I met Erika Kobayashi in Tokyo more than a decade ago. At the time, I knew her as an artist and illustrator. I was immediately impressed with the uniqueness of her drawings. The human characters she draws do not resemble Japanese comic book characters. They are very original in style, which is not easy to pull off in Japan, where the influence of popular manga styles can be nearly impossible to escape for many artists. When I wrote a novella that took place in Tokyo I thought it would be great to have Erika’s drawings represent the mood and tone of the story, so I asked whether she would illustrate the book. Lucky for me, she agreed. The drawings she did for the book, Days of Pareidolia (2012, Typhoon Books), were beautiful.
I was thrilled to find out earlier this year that Erika’s novel, Trinity, Trinity, Trinity, was translated to English (by Brian Bergstrom) and published by Astra Publishing House. When I had the chance to visit Japan in November, I visited Erika’s studio in Tokyo and we had a chat about the themes in her novel. It was such a stimulating talk.
Our conversation is available on my Fictional Fiction Factory YouTube channel here. I hope you enjoy it.