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Meet The Artist: Episode Two - Ruri Kumashika (熊鹿るり)

Hi everyone! Lilyka-chan here! Welcome back! Today we have a new wonderful artist that lives in the Los Angeles area! I was very excited to have an interview with her as her perspective would be unique to the other artists we feature. She's the artist that produces the title "Around the Season of Cherry Blossoms". Let's get started! Lilyka: Hi Ruri Kumashika-sensei! How are you doing? Especially, during this time, I hope you're staying safe! Kumashika: Hello Lilyka-chan, nice to meet you. As I'm living in Los Angeles, I have to be especially careful during this time. I am very careful with my health and avoiding going outside unnecessarily. My freelance job has slowed, so I have more time to dedicate myself to drawing my manga. Including, "Around the Season of Cherry Blossoms". Lilyka: I'm glad you're taking all the precautions necessary, and thank you very much for your hard work producing your titles. What was your inspiration to make manga? Kumashika: I wrote one manga first for Lilyka, then I wrote another one about same sex marriage for a producer in Japan. It really opened my eyes to the fun writing yuri manga, as well as reading them. Lilyka: Oh wow, that's so nice. Your manga really shows your passion for it. You have a very unique art style, everyone enjoys it a lot! Me too! Who are your biggest influences? Kumashika: My husband probably is my biggest influence. He's very close to me. He's also an artist, so he can tell me what's good and bad about my art with love. I can make adjustments myself after. Lilyka: That's so sweet! That makes me happy to hear. I guess besides your husband, do you have any other favorite artists? Kumashika: My favorite artist for yuri manga is Akiko Morishima-sensei. I like her fuwa fuwa, sweet, soft, girly style. Nio Nakatani-sensei and Takako Shimura-sensei create incredible stories with amazing dialogue and psychological subjects, and my mentor is (thinking about her myself) Kotobuki Shirigari-sensei! Lilyka: Ah, Takako Shimamura-sensei! Wandering Son was one of my favorite manga growing up! That leads me to my next question. In your story, the balance between modern life and tradition seem to be at odds. Is this something you've experienced in your personal life? Kumashika: I was born and raised in the Nagano Prefecture. There's a very large and old temple called Zenkou-ji near my house. Growing up in that environment with a traditional building so close to us, I was interested in traditional culture, as well as temples and Buddha statues, since I was little. Lilyka: That's so neat. I am always so curious about that kind of culture. Have you also experienced the shrine maiden culture as well? Kumashika: I haven't experienced shrine maiden culture personally, however I have always admired it. Lilyka: Well, thank you for your time and your very interesting perspective into your creative process. Do you have any final inspirational words for your western fans? Kumashika: I think manga is a wonderful culture. I will do my best to make yuri manga for those who read them, and I'm very grateful for those who read "Around the Season of Cherry Blossoms". Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to interact with all of you! Lilyka: And thank you again Kumashika-sensei! I'm sure the fans are glad to have you as a creator! Well then, that's all the time we have for today! We are glad that you are enjoying this series and hope to continue it for a long time! Tune in next time! Follow Ruri Kumashika-sensei on social media! Lilyka-chan

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