In 1957, Macoto Takashi revolutionized the manga world. Now, the 81-year-old artist continues to produce astounding art and shares it in an annual one-man exhibit.

Have you ever looked at a starry-eyed manga maiden and wondered who the first person was to add those sparkles to girls’ pupils? Well, it was Macoto Takahashi, and actually, he single-handedly started the shojo manga style.

Macoto, as he signs his work, was born in Osaka in 1934. He made his artistic debut with magazine cover art in 1957. It all took off from there.

▼ Who put the stars in your big eyes? Macoto did.


His work was set apart from others by the starry pupils, the blonde hair and the elaborate European-style clothes and backgrounds. The artist once said:

“I had a clear aim and intention when drawing shojo cover art. Whether happy or sad, I wanted the viewer to be able to look at the girl and think ‘I could talk with this girl’. I did this by drawing the girls with ambiguous facial expressions and with a sense on conscious. This allowed people to make up their own stories.”

His drawings were intricate, delicate and creative. Or rather, we should say, his drawings are intricate, delicate and creative: even at the ripe age of 81, he’s still at it!

▼ What story can you imagine for this young lady?


In 1963, Macoto moved to Sakura City in Chiba Prefecture. Wanting to contribute to the community, he started putting on one-man art exhibits in his home… every year. Yes, you read that right, since 1992, he’s put up a gallery of his work every year.

Lately, the exhibits have been made up of displays of some of his new work, some of his classics from the past 60 years, and a special set of original art for sale.

Unfortunately, this year’s exhibit ended just last week. But, fortunately, we have some of his work to show you, so that you can start getting excited for your inevitable visit to Sakura City next year. Enjoy!

▼ So blonde!


▼ Manga Snow White?


▼ Was this the start of bishonen manga?


▼ Delicate flowers for a delicate lady.


▼ There’s a clear European-theme in Macoto’s art.


▼ Here’s a “doll princess” mermaid.


▼ Is she happy or sad?


▼ There’s a clear Japanese theme in this one.


Here’s looking forward to next year’s exhibit!

Sources: Sakura City, Artist Database
Images: Artist Database