Hirohiko Araki (Japanese: 荒木 飛呂彦, Hepburn: Araki Hirohiko, born June 7, 1960 in Sendai, Miyagi) is a Japanese manga artist. He made his debut under the name Toshiyuki Araki (荒木 利之, Araki Toshiyuki) in 1980 with his one-shot Poker Under Arms, and began his professional career with the short series Cool Shock B.T., Baoh, and The Gorgeous Irene. Araki is best known for his long-running series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1987 and which to date has sold over 100 million copies in Japan alone, which is known for its frequent references to Western rock music and Italy, both of which Araki is reportedly very fond of.
Araki grew up in Sendai, Japan with his parents and younger identical twin sisters. He cites his sisters' annoyances as the reason he spent time alone in his room reading manga, naming Ai to Makoto as the most important one to him, and his father's art books, he supposes this was his motive for drawing manga. He was particularly influenced by the work of French artist Paul Gauguin. After a school friend praised his manga, he began secretly drawing manga behind his parent's backs. He submitted his first work to a magazine in his first year of high school. All his submissions were rejected while other artists his age or younger were making successful debuts. He decided to go to the publishers' offices in Tokyo to find out why in person, taking a manga he stayed up all-night to finish. The Shueisha editor he met highly criticized the work, but said it had potential and to clean it up for the upcoming Tezuka Awards. The manga was Poker Under Arms.
Araki left Miyagi University of Education before graduating, and made his debut in 1980 with the wild west one-shot Poker Under Arms, which was a "Selected Work" at that year's Tezuka Award. His first serialization was Cool Shock B.T. in 1983, about a young magician who solves mysteries. But the first series to display his signature amount of gore was 1984's Baoh. It tells the story of a man who is implanted with a parasite by an evil organization, giving him superhuman powers, and follows as he fights against them. It was adapted into an OVA in 1989, the manga was released in the US by Viz Media in 1990 (in tankōbon form in 1995), but the OVA didn't get a stateside release until 2002. It wasn't until The Gorgeous Irene in 1985, that he really developed his signature art style of buff, muscular characters (it would later become more flamboyant).
His next series would become his magnum opus, 1987's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The series begins in 1880s England and follows Jonathan Joestar (JoJo) and his adopted brother Dio Brando, who eventually tries to kill their father in order to obtain his share of inheritance. When confronted, Dio puts on an ancient mask that turns him into a vampire. JoJo then learns a martial arts technique called hamon, and travels to Dio's castle to kill him. Subsequent arcs of JoJo follow the descendants of the Joestar family, and many are set in different parts of the world. Part 3, which would become the most popular part in the series, downplays the vampire story and hamon technique and instead introduces the power of Stands, which continues in the series today. Still being serialized over 30 years later, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has been adapted into numerous other forms of media and the manga had 100 million collected volumes in print by December 2016.
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