The “Yoshihiro Togashi is too lazy to draw new manga” narrative was missing some key facts.
It’s become a running joke among manga/anime fans that Yoshihiro Togashi, creator of Hunter x Hunter and YuYu Hakusho, has a substandard work ethic. That’s not to say anyone has ever called his artwork sloppy, but between Togashi’s outspoken love of video games and idol music, his marriage to Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi, and set-for-life financial status, it’s not hard to imagine his frequent and extended hiatuses are a result of having already achieved so much success in life that his artistic hunger and burning desire to draw have faded.
So while all the “We can’t get new Hunter x Hunter chapters because Togashi is too lazy to draw them!” wisecracks might be low-hanging fruit, the comedy still has some juiciness of the “it’s funny because it’s (probably) true” sort. However, in a recent message from Togashi himself, the artist explains that crippling, debilitating pain has had a lot to do with his reduced manga output.
Togashi’s message was included in the announcement of Yoshihiro Togashi Exhibition -Puzzle-, an upcoming exhibition of artwork from various stages of his career, and reads:
“I would like to thank everyone for the gift of their warm, loving support while reading my works.
Hmm, that sounded kind of stuffy.
I feel the same way as everyone else. ‘Um, instead of saying ‘thank you,’ go draw new chapters’ is what many of you are probably thinking. For the last two years, I have been unable to sit in a chair. I had to give up on working in the normal way, but have now somehow figured out how to be able to resume drawing.
Everyone, please take care of your lower back. Up until two weeks before writing this message, I couldn’t keep the posture necessary to wipe my own butt, and every time I took a poop, I had to wash it off in the shower. It takes me about three to five times longer than an average person to move around and do things. Your lower back is very important.
So, should you drop something on the ground while attending the exhibition, I strongly recommend to bend at the knees to pick it up, not at the back.
▼ Promotional artwork for the exhibition
— パルコ (@PARCO4986) June 30, 2022
Though he doesn’t mention his specific condition, Togashi’s message makes it pretty clear that he’s been suffering from intense lower back pain, and the broad “take care of your lower back” suggests a chronic lifestyle-based cause for his ailment. Serialized manga artists put an immense amount of time into their work, often spending hour after hour and day after day at their drawing desks, and it sounds like the combined strain eventually became too much for Togashi’s body to bear.
Thankfully, as Togashi himself makes reference to, he’s recently begun drawing again, sharing teasers of his progress through his recently created Twitter account. That progress isn’t exactly fast-paced, but it’s pretty understandable in light of Togashi’s physical condition, and while fans are waiting patiently they’ll also be able to see over 350 pieces of original manga page artwork, full-color illustrations, and other design elements at the Yoshihiro Togashi Exhibition -Puzzle- event, which will run from October 28 to January 9 at the Mori Arts Center gallery in Tokyo’s Roppongi neighborhood.