1. Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Black Jack)
2. Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball, Dr. Slump)
3. "Fujiko F. Fujio" (a.k.a. Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motou Abiko - Doraemon)
4. Eiichiro Oda (One Piece)
5. Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Vagabond)
6. Shigeru Mizuki (GeGeGe no Kitaro)
7. Fujio Akatsuka (Tensai Bakabon)
8. Machiko Hasegawa (Sazae-san)
9. Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
10 (tie). Osamu Akimoto (Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kôen Mae Hashutsujo)
10 (tie). Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys)
Not a bad selection, but I have a few things to say about this ranking in terms of its operation:
- The sample size seems to be rather small. Asking only 841 people for this survey seems to sell the influence of manga immensely short. I have a hard time believing that Oricon could cut the pool to such a small cross-section; that's 0.00067% of Japan's population!
- The sample size seems rather restricted to the younger generation. If you assume the oldest to be in their 40's, then we're likely talking about manga fans who are more biased towards titles written after 1975. I'm not saying that there were no influences after 1975, but it does seem to tell us that Oricon doesn't consider the older generation to have a say in the matter.
- There is an obvious bias towards shônen manga. Yes, we foreigners may be a little more biased in our approach of manga, but the closest you get to shôjo manga is Tezuka's Takarazuka-influenced Ribon no Kishi, and the only female mangaka listed (Hasegawa) didn't quite change the style of manga as much as she proved a woman could compete in the manga industry. More importantly, considering that four of the authors have written specifically for Shônen Jump, I tend to believe that more of the interviewed subjects read that anthology more than others.
- Rumiko Takahashi. How is it that arguably the biggest female shônen-manga author got left off this list? How is it that the creator of Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, and Maison Ikkoku was dissed? Perhaps this image of Takahashi as a dominant domestic mangaka is an illusion; after all, in 2006's Japan Media Arts Festival, Urusei Yatsura was ranked 31st in the 100 Best Manga ranking, behind the likes of Hunter X Hunter and Ushio and Tora.
- Monkey Punch / Takao Saito. Considering that both Golgo 13 and Lupin the 3rd are two action icons that still exist in print and film to this very day, it's a wonder if these two don't cancel each other out in terms of influence. Then again, maybe we're looking at a niche market, when manga itself is such a broad industry.
- Riyoko Ikeda. Considering just how influential the entire Year 24 Flower Group was on shôjo manga, Ikeda deserves to be a representative for the group's power. While some may argue Naoko Takeuchi is more deserving of entry, The Rose of Versailles could be argued as the real precursor to both the starry-eyed style of shôjo manga and the gender confusion we see in many manga over the past fifteen years.
- Leiji Matsumoto. A giant in science-fiction manga doesn't even get a nod for his work in Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999, and Captain Harlock? Again, we're probably looking more at his immense influence in anime, but Matsumoto is also quite the manga historian, having composed a referential book that chronicles manga from the 1920s to the late 1950s with Hidaka Bin.
- [Other possible entries: Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Akira), Go Nagai (Devilman), Seiji Matsuyama (just kidding).]
1. Osamu Tezuka
2. "Fujiko F. Fujio" (a.k.a. Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motou Abiko)
3. Akira Toriyama
4. Rumiko Takahashi
5. Shigeru Mizuki
6. Machiko Hasegawa
7. Takehiko Inoue
8. Riyoko Ikeda
9. Leiji Matsumoto
10. Hayao Miyazaki
(Akatsuka, Ôtomo, Saito, Nagai, and Monkey Punch would be knocking on the door, in that order.)
Am I biased? Certainly. I still think that Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kôen Mae Hashutsujo is horribly overrated and that One Piece is too recent to be ranked. Am I Japanese? Certainly not. My opinion is obviously corrupted by my ethnicity and my Western influences.
But I'm still crying foul about this survey.