Following up on and complementing our earlier FOCUS magazine article translation, we are adding one more pre-Dragon Ball translation to the pile: Akira Toriyama’s first major television interview. Toriyama was a guest on Tetsuko Kuroyanagi’s afternoon talk show, Tetsuko’s Room, first aired in Japan 04 May 1983. The interview itself must have been conducted some time that April, since Toriyama mentions being married “almost a year” (his wedding haven taken place on 02 May 1982), because only the first nine volumes of Dr. Slump were out at the time, and because Toriyama had been in serialization for “three years and four months”. Kuroyanagi’s demeanor is cordial throughout and her speech is always honorific-polite, though she is clearly struggling to elicit some kind of answer from Toriyama at points. Toriyama, meanwhile, seems clearly out of his element, and does not always know what to say, preferring to keep his answers short and frequently looking over at his wife for support.
In the interview, Toriyama remarks on the pressure of media attention following his rapid success, the merchandising empire already set in place surrounding Dr. Slump, and relying on his wife for motivation and assistance:
Toriyama: Sometimes she helps me with my work, though.
Tetsuko: Ah, is that so? Then she must be quite good, then.
Toriyama: She’s a lifesaver in that respect.
Tetsuko: Say, she must know about a variety of other things, as well, with you. What’s rough, and what’s difficult.
Toriyama: That’s really the part where she’s helped me the most. If it were someone who didn’t know that, well…. For instance, when I’m coming up with a story, and such, she starts talking to me without any reservation. That point — since she drew herself, as well — it seems she knows what parts are hard for me.
Tetsuko: In that case, you married the right person.
Toriyama: Yes, I did. (laughs)
|READ THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSLATION|
As with our prior pre-Dragon Ball translations, our goal is not necessarily to catalog them all, but rather to (at the very least) pinpoint the milestones along the way that led up to Dragon Ball. Much like reading Dr. Slump provides a whole new outlook on Dragon Ball, Toriyama’s earliest interviews perfectly complement his later ones and shine a light on the “how” and “why” behind many of his decisions.