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Hunter X Hunter Writer Yoshihiro Togashi's Health Struggles Help Explain The Manga's Long Hiatus

Yoshihiro Togashi is well-known and highly respected by many manga and anime fans. In 1990, Togashi's breakout work came through the action-packed tale of a fiery spirit detective clad in a green-colored school uniform. "Yu Yu Hakusho" became a popular manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and produced a well-received anime adaptation. While Togashi could have spent the rest of his life sitting on the success of "Yu Yu Hakusho," the talented manga author had one more hit series up his sleeve. In 1998, the author returned to the Shonen genre with "Hunter x Hunter."

"Hunter x Hunter" focuses on a young boy named Gon Freecss, whose out on a journey to become a hunter like his father. However, hunting, in this sense, means going after lost treasures, wanted criminals, or mythical beasts. It's a series full of the Shonen genre hallmarks of fantastic, memorable characters and intense action. The last anime series based on "Hunter x Hunter" wrapped up in 2014, but the manga kept chugging along until 2018. It then entered a long hiatus. Finally, however, after four years, the manga resumed in October 2022. So why was there a significant gap in time? Well, Togashi's health struggles caused the author to take a break from his work.

Yoshihiro Togashi couldn't even sit in a chair

Before his long hiatus, Yoshihiro Togashi worked on "Hunter x Hunter" for twenty years. That's a lot of dedication to one manga series. But while working on "Hunter x Hunter," Togashi also suffered from back issues — and they caused so much pain that the author couldn't even work on his manga. Per Anime News Network, Togashi provided a public statement to commemorate a special art exhibit in Japan of his work. According to the author, at one point, he could not sit in a chair for two years due to debilitating back pain. Togashi's health problems were no surprise to fans, as he even talked about them through author notes in the manga (via ComicBook.com).

When Togashi initially teased a return to "Hunter x Hunter" through his Twitter this year, it brought in expected fan hype. But there were also concerns about whether his health had improved or his working methods were less stressful. In the same public statement for the art exhibit, Togashi said he had recently hurt his back so bad he couldn't even go to the bathroom properly (via Anime News Network). Fortunately, the author confirmed through another tweet that he had decided to increase his staff for the manga. So, additional hands should relieve some of the stress on his body.

The manga industry may have a health crisis

The big-picture tragedy in Yoshihiro Togashi's health problems is that he isn't a lone case. It's almost become common among manga fans to expect their favorite creators to suffer from health problems. And some of it may come from these authors' brutal schedules or work conditions. Through a fan translation of the "One Piece Newspaper" via One Piece Podcast, "One Piece" creator Eiichiro Oda once described a grueling schedule of not eating for two to three days and only getting an average of three hours of sleep. That's not a great way to take of yourself. In 2020, he had to take a break from "One Piece" due to a sudden illness (via Anime News Network).

But sometimes, working so much on a popular Shonen series for so long can potentially negatively affect an author's mental state. This was the case with "Bleach" creator Tite Kubo, who expressed a feeling of extreme loneliness for a year after the "Bleach" manga ended (via Comic Book.Com). Keeping up with a popular manga series is no easy feat. Yet, if publishers want to keep some of their manga creators healthy, there may need to be some changes in policies within the industry.