions and more recently is known for her collaborations with author Julian Sedgwick.

Julian Sedgwick is the author of numerous books for young people, with a lifelong interest inthe cultures of East Asia. On the way to realising his childhood ambition to be a writer, Julian read Chinese Studies and Philosophy at Cambridge.  The the first book in his Mysterium trilogy was published in 2013 and won the Rotherham Children’s Book Award. Since then, his books have been shortlisted for numerous awards,with both Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black (co-written with his brother, Marcus).

The pair began collaborating combined manga and prose books, starting with on the Carnegie shortlisted Tsunami Girl (2021 Guppy Books, UK) and their latest creation 100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Café (2023 Guppy Books, UK).

This episode of Comic Boom is sponsored by ALCS, The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.
The ALCS Carnegie Awards resources highlighted in the episode can be found here.

Julian's recommendation:
Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir by Pedro Martin
(Pedro's episode on Comic Boom can be found here!)

Chie's recommendation:
Hicotea - A Nightlights Story by Lorena Alvarez

Lucy's recommendation:
www.comicsdevices.com

Follow Chie:
https://www.facebook.com/chitangarden
X:
@chitanchitan
Instagram:
@mcmc69

Follow Julian:
X/Twitter:
@julianaurelius
Insta:
@julian_sedgwick

Follow the podcast:
Insta:
@comic_boom_podcast
Twitter/X:
@Lucy_Braidley
Contact: comicboompodcast@gmail.com
Music by
John_Sib from Pixabay



Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.


In today’s episode Lucy is joined by a wonderful creative duo -
Chie Kutsuwada and Julian Sedgwick.

 Chie is UK based Japanese manga creator and illustrator. Chie graduated from Royal College of Art, London, and since then has carved out a successful career in illustration. She creates her own illustrated stories and comics strips, as well as working on titles like the manga version of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (SelfMadeHero, London).  Chie also regularly runs manga workshops for schools and art institutions and more recently is known for her collaborations with author Julian Sedgwick.

Julian Sedgwick is the author of numerous books for young people, with a lifelong interest inthe cultures of East Asia. On the way to realising his childhood ambition to be a writer, Julian read Chinese Studies and Philosophy at Cambridge.  The the first book in his Mysterium trilogy was published in 2013 and won the Rotherham Children’s Book Award. Since then, his books have been shortlisted for numerous awards,with both Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black (co-written with his brother, Marcus).

The pair began collaborating combined manga and prose books, starting with on the Carnegie shortlisted Tsunami Girl (2021 Guppy Books, UK) and their latest creation 100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Café (2023 Guppy Books, UK).

This episode of Comic Boom is sponsored by ALCS, The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.
The ALCS Carnegie Awards resources highlighted in the episode can be found here.

Julian's recommendation:
Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir by Pedro Martin
(Pedro's episode on Comic Boom can be found here!)

Chie's recommendation:
Hicotea - A Nightlights Story by Lorena Alvarez

Lucy's recommendation:
www.comicsdevices.com

Follow Chie:
https://www.facebook.com/chitangarden
X:
@chitanchitan
Instagram:
@mcmc69

Follow Julian:
X/Twitter:
@julianaurelius
Insta:
@julian_sedgwick

Follow the podcast:
Insta:
@comic_boom_podcast
Twitter/X:
@Lucy_Braidley
Contact: comicboompodcast@gmail.com
Music by
John_Sib from Pixabay



Hello, and welcome to comic boom, the comics and education podcast. If you're interested in hearing more about the crossover between comics and education, then this is the podcast for you. My name is Lucy Starbuck Braidley in each week, I'll be joined by a fellow educator, an academic, a librarian, or a creator of comics to discuss their journey into comics and provide some inspiration to influence your practice and hopefully as well, shine some lights on some titles you can bring into your libraries, your classrooms and on to your, your bookshelves at home T. This episode of comic, boom is sponsored by ALC S the authors licensing and collecting society. In today's episode, I am joined by a wonderful creative duo. Chie Kutswada and Julian Sedgwick Chie is a UK based Japanese, manga creator, and illustrator Chie graduated from the Royal college of art in London. And since then has carved out a successful career in illustration more on that later. She creates her own illustrators stories and comic strips, as well as working on titles. Like the manga version of Shakespeare's as you like it, which may well have in your libraries. Chie regularly runs mango workshops for schools at our institutions. And recently has been known for her collaborations with author Julian Sedgwick. And Julian is the author of numerous books for young people with a lifelong interest in the cultures of east Asia on the way to realizing his childhood ambition to be a writer, julian studied Chinese studies and philosophy at Cambridge. We'll hear a little bit more about Julian's career journey a little bit later. His first book was the Mysterium trilogy published in 2013. Which one, the Rotherham children's book award. Now Chie and Julian, they began collaborating with combined manga and prose books a few years ago, starting with the Carnegie shortlisted tsunami girl in 2021, published by Guppy books. And their latest creation is 100 tails from the Tokyo ghost cafe. Published 20, 23 and an absolutely brilliant. But you will hear from this episode that I love both of those books, Tsunami Girl and a hundred Tales from the Tokyo ghost cafe. Brilliant writing, excellent manga and the way that they work together as well, structurally to build the narrative is just so clever. Another excellent title from Guppy Books books as well. I've really enjoyed the comics books they've been bringing out recently. They're really a good publisher to keep an eye on. And that's enough for me. This is a really fantastic conversation. I love, always love hearing. The different answers from a creative duo and the way they approach things. In different ways, but to create one single outcome, lovely to talk to them, here's what Chie- and Julian had to say.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Hello Julian and Chie. Welcome to Comic Boom.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Thank you for having us.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

You are very welcome. I'm really excited to have you both here. firstly, because I absolutely love your books and also because I know you're going to have lots of really interesting things to share with Comic Boom listeners. So to start us off, could you tell us a little bit, we'll go to Julian first, can you tell me a little bit about your journey as a comics reader? Are you a comics reader? Is that something that you've done for a long time? Tell us a little bit about your journey with comics.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yes, definitely a comics reader to start with. So probably at school I was reading more comics than prose, and even through to A levels. Don't tell my then English teachers, I guess. so I started off reading comics really young, and not great quality, probably. I have to admit. Things like, Roy of the Rovers, and some terrible war comics. But then I, um, graduated to 2000 AD right from the start of 2000 AD. So I grew up with that kind of, you know, British comics tradition. But also that way of using comics to talk about the present day, even when you're talking about the near future and that mix of humor and kind of political comments all wrapped up in a science fiction package. So, yeah, that was my trajectory through comics for a long time, because when I was growing up, we didn't have really manga or, um, you know, anime in translation here when, when I was first interested in Japan.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

So, so your interest in Japan isn't necessarily linked to comics at all, that was something that kind of developed separately? I think we can probably dig into that a little bit later, but yeah, tell us.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

yeah, I don't know, just in brief, my, my route to Japan, to Japanese culture was very sort of classical through philosophy and art when I was quite young. But at that point there wasn't a popular culture that you could easily get a hold of here. So yeah, all my comics reading was, it was very much Western British comics tradition.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Interesting. And in contrast, Chie can you tell us a little bit about What kind of comics were available to you as a child and how your journey to becoming an illustrator came about?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yes. well, I'm originally from Japan, and then if you were born in Japan, reading manga comic is, you cannot avoid.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

And then, so, as soon as, uh, I start reading, I mean, my family, I was really hugely encouraged to read anything. But actually, they are not really encouraging to read manga. And we I don't do manga in schools in Japan, so I was like, when I was young, I actually visited my friend's house and read all the manga they've got. And then not talking much, but just reading on the corner of the room or something. Yeah, so that's how I start reading. But manga is actually everywhere in Japan, so if you want to read, you can go, I don't know, friend's house or bookstore or anywhere. Yeah.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

And is it, so, I'm really interested that it's not part, I had imagined it was going to, comics, manga was going to be really integrated into the, into school life in Japan, but that's not the case.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Well, I'm not sure about it right now, but I think it still is. Usually you cannot bring your manga to school. It's banned, usually. And then usually in library you don't have a manga. So it's not like we, we, manga is nothing to do with school. It's more like something to do after the school, especially when you're young.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

So it's more in a popular culture,

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Exactly. It's, it's, it's like you cannot listen to your music during the class, or

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

that's something like that.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah. That's really interesting, that is completely not what I expected you to say, so that's, sorted out some assumptions that I had there, very neatly. I'm interested, as, uh, Chie was saying around sharing comics, and that does seem to be something that certainly I've observed a lot happening talking to people through the podcast, a lot of what they share is, is that kind of community aspect. And Julian, do you, did you share comics with friends as you were growing up? This idea of the comic being passed around, I find quite interesting.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, I think, I think particularly, my brother, Marcus, who's, you know, was a writer as well. We grew up in a very rural location and we didn't actually have friends immediately to hand. And my memory is that we shared very intensely that comic world. So we both got our own issues of 2000 AD every week, but then we talked about it with each other. But particularly with 2000 AD, there was a kind of wider community. And I think it reached out to the kind of kids who were trying to find a place or trying to find, um, you know, felt a bit like outsiders. And of course we see that a little bit with manga in, in English schools. You know, it's often the manga kids get together, you know, trying to find their place together. So my memory is Was of, you know, really immersing in these worlds along with my brother, but then reaching out through the letters page because of course there was no social media.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

2018 to communicate with other strange kids across the country. Um, so there was a sharing, definitely, a community, but quite, quite dispersed in my experience.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Hmm, that's really interesting. I'm thinking about your reading diet now, Julian. What sort of things are you interested in? do you still read comics as part of your reading diet? Is that something that you've lost along the way?

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I read, at the moment, I'm reading several books in Japanese very, very slowly because, um, you know, there's about 4, 000 kanji you need to learn. So I spend a lot of my time going slowly through. books I brought back from Japan recently, and some of those are quite serious books about the tsunami and recovery. But I am also reading a, a manga series at the moment, very slowly, as I say, in Japanese. And that's a, that's a sort of light relief, which is called Midnight Diner Shinya Shokudo, which became a, a Netflix TV series, um, and is very good for slang. Mm. Mm.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

ha. And Chie what about you? What sort of things are you reading at the moment?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I'm reading at the moment, um, manga and novels and few ghost stories at the same time. As for Manga, I'm reading Manga code, uh, Delicious in Dungeon. Japanese title

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

that's also in, um, on Netflix, isn't it? Yeah, I watch that. That's cool.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, it is. I really, really enjoy that series. And then it's kind of funny, and deep, and scary, interesting, everything in it. And also you can learn cooking, so that's great. And then I'm also reading some science fictions and some ghost stories as well. But they are not manga. But, and then I also read every single manga I can see. For example, when I'm doing, Twitter, I

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, yeah, oh no, I'm still with Twitter, I can't get on board.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

In Japanese, Twitter, Twitter world, there are a lot of people actually uploading their manga and their four panel mangas, everything. So, so I read almost everything. Whenever I found one,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

And I, and I've, I've heard other, other guests we had an expert, manga librarian come on the show once he was explaining that actually that we get quite a limited amount in translation in the UK. So it may be not getting a, as broad a picture of the kinds of things that are available in Japan is, is that your experience too?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

yeah, I think it's especially English translated ones are very, very limited. And then I always impressed by the French people. They translate almost everything like manga, manga. So I found very unique, uh, very. niche manga translated in French, but not in English. Yeah Well,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

spend a little bit of time talking about your stories as kind of creative individuals and then come together and talk about your collaborative works that you've done. So Chie can you tell me a little bit about how you came from sort of reading manga in the corner of your friend's bedroom? How did you come to be a successful manga

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I had a very very long way to be here, um, well again if you I was born in Japan, and if you like any kind of drawing, at least once you tried manga style, and at least you tried to create manga story when you were young, and then I was one of them, but I was actually too hard to finish one, even one story, so I gave up, and then I gave up for very, very, very long time, and, but when I I was, about to graduate my MA here. I was a Fine Arts student here in, uh, London, actually. And then my other Japanese friend were talking about that there was a kind of convention in London called MCM Expo. It was a long time ago. MCM Expo was not as big as at the moment, but, but, you know, it was still quite big thing. And we found out it was there. And so we decided to visit there, but. Because as an art student, we kind of thought, maybe just not visit it but how about having a table and selling our work there? So we forced each other to create at least one short comics, manga comics. And then we, uh, we did it, we printed at home, and then we start selling. And then we said short comic, but actually I ended up making 100. Page is long.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Oh my goodness.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

So I just fast. The first, which is not recommended for all the, uh, young people who want to become manga or comic artists, actually, and my recommendation is to finish one short story first, but mine is actually ended up in, you know, 100 pages wrong. So my first volume one was 24 pages on something. So I kept on making it until Okay. It reached almost done and then at that point some, powerful people in manga comic world asked me to if they, I won't work as a manga artist. And then I, obviously I said yes. So that's how I started, in professional way.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

so have you been based in the UK throughout your career?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Exactly. I didn't, I didn't finish. Even one story in Japan, I

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

And Julian, um, how about you? I think it's really, it's always really useful. The reason why I always ask people to talk a little bit about their careers on the podcast and their kind of career journey is because I just think there's so many ways that becoming a writer and illustrator can happen, that it's just really useful for teachers to have these stories. in their kind of toolkit to talk to children and young people and share the many different ways people can come to have these roles.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, no, absolutely. And my story is quite similar to Chie's, with some differences. So, I decided when I was seven years old I wanted to be a writer. And, um, I can date it precisely because my mum has a diary entry of pompous little Julian saying I'm going to be a writer. And, um, I didn't get published until I was 47. So,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Wow.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

the question I always ask, uh, in school talks is why do you think it took me 40 years if I was so sure? And there's lots and lots of reasons and some of them are to do with school trauma and I struggled a lot with anxiety from that. And the upshot of that was I was just too afraid to show people what I was doing a lot of the time. So I'd be writing things or trying to write things and then never showing them to anyone let alone a publisher. And that turns out to be quite a bad way to get published. So, um, so I, I, I sort of went through university. I was following my interest in East Asia, particularly Japan, um, in a kind of way. And I started working in film as a researcher doing, uh, script development and even prop, um, research and, and stuff for films. Often with, Chinese or Japanese films. Kind of slant to it and from there I started to help write scripts and at that point I started working with my brother Marcus on a graphic novel, uh, that he asked me to help him with because he, it's very much like script format so he wanted to use my, experience such as it was and from there I got an agent, and I showed her the very serious adult literary novel I was working on. which I'm still working on. And she said, why don't you try working, writing for younger people? And I think this is the big bit of advice I always want to give is don't be absolutely blinkered about what form or what genre young people think they might want to write. Because, you know, it might be a greater picture books and you thought you were going to write the Great British Novel, you know, whatever it is. So, I've always been probably thinking about or writing every day, but it took until 47 to get something published and now I'm just trying to catch up.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

That is an incredible story. And then how did you two, come together to form this partnership? I don't know who wants to answer that. I don't know if this, the answer would be the same from each of you,

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I think maybe I'll start if that's alright, Chie because I'd had this idea for ages I wanted to write about the 2011 Great East Japan Triple Disaster, and you know, maybe we'll talk about that more in a moment, but I'd gone to Japan, I'd spent quite a lot of time there, a lot of money, met a lot of people. Everyone was very keen on this book I was going to do. And right from the start, I knew I wanted it to be prose and manga, and that I wanted manga to tell some of the story for very specific technical reasons. And, after being knocked back by quite a few publishers, I found a brilliant new book. Publisher called Guppy and, our wonderful editor, Bella, Bella Pearson said, That's great, let's go for it, we need to find a manga artist now. And, uh, a mutual friend of Chie's and mine gave me her email and I emailed her. Hehe. Hehe.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

that? What was your reaction to receiving this email? If you care to divulge, tell us.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I was a bit like mix. I had a mixed feeling because, I was happy because of our mutual friends recommended me. So, but also I was a bit. Worrying about the theme, uh, it is because I had a kind of personal, uh, experiments, for that, the earthquake, and then I was a bit our Worrying about why this strange English guy wants to talk about our problem. And then, so, uh, that, uh, my, I mean, he sounded nice in his email. So, I was not that, you know, uh, worried. But I was a bit, you know, always worried if someone wanted to deal with, uh, Our culture. So that's my that was my first reaction. But you know, while we are exchanging emails, and I, you know, starting trust him. And then he explained everything what he experienced and what's and then quite importantly, what his friends in the affected area, trust him and support him. So that's makes me. To believe him,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, yeah, have that credibility.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Mmm.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

so, at that point Julian, was that, did you have quite a thick, a fully formed idea then of where, so this is the book that was to become Tsunami Girl, and would you, first of all, it'd be good if it, within your answer, if you could give a little bit of description of that book, um, to anyone who might not have read it, but, Also, was this a fully formed idea that you had or, or is it something that was being dev still in development, I guess?

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Um, by the time I contacted Chie all the prose was written and I'd sketched most of the manga as a kind of film script. and I'd had the, the, it was one of those nice times when the idea for a book comes almost fully formed, not the tiny details, not the exact characters, but what the mechanism is. Um, I'd had friends living very close to the disaster, uh, when the radiation disaster happened at Fukushima, and been talking to them almost every day for, uh, several years before they actually left Fukushima and came back to the UK. And so when I went there, I went to basically, as Chie said, see if what people felt about it. And people were very supportive. So by the time I was contacting Chie I had this fully formed book about a young central character. Who's only a quarter Japanese because that was important to me that I didn't try and write like a fully immersed Japanese born and bred character. So Yuki is a quarter Japanese growing up in England, struggling with school. She's got one beloved Japanese grandparent and she travels to Japan just before the disaster happens. And that was always going to be the shape. And the idea of the manga part. was that it would talk about when her imagination, or when the other world, Anoior, starts to happen. So when we veer into stuff that is ghostly. or between this world and the next. I really wanted to just show that on the page. And that's why I needed a great manga artist like Chie.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

pay.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Brilliant. And so was it, that the same kind of way of working with your, with the sequel, but with a hundred Tales from Tokyo Ghost Cafe, or was Chie were you involved earlier on in, in that process, that time? Mm-Hmm.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, so the Tsunami Girl is, I mean, Julian's story, and then I was just there to help him to make it, you know, work, but for the second one, Julian kindly offered me to get more involved in, you know, creating stories and then, designing characters and even writing some of the, some part of the script as well.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

And it was, it was a lot of fun. So for the, in, in this book, the manga is the through story. So it's the opposite way round to Tsunami Girl. And the prose story is spin off from the, from the spine story. And we, and we basically just kind of acted it out together. Um, and as soon as we knew. Because I've made these journeys up the coastline collecting ghost stories, and it just seemed okay Let's have a mechanism where we go on a journey and things happen to us But of course playing versions of ourselves so we can just have fun and imagine those encounters.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, I love, I love it. I read it on my own first, just as soon as it came out. I was really excited about it. Got it. Read it. Um,

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Thank you.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

and then, um, uh, and then, uh, early on this year, my daughter had, she had pneumonia. She's 14 nearly. She, and she was in hospital for four days. And so I was staying with, uh, in hospital in a little camp bed next to her. And basically I read the whole thing out loud to her while she was in hospital.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Oh wow,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

so it's, has like a, I have like a real emotional connection to it as well. I mean, I should just read to her without her having pneumonia and being in hospital. But I feel that once you're a teenager, that reading to your child,, you don't tend to do it as, as often. And it was a really kind of special thing that we

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

It's really, it's really nice to hear that because I mean, to be honest, both these books, although particularly Ghost Cafe has a lot of fun and a lot of spooky stuff in it, it's also about how do we deal with difficult times? That's what all these stories are about. Obviously, you know, maybe overcoming a tsunami or just loss or being ill or, you know, having to change what you're doing in life. Um, so it's lovely to hear it being shared like that and I hope it, I hope it helped.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, it definitely did. It's a world you can be immersed in, I think, definitely. We found ourselves immersed in it. And we were just watching, race across the world, which was in, it started off in Japan. And, um, and there was a part of it where they were, some of the similar, the mythology was referred to, and we were straight away, we were like, we know about this.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

yeah.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

So then the connection came all back again, you know.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Wow.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

It was great. Chie do you, are you working in isolation or do you actually come together to do your writing

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Julian actually kindly invited me to his house for maybe three times or something like that. So we can kind of spend whole day looking, using sticky pads, write down all the little things, the episode and then dialogue we want to use, or characters. And we kind of create huge A1 size paper with time lines and then things like that. So, uh, from time to time, I was in You know, I'm based in Brighton, so I was in Brighton, or sometimes even I was in Japan. But, uh, from time to time we met face to face, discuss, and then created that big, like, story

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, and it's interesting because even in this age of being able to do Zoom screen share or whatever, this has quite a complicated structure for this book, and we wanted it to be seamless, so we really needed a big table to literally spread loads of bits of paper out, like Chie said, and even act things, and, you know, feel what she, feel what each other one is really feeling about the other person's suggestions. Um, and the weird thing is, I mean, maybe it's a bit personal, but I'll share it anyway, that we were working together, the weekend just before my brother died and I knew he wasn't doing very well. so the whole process of this book, both of us has been quite an intense one. And, um, that sense of being a team and being together has been really important, I think.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Mm. Ahahahahaha.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

I've talked to a lot of kind of creative duos in the course of making the podcast. And when people say they just type into a Google sheet, I always feel like, oh, oh, really? I'm imagining what you're describing this big kind of, yeah. Um,

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

think it's important to be in the room sometimes sometimes it's when you make a suggestion and you can just feel the other person isn't that happy with your suggestion. And, and I don't think you get that quite the same across, certainly across just a document, you know. Mmm.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

balance between face to face time and working on your own time. So, it's, we have, like, both in really, in nicely balanced both of the time. So, that works really well for me. I need a time to think about on my own, to deep into the, uh, imagination and then sketching, but I also need to see his face, how he reacts and then, you know, that kind of thing. That's so, it's really great.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Well, it's obviously been very successful and you mentioned that you both appear as kind of characters in A Hundred Tales. So what was that like as an experience? Chie you decided to capture yourself in rabbit form? What was, uh, the thinking behind that? How did you come to embody yourself in that character? Yeah.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Okay. And first of all, I personally preferred, Not showing me directly inside of my creation. That's the one reason. And then another one is I, I'm so get used to draw myself as a rabbit because it started when I and my friends are just had a chatting on some SNS somewhere and we kind of decided to, the design character which represent us. And then I picked up Rabbit, because I was, at that time, I was playing one game, which was a horror game, and there is a rabbit, suit character. Which has a really cute rabbit suit, but actually it's, it's a killer and it's, it has blood on everywhere. So I really like the cuteness and the scary things together. So since then, rabbit is my persona. And then I use that rabbit character, rabbit me, for, the series I was doing for Japanese newspaper. Which was about, kind of illustrated, collumn about, what I found interesting and funny in living in the UK kind of thing. So I'm kind of, that rabbit is part of me. So, I'm, it's quite natural.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

It had to be. It was, yeah, the only way to represent yourself. So, Julian, what was it like for you to be encapsulated in manga form?

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

the Julian in the book, he's quite hapless and a bit dim. He's got a good heart. When my wife finished reading it, I said, so what did you think? He's like a dimmer, more hapless version of me, right? And she said, um, so I think he's probably pretty accurate. Um, although Chie very kindly made me look a little bit younger than I do. He's saying. But it just, it felt this book in particular and using this device just felt so natural right from the start and it just seemed like the right thing to do. So here's me as a kind of informed outsider. And there's Chie as a, um, terrifying killer inside a rabbit suit, you know, it's, um, informed insider. And it, it just, okay, we can have both views now on these stories and the, and the culture. And we can travel together and Chie can teach me as we go. And sometimes she might get things wrong. Sometimes I get things wrong. Yeah, it just, it just felt like the right thing. To do and it means I've got to keep that green quiff that's on the cover now because so that the school kids can recognize me

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, otherwise there'd be mass confusion. You mentioned it a little bit earlier, in terms of being quite aware of you being someone who's not Japanese, but very much fascinated and very informed about the culture. And so, so was that something that you were really considering as you were writing?

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, really a lot and I thought about it a lot I mean, yes, I'm not I'm not Japanese after my own father died I had a kind of second substitute father and very intense ten years You Friendship with an older Japanese guy who became very much like my father and Grandfather to my two boys who was small then and we got to travel a lot in Japan and do Incredible things we were really lucky And when he had died, just not long before the tsunami happened so for me it was I, it was a subject I had to come back to, um, and as I said, I thought, well, the only way to do this is to have a central character who is, is partly an outsider. Um, and that seemed to me, uh, you know, if I did it carefully and did lots of interviewing and lots of, um, you know, sort of reflecting about it, I, I hoped it, it would work. And then for the new book, I thought, well, you know, Maybe I just will be 57 year old me with a green quiff and then that's, that's going to be legitimate. But you know, as I say, I think having the outsider and the inside of you together is, is, is a really nice thing to

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

I think it, that, yeah, that was really successful, and Chie I know you said that you were, you were hesitant at first, when you first got Julian's email, but how's that perception changed as you've gone along the process of making two books together now?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah. Well, first of all the, if the point is, if I can trust. That person, and then, you know, obviously, I think I trust him now, and then, he has a like, again, he's got extremely, how do you call it, delicate balance, he understand the balance, how real Japanese feel in that kind of occasion, you know, that kind of things, and he, also he, you know, Even when he's not really there, Julian is always trying to understand. He's not like, you know, so that's why I can, okay, I can trust me. Okay, so that's, it sounds a bit, you know, I sounds a bit too much. But I, I really need that to work. with story like this and then I also just simply really impressed by the story so that is the two most important things I can trust him as a person and then I can trust him as a writer so

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Win win.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

That was very nice of you to say that.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

oh

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

The thing also I think is, you know, people write from lots of different motivations, don't they? you know, I, I hear writers talk about, Why they're writing what they're writing, but I think the most fundamental thing is if you're writing from the heart and with good intention, and you know, if you can do that, it's a, it's a big start to hopefully treating these things sensitively. And then, you know, I also, we have a sensitivity reader on Tsunami Girl. I had a really brilliant young female academic Japanese sensitivity reader who had worked as a listening volunteer in the recovery communities. Um, and, again, I can trust her feedback. So it's, it's, as Chie says, it's all about trust in every direction, I think.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, and when you're writing, are you just focusing on the story, and wanting to make the best story that you can? Are you, are you thinking about the, the reader and kind of having a profile of who's going to read this and what's the impact going to be on them? Or is that almost too, too much

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I think, I think, I think that's too much. You know, it's terrifying. If you, you know, I've, I used to do this thing in a workshop where I'd say, how far do you read until you decide whether you're going to give up on a book or not? and kids will put, put their hand up and say three chapters and I'd say anyone shorter than that. And people would say one chapter and I'd say anyone shorter than that. And someone would say the first page and I'd say anyone shorter than that. And there's always someone to say the first sentence. And you think, you know, you see, you can't have in mind, like, I've got to impress someone. So, ultimately, I think you're writing towards the story and some version of yourself when you're younger, probably, is my really honest answer.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

what about you?

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Hmm.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I'm actually a bit different. And I always thinking about readers. And I also, you know, sometimes I do create my own stories as well, and then I do all the character designs and everything. When am I, whenever I'm doing it, I kind of thinking there is at least one person in the world who is falling in love with my character. So I'm kind of thinking that way. And then also, I'm kind of thinking the readers wouldn't, they don't know me, so what I should express my thought is I have to be careful because they don't know me, so they are not like, they're not in favor to me. So I was just kind of thinking that things as well. And also I sometimes want to exchange my feeling to someone like me out, out, you know, out there, there are people like me. So that's kind of, that kind of thing. I'm always kind of actually thinking, but at the same time, I also just having fun creating without thinking, without worrying anybody

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

apart from me, maybe just to please myself.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

yeah, I think so. One of the things I was interested in, I was once in a heated debate with, so I was on a panel selecting books for something linked to a literary festival, so we were talking about, and I was like, this is my, this is, this is the best book out of all these ones we've read, this is brilliant. And it, uh, there was a discussion because it was whether or not we would include it as a graphic title. Obviously it's got a lot of pros in it. And so, there was a heated debate going on, which is largely irrelevant, um, I guess. But it was about using book in, in education with one of the things that came up was that I think gateway drug to manga may have been used at one point in the phrase, but that basically was saying that it could be, you know, could introduce manga to a whole load of readers who haven't ever experienced manga before. And in the same way, it could introduce prose writing to a whole load of readers who mainly read manga and don't tend to, read more traditional prose. So I just wonder what was your thoughts on that? Is that something that. It excites you about doing these books in combination.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, I mean, absolutely, with Tsunami Girl, the, the, the manga was there for a technical reason, because it was a Japanese theme, so I thought that would The appropriate but also to show the line between this world and the other world, but I also always thought it could do this job of taking manga readers to prose and prose readers to manga. And when I've done earlier, um, like my graphic novel with my brother. I'd meet people who said, I'd, I'd never go near comics or manga because I don't know how to read it. And then people who said, I don't read prose anymore. And I just thought if, if we got this right, it could do this kind of bridging function. And the lovely thing is, as I go around school events, I meet so many librarians who say it is, it is doing that. so to the publishers who turned it down out of hand, I say, ha,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Have a bit more imagination. Have a bit more, yeah, take a few more risks. yeah, really, what do you think about that? Do you think there's potential there in the same way? Do you agree that this could be bringing manga to new audiences?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

I totally agree with Julian. I had a similar experience when I did, uh, manga Shakespeare, and then I was told that a lot, some parents and people, they. told me that their children start manga version of Shakespeare, their kids start reading actual Shakespeare. So it's a kind of, you know, you just feed their interest in any ways. And then I think that our two books are great example It feeds each other, and then it stimulates their imagination in different ways, and then I think manga only readers, they found it, you know, how fun the reading is, and then just reading novel kind of readers, they found it. Like, manga is also good, you know, this is definitely, that's definitely happening. And I was told that things as well by a lot of parents and librarians after the books are out.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Fantastic. And I watched, you're talking about sort of meeting with, with teachers and pupils, librarians. I know, Chie that you do, you've done quite a lot of school visits. How does meeting your, readership face to face, meeting the young people who might be reading your work, accessing your work. Does that, does that inform what you do?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yeah, it was actually really fascinating. I met, now I met some new kind of kids because I used to meet a lot of manga fans. I still meeting a lot of manga fans as well, but because after that, uh, that Tsunami Girl and 100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Cafe, I also started meeting a lot of young people who just simply love reading, maybe not only manga, and then maybe some of them just don't know much about manga, and I've never get any negative things from them. They are really kind of fascinated by everything. So I found that it's really, I'm doing something quite important, bridging Japan. To the other country and manga and novel and, you know, do that kind of reading things, which is exchanging two different cultures. And then, you know, I'm really kind of excited and satisfied with what I've been doing with him.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yes, massive, massive impact in all sorts of ways. Julian, what's your learnings? I know you've also been a patron of reading for a school as well, so you've had that kind of long standing relationship, and I'm just really interested in what you've learnt from working with schools and

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Oh, so much. I mean, I was really reluctant to go and do school talks in the first place because of the kind of anxiety that I'd taken away from my own schooling, but it was made clear to me that it's a good thing to do and I've come to love it. I mean, I'm, I think I'm getting towards 350 school visits now and I come away from almost every one of them feeling lifted up by some encounter. So whether that's with a, you know, a young reader or with a teacher or a librarian, um, I, I generally find it's energizing and I love that direct contact with people and reading maybe a bit out loud or watching Chie drawing live and seeing the effect on people. So I've on, you know, it's absolute honest answer that I've come to, to value it. And sometimes having these longer relationships with schools, so some schools I just visit annually or every two or three years, and developing that relationship with the library or an English department. and then, you know, I was very lucky to be patron of reading for, uh, Leighton Park Quaker School in, in Reading, Reading in Reading. and to develop even a bit of a relationship with people across three years, um, and maybe do different workshops around the same thing. so yeah, I just feel, I just feel very glad to get to do that.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

so we're coming to the end of the podcast. It's been absolutely fascinating, so thank you so much for coming on. I'd like to end the podcast with, maybe a couple of takeaways or things to get teachers thinking, who might be listening, thinking about the sorts of things we've been discussing. I don't know if you've Got together and had some thoughts on what you could do,

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

a thought, a general thought, which might sound obvious, and I don't want it to sound patronising, but across the 10 years of doing school visits, and particularly of late, I've noticed just how much a little bit of pre preparation before an author or illustrator comes in makes a huge difference. To the event and what, and what you can take away from it. and it, and I know school timetables are immensely complicated and there are so many demands on everyone. But just particularly in the last year, I've had some really dramatic cases of places I've revisited and seen them do that prep work. And just the response in the talk and afterwards in the workshops being so much more dramatic. So the takeaway I'd like to offer is, um, you know, if you, if you've got a. An author or illustrator coming in is, is just to really value that event before it happens.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Yeah, that is such a good thing to highlight. So my work at the National Literacy Trust, we arrange a lot of author visits, and yeah, that's something that we really work with schools to do, is to make sure that, yeah, the children are primed and then they can get the most out of it when they've got this small window of time with someone, yeah. Chie did you have anything that you wanted to

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

well, yeah, I've been thinking, so maybe the teachers who's listening to this podcast and not too afraid of manga if the, their, their student just go crazy about it. Yeah, it's, manga is not scary. And then. it's not also, it's not just for fun as well. It's, the great thing about manga is it's just for entertaining. It's just so fun as well as it's kind of more, especially young people, teenagers. It's, it's a story is always kind of be with them and they'll quite often involve the story, the storyline of, kind of growing up to be a kind of better. You kind of things. So don't get afraid of it. And if you are too afraid contact me. I will help you Yeah,

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

for anyone who is intimidated. I love that. Thank you so much for that. the final thing, that we, ask guests is if we were to add one comic or book about comics you can't recommend your own one, so I won't say a combination of prose and comic. Um, to add to our to be read piles tomorrow, what book should we be picking up next, do you think?

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

got here, a wonderful graphic memoir by Pedro Martín, which is called Mexikid it came out last year. It's called Mexikid, the graphic memoir. And it's, um, it's Pedro's own story about his large and interesting family growing up in America, even though he's. He's Mexican in the, in the US, even though he's Mexican. So it's a, it's a very nice, um, where do I fit who am I cross cultural identity kind of book, but it's also very funny and you'll learn a lot about, uh, Mexico and large dysfunctional families. It's beautiful, beautifully drawn and beautifully written. I think it's a great example of what graphic novels

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

I 100 percent agree with that, and Pedro has been on the podcast, so I'll also put a link

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

go. Sorry. Hmm.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

notes as well. No, that's brilliant! it's great to have a shout out for his book, because I love it. Chie what would you recommend we read?

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Wow, sorry, I was I was not thinking about

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

That's okay, there's normally a pause here while people look at their bookshelf. I'll be honest.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Okay, yeah, I was looking at my bookshelf, actually, at the moment. Sorry, I'm moving. Well, well, well, well. Um, I would recommend Lorena Alvarez, the creator of the name is Lorena Alvarez. And then title is, Hicotea A Night Light Story, which is a kind of graphic novel I recently heard. It's, it's, I think it's basically for young people, but it's just Story is quite just, uh, how do you call that, quite straightforward, but the art is so, so beautiful and it stimulates your imagination. It might give you a slight night, beautiful nightmare, but it's beautiful, beautifully done artwork, which actually I was so inspired.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

That's lovely. A real visual treat.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yes.

lucy-sb--she-her-_1_04-22-2024_140953:

Brilliant. Thank you so much, both of you. This has been an absolutely fascinating conversation. I've loved having you on the podcast.

julian-sedgwick_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Thank you for having us, it's really nice to talk about it, thank you.

chie_1_04-22-2024_140949:

Yes, thank you very much.

Thank you so much to Chie and Julian for joining me on the podcast this week, I just loved the way they approach combining prose and manga. It's really innovative. Each element makes its own kind of standout contribution, but also the combination is, is more than the sum of those excellent parts and they really enrich each other. I just. I love the reading experience that I get from their work. So definitely recommended. my actual recommendation for this episode though, is going to be a website. Rather than a book this week comic devices.com is a fantastic resource that explains and defines the kind of terms used in making and reading comics. If you wanted to get into some kind of discussions, if children, young people that you're working with want to be able to understand and use the terms of the techniques that are being used on the page a little more. It's a great resource. So like an online illustrated dictionary for comic terms. so that's comic devices.com it's been put together by Reimena Yee who herself as a comics creator, and it's just a highly recommended free resource. So check that out as beautifully designed as well as you would expect from someone in the comics world. And speaking of free resources, I was lucky enough this week to attend the Carnegie awards. the announcement for both, writing and illustration medals. For the yoto Carnegie's the ceremony was last week. And it was wonderful to see illustration and writing celebrated in these really prestigious awards. The awards were given out in the theater where they have the Matildas shows. So it was a real amazing bookish backdrop. Absolutely loved it. And this podcast has something in common with the Carnegie's, which is that we're both sponsored by ALCS. Yes. The author is licensed and collecting society. And I just noticed, as I was looking through on the Carnegie's website itself, you can find lots of downloadable resources, um, about the short lists, both writing and illustration shortlist. So this posters you can print off there's, reading tick lists, and then there's also some really nicely designed, ALCS resources. One for children and one for young people. So that's kind of age differentiated there explaining the difference between copyright and plagiarism. So I just think isn't. A nice place to go. A nice way to hook in. So talking about, when it's okay to copy things and when it isn't and what happens. That's always a difficult conversation to structure with children. So there's some nice resources. There's a poster. Uh, teacher's guide and those two age differentiated student booklets as well produced by ALCS for the Carnegie's completely free and downloadable along with all the other Carnegie resources on the website. So I will pop the link to that in the show notes, if you're interested. That's it for me this week as always. I'd love to hear from you. you can get hold of me on Twitter. Slash X. And at Lucy underscore Braidley, which is B. R a I D L E Y. You can, get in touch and follow the podcast on Instagram, on at comic underscore boom underscore podcast. And also now, if you listen to the show on the comic boom website, I know not many people do most people listen to Spotify or apple podcasts. but if you do, you can go onto the episode show notes for the episode that you're listening to, and that is there. At the top and a facility that allows you to text message the show. So you can do that, and send a message in there to love, to get some messages through that would love to be able to read them out at the end of episodes. so please do get in touch. If you've got a moment to spare, I'd love to, you can also of course, leave a review or give a friend a personal recommendation about the podcast. We'd love to continue to grow. The audience is a great community to be part of. So. Do you give us a shout out whenever you get the opportunity? But that's it from me for this week. My name is Lucy Starbuck Bradley. I'm the producer and host of comic boom, the comics and education podcast. Thanks for listening.