Pen Name: Enewald
Favorite manga: ONE PIECE, Witch Hat Atelier, Berserk, Land of the Lustrous, 20th Century Boys
SMA15 Grand Prix Runner-Up: “Blossom”
Japanese Debut Manga: “The Sunflower Theorem”
“With both editors and manga creators being right next to me, I feel welcome being part of the community.”
What made you decide to come to Japan?
The main reason why I decided to come to Japan was to be closer to my editors, who support my work, and to other manga creators. It’s possible to create manga via the internet even when you are far away from each other, but I wanted to work in an environment where we can see each other’s faces.
When I came to the Artists Village, I realized that there’s much more to learn here about manga than in my own country of Finland. I also think that it’s very exciting to live in a different country and get to know a new culture, and I thought that having such a special experience would enrich my life. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate at all and accepted the offer from COAMIX Inc., the organizer of SMA. When I told my family about it, they were a little worried, but they were very happy that I received the opportunity to go. My family has always been very supportive of me.
Also, I have always had an interest in learning Japanese, and I thought coming here would be a great learning environment. Japanese is spoken here every day, and I can interact directly with native speakers. I speak a couple of languages so far, but Japanese is a special language with a grammar that differs from the other languages that I speak, and above all, the characters’ radicals are interesting.
What is your impression of Japan, Kumamoto, and Aso?
I think it’s a very beautiful place with scenery and nature that I have never seen before. Finland is a rather flat country, so when I see mountains on the horizon every day in Aso, I feel refreshed and happy.
When I came to Japan, Aso had beautiful winter scenery. I can’t wait to find out what kind of scenery I can see in spring and summer. By the way, the temperature in Finland in winter is lower than in Aso. Also, people in Aso seem calm and friendly. Whenever an elderly person comes up to me and starts chatting, I feel very happy.
How do you feel about the Artists Village Aso 096k’s location in Kumamoto as an environment for drawing manga? What’s your impression of the living environment and food?
I think this is a good environment for manga production. It’s a very quiet place, so I can work without being disturbed, and I have everything I need to draw manga, including a PC, tablet, paper, pens, and a large number of manga to read, so I can concentrate on creating manga here.
Also, I feel like I’m part of a community, and I feel welcome here because all the editors and fellow manga artists live nearby in the residential building and dormitories within the facility.
The food is good for me because the ingredients are not too different from those in Finland. I find eating hot pot dishes interesting because they’re eaten in a different way compared to Finland by sharing one big dish with everyone. I also find Japanese bento (lunch boxes) very interesting since they are an assortment of different dishes.
What does an average day at the Artists Village look like for you?
I wake up around 8:00 am. Before starting work, I sometimes go for a walk in the surrounding park and forests. I start working at 10:00, but due to the nature of my job the hours are not set in stone. The people are always nearby, so it’s easy to discuss any problems I may have.
After lunch, work ends around 6:00 pm. After dinner, I often go to the movie theater inside the Artists Village, go shopping, play board games, and do other activities with the other manga creators here. I prefer to spend time inside the Artists Village, which has a great atmosphere, rather than in my room in the residential building. I have also grown attached to the free coffee and tea provided (laughs).
What are your goals for the future?
First and foremost, I want to learn everything about manga production. My goal is to learn as much as I can and be able to produce manga. I think that the interesting thing about manga as a creator is that it can be done by a relatively small number of people in a short amount of time, and that it allows you to draw unique and individualistic stories.
Other than that, I would like to use my time as effectively as possible, seeing different places in Kumamoto and having experiences that I can only have here.
Please give a message to those who are thinking about working at the Artists Village Aso 096k!
I think places like the Artists Village are extremely rare. Moving to a new country and facing the language barrier can be tough, but I think staying here for a while, participating in various projects, and experiencing Japanese life and culture firsthand is a worthwhile experience for you. At the same time, there are also some rules that are different from those in your home country, such as how to use cash and bank books, but since there are editors nearby who are familiar with the rules, you will be able to adapt relatively smoothly, as I did.
Thank you, Enewald! We’re eagerly awaiting your original manga debut!
Learn more about how YOU can join the Artists Village and create manga with us!