“I have been drawing since I was about 2 years old. The first book I asked my mother to buy was the “Shoujo Manga (Girls’ Comics) Encyclopedia”. I created my first manga when I was 5 years old. Throughout grade school, I was always interested in visual story-telling and spent the majority of my time creating manga, kamishibai (paper theater), and picture books. I was always seeking opportunities to incorporate manga in my schoolwork- such as science projects and response papers for my history class. My teachers sometimes asked me to create manga for their class teaching materials. Visual story-telling is something that I truly enjoy, and it is something I have been doing throughout my life.”

“As time passes I am reminded of the power of visual story-telling not only through my work as an art therapist, but also through my work as an employee trainer at the hospital that I worked for. I incorporated manga into the creation of training materials and was amazed by the amount of positive feedback I have received. I realized that people really seemed to pay attention to a subject if it was explained in a form of manga: visual stories full of emotions, personal experiences, and humor.”

“Some time ago I also came across the organization called Graphic Medicine, which seems to share the same interest: exploring the use of comics in the healthcare. I created Aggression Management Manga and presented it at the Comics and Medicine Conference Chicago in 2011. My interview was featured in Atrium, the Journal of Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program at Northwestern University, exciting the interest of comic artists and healthcare professionals. In 2012, I created my 2nd manga The Cage, which is my memoir that focuses on the issue of stigma and empathy.”

“My creative intention is to use visual story-telling to bridge the gap between us humans and something that might be scary, uncomfortable, painful, or unknown. It could be about disease, social problems, cultural issues, or mental health. Without humor and relatability, it is difficult to develop empathy and understanding. I think manga is truly a unique form of self-expression and communication, and I have faith in its potential.”

-Rinko Endo