Born in 1945 in Kochi Prefecture.
Débuted as a Manga artist in 1968 with his first comic appearing in the magazine "Manga Story". His series"Himiko" was a big hit and became a series in the magazine "Manga Sunday". His detailed research and distinctive form of expression of Manga created "Shinsengumi" (received the Bungeishunju Manga Award in 1997), then he worked on "Sakamoto Ryoma" (received the 2nd Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival Grand Prize). At Shogakukan magazine "Big Comic", his series "Akabe" continued for over 30 years and in 2002, he received the 47th Shogakukan Manga Judges Special Award.

Vol. 2 – Our second interview is with Manga Artist, Hiroshi Kurogane, known for his work such as "Akabee" and "Shinsengumi". The lingering summer heat continued into early autumn when we met Mr. Kurogane. He had a beer in hand, and many humorous stories filled with his love of Roppongi that he shared with us.

I started hanging out in Roppongi around the time I moved to Tokyo to go to university, about 36, 37 years ago. After that, in the 1970's, I started working in a building next to the famous Meiji-ya shop, and I have been living in this neighborhood since, as if I was invited to live here. I moved to Ark Hills for a while during the bubble economy but now I am back in Roppongi again. The reason why I like this town so much is because even though much has changed, I can still feel the ambience from when I first started hanging out here. That's why it's like I'm back in my twenties, coexisting with myself from that time.

Then there is this mysterious, somewhat unique mood in Roppongi. For example, I first met "Monsieur" (Mr. Hiroshi Kamayatsu) in 1980, in a washroom of a restaurant, the day after John Lennon had died. We knew each other but had never really talked but on that day, I suddenly said to him "It's a very dark world, isn't it" and he replied, "very dark". We introduced ourselves as we stood side by side in the washroom. This was the beginning of our friendship.

Another story I remember was at the tempura shop "Uoshin" where I saw this really famous Enka singer, and being drunk, I had the courage to ask her to go singing with me. I was very impressed when she sang, but when it was my turn, she sang the chorus with me. Amazing, right? Just having Roppongi as the common denominator allowed people to open up to each other. There was this special mood that let people get to know each other. By going to the same restaurant several times, you would start greeting each other, and before you knew it, you were having a drink together. What was good about it was that you didn't have to worry about each other's social status. It was like searching each other's souls, kind of like the ambience of "jazz music". It's too bad that this doesn't happen too often these days.

There was a time in the 1980's when all the people who used to hang out in Roppongi began staying home. I guess they started to feel that Roppongi was not a fun place to be anymore. It seemed to be going downhill. People used to have fun because their "Senpai" (older colleagues) would take them to Ginza or Roppongi and they would enjoy drinking. The "Senpai" would pay for everything and when you tried to return the gesture, they would say "pay it forward to your juniors". Japanese manners were taught during these nights of drinking.

Roppongi, in particular, was a place where the young and old got together. The age difference didn't really matter but now I feel like there is no communication between the different generations. I do feel that the gap is sort of our generation's fault. That is why I have recently started calling my friends to go out in Roppongi again. I think we have to get out more. Of course, I'm not going to teach the younger generation drinking etiquette or manners, but just how to coexist and live together in the same town. It's not good to just hang out with your own generation and plus, all my "Senpai"who I relied on have passed away (lol).

Also, the younger generation today don't go out so much, do they? They don't play mahjong, they don't gamble at all, and they don't even go out drinking. I'm not saying it's bad, but the idea that the younger generation think that they know all about "having a good night out" without even trying, or it doesn't matter if they go out or not is "unrefined" isn't it? Roppongi was created because people didn't want to be "unrefined". That's why I hope we never lose that nice ambience and we keep that party town mood in Roppongi alive.