Born In: Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan
Junji Ito is a Japanese horror manga artist, best known for his characters 'Tomie,' 'Uzumaki,' and 'Gyo.' His characters are inspired by his childhood experiences. For instance, 'Tomie,' the immortal girl, was inspired by his classmate who had tragically died, while 'Gyo' was inspired by the war stories his parents had told him. Ito's career began when a popular magazine picked up 'Tomie' as a feature series. Subsequently, the character was adapted into a series of films. The role also earned Ito the first award of his career. Some of his other notable works are 'Itou Junji Kyoufu Manga Collection,' a series of stories titled 'Souichi's Journal of Delights,' and a satire on his real life, 'Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu.' His horror stories are known for their detailing and dramatic sound effects that make them scarier to read.
Spouse/Ex-: Ayako Ishiguro
siblings: Kazuo Umezu, Shinichi Koga
Born Country: Japan
education: Nakatsu High School
Junji Ito was born on July 31, 1963, in Sakashita, a town located in Ena District, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, and grew up in a small city near Nagano. He has two elder sisters, Kazuo Umezu and Shinichi Koga, who introduced him to the world of manga.
Ito began reading the works of Kazuo Umezu and Shinichi Koga at an early age. He later started reading the works of other Japanese manga artists such as Hideshi Hino, Yasutaka Tsutsui, and H.P. Lovecraft.
His habit of reading eventually helped him learn the art of creating manga characters. Ito observed his surroundings and drew inspiration from them, something that is reflected in his works.
In his early 20s, Ito worked as a dental technician. He simultaneously created manga and pursued it as a hobby.
In 1987, his short story, featured in 'Monthly Halloween,' a shōjo-style monthly magazine, won an honorable mention in the 'Kazuo Umezu Prize.' The story was eventually made into Ito's first horror manga series, 'Tomie.' The story was inspired by the death of Ito’s classmate. Apparently, Junji Ito had expected him to reappear when he had died all of a sudden.
His next horror manga illustration was 'Uzumaki,' meant for adult men. This sort of manga is called “seinen manga” in Japan. The manga was featured in the weekly manga magazine 'Big Comic Spirits' and ran from 1998 to 1999. During the same period, publisher 'Shogakukan' released a series based on 'Uzumaki,' published in three volumes. An omnibus edition was released in March 2000.
Film Director Ataru Oikawa's 1998 horror film 'Tomie' was the first on-screen adaptation of the manga. It also served as the first instalment of the 'Tomie' film series. The following year, Toshirō Inomata directed 'Tomie: Another Face' ('Tomie: Anaza Feisu'), which was released as a TV series and later made into a feature film.
Another horror “seinen” manga that Ito created was 'Gyo Ugomeku Bukimi.' The 'Gyo' series was released in the weekly manga magazine 'Big Comic Spirits' from 2001 to 2002. The manga drew inspiration from the anti-war feelings that Ito had developed due to the tragic war stories his parents had told him.
The Fujirō Mitsuishi-directed 2000 horror feature 'Tomie: Replay' was the second instalment of the 'Tomie' film series. That year, 'Uzumaki' was also adapted into a film of the same name. Ito's short story 'Nagai Yume' ("Long Dream") was featured in 'The Junji Ito Horror Comic Collection' and was made into a TV series that was aired in 2000.
In the following 2 years, 'Tomie: Re-birth' (directed by Takashi Shimizu) and 'Tomie: The Final Chapter – Forbidden Fruit' (directed by Shun Nakahara), the third and the fourth instalments of the 'Tomie' film series, respectively, hit the theaters.
The fifth and the sixth instalments, 'Tomie: Beginning' and 'Tomie: Revenge,' both directed by Ataru Oikawa, were released in 2005. 'Tomie vs Tomie' (2007), directed by Tomohiro Kubo, and 'Tomie Unlimited' (''Tomieanrimiteddo,'' 2011), directed by Noboru Iguchi, were the seventh and the eighth instalments, respectively.
Ito's works were compiled in the 12-episode horror anime anthology series called 'The Junji Ito Collection' (''Hepburn: ItōJunjiKorekushon"), which premiered on January 5, 2018.
As announced by film director Guillermo del Toro through a ''tweet,'' Junji Ito was roped in for the video game 'Silent Hills.' However, a year later, Konami, the IP's owner, canceled the project. Ito and Del Toro then showed interest in collaborating with the 'Silent Hills' game designer Hideo Kojima for his action game, 'Death Stranding.'
Ito also adapted Mary Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein' into a manga series, for which he received an 'Eisner Award' in 2019.
Junji Ito's manga creations have been highly criticized by a group of Japanese people who believe that though his characters and stories are influenced by the elements of society, they project the elements negatively.
Ito's 'Hellstar Remina' represented the highly toxic pop idol culture. At the same time, 'The Town Without Streets' (from volume 11 of the 'Horror World of Junji Ito Collection') promoted privacy breaches over the internet.
Ito's manga creations are mostly criticized for their treatment of the dead. His creations involve acts such as vandalizing graves and burying a dead body without performing a cremation first, which are viewed by critics as examples of violation of religious rituals.
Some war enthusiasts believe Ito's war-themed series, such as the 'Gyo' series, where fishes are shown to be controlled by artificially created sensitive bacteria called "the death stench," promote imperial Japan's horrific human experimentation.
Junji Ito has been married to picture-book artist Ishiguro Ayako since 2016. They have two children.
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