Female Pioneers of Shōjo: わたなべまさこWatanabe Masako.
Watanabe Masako began her career as an illustrator in 1949, working to support her student husband. However, when she read the books of seminal mangaka (漫画家) Osama Tesuka, she decided to become a mangaka herself! After the birth of her son, she began showing her work around. Being a woman did not make this process easy. She faced a lot of rejection. Fortunately, the publisher Wakagi Shobou decided to take a chance on her. Her debut story, Namida no Sanbika, debuted in 1952. Fans loved her work so much that she rapidly became the bestselling female manga artist of her time. She has written more than 100 volumes of manga in her career!
Masako pioneered two key subgenres of shōjo: horror (Blue Foxfire) and mystery (Glass no Shiro). The latter was incredibly popular and in 1971, she won the Shogakukan Manga Award for it.
In the 1980s, Masako made the shift from shōjo to the more adult (and sexual) redisu-josei. One of her most famous works of this period was Kinpeibai, based on a 19th-century Chinese erotic novel.