Having made his name in Japan, the motherland of manga, the young cartoonist, who is hosting his “Love Story” exhibition at J Gallery, believes that slow is the way to go.

My parents were skeptical about me becoming a cartoonist. Seeing me always carrying comics around, they were like “Why don’t you just draw them?” So I did. They still weren’t convinced that I would be able to pull it off. But now I’ve proved to them that I can do it.

Cartoons were my reality. When I was a kid, I practiced all the signature fighting moves I read in Dragon Ball and Captain Tsubasa.

It really bugs me how cartoons nowadays lack creativity and imagination. I don’t read comics that much anymore. Maybe I’m getting older, but these days I rarely find a comic that gets me excited.

I prefer Japanese to American comics. Japanese mangas manage to deliver messages and morals without preaching. You get to see the characters develop over time and grow from foes to friends. American cartoons are about hurting and avenging each other and not much else. It’s just not fun to follow.

My favorite cartoonists are Toriyama Akira [Dragon Ball], Inoue Takehiko [Slam Dunk] and Adachi Mitsura [Rough].

I leave what I draw to speak for itself. If the comic tells the story you want to convey, why bother writing a narration? I only use dialogue when it’s impossible to do otherwise. Just a few words to drive home the idea.

It’s fun to sometimes write a silly, no-brainer piece, but I want my cartoons to leave an impact on readers, encouraging them to think.

Am I famous? I guess I am, but I’m not “famous famous.” People just know my work, not my face, which is great.

I never want money from those who don’t have it. My fans are mostly kids and university students so I never charge for the events or exhibitions I host. Like at the Fat Festival, there were hundreds of people queuing up for hours just to have me draw their portrait. I sat there for four hours, and I couldn’t have been more happy and grateful. I drew them all for free.

But I wouldn’t mind selling my work at ridiculous prices to those who are crazy enough to bid. Usually I make my money in Japan. For instance, I made B50,000 selling an A4 sketch, not even a painting.

I have had enough of city life. Having musician friends and a fashion designer for a sister kinda messed with my perceptions. There was always that little voice in my head that told me to come up with things that were hip and cool. And I hated that. So when I decided to go work in Japan, I chose the relatively quiet city of Kobe instead of Tokyo to reset myself. I drew everybodyeverything there—the plots are simpler and the pace is slower.

I am not good at drawing. I’m not being humble, seriously. I can’t teach anyone to draw because any kid can draw better than I can. But I am useful if you want to learn how to develop a plot or set the pace of a comic.

What gets me to where I am today is the ideas I convey through my cartoons, not my drawing skills.

Love is simple. It’s about giving and wishing happiness upon someone else. Period. It gets complicated—heartbreak, jealousy—the minute you start to expect things in return. But hey, maybe I’m wrong.

I don’t have an ego problem. I think that, to be a good cartoonist, you’ve got to learn about other people and can’t be judgmental.

I am happy with where I am right now. Apart from MUD [a local quarterly comic magazine], I also draw for Japan’s monthly manga mag IKKI and a Japanese website [http://renzaburo.jp].

I consider myself lucky. But I also created that luck myself.

If you open yourself to new things, opportunities will come knocking at your door.

If you feel something is difficult, then you aren’t doing it right. Just keep it simple and gradually head toward your goal one step at a time. Don’t be too ambitious. It’s okay if you fail.

Just start over and learn to let go. Life is a hell of a lot easier.

I am optimistic. What’s the point in being negative when pessimism only makes you more nervous and stressed?

The only downside of being a cartoonist is that you ache from sitting and drawing for such a long time.

My proudest achievement is to be able to make a living simply from a pen and a sheet of paper.