Naoya Haga lives and works in Sapporo. His spidery contours can meander trough ocean depths and between the root system of trees. Abstraction is not just geometry or a retreat into essentialist trappings. Abstraction can well search for the difficult to represent alveolar arrangements in nature, from chambers of anthills to grapes of bodies with their own inside chambers. Naoya Haga redirects attention towards unobtrusive details that nonetheless fixate and anchor reality.
Just recently I got this Buddha manga. What do you think about manga or anime dealing with traditional/religious topics, such as Osamu Tezuka’s unique take on Gautama Buddha’s life?
It is very nice that you found a “Buddha” volume! It is a great manga, easy to understand Buddhism from it. We, the Japanese, don’t live with much emphasis on religion, so there are a lot of people who learn many things from reading “Buddha”, I think (most of the Japanese are Buddhist, though).
Last week I read “Hinotori (Phoenix)” and “Shumari” by Osamu Tezuka. Have you ever read “Hinotori” or “Shumari”? I love “Hinotori”! There is a connection between “Buddha” and “Hinotori” – it’s about “Rinne” or “Rinne Tensei”, the Buddhist way of thinking; the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth or reincarnation. (http://goo.gl/lPSh) And “Shumari” is set around Sapporo, the city you visited. Please read it if you have a chance.
I read them at the library near my house. In Japan, there are a lot of libraries around the city or town, but there is little manga. They don’t collect manga or weekly comic magazines like “Shonen JUMP” or “Shonen SUNDAY”. Only Osamu Tezuka’s works and “Hadashi no Gen / Barefoot Gen” (a story about Gen leaving Hiroshima after the atomic bomb of WWII) are collected. What a great manga artist he is!
Recently, the bureaucrats tried to build the “National Media Art Center”, which would have collected a lot of works of media art, movies, animation, manga, computer games, and so on. But because of some reason, the scheme was spoiled. It’s a pity. I want them to build the “National Media Art Center” because the center of Otaku culture is Japan, and future Japan needs a powerful content industry instead of a weak Japanese manufacture industry.
We are really glad to present your work in Otaku Mag! Can you please you tell us something about the characters that populate your works?
Thanks, I’m very happy to hear such words! The background of “Tampopo” is of a man who is tired of everything, and found a beautiful dandelion that makes him hallucinate. And he overindulges and his life, hobby and household are falling down. I’m going to upload a new drawing every day, so keep a close watch!
I draw pictures simply, because simplification is the best way to convey my thinking, feeling, and so on. I love minimalism and minimal design, as represented by German industrial designer Dieter Rams.
A trick question: do you remember the Roujin-Z anime from the 90s?
Oh! I know “Roujin-Z”! It’s an about 20 years-old animation, and Katsuhiro Otomo was involved in the character design, I think.