New Sailor Moon artwork and an interview with Naoko Takeuchi appear in Vogue Japan

New Sailor Moon illustration by Naoko Takeuchi in Vogue Japan

Because magazines come out in the future fans are now getting their hands on the January 2024 issue of Vogue Japan which features and interview with Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi as well as her latest illustration of Sailor Moon! That illustration, found on page 94, is included above. Here’s an image of the interview with Naoko Takeuchi which is found on page 93.

Naoko Takeuchi interview from Vogue Japan

If your Japanese is as bad as mine, you probably wonder what it says! Luckily Twitter user @leticia_cosmos has shared this translation video.

I’ve transcribed this translation below for reference. I’m not actually sure if that’s the entire interview or not. The text box on the top left doesn’t seem to be included.

Looking back, Takeuchi says that the women who appeared in the films and manga she liked were “lively and always on the move. I learned that standing still was not good.” When she began drawing “Sailor Moon,” she once again asked herself, “What kind of strength does a woman have?” She introduces by saying that “There are individual differences and there is no one answer that fits all”, she then shares her insight into the book Onna Daigaku Hyoron, a Neo-Confucian values manual to teach subordination to newly married women of the 18th century, written by Yukichi Fukuzawa, which she recently read because of her daughter’s school report. “In Japan and the rest of the world, women still have the same low status and lack of freedom that they had 200 years ago. When I watch the news every day, I think about how difficult it is to live as a woman on this planet. Society is so rigid that women are forced to become strong. If we ever put the complexities and superfluities of society into an equation, we would get a simple answer like a formula: Strength = Motherhood = Kindness.”, she suggests.

In the universe of the work that embodies Takeuchi’s wishes, the Sailor Guardians come together in solidarity and demonstrate their strength. “Women are at a disadvantage when they have to physically fight men or aliens. It would be better if they didn’t even have to fight, of course. I believe that women have some kind of magical power within them. To manifest this power you need spells and items. And the strength of prayer. Prayer extinguishes evil, I think that is ideal. I want to continue praying strongly. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.”

A short passage of this interview was shared by Crunchyroll which upset some fans in the way it characterized women and girls as being weaker than men. In the context of the rest of the interview to me the quote doesn’t seem negative. Sailor Moon and her friends are powerful, but that doesn’t always mean kicking and punching their way to victory. By prefacing that “There are individual differences” a statement like women being, in this case on average, at a disadvantage when fighting men or aliens isn’t much different than saying something like men are taller than women, even though individual variation of course exists. We of course don’t yet know quite how strong aliens are but they are portrayed as being pretty powerful in the series. Its likely there are species of aliens that are both stronger and weaker than humans, much like the various animals on Earth. What do you think of the interview?

I had a bit of trouble tracking down a copy of the issue. I wanted to get myself a physical copy, which is for sale on sites like Amazon Japan, but I was not able to get a copy to ship to Canada when I tried. Opting instead for an eBook copy of the magazine, which wouldn’t need to be flown across the Pacific Ocean, I turned to the Rakuten Kobo store thanks to a tip from Twitter user @itsmoonrevenge. There is a Japanese listing for the issue. This magazine is not listed on the English Kobo store. Fear not! Fans outside of Japan can still buy e-books which are only available in Japan. I did something similar when I bought eBook versions of the colour versions of the Sailor Moon manga. At the time I used PayPal though this time I was able to use my own credit card. It took some messing around on the site and using a fake Japanese address but I was able to use my own credit card details to purchase the January issue of Vogue Japan and load it onto an app on my phone, which is where the screenshot of the interview comes from.

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9 thoughts on “New Sailor Moon artwork and an interview with Naoko Takeuchi appear in Vogue Japan

  1. I am not upset or offended by her response, it’s her opinion and view through out the yrs and to this day she still sees that women are treated as weak , but in the it’s their strength that helps them survive in this kind of world.

    For fans to be upset is Bullshit…she has a right to voice her opinion.

  2. People get offended way too easy nowadays – often by ridiculously trivial issues. SM is not only about girls who are bestow with magical powers to kick enemies asses but also about love (all kind of it), friendship, compassion (the Polish version had this “helping the enemy is our specialty” line and girls indeed on many occasions help their enemies) and finding own inner strength.

    SM did changed anime much – the typical cutesy girl series often filled with magic that was straight from fairy tales was replaced by a girl soldier who uses magic to fight evil in many forms and who has friends who can do the same. The series surely influenced many people around the world and it was (IMO) a good contrast to this Disney portrayal of princess that was prevalent in the 90s. The other series that did the same was MKR by Clamp.

    The interview is fine but as many things nowadays, it can and probably will be twisted up – willingly or not, to fuel someones agenda or simply to generate clicks on supposed controversy.

    • “People get offended way too easy nowadays” …is an annoying statement that people have been saying since forever. Instead of dismissing people outright when they say they’re upset or offended, you can look at what they’re saying and decide whether you think it’s a valid argument or not. And if you think it’s an invalid argument, ask yourself why you think that. Saying that everyone is “too easily offended” is just a lazy way to avoid any actual discourse or debate.

      That said, I don’t think anything in this interview was really terrible, maybe just naive and perhaps insensitive in some ways. And I agree with the rest of your comment.

  3. I mean, I don’t really love the line about “motherhood” being necessary for “strength” or “kindness”. You can be strong and kind without needing to be a mom (or a dad/parent), and since I mentioned that, why not “strength = fatherhood = kindness” too? Basically, all over the world (but especially in Japan, since we’re talking about this), society still has a strong expectation that women will/should become mothers, while not holding men to the same expectations or standards. You don’t need to be a parent, or NOT be a parent, in order to be a good person.

    The line about prayer also kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but I respect that it works for many other people, so I can shrug that one off. No big deal.

    Human men generally have physical advantages over human women (which is where a lot of our problems on equal treatment between genders comes from), so although I understand why this would rub some people the wrong way, I take it as a neutral statement.

    And yeah, we have no idea how strong aliens would be, or if they even exist, but if we’re talking about the ones on the show, they’re more powerful than humans of ANY gender, so that’s where the magical powers come in.

    So over all, there are a few things in this interview that rubbed me the wrong way, but I’m not sure it’s anything to get up in arms about either. She’s just expressing her own views and opinions, which is the point of an interview like this. Everything else sounded fine to me.

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