Hirohiko Araki and Clint Eastwood discuss creativity in a JOJOmenon interview

In the year 2012, an extraordinary encounter took place between renowned manga artist Hirohiko Araki, the mastermind behind JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and one of his most revered actors, Clint Eastwood. This momentous meeting was documented in the pages of JOJOmenon, a mook publication, on October 5, 2012. Now, we present to you a complete English translation of their conversation, captured in the pages of JOJOmenon.

The interview commences with Araki reminiscing about a transformative experience from his childhood. He vividly recalls being taken to a movie theater by his father, where he witnessed a sun-drenched wilderness and a captivating lone gunman portrayed by Clint Eastwood. The impact of that moment remained ingrained in Araki’s heart as he grew up to become a manga artist, weaving tales for over 25 years. Throughout his artistic journey, Araki found himself repeatedly drawn to the image of a hero standing silently amidst the vast wilderness, a powerful embodiment of what he had witnessed with his father that day.

Finally, in September 2012, the long-awaited day arrived when Hirohiko Araki would meet the legendary Clint Eastwood. Their dialogue is presented in two parts within the JOJOmenon pages. The first segment consists of Araki passionately discussing his admiration for Eastwood and how the actor influenced his work in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Araki fondly recalls watching Eastwood’s film, For a Few Dollars More (1966), as a child, captivated by the coolness and elegance exuded by the iconic actor. He was particularly enthralled by Eastwood’s standing pose, which conveyed intelligence, refinement, and a unique sense of heroism.

Araki reveals that the most hero-like character in the JoJo series, Jotaro Kujo, was modeled after Clint Eastwood. Araki was inspired by Eastwood’s ability to convey strength and power through minimal actions and dialogue. Jotaro’s stoic demeanor and restrained fighting style, characterized by quietly standing with his hands in his pockets, were a direct homage to Eastwood’s own performances. Araki extends this influence to other characters in his series, drawing parallels between Eastwood’s protagonists in Dirty Harry (1971) and Gran Torino (2008) and the outcast heroes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

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During the interview, Araki is asked to imagine Eastwood as an actor in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and speculate on the role he would play. Araki suggests that Eastwood would excel in portraying a character like Steven Steel in the seventh part of the series, a role that involves defying authority and fighting against the odds. When questioned about Eastwood as a Stand user (a supernatural power in the JoJo universe), Araki envisions him possessing the ability to create wind, symbolizing a gentle breeze that subtly affects opponents while maintaining a steady offensive.

The second half of the conversation chronicles the long-awaited meeting between Hirohiko Araki and Clint Eastwood on September 11, 2012. Due to the language barrier, an interpreter facilitates their dialogue, with Eastwood remarking that he should have learned a bit of Japanese by now. Reflecting on the power of movies, Araki shares his experience of watching Eastwood’s film Trouble with the Curve without subtitles and still being deeply moved by the emotions conveyed purely through visuals. Eastwood attributes this impact to the inherently visual nature of films and recognizes Araki as a fellow visual person.

Araki seizes the opportunity to analyze Eastwood’s movies from a manga artist’s perspective, drawing parallels between certain themes across Eastwood’s filmography. He speculates on the intentional similarities between films like Gran Torino and Heartbreak Ridge or Million Dollar Baby and Pale Rider, emphasizing the recurring motifs of redemption, sacrifice, and characters facing their own destiny. Eastwood acknowledges these thematic threads, acknowledging that as a director, he is drawn to stories that explore such human experiences.

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The conversation takes a lighter turn as they discuss their experiences in Japan. Araki recalls his time in Rome, where he found a bustling JoJo fan community, and shares his fondness for Italian cuisine. Eastwood responds by mentioning his own visit to Japan, where he discovered the beauty of Japanese gardens and the unique tastes of sushi and ramen. They find common ground in their love for food, bonding over their shared appreciation for different cultures through culinary exploration.

The interview concludes with Araki presenting Eastwood with a drawing he specially created for this occasion. The artwork depicts Jotaro Kujo, the character inspired by Eastwood himself, alongside Iggy, a fan-favorite canine character from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Eastwood expresses his gratitude for the gift, remarking that it will find a special place in his home. Both artists bid each other farewell, promising to continue inspiring each other through their respective works.

The encounter between Hirohiko Araki and Clint Eastwood is a testament to the profound impact of creative inspiration and the enduring influence of artistic vision across borders and generations. It serves as a reminder that the power of storytelling can connect individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, leaving an indelible mark on their creative journeys.

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