Morikawa Jyoji is a Japanese mangaka whose main work is entitled "Hajime No Ippo : The Fighting".
Born on January 17th 1966 in Tokyo, he graduated in Matsubushi Highschool in Saitama.
As a teen, Morikawa used to read Chiba Tetsuya’s work (author of Ashita No Joe, another popular boxing manga). It is thanks to this discovery that Morikawa got hooked on mangaka.
He used to be in fist fights either in junior or high school. He eventually got a one week expelling from high school on his very first day for hiting a student who had a gun in his wardrobe. Some time aftewards he became a member of the student council.
At the age of 17, he drew his first manga called Silhouette Night. One in many projects, he then created a football-related manga, Kazuya Now and even an essai called Signal Blue, dealing with formula 1 (influenced by Initial D).
Unfortunately, all his work were refused one after the other even if the editor used to give him a chance every time. Morikawa couldn’t allow himself to waste another second. He already had a wife and a child and life was not easy…He decided to bet everything on his next manga : if the latter didn’t work he would give up his dream once and for all.
So, for his final attempt, he chose his favourite sport : boxing. This is how Hajime No Ippo was born !
In 1991 he is awarded the Kôdansha Award for Hajime No Ippo. He is still drawing Makunouchi’s adventures as we are writing these lines with a rythm of a volume every 2 or 3 months. He now lives comfortably thanks to his manga’s success. The latter is printed at Kodansha’s and is already composed of more than 90 volumes.This true boxing-lover has notably attend the Tyso vs Douglas combat in the Tokyo Dome (first defeat of Myke Tyson) and occasionally acts as a second for some of his fighters.
It should be added that Morikawa has also dedicated himself to the boxing world by buying a club : the JB Sports Gym where future Japanese boxers train. Bellow are a few pictures of the club. One will note several links with his manga. For those of you interested, the official website can be seen here : http://jbsports.jp/.
You will find additional pictures of the premises and of the boxers.
Morikawa also appeared in the 22nd edition of Manga No Genba, a Japanese program dedicated to mangas and their authors. Below are a few pictures and links to download the program (low quality and in original version however). You’ll be able to see Morikawa coaching one of his boxers, drawing and even making a (very brief) bxing demonstration. »Manga No Genba Hajime No Ippo Part 1 :Download »Manga No Genba Hajime No Ippo Part 2 :Download
In 2005, Morikawa coached Fukushima Manabu. He is Japan’s world featherweight champion aswell as OBPF’s Super-rooster champion. Morikawa had even drawn the fight’s poster for Fukushima’s WBA Super-Rooster world title. Unfortunately, the latter had to backdown due to his physical condition. He has also drawn Takashi Naoto (Fukushima’s coach) autobiography cover : he is Japan’s former super rooster champion.
Morikawa has also created advertising flyers for Raika Emiko, on the occasion of the female world boxing title that took place on November 2007 in Tokyo. One can see the Ippo-like champion. The mangaka also had the occasion to meet a number of female boxers who admitted that i twas Ippo who had given them the idea to start boxing. Special versions of the poster were sold during the tournament, signed by Morikawa himself and dedicaced by Raika’s group of boxers. « I heard that several of Reika’s boxers had started competition after reading Hajime no Ippo. When I first went to see women fight, I understood how serious they were. Never stoping, nevergiving-up, they were hitting with they left and right just like Ippo Makunouchi does [in the manga] ….
After many years spent in creating the manga, I believe that Reika’s athletes have answered the question about the meaning of being strong ».