Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3]

Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3]

If you haven’t read the first part of this interview, you can do so here.

We had the chance to ask Kazuharu Kina about the implications of the black-haired girl archetype he is so fond of, and we also learned that there is no specific model. That might be the reason why the black-haired girls in his work are each slightly different from the others, and not only in their stance and facial expression- they seem to have different personalities. Comparing two works, the black-haired girls on each probably have different names, different voices, and different lives. To give this a bit of perspective, Munch’s iconic painting “The Scream” is confirmed to have at least five versions, each different in nuance. The only thing clear is that they are all paintings of the same person covering his ears. That is basically what a series of artwork is...or so we thought.

TOM: Why do you draw similar people instead of the same person?
Kazuharu: Because rather than thinking of it as a person, I think of it more like a fetish. It’s not the character, the image, more illusion, that is. I am drawing a momentary situation, a situation I wanted to encounter. So I don’t imagine it to the point as to what the person in the picture usually eats and stuff.

TOM: So it originates from a situation, not a person...?
Kazuharu: A girl standing in a twilight landscape is cute, regardless of whether you meet her in the morning or the evening. Is the sun setting or not? On the verge of that moment, she suddenly picks a flower from the roadside, and faintly smiling, she addresses me with a “hey...” From the picture, that moment, coupled with the setting sun is so beautiful I could die. I want to grasp such moments that make me think like that. It is because of that moment, that situation, that it has meaning. That’s why if I separated the girl from the background and drew her as a fully-rounded character, the illusion would lose it’s charm.

TOM: A chance meeting with a black-haired girl - so you continue to draw moments in time that you expected to encounter, but were never given the chance to. Your work is like a novel narrated by you through illustrations, or maybe we should call it "sekaikei," though what is sekaikei exactly... (In fact, we heard that Kazuharu was immensely into sekaikei like Makoto Shinkai’s “Voices of a Distant Star” and the likes in high school.) So how would you like overseas fans to assess your work?
Kazuharu: All in all, I would like them to feel the atmosphere. I want them to feel that my work conveys the image that most Japanese men have of Japanese girls. I think the moments in my pictures absolutely can’t be found outside Japan - after school, the road home, graduation ceremonies, twilight, sakura, rice paddies, love letters... I want you to look at the composition of these key items, the situation and the atmosphere of the whole thing as a scenery in a Japanese man’s heart. I draw it as it comes to me, I don’t really think about making it easily understandable to foreigners, I think it comes out more organic this way.

TOM: There is one more thing about the atmosphere in your work that we are curious about. The air in your work is always slightly moist. The clouds above the setting sun are beautiful, but it feels as though a light rain is about to fall...
Kazuharu: Oh, that is undoubtedly how the air in Japan feels. But it is in a different dimension than the semiotics of the characters or the moe context. Those semiotics is not important. My pictures are not about almond-shaped eyes or tsundere, it’s about a scenery I yearn for in my heart, of how I would like for my heart to beat faster as I gaze at a girl who’s not the first, but maybe the third cutest in class, a girl who gives me the impression that she is naive but will change a little in the future.

Continue to Part 3

Creator Page:

Note: In a nutshell, sekaikei refers to a genre of works in which the main character is overly self-conscious and lives in their own world. These works often involve an end of the world scenario which the main character plays a pivotal role in preventing.

This is a TokyoOtakuMode original article.

Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3] 1
Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3] 2
Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3] 3
Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3] 4
Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3] 5
Creator Interview: Kazuharu Kina [2/3] 6

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