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Smile! Creators react to Japan disaster with optimism

One of Takehiko Inoue's Smile drawings

Even as rescue operations continue and officials scramble to avert a nuclear disaster in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Friday, some manga artists are reaching out to their fans with a message of hope.

Takehiko Inoue, the creator of Vagabond and Slam Dunk, has been posting pictures of ordinary Japanese people smiling with the Twitter hashtags #prayforjapan and #tsunami, as a sort of prayer. Shoujo manga creator Arina Tanemura (Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, The Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross) also drew one of her characters with a big smile. Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball) posted a lively drawing with a message of support on the Shonen Jump website. And Itou Noizi, who illustrated the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, has drawn a picture of Haruhi in prayer.

A number of well-known creators, including Naoki Urasawa (Pluto, 20th Century Boys), Natsume Ono (House of Five Leaves) and Kanata Konami (Chi’s Sweet Home) have posted drawings and messages of encouragement at the website of Kodansha’s Morning magazine. Anime News Network has a full list of contributors in English.

Japanese-Canadian artist Nina Matsumoto (Yokaiden) is doing commissioned drawings of her characters for $25 each, with the proceeds to go to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.



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