Naoki Urasawa is a manga artist, or mangaka, that was born in 1960. Urasawa did not always know that he wanted to go into the manga field. He actually went to Meisei University and graduated with a degree in economics. Shortly after he graduated, he began creating manga professionally, in 1984. Since then, he has become known as a true mangaka, and has even had quite a few of his pieces become anime.
In 1984, Urasawa created Beta!!, which was a one-shot gag manga. Beta!! is not considered to be his first official work. His first official work was Yawara! A fashionable Judo Girl. This began in 1986 and is considered to be his first breakthrough. Yawara! is about a girl named Yawara Inokuma, who is a practitioner of judo. She is not a willing practitioner, though, but is being forced to compete by her overly-authoritative grandfather. This leads her to hating judo, and wanting to become a normal girl. Yawara! won the 35th Shogakukan Manga Award in 1990, making it Urasawa’s first award-winning manga.
Pineapple ARMY was his next venture. It was released from 1986 to 1988 and had ten volumes. Urasawa did not create the entire manga, though, as it was written by Kazuya Kudou. This story focuses on a man who used to be in the military. He has sworn to never get involved in any physical-type situations again, and to only train people. Instead, he ends up becoming involved and saving the day.
A short, one volume manga called Dancing Policeman was published in 1987, then came one of his most popular works: Master Keaton. Master Keaton was begun in 1988. It is about a boy who is born to a wealthy Englishwoman and a Japanese zoologist. He went to Oxford University when eh grew up, and ended up marrying, then divorcing, his first love. He has a daughter from his union, who ends up helping him later, when he becomes an insurance investigator. He works mainly for Lloyd’s of London, but takes on other projects. This series became very popular and ran until 1994.
Next came another short piece named NASA, which was about an office worker who ends up becoming the first astronaut in Japan. Next on Urasawa’s line-up came Happy!. Happy! is about a senior in high school named Miyuki Umino. Miyuki was a normal high school student, until one day when she and her sisters get saddled with their older brother’s debt of 250 million yen. In order to repay the debt, Miyuki chooses to quit school and start working. The series follows Miyuki’s struggles to repay the debt, as well as how she learns to deal with the working world.
Monster became known as Urasawa’s most famous work. It was created after Master Keaton ended, and was about a man named Dr. Kenzo Tenma. Tenma is a Japanese brain surgeon who was working at a hospital in Germany. He ends p saving a man named Johan when he is a child. Johan becomes a psychopath nine years later, and Tenma decides that it is his job to take the life that he once saved.