Saiyuki manga creator Kazuya Minekura posted on Twitter for the first time since June 2019 on Friday, and revealed in the series of posts that she had to take a rest from doing illustration work because of pain in her lower back from spinal canal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), followed by a chain of physical trouble in addition to ongoing complications from the loss of part of her upper jawbone.
She added she could not hear from one ear for a period of time, and she had two bone fractures in the past two years. Minekura added that she had various other diseases and symptoms, including ones she had previously not heard of like First Bite Syndrome.
Minekura continued various treatments and was able to stabilize her conditions. She is having eye surgery on Saturday for her tear ducts. For a long time, one of her eyes had not been working well, which made it difficult to draw. Due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it took a long time for her to get her surgery. Minekura added that she tested negative for COVID-19.
Minekura ended her series of posts by saying she honestly still does not know if, after losing part of her upper jawbone 10 years ago, her decision to continue being a manga artist was the right one, but she will continue to devote herself to her recovery after her surgery on Saturday.
Minekura underwent several surgeries in 2010 for ameloblastoma, a noncancerous tumor on her right upper jawbone. As a result of the surgery, which removed some of her upper jawbone, and part of the bone around her right eye, she could not eat food well, could not pronounce words properly, and lost the sense of touch on the skin on the right side of her face for the rest of her life. She was fitted with artificial prosthetics to reconstruct the area around the lost bone.
Minekura’s Saiyuki, the original 1997 “fantasy road movie” manga series loosely inspired by the Chinese novel Journey to the West (Saiyuki in Japanese), has spawned the Saiyuki Gaiden and Saiyuki Ibun manga spinoffs. The Saiyuki Reload Blast sequel manga launched in Ichijinsha‘s Monthly Comic Zero-Sum in 2009, but Minekura slowed down her publication of the manga in 2013 due to her health. The manga franchise as a whole has 25 million copies in circulation worldwide. Tokyopop published the original manga, and Kodansha re-released the manga.