Yamaguchi Inmates Draw Manga!

Manga artist Ryo Sonoba has created a program in Yamaguchi, Japan that allows inmates to be sentenced to “hard labor”, but the labor is actually drawing manga! When Ryo saw prison life he realized that some of the prisoners were actually really good artists. Take a look:

Pagoda

That’s when he had a great idea–why not see if they would draw some background drawings for the manga he was working on. And now, as part of the Mine Rehabilitation Program Center, about 12 inmates spend time in front of computers and tablets, drawing cool-looking manga like these:

Alfa Romero

Tokyo Skytree

This has become a great way for the inmates to rehabilitate, see their art in real manga, and earn some money too. You can buy their manga for about 300-600 yen here: Inmate Manga

Still, this is definitely not your typical employer-employee relationship, as Sonoba doesn’t even know the names, charges, or ages of the inmates that he instructs. But he still feels a connection to them. This is really a new take on rehabilitation, and I wish Sonoba-san the best!

–Sal

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