Early life Edit
She was born in Niigata, Japan. Takahashi showed little interest in manga during her childhood; though she was said to occasionally doodle in the margins of her papers while attending Niigata Chūō High School, Takahashi's interest in manga did not start until later. In an interview in 2000, Takahashi said that she had always wanted to become a professional comic author since she was a child. During her university years, she enrolled in Gekiga Sonjuku, a manga school founded by Kazuo Koike, manga author of Crying Freeman and Lone Wolf and Cub. Under his guidance Rumiko Takahashi began to publish her first dōjinshi creations in 1975, such as Bye-Bye Road and Star of Futile Dust. Koike often urged his students to create well-thought out, interesting characters, and this influence would greatly impact Rumiko Takahashi's works throughout her career.
Takahashi's professional career began in 1978. Her first published work was the one-shot Katte na Yatsura, for which she was awarded the Shogakkan New Comics Award. Later that same year, she began her first serialized story Urusei Yatsura, a comedic science fiction story. She had difficulty meeting deadlines to begin with, so chapters were published sporadically until 1980. During the run of the series, she shared a small apartment with two assistants, and often slept in a closet due to a lack of space. During the same year, she published Time Warp Trouble, Shake Your Buddha, and the Golden Gods of Poverty in Shōnen Sunday magazine, which would remain the home to most of her major works for the next twenty years.
During 1980, Takahashi started her second major series, Maison Ikkoku, in Big Comic Spirits magazine. Written for an older audience, Maison Ikkoku is a romantic comedy, and Takahashi used her own experience living in an apartment to create the series.
Takahashi managed to work on Maison Ikkoku on and off simultaneously with Urusei Yatsura. She concluded both series in 1987, with Urusei Yatsura ending at 34 volumes, and Maison Ikkoku ending at 15. During the 1980s, Takahashi became a prolific writer of short story manga. Her stories The Laughing Target, Maris the Chojo, and Fire Tripper all were adapted into original video animations (OVAs). In 1984, during the writing of Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku, Takahashi took a different approach to storytelling and began the dark, macabre Mermaid Saga. This series of short segments was published sporadically until 1994, with the final story being Mermaid's Mask. Another short work of Takahashi's to be published sporadically was One-Pound Gospel. Takahashi concluded the series in 2007 after publishing chapters in 1998, 2001 and 2006. One-Pound Gospel was adapted into a TV drama, which ran for 9 of its originally scheduled 11 episodes.
Later in 1987, Takahashi began her third major series, Ranma ½. Following the late 80s and early 90s trend of shōnen martial arts manga, Ranma ½ features a gender-bending twist. The series continued for nearly a decade until 1996, when it ended at 38 volumes. Ranma ½ is popular amongst manga fans outside Japan. During the later half of the 1990s, Rumiko Takahashi continued with short stories and her installments of Mermaid Saga and One-Pound Gospel until beginning her fourth major work, InuYasha. While Ranma ½, Urusei Yatsura, and Maison Ikkoku all were heavily seated in the romantic comedy genre, InuYasha was more akin to her dark Mermaid Saga. The series featured action, romance, horror, fantasy, (folklore-based) historical fiction, and comedy. This series was serialized in Shōnen Sunday magazine and is her longest work by far, and ended in 2008. On March 5, 2009, Rumiko Takahashi released her one-shot short story Unmei No Tori.
On March 16, 2009, Rumiko Takahashi collaborated with Mitsuru Adachi, creator of Touch and Cross Game, to release a one-shot story called My Sweet Sunday. Her latest manga series, Kyōkai no Rinne started on April 22, 2009. This is Rumiko Takahashi's first new manga series since the end of her previous manga series InuYasha in June 2008. Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma ½ and InuYasha manga were all published in English in the United States by Viz Comics; however, Viz's 1989 release of Urusei Yatsura halted after only a few volumes were translated, and is long out of print.
In January 2019, she won the Grand Prix of Festival International de la Bande Dessinée Angoulême.
Many of Takahashi's works have been translated into English, as well as other European languages. Takahashi said that she did not know why her works are relatively popular with English speakers. Takahashi said "Sure, there are cultural differences in my work. When I see an American comedy, even though the jokes are translated, there's always a moment when I feel puzzled and think, ‘Ah, Americans would probably laugh at this more.' I suppose the same thing must happen with my books. It's inevitable. And yet, that doesn't mean my books can't be enjoyed by English-speaking readers. I feel confident that there's enough substance to them that people from a variety of cultural backgrounds can have a lot of fun reading them."