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.
If your Japanese is as bad as mine, you probably wonder what it says! Luckily Twitter user @leticia_cosmos has shared this translation video.
Translation of Naoko Takeuchi's interview for Vogue Japan.
This is the important part of the teaser that Vogue published on their website on Nov 21st. It has a wider context from the bit that was previously translated by CR. pic.twitter.com/7JvzQkJNgk
— Letícia⭐Cosmos¹² (@leticia_cosmos) November 29, 2023
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.