Ato Sakurai is a rising star in the world of shounen mangaka. Her Today Cerberus (Kyou no Cerberus) became a fan favorite when it launched in 2014, and manga fans mourned its conclusion this past May.
In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for women to write shounen and for men to shoujo stories. However, Sakurai took to Twitter to talk about the sexism she faced in her early career.
In a series of now-deleted Tweets, Sakurai mentioned that she first wrote under a gender-neutral pen name for Weekly Shonen Sunday. Sakurai said that a male editor commented, “It’s off-putting for a woman to draw boys’ manga, don’t you think?” Not wanting to make a bad impression, she agreed to go by “Takako Sakurai.”
It’s believed that Sakurai deleted the Tweet so that fans wouldn’t find the editor and harass him. However, the incident seemed to have occurred before 2004, since that’s when Sakurai was first published using her true name.
It’s odd that a manga editor would think that a woman’s name attached to a shounen manga would deter readers since Rumiko Takahashi and Hiromu Arakawa have been household names since before Sakurai’s career started.