Yoko Kamio (
Kamio debuted as a manga artist in 1986 with a one-shot. She is best known for Boys Over Flowers, which currently has a total of 61 million copies in circulation. She has published several series since, including Cat Street (2004), Matsuri Special (2008), Tora to Okami (2009), and Crown of Thorns (2013).
Early and personal life
Kamio was born on June 29, 1966 in Tokyo, Japan. She has an older sister named Akiko. Kamio spent some time living in Jakarta during primary school. Her father passed away in late 2018.
She wanted to be a waitress as a child and a secretary in college, before deciding on becoming a mangaka (manga artist). Kamio worked as an assistant for several mangaka just after her debut, usually only for a few days at a time. She graduated from Tokyo Polytechnic University.
In 1986, Kamio debuted in the nineteenth issue of The Margaret with the one-shot, "Waiting Until 20" (or "I'll Remain 20 While I Wait for You"; Hatachino Mamade Matteiru). The story was published before she had graduated from college. Kamio went on to publish several one-shots in Margaret, which were later included in three story collections, Sayonara o Arigato (1989), Ano Hi ni Aitai (1989), and Suki Suki Daisuki (1990). Her first series was Mary-san no Hijitsu ("Mary's Lamb"), which concluded with five volumes by 1992. In January 1992, "End of the Century" was published in Margaret.
1992 – 2007
Kamio began Boys Over Flowers in March 1992 in Margaret. The series was a big hit in Japan, ending at thirty-six volumes in 2003. The series follows Tsukushi Makino, who stands up to a group of rich bullies called the F4. Kamio returned to the series with three one-shots in 2006 and 2008, which lead to the release of the thirty-seventh volume. The series won the 41st Shogakukan Manga Award in the shojo category in 1996. Boys Over Flowers is also the best-selling shojo manga series in Japan having sold over 53 million copies. As of 2018, it is also one of the best-selling franchises in Japan. Boys Over Flowers remains Kamio's most popular work, having been adapted for film, anime, musicals, and numerous television dramas.
In August 2004, she began her series, Cat Street in Bessatsu Margaret. Kamio has referred to it as a "serious manga" in comparison to Boys Over Flowers. It follows a former child star, Keito Aoyama, as she adjusts to a normal life. The series ended in October 2007 after eight volumes. Kamio penned an additional chapter of the manga in 2008 to commemorate the release of the television drama adaptation. The drama aired on NHK and starred Mitsuki Tanimura as Keito and Ryo Katsuji as Koichi Mine.
2007 – 2014
Kamio broke into the shōnen genre with her next series, Matsuri Special in the November 2007 issue of Jump Square. It follows Matsuri Hanyu, who moonlights as a professional wrestler, despite only wanting to be a normal high-school student. Kamio drew a spin-off chapter for Deluxe Margaret in May 2009. Matsuri Special ended in 2009 with four volumes. The series was also adapted into a vomic ("voice comic"), an audio drama. It starred Maaya Sakamoto and ended at four episodes in November 2008.
In November 2009, Kamio wrote a sixty-page one shot for Bessatsu Margaret. The one-shot was turned into a series titled Tora to Okami in February 2010. It depicts the life of a BL (boys' love) fanatic, Mii Torisawa. Tora to Okami ended in January 2012. Kamio published a one-shot, "Ringo Banana Gyunyu" (
2015 – present
On February 15, 2015, she launched a sequel to Boys Over Flowers, titled Boys Over Flowers Season 2 in English, online on Shonen Jump+. It was her only series to be published simultaneously in Japan and America. The series follows a new generation of students at Eitoku Academy, mainly Oto Edogawa and Haruto Kaguragi. It was adapted into a television drama starring Hana Sugisaki and Sho Hirano in 2018. The same year, she contributed a Boys Over Flowers story to celebrate Margaret's 2000th issue. Kamio concluded Boys Over Flowers Season 2 on December 22, 2019 at fifteen volumes.
- Main article: Yoko Kamio/Bibliography
- Mary-san no Hijitsu (1991-1992; 5 volumes)
- Boys Over Flowers (1992-2003; 36 volumes)
- Boys Over Flowers: Jewelry Box (June 2008)
- Cat Street (2004-2007; 8 volumes)
- Matsuri Special (2008-2009; 4 volumes)
- Tora to Okami (2009-2012; 6 volumes)
- Crown of Thorns (2013-2014; 2 volumes)
- Boys Over Flowers Season 2 (2015-2019; 15 volumes)
- "Waiting Until 20" (The Margaret No.19 - 1986)
- "Ame no Naka no Kimihe..." (Margaret No.25 - 1987)
- "Koishikute... Gonenme" (Margaret No.43 - 1987)
- "AM 8:02 no Shinwa" (Margaret No.7 - 1988)
- "Sayonara o Arigato" (Margaret No.11-14 - 1988)
- "Ano Hi ni Aitai" (Margaret No.1 - 1989)
- "Nemu Renai Haru" (Matgaret No.10 - 1989)
- "End of the Century" (Margaret No.3-4 - January 1992)
- "Story of an Encounter" (Margaret No.19 - September 2000)
- "Night of the Crescent Moon" (Margaret No.1 - December 2003)
- Chapter 242 (Margaret No.15 - July 2006)
- "Shall I Talk About Myself? Part 1" (Margaret No.3-4 - January 2008)
- "Shall I Talk About Myself? Part 2" (Margaret No.5 - February 2008)
- "It's Not the End of the World - Another Cat Street" (Bessatsu Margaret - August 2008)
- "Matsuri Special SP" (Deluxe Margaret - July 2009)
- "Tora to Okami" (Bessatsu Margaret No.12 - December 2009)
- "Ringo Banana Gyunyu" (Margaret No.2 - December 2013)
- Boys Over Flowers special (Margaret No.9 - April 2018)
- Hana Yori Dango: Romantic Story (1994-1998; 15 novels)
- Hana Yori Dango: Yoko Kamio Illustrations (March 1995)
- Hana Yori Dango FF (October 2003)
- Cat Street (August 2008)
- Cat Street: Rakuen Kara no Tabidachi (September 2008)
- Hana Yori Dango Step Up English Book (July 2010)
- Hana Nochi Hare (May 2018)
- Kamio rarely gives interviews or share photos of herself. She has reportedly said that "Manga artists should speak through their manga.
- She sat in for the recording of the anime episode "Cinderella for a Night". The director asked her to be an extra, leading her to voice a student.
- Kamio helped Mikio Satake develop and write the story of Hana Yori Dango Final. She also drew the picture of Tsukushi and the F4 at the end of the film.
- She attended the press conference for the Korean drama in December 2008 and drew an illustration on the spot to commemorate it.
- In 2011, she drew Jun Matsumoto for a special issue of Asahi Shimbun, titled "Arashi Meets Manga".
- Kamio joined Twitter on December 29, 2015 and Instagram on March 17, 2018. She regularly posts news of Boys Over Flowers and new drawings.
- Kamio drew illustrations of the F4 members for the Hana Yori Dango Café, which she finished the day before the opening on October 8, 2015. She posted close-ups of them on Twitter.
- In 2016, Kamio saw the Hana Yori Dango musical atleast five times. She also saw it in Nagoya, and Osaka. Additionally, Kamio drew an illustration celebrating the musical that was placed in the lobby of the venue in Tokyo during its run. She also gifted several illustrations to cast members, including Ririka Kato and Nami Tamaki.
- She saw two performances of the Korean musical Boys Over Flowers on the first and third day.
- She provided many of the illustrations and manuscripts displayed at the My Margaret exhibition.
- Kamio went to an autograph session in Barcelona, Spain in November 2017, where she did a live drawing of Tsukushi and Tsukasa. She also gifted an illustration to the publisher, Planeta Cómic.
- In March 2018, Kamio gave illustrations to Hana Sugisaki, Sho Hirano, and Taishi Nakagawa, the stars of Hana Nochi Hare. Sugisaki and Nakagawa posed with the illustrations for a photo which was posted on the show's official Instagram.
- Following the musical, Kamio became a big fan of Yuya Matsushita who she drew an illustration of in October 2018. He reposted it on his Instagram, thanking her. Matsushita also visited her office, where he drew a picture of Tsukasa, in March 2019.
- During her visit to China in November 2018, Kamio gifted special illustrations to Dylan Wang, Caesar Wu, and Shen Yue, stars of Meteor Garden (2018).
- Maki Minami, author of S · A: Special A, worked as Kamio's assistant for four years. In volume ten of Minami's Voice Over! Seiyu Academy, Kamio drew a bonus page and stated that "[Minami] was a super assistant – always stylish and good at work." She visited the Hana Yori Dango Café with Minami in January 2016.
- She is good friends with Yuki Yukie, who worked as an art director on the Boys Over Flowers anime. They were also both interviewed for the book,Time Slip! Toei Animation 80s-90s Girls (2016).
- Kamio is friends with Angie Chai, the producer of Meteor Garden and Meteor Garden (2018). They talk via WeChat in either English or translated Chinese/Japanese.
- She is a friend of manga artist Chie Shinohara. In October 2020, the two saw the Takarazuka production of Haikara-san ga Toru.
Hobbies and interests
- Kamio is a huge fan of cats and has always kept some as pets. She first spoke of a male cat, named Ken, that had forgotten her, when she moved out of her parents' home. Kamio later adopted two male cats named, Tora and Ryu in the late 1990s. She most recently adopted two in 2015 and frequently posts photos of them on social media.
- Kamio is a long-time fan of professional wrestling, and has seen All Japan champ Mitsuharu Misawa fight at the Tokyo Dome. She expressed this admiration in her series Matsuri Special. Kamio was deeply saddened by Misawa's death in 2009.
- Kamio is a frequent traveler having visited France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Hawaii, Germany, Taiwan, New York City, and South Korea. Some of the trips were research for or relating to Boys Over Flowers.
- She is a fan of the pop artists, Pink Lady, Linda Yamamoto, and Finger 5. Her other musical interests include Kenji Ozawa, Ulfuls, Tamio Okuda, Unicorn, and X4.
- Kamio is a fan of the comedy duo Downtown, particularly Hitoshi Matsumoto, who she referred to as "Matchan".
- Kamio enjoys reading novels, such as Agota Kristof's The Notebook, The Proof and The Third Lie, and Jiro Asada's books.
- Her blood type is B, which is commonly associated with the traits of being emotional and irresponsible. Kamio has stated that she does not believe blood type affects personality, though she admitted her stories sometimes follow her moods.
- Yoko Kamio is a fan of the television shows, Game of Thrones, Sherlock, True Detective, and Hibana: Spark.
- Kamio is also a fan of the World Cup and looks forward to every championship. She particularly admired Japanese midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata at one point.
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