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Reclusive Artist

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Paru Itagaki, creator of Beastars, chickens out of showing her face.
"Like his contemporary, Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice in Wonderland, Kenneth Grahame was not a professional writer. And, like Carroll, who taught mathematics at Oxford University, Kenneth Grahame held a responsible position in the world of figures; he was the official acting secretary of the mighty Bank of England. And, again like Carroll, he sought to escape from this rigid, workaday life in a world of imagination and fable. Unfortunately for posterity, Grahame was a shy, modest kind of man, because, when the success of his stories showed every indication of turning Grahame into a popular celebrity, he promptly stopped writing them."

The perception among some fans that as a result of Artist Disillusionment, some writers, artists, and other creative folk spurn public relations, interaction with audiences, signing autographs, and seem to hide behind their work. Maybe they just don't work well with public relations, maybe they prefer being alone and working quietly. It might also be due to:

  1. Some fans being stupid, frightening, or just completely missing the point of the artist's work, or having a large Hatedom.
  2. The belief that Celebrity Is Overrated. This ranges from simply desiring to live a more private life to being completely overwhelmed by fame. The behavior of fanbases, as noted above, also help fuel this mentality.
  3. An issue in their private life.
  4. Shyness.
  5. A personal decision.
  6. Being a very private person overall.
  7. Falling into disgrace due to some serious scandal that has made them unwelcome among their peers or in public. Especially involving sexual misconduct, crimes against children, or being revealed as having non-progressive attitudes such as racism or anti-LGBT.
  8. A hatred of people or a mental disorder.note 

Whatever the case, not everyone takes popularity well, after all. So, who can blame them when they want to disappear from the public eye?

A Reclusive Artist is one who is notoriously hard to find, who goes out of their way to avoid interviews and public appearances. This has examples that fit into two Logical Extremes:

  • The artist disappears so completely that they are declared Legally Dead.
  • The artist's very identity is unknown.

Compare and contrast Hikikomori, The Hermit, Hermit Guru, Celebrity Is Overrated. Also, compare Persona Non Grata where the reclusiveness is akin to exile. If they only unveil a single masterpiece before dropping off the radar, they're a One-Book Author or One-Hit Wonder. See Eccentric Artist, Sensitive Artist, and Starving Artist for other artist stereotypes.


Real Life examples:

Subpages:

Other:

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    Animation Directors 
  • Next to nothing is known about animator Naoyuki Yoshinaga (director of the Patlabor TV series and co-director of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, among various other things), although an interview with fellow Patlabor director Mamoru Oshii implies he died.
  • Russell Hall is best known for being the lead animator for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, he has had only two known interviews for his work on the film, he'd been animating since the 1970s and his last known credit was for The Iron Giant. There were unsuccessful attempts to contact him for a comic con appearance for the 25th anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Even his most frequent employer, Richard Williams, didn't know his whereabouts.
  • Satoshi Kon became one in his final months due to his shame at his body being ravaged by pancreatic cancer. Luckily, he was still able to write a highly moving farewell message in his last few days.
  • Animator Brenda Banks, one of the earliest known female African American animators, was known for her work on most of Ralph Bakshi's films, Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill, after the final season of King of the Hill she seems to have vanished and no one who worked with her seems to know her current whereabouts. She reportedly passed away in 2020.
  • Pat Ventura who is well known for his pilots he pitched to What A Cartoon! Show and Oh Yeah! Cartoons has since disappeared from the industry in 2007 and currently runs an art blog as of now.
  • Chris Savino was fairly active on social media, and was known for his resume, which included work for studios like Disney, Cartoon Network and Spümcø before he was terminated from his own show on Nickelodeon, The Loud House, in 2017 for sexual harassment accusations. He deleted his social media accounts and vanished from the public eye afterwards, but resurfaced two years later with an official website, new stories, pilot ideas, published books, and a comic strip. Time will tell if he'll ever get another chance in the animation industry. In 2022, he and his new wife started a YouTube channel and Instagram page titled "Christian Car Rides", which consist of videos recorded on their car while driving and talking about several subjects, including The Loud House.
    • In relation to this scandal, his ex-wife Bethany privatized her Instagram page sometime after their divorce in order to protect her and their kids' personal lives from certain fans of The Loud House.
  • Following his career-destroying scandal in March 2018 (involving acts such as statutory rape and child pornography possession), the once-revered John Kricfalusi has largely gone into hiding by mostly-abandoning his art blog and social media accounts (except for Facebook and Instagram); his only work to emerge since then was for a short called Cans Without Labels, and studios like Nickelodeon and [adult swim] permanently cutting off ties with him seems to have cemented that he won't be seen for a very long time.
  • As with the above two, Skyler Page has all but disappeared after getting fired from Clarence for sexual harassment, before resurfacing in 2019 with a video.
  • Pendleton Ward has admitted that he's a very shy and private person. His public appearances and online presence dwindled a great deal after he stepped down from producing Adventure Time.
  • Juliano Enrico was well-known in Brazil since the early 2010s, being a MTV presenter and host and writer of talk-show programs such as Choque de Cultura and O Último Programa do Mundo. A few years later, his most well-known work, the cartoon Jorel's Brother became a big hit, with Juliano participating in several interviews, ads, and Cartoon Network videos about the show. However, in April 2019, he got involved in a huge controversy due to his ex-girlfriend publicly speaking about how her previous boyfriend used to abuse her physically, sexually and verbally, leading most people to believe and later, discover that it was indeed Juliano. Since then, he's become inactive in any social medias and disappeared from all public appearances, sometimes being said to be reclusive just to "focus on his show". While he participated in the fourth season of Jorel's Brother premiering in 2021 (though this may be due to Production Lead Time), he seems to have been mostly phased out from the team now.

    Artists 
  • Vincent van Gogh. He had No Social Skills, and who could really blame him? Every time he went outside he was called "the redheaded madman".
  • Al Columbia, an independent comic artist who did macabre work such as "Doghead", "The Biologic Show", and "Pim & Francie," along with the album artwork for the Postal Service's sole album Give Up. He is criticized by fans of the medium for occasionally displaying talent and having repeated long periods of inactivity in between. He worked with/fell out with the semi-reclusive Alan Moore during the never-completed Big Numbers project.
  • Banksy, director of Exit Through the Gift Shop and notorious graffiti artist, makes no public appearances and has never had his identity revealed. This is certainly due to the fact that his artworks, while hugely popular and sought after, are mostly installed without permission and considered by law to be acts of criminal vandalism, for which he could be publicly prosecuted. On the other end of the spectrum, Banksy is also hated by many other graffiti artists, supposedly for plagiarizing their techniques and messages.
  • Dave Trampier, artist for much early Dungeons & Dragons material and creator of the comic strip Wormy, disappeared sometime around 1988. He was apparently a taxi driver in Illinois. He passed away in March 2014, ironically two weeks before he was supposed to disperse some of the rumors of his isolation — a similar fate to what happened with Stanley Kubrick.
  • Edvard Munch. He was mentally unstable to begin with. Thus, he became more and more reclusive as time passed, and when he got himself a rather big mansion, he rarely left it. He died almost isolated in 1944.
    • Theodor Kittelsen, another artist, had moved into the vicinity of Munch around 1910. Kittelsen, suffering from severe depression, rarely went outside at this point of his life, and his wife had to take all the errands for him. Inga Kittelsen then encountered Munch on a train, and Munch seemed to be interested in the fact that Kittelsen lived nearby - they were, in fact separated by an open field. "It is good to know Kittelsen lives nearby", Munch stated. "But he must never come and visit me". Kittelsen, when told this, agreed and said almost the same thing.
  • Pop artist Lisa Frank (who drew the art featured on those notebooks with the rainbow-colored puppies, kittens, and unicorns) is very reclusive. She has done interviews with her face obscured and one of the few confirmed images of her online is her as a child.
  • Karine Charlebois was once a busy woman, doing work on TV shows and drawing for the Gargoyles comic, but around the mid-2010s she began to vanish from the furry fandom. She still does TV work (recently she did storyboarding for Arthur), but most of her online profiles (with the exception of Instagram) have been updated since at least 2013.
  • Stephen Gammell, best known for providing the infamously macabre illustrations for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, has greatly shied away from interviews since the book series ended. His last known illustrator credit was in 2011 and has since then dropped off the radar, to the point where he had no direct involvement in 2019's Scary Stories film adaptation, and it is unknown what he thought of it.
  • It's not uncommon for many internet residing artists, especially those on sites such as DeviantArt, to be active frequently on their respective profiles but prefer to be private about their personal lives. This largely stems from trolls who try to use that personal info against them (e.g., doxxing, blackmail, smear campaigns, etc.).
  • Hungry Clicker is a famous Twitter artist known for their beautiful fanart of various video game and manga characters. Despite their fame on Twitter and having an official artbook published, virtually nothing is known about Hungry Clicker other than the fact they are from Japan.
  • ZONE-SAMA, a popular artist/animator known for making NSFW animations of cartoons/video games (whose art styles and animation are often stunningly accurate to the source material being parodied) since 2001, and has even had a hand in animating for video games like Skullgirls. Despite this popularity, virtually nothing is known about them, up to and including their exact age, location, and gender. note  Interestingly, unlike most artists of this status, ZONE is highly active on social media, often giving updates on their projects and freely interacting with friends and fans.
  • "CONSTANZA" is a pen name given to a Spanish artist from the early 20th century, best known for making idealistic paintings, greeting cards, and illustrations showing the positive sides of humanity and religion (notably Catholicism and/or Christianity). While Constanza's works were popular in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries between the 1950s and 1960s, unlike Juan Ferrándiz who has plenty of information known about him and made a few children's books during the late '60s and early '70s, Constanza's real name and gender have remained unknown in Spain due to the artist being a very private person.

    Comic Artists 
Comic Books
  • Steve Ditko, co-creator along with Stan Lee of Spider-Man, but only in the sense that he didn't do comic book conventions or give interviews. He had written numerous rebuttals to Lee's claims of being "THE" creator of Spidey and had been an outspoken Ayn Rand disciple, very obscure comics promoting Rand and Objectivism being the main bulk of his work until his death. Strangely enough, he was in the phonebook, or at least the location of his studio was. And he'd been known to entertain guests who just happen to go to his studio for whatever reason. Since the average comic book reader under fifty-five had probably never even heard of him, he was apparently not too concerned about fans camping out waiting for him. Very middle-aged British journalist and fanboy Jonathan Ross actually came knocking on Ditko's door unsolicited. He brought Neil Gaiman with him for good measure. This adventure was chronicled in Ross' documentary The Search For Steve Ditko. Ditko still refused to be filmed, however, so we'll have to take Ross' word for it.
  • Zarcone, the mysterious artist who drew the first issue of Diabolik. As Zarcone is a pen name (as was the norm at the time in Italy), nobody knows his real name, he disappeared soon after being paid for the job, the private detective hired by Diabolik's creators failed to track him down, and the readers didn't even know he existed for thirty years (most had read the first reprint, where the story had been redrawn by Luigi Marchesi, and the original edition only credited the cover artist Brenno Fiumali).
  • Very little is known about Fish Police creator Steve Moncuse, other than that he is from California. After Fish Police ended, he inked a few other comics before quietly retiring, presumably also in California. In 2010, cbr.com interviewed him when IDW reprinted the first four issues of Fish Police in an anthology. The interview revealed at the time that Moncuse had two daughters and had recently retired from a job as a third-grade teacher when one of them became extremely ill. The interview also revealed that he was working on further installments of Fish Police, but nothing has come of them since.

Newspaper Comics

  • Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes. He's all but disappeared from the public eye since ending his strip in 1995, except for some very rare news articles, such as his review of a biography of Charles Schulz.
    • He is reclusive to the point where rumors abounded that he would supposedly paint pictures then burn them to prevent fans from obtaining and selling them. He was also extremely reclusive before Calvin and Hobbes; skipping award shows and dinners in his name due to his disdain/paranoia over corporate establishments.
    • In June 2014, he collaborated with Pearls Before Swine writer Stephen Pastis. Pastis had this to say about it:
      Now if you had asked me the odds of Bill Watterson ever saying that line [he wanted to collaborate on a comic strip] to me, I’d say it had about the same likelihood as Jimi Hendrix telling me he had a new guitar riff. And yes, I’m aware Hendrix is dead.
    • He was also interviewed in the documentary "Stripped," and drew the poster art for it. The filmmakers made a big deal in their advertisement about how this was the first time Watterson's voice was ever broadcast in any format. However, while his voice was prominently featured, no current picture was included.
  • Darby Conley of Get Fuzzy probably rivals Bill Watterson above. While he did allow some interviews in the early years of his strip, nowadays his public appearances are very, very limited. His last known appearance was in 2010 when he appeared with FoxTrot creator Bill Amend.
  • Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury. Other than a 1971 appearance on To Tell the Truth and a few spare interviews (the last one was in 1973), he avoided media attention during the strip's heyday, which is quite phenomenal when you consider that he married a famous TV journalist (Jane Pauley). After the strip's 20th anniversary in 1990, he started giving interviews again, but he's still very selective about who he talks to.
  • In 2018, Nancy was taken over by a woman who went under the pseudonym Olivia Jaimes, who is almost entirely anonymous - while she has given a few interviews where she talked about her childhood and how she got the job, she has never given out her real name, any photos outside of one crudely drawn portrait, or other details like her age, birthday, or even nationality.
  • Local Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris was forced to become this following her coining "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" in 2010, which led to her name being put on a terrorist hit list. Even over 10 years later, she's still in hiding and changed her name.

Webcomics

  • Tatsuya Ishida, creator of Sinfest and former Dark Horse Comics artist, has had exactly one picture taken of him, has been interviewed once and otherwise has no contact with the outside world. There is no commentary on his strips, save the increasingly cryptic "Notes from the Resistance," which hasn't been updated in years.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court creator Tom Siddell, for a long time, was largely a mystery. He talked about himself very little, worked during the weekdays as an animator for an unknown video game company, and lived in Birmingham. There were very few images of him on the Internet, and while he attends conventions on occasion, he never revealed his real face outside those appearances, instead drawing an Author Avatar with shadowed, crazed eyes and a wonky smile. However, since he's begun working full-time on his comic, his convention appearances have increased and he's allowed himself to be filmed for an interview at least once. He has also tweeted photos of himself on a handful of occasions, although usually not identifying the person in the photo as him. He would later explicitly reveal his face in his Patreon video (where he looks like a normal person).
  • El Autor, or Sea Snail Studio, has worked since 2012 on webcomics, but his real-life identity has always been a mystery. The only thing known about him is that he comes from Mexico and that he is male. Maybe.
  • Virtually nothing can be discerned about whoever is behind the name Jaho-12, writer and artist of Fifteen Minds. They've been active on Tumblr since 2013 under the name 1212m, mostly posting fanart of Pokemon before starting the comic, and have never revealed so much as a scrap of information about themself, not even a country of residence or origin or even a gender, much less a real name or image. In posts thanking their followers for their support and such, they always use their personal reimagining of a humanoid Space Core from Portal 2 as a stand-in... which similarly lacks features.
  • Christine Weston Chandler, creator of the infamous Sonichu comic, was once incredibly active on the Internet, with a huge archive of everything about her...until she was arrested in August 2021, where she only communicated via letters sent from her jail cell. After being released in spring 2023, her only public appearances have been regulated to a few camera grabs from others seeing her. She has no social media presence whatsoever, and her current whereabouts are unknown.

Other

  • Jack Chick, who was interviewed exactly once during his four-decade career in writing and drawing comics. It's been rumored that this was because he was extremely paranoid. He was reclusive to the point that to this day there's still uncertainty about whether his tracts reflected the way he saw the world, or he was just trolling. If they are to be taken seriously and express his world vision, then it's normal that he was paranoid. On the other hand, maybe this reclusiveness accounts for all the blatant ridiculous inaccuracies in his tracts.
  • Jason Shiga, comic book and newspaper comic author. He may or may not have shown up to receive his Eisner Award. The jacket blurb on one of his books claims that man was an impostor. He does have an active Twitter account, however.
  • The person who runs Constable Frozen. We know they have the necessary Photoshop skills to make the pictures on their blog. We know they like Frozen enough to keep producing content for this amount of time. And... that's about it. We haven't even confirmed that they're only one person.
  • The creator of Farlaine the Goblin is an interesting case. He does go to conventions and readers can contact him, but nobody knows what his name is because he is listed as "Anonymous" in book listings. The very few times he refers to himself, he uses "J" and nothing more. The creator said it because he wants people to focus entirely on the comic.
    • After a while, though, J started using "Pug Grumble" as a pseudonym because he realized not having a name made it difficult for people to follow up on new books in the series, and also because more and more conventions started requiring some sort of name for use before being given a table space. His real name is still unknown, however.
  • Lebanese-Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. One of the few things we know is that he was born in the neighborhood of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but not where he lives or much about his personal life. Then again, he's probably protecting himself, knowing that he's been held in many a controversial opinion as an anti-semite in denial. There is however a slight aversion in that he has made a few public appearances.
  • Robert Crumb, underground comics artist best known for Fritz the Cat, rarely made public appearances after he moved to a remote village in France with his wife and daughter in 1991. After the documentary Crumb was released in 1994 it won great acclaim but Robert Crumb found the new attention far too much to handle. He grew a beard so he wouldn't be recognized in public. However, he does gives interviews from time to time, especially as he gets older. He also does turn up at exhibitions of his work.
    • His older brother Charles never left the house he and his mother shared in his adult years due to his severe mental illnesses, including his paranoia about a self described sexual attraction to younger boys. The footage in the aforementioned Crumb documentary is the only footage of him being interviewed and he committed suicide two years before the movie was released.

    Filmmakers 
  • For many years, The Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix, were incredibly secretive, granting few interviews or public appearances after 2000. At least part of it may have to do with their personal lives — they were originally known as "the Wachowski brothers", but later came out as transgender women. They finally broke their silence in 2012, and Lana officially came out after years of rumors, in an interview right here, made to promote Cloud Atlas. She stated that she was specifically doing it to dispel rumors that she was ashamed of being transgender, having decided that if sacrificing her long-held privacy could help others suffering from the same issues she did before her transition, it would be worth it. Her sister Lilly came out in 2016.
  • Michael Cimino, the late director of The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate. After the hostility from the public regarding the latter film, he ceased granting interviews with American journalists for a decade. He was also rarely photographed (giving rise to a rumored sex change operation when more recent photos did appear) and very little about his private life was known. He last directed a film in 1996 and moved to France to write novels. When he died in 2016, his friends didn't even know he was sick.
  • John Hughes, writer and/or director of such hits as National Lampoon's Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Home Alone shunned the media and stopped directing his films after 1993 (his last screenwriting credit was 2008's Drillbit Taylor), living in his beloved Chicago for the rest of his life until August 2009, when he went to Manhattan to see some relatives and died while walking on a sidewalk. It's been said by his colleagues that Hughes' decision was due to a combination of his belief that the stress of show business was what lead to his good friend John Candy's death and a desire to leave the Hollywood scene to ensure his kids won't become like the jerk bullies from his movies.
    • A documentary was even made by some Canadian filmmakers who tried to track him down.
  • Seltzer and Friedberg are two guys who we know practically nothing of. It's possible they're protecting themselves rather than just avoiding people. Seltzer and Friedberg finally gave an interview with Grantland in 2014.
  • Stanley Kubrick kept working right up until his death (completing the cut of Eyes Wide Shut only a couple of days before his fatal heart attack in 1999), but he granted no television interviews and made no public appearances after relocating to England in the 1960s. He did, however, do several interviews for several magazines (including Rolling Stone and Playboy) and while he generally kept out of the public's eyes, he was still willing to speak with critics if asked and kept in contact with other producers and directors. According to his family, after the release of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick fully intended to do a few television interviews to promote his film and to dispel some of the rumors about his personal life but died before he got the chance.
  • Spike Jonze, music video (Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice", Beastie Boys' "Sabotage") and film (Being John Malkovich) director, who is known for turning the Shrug of God into an art form. He doesn't do traditional DVD commentaries, has only directed three films in twelve years (it took about four for Where the Wild Things Are to be released), and rarely grants interviews. Even when he does, he tends to treat them as a prank (see the video in which he terminates an interview by stepping out of the car to vomit).
  • Shane Carruth, the director of movies such as Primer and UpstreamColor, is known for long periods of silence between his films. He does have a Twitter account and does tweet every now and then, yet most of it is more related to his work than his personal life. Carruth himself has stated that he'll be making one last film before retiring from the movie business, so time can only tell.
  • Allen Payne who is quite popular in the '90s to '00s best known for his roles in New Jack City, Vampire in Brooklyn, and House of Payne rarely make public appearances, doesn't use social media and widely known to keep his personal life to his chest that no one knows about his marital status.
  • Marian Dora, the anonymous director of controversial films such as Cannibal (2006) and Melancholie der Engel/The Angel's Melancholy (2009). Dora has done only a handful of public appearances and interviews, with his face and voice being distorted in video ones. His real name is kept secret because he has supposedly received death threats and could potentially be charged with criminal offenses relating to the content of his works. The only thing known about his life is that he is a vegetarian and a physician for a living.
  • Terrence Malick is notoriously reclusive and highly protective of his private life, to the point that his film contracts state that his likeness may not be used for interviews, and he never does promotional interviews. He came to Cannes one year (although he wasn't part of The Tree of Life panel), and has allowed people to take pictures and film of him working on his latest projects. However, he's still highly private. In June 2012, a paparazzi taking a photo of Benicio Del Toro outside a Hollywood restaurant inadvertently caught Malick on camera - the photographer had no idea who he was, and it was only afterwards that people pointed out it was the reclusive director.
  • Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman's partner-in-crime at Troma is very shy and doesn't do interviews or do any on-screen appearances on Troma DVDs (in comparison to Lloyd, who does many live and filmed appearances). He even hired one of the Troma regulars to play him when an appearance was needed. Kaufman did include a picture of him in his book about the founding of Troma.
  • Fran Walsh, the wife and writing partner of Peter Jackson. She appeared on the DVD commentaries for The Lord of the Rings and at the 2003 Oscars, but they've agreed between them that she should stay out of public life as much as possible, to avoid incidents like being mobbed by fans while taking their kids to school.
  • Paul Thomas Anderson is a more downplayed example. While initially open to interviews and commentary, during the promotion for Magnolia he started to close himself off from the press, giving fewer and fewer interviews (although he still does grant them). As his films became more sporadic, with only six being made (Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, The Master, Inherent Vice, Phantom Thread, Licorice Pizza) since Magnolia, this trope has come more into play with even fewer interviews, no commentaries and shrouding the production of his movies in so much secrecy that people don't even know the titles, let alone a plot synopsis until near the release date.
  • Woody Allen is known for never attending award shows, excluding the one time he appeared at the Academy Awards in 2002 to introduce a montage of film clips shot in New York. note  It should be noted that the world of Hollywood does not interest Allen in any way since he never craved public attention or applause, or was bothered by people's opinions on his films - as long as they made enough money to pay investors that support his filmmaking.
  • Randy Moore, the man behind the 2013 guerrilla horror movie Escape from Tomorrow. After the film's release, he did a couple of interviews and such and then practically vanished off the face of the earth.
  • Little of anything is known about Mark Region, the director of After Last Season and it's debated whether that's even his real name.

    Mangaka 
Manga artists in general are usually shy or introverted and very protective about their private lives (either by shyness or by personal decision), and a number of manga artists don't even reveal their genders, often working under Pen Names that are gender-neutral. Unlike most comic artists, mangakas usually don't allow any pictures or photos taken, even in Japan.note  This is usually enforced when artists go to any event outside Japan, and anime/manga licensors honor their requests, so it's very difficult (usually impossible) to see any photos or pictures of them, and the only way to get a picture is to do it illegally. Also, there are artists that don't want to be seen.

It goes without saying that Hentai mangakas follow this trope, even in very crowded events such as Comiket, Comitia, or COMIC1. It doesn't help the fact that those events discourage unauthorized photos or pictures and they generally enforce a "no photos or videos without permission" policy on those events.

Generally averted with most older manga artists, especially those who were active in the 1960s and 1970s. Osamu Tezuka, for example, was interviewed many times during his lifetime, and he even made a few public appearances in America. Mangaka becoming reclusive mostly came later on.


  • Shirow Masamune has been described as the J.D. Salinger of Japan, living a very private life. All the public really knows is that he lives in Hyōgo prefecture and that he was a high school teacher at some point.
  • Akira Toriyama, to the point that it was rumored he died in 1998, though he does give interviews from time to time.
  • Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon is a notorious recluse. She's done some interviews over the years and made a few public appearances here and there, but she's very shy, and nobody heard much from her for well over 15 years. We know she's married to Yoshihiro Togashi (the creator of YuYu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter), but the identities of their two children are kept a closely-guarded secret. However, she's known to be heavily involved with Sailor Moon behind the scenes, but the extent of her involvement is regularly debated.note 
  • Tsugumi Ohba, author of Death Note, is a particularly extreme example, to the point he's been rumored to be Hiroshi Gamo, the author of Tottemo Luckyman, under a pseudonym.
    • Ohba's series Bakuman。, which is supposedly semi-autobiographical, is about a writer/artist team who publish under a single pseudonym. This has led fans to speculate that Ohba is actually two or more people (a theory made somewhat less likely when Ohba's partnership with artist Takeshi Obata is taken into account).
    • Even in the Death Note handbook he says very little in regards to the plot's interpretations and himself.
  • Katsura Hoshino, creator of D.Gray-Man. Until one appearance, nobody even knew Hoshino's gender. Hoshino's a woman.
  • Hiromu Arakawa, creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, tends to zigzag with this trope. There are only two known photographs of her, both very low-quality (she's the one in the center), from two award presentations—the rest of the time, she depicts herself as a cow wearing glasses, and often has Edward Elric's seiyuu Romi Park go to events for her (meaning many people mistake pictures of Park for Arakawa). That said, she's remarkably candid about herself and her life in the intros and Omake of her manga, and Noble Farmer is essentially her autobiography in manga format.
  • Not much is known about Yu Aida, the creator of Gunslinger Girl. Not even their gender.
  • Sayuri Tatsuyama, the creator behind Happy Happy Clover and Pukupuku Tennen Kairanban has a very brief section at the end of each volume that gives a short history behind her manga career. While it does mention, one of her older mangas from the late '90s called Pukupuku Natural Circular Notice won the Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 2002. When the Happy Happy Clover manga started getting popular around 2005 as well as getting an animated series in 2007 along with tons of merchandise in Japan. The author made a post on the Shogakukan official website about some information for the upcoming volume for the mangas at the time. A year after the manga was finished, she later went on to make a one-shot manga based on Sanrio's Jewelpet franchise in 2009. As of 2015, not that much information is known about the creator and hasn't made a new manga since 2009. However, she recently created a Twitter account where she posts sketches and illustrations of her characters and gives some updates about her manga career and life. When it comes to drawing herself, she is depicted wearing a monkey costume.
  • Kentaro Miura, the creator of Berserk, very rarely gave out interviews and there are only two pictures of him floating around, the one on his trope page and another one of him accepting the 2002 Tezuka Prize, with much more outgoing and sociable Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue. It's to the extent that in the most extensive and well-known interview he gave out, the one for the DVD release of Berserk, he requested that he not be filmed.
  • Julietta Suzuki, creator of Kamisama Kiss requested that no photo or video can be taken on Anime Expo 2015. Shoujo Beat honored and enforced that and no photos are available with her face in the event.
  • Isuna Hasekura, creator of World End Economica and Spice and Wolf.
  • Na-Ga, main character designer of works like Little Busters!, Angel Beats!, and Summer Pockets. They refused to appear on the official photos on Anime Central 2016.
  • Hentai artists NaPaTa and saitom. While NaPaTa didn't show his face at Anime Expo 2016 whatsoever, saitom, on the other hand, appeared only with a mask with an S written on it.
  • Hentai artists Keito Koume (main illustrator of the Spice and Wolf manga) and Yamatogawa didn't allow any pictures of them in the events they went outside Japan. However, Koume's face is visible in a video by somebody who was at Japan Expo in Paris.
  • Takehiko Inoue (creator of Slam Dunk and Vagabond) is quite possibly the most notable aversion in the entire industry, at least for the current generation. There are many photos and videos of him, he has given out several interviews over the years, taken part in museum exhibits, and even been on national television; compared to most mangaka he seems quite comfortable in the spotlight.
  • Nio Nakatani, creator of Bloom Into You. The about-the-author and production-backstory bit at the end of each volume avoids giving any personal details (including their real name) and renders the author as a gender-ambiguous person with a bird's head.
  • Ritsuko Kawai, the creator of Hamtaro. All we know is the date and year she was born, and that she was born in Toyonaka in Osaka, and she's created other shōjo manga for Ciao... and that's basically it.
  • Paru Itagaki, creator of Beastars, is a very private person and has never shown her face in public, always opting to wear a chicken mask whenever she appears at events (as seen in the page image above). One thing that is known about her is that she's the daughter of Keisuke Itagaki, creator of Baki the Grappler, and part of the reason for her reclusiveness was not wanting to be seen as riding on his coattails. On the other hand, she's also launched an autobiography manga (Paruno Graffiti), indicating that she is at least willing to talk about her life in manga format.
  • Kōhei Horikoshi, who is most famous for writing My Hero Academia, is shy and hates having his face seen on camera. As a result, he spends most video interviews with a mask on or with the camera focused on the back of his head. In one case, he had Midoriya's head edited over his in the video.
  • Very little is known about Kakifly, the creator of K-On!, aside from his being born in Kyoto and his love of bass guitars (he collects left-handed ones, which is likely why Mio uses a left-handed bass). Very few pictures of him can be found on the internet.
  • Shiromanta, mangaka of My Senpai Is Annoying doesn’t draw their face in the afterword sections. They do draw other things like their room, how they got into the manga business, and other things like their sister.
  • The author of the autobiographical Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san uses both the pseudonym Honda, which for a person who works in a retail bookstore is a Punny Namenote , and draws herself as a human skeleton alongside her former coworkers who are all drawn and identified by their fanciful and outlandish masks. In an interview about the anime adaptation she is only shown wearing a paper cut-out mask of Honda (a skull). The anonymity was so strong that fans of the anime were under the impression that Honda was a man after it used Gender Flip voice casting. There is even a point that made it into the manga and anime where she attended a nomikai work mixer before she left her job at the bookstore and while her manga was starting to get popular and encountered someone at another location who thought the story was unrealistic due to how their wholesaler was positively portrayed. She sheepishly apologizes, outing herself to her shocked colleague.
  • The author of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku started out on Pixiv as an anonymous amateur mangaka, and only goes by Fujita.
  • Tsukumizu, who is known for Girls' Last Tour and Shimeji Simulation, started out with his one-shot Touhou Project doujinshi Flan Wants to Die and later broke out into the professional manga industry with Girls' Last Tour. Not much is known about his real name or his true identity, as he is mostly known by his surname.
  • Chiyomi "Nekojiru" Hashiguchi, whose simply drawn yet darkly cynical works inspired Nekojiru Gekijou and Cat Soup, was a highly reclusive person; she rarely left the house, disliked going to public spaces like coffee shops, and generally avoided conversations with others. One of the few people she ever got along with was her husband Hajime Yamano, who took over her characters after her death and continues to make new works with them.
  • Tatsuki Fujimoto has seldom shown his face publicly, with many photos of him having his head cropped out. For years he used a Twitter account where he roleplayed as a nonexistent younger sister talking about her "brother's" work (except for a period when the account was mistaken for an actual minor's and locked). When he appeared at Jump Festa 2022, he was represented by an animated graphic of Pochita sitting on his stool while he answered interview questions from off-camera. A later interview had him imply that receiving death threats from overenthusiastic readers made him desire more privacy. He did reveal his face, or at least the top half of it, publicly in a video he posted on YouTube, where he announced that he'd discovered the secrets of levitation. His instructions on how to "levitate" consists of a grainy, one-minute long video of him in a nondescript room with his bottom half entirely out of frame, jumping in the air, once.

    Poets 
  • French Romantic poet Alfred de Vigny was notorious for his revulsion of public life. His self-imposed isolation and general aloofness were described by Sainte-Beuve, a famous literary critic of the time, as "withdrawing to the Ivory Tower", giving the expression its modern sense.
  • Emily Dickinson, a unique case in that eventually she rarely ever left her room, but she still had an active social life and close friends. It was even said she sent down baskets of treats for young children with a rope.
  • Children's poet Shel Silverstein had very few interviews to his name, and little is known about him other than him serving in the military and having a Playboy Mansion key.

    Pro Wrestlers 
  • After spending over two decades in the spotlight as the second most famous pro wrestler in the world, "Macho Man" Randy Savage mostly stayed out of the public eye from about 2005 until his death in 2011, as he had retired from wrestling for good, reunited with his High School Sweetheart (whom he would marry only a year before he died), focused on doing charity work in his community and took care of his elderly parents. He did occasionally do some voice acting gigs, but no major public appearances or interviews.
  • Brock Lesnar is a notoriously private person in real life. He does not like to be approached by fans in public and rarely does public appearances or interviews. He has a Twitter account, but he hasn't used it since April 2020, and his activity mostly consisted of him retweeting Paul Heyman's tweets about him.
  • Similarly, Lesnar's real-life wife, Sable, has stayed out of the spotlight since her release from WWE in 2004, other than occasionally appearing alongside Lesnar in UFC. It was reported that she is living peacefully in retirement with Lesnar in a farm in Canada, and has declined an offer to appear at the 2018 all-female PPV, WWE Evolution.
  • Dean Ambrose's Twitter account is mostly inactive and he usually shied away from interviews as well. After leaving WWE, he started doing more interviews, however.
  • It is very common for lucha libre to never reveal their true identities to the public, much like comic-book superheroes and villains. To be unmasked by a rival wrestler, or indeed anyone at all, is considered an irredeemable dishonor.
  • It is common for some pro wrestlers to become this once they retire, especially if they never made it big. Aksana and Layla have both mostly stopped using social media upon retiring and staying out of the public eye. Terri Poch (aka. Tori of the Attitude Era) doesn't even have a Twitter account and rarely attends conventions. But one of the most prominent examples of this is Muhammad Hassan. Despite lasting only seven months on WWE's main roster, he is one of the most talked-about wrestlers in the fandom even today. Ever since retiring in 2005 amid the massive controversy surrounding him, he has mostly kept to himself and returned back to college to get a degree in education and was discovered in 2018 to be the principal of a middle school in New York. He did, however, attend a wrestling convention in 2010 and he worked with Shad Gaspard (formerly of Cryme Tyme) on a graphic novel and as of 2018, he has returned to wrestling, albeit in the indies.
  • Kevin Dunn, the long-time WWE executive and right hand to Vince McMahon, keeps an extremely low profile. He does not use any social media nor does he make any public appearances or interviewsnote . There are only a handful of pictures of him on the Internet and all that is known about him is from third-party stories and shoot interviews. Considering that he's not very well-liked by either wrestling fans or anyone in the wrestling business besides his employer, this is probably a wise move.
  • Prior to his retirement in 2020, The Undertaker rarely did any interviews or public appearances and avoided social media for the most part, likely to preserve the mystique of his character. He became much more open after retiring.

    Puppeteers 
  • Kathryn Mullen only did one interview with Kevin Perjurer of Defunctland. Her last known major role was Leona from Between the Lions in the show's first two seasons. Mullen's last known public appearance was at Dragon Con 2013 where she appeared with her husband Michael K. Frith and puppeteer Karen Prell to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Fraggle Rock where she performed Mokey Fraggle along with Prell performing Red Fraggle. As of now, Mullen is no longer affiliated with doing television shows as she and her husband currently run a production company known as No Strings Productions.

    Video Game Developers 
  • Studio Pixel's Daisuke Amaya. He created the legendary freeware game Cave Story that later got a commercial Updated Re Release on WiiWare, made a few other games, gave a pair of interviews full of Shrugs of God, and... well, that's pretty much all we know about him.
  • Shouzou Kaga, often credited as the brains behind Fire Emblem, helmed the first 5 installments of the series (from 1990 to 1999), and then abruptly left Nintendo not too long after Thracia 776's release. He then established his own studio, Tirnanog, and in 2001 made TearRing Saga for the PS1, which is so literally "Fire Emblem on the PlayStation" that Nintendo sued him over it. Kaga seemed to escape the lawsuit relatively unscathed, made Berwick Saga (a semi-sequel to TearRing) in 2005. Then, for a good decade, Shouzou Kaga remained mostly silent, mostly blogging and working on projects that fell through prior to gaining any real ground (a Tear Ring Saga remake among them) Finally, in May of 2015, Shouzou Kaga broke his silence and announced a new SRPG, Vestaria Saga, that was released in 2019.
  • Not much is known about Kikiyama, creator of Yume Nikki. They will occasionally respond to emails but generally stay very quiet. Their website hasn't been updated in years and they haven't made any games aside from Yume Nikki. Even after several high-profile derivative works based on the game were announced in 2013, they still haven't stepped out of the shadows. Even after it was announced that Kikiyama was personally involved in the follow-up announced in 2018, little is known about them. Some even speculate that Kikiyama is actually multiple people. It wasn't until 2023 that they would be interviewed by Toby Fox.
  • Dan and Sam Houser, the writers and producers of every Grand Theft Auto game since the release of Grand Theft Auto III, as well as Red Dead Redemption, tend to avoid the spotlight whenever possible.
  • Matthew Smith, the programmer and designer of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy became one of the few "name brands" of the UK games industry of the mid-'80s before announcing a new game, called Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars in the late-'80s and then seemingly walking off the face of the Earth. (Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars was finished by other coders and released as Star Paws.) In the '90s there was even a website called "Where is Matthew Smith?" featuring reports of "sightings" and speculation about where he had gone and/or what had happened to him. After all of that, Smith re-appeared via the internet at the end of the 1990s and is now fairly well-known amongst the retrogaming community, appearing at several live shows.
  • Tori, the (former) head writer of AliceSoft, is in some ways a bit of a recluse. She has a blog where she talks about her everyday life and what it was like when she was a writer, and yet at the same time, barely anything is known about her, even her name.
  • Information regarding 237, the Japanese developer behind the infamous ero-guro game Demonophobia is extremely scarce — to the point that the most prevalent theory on what happened to him is that he outright died in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. He allegedly resurfaced in 2020 for an YouTube interview, then dropped off the face of the Earth again afterwards.
  • Osamu Sato, who created some of the trippiest games ever, LSD: Dream Emulator and Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou, has no personal information listed for him anywhere. There are only a couple of webpages about him on the entire Internet, one of which lists a death date. However, this is untrue, as he still has an Instagram account that is updated fairly regularly.
  • Yoko Taro, the director of the Drakengard games considers most interviews a "boring chore" and often either looks away or dons a No. 7 mask in front of cameras (the latter, ironically, became a defining part of his public image to the point that it increased his involvement in promotional work). According to an interview, he is of the belief that creators should stay out of the public eye, stating that if he found out that the writer of an erotic novel series was a middle-aged man, he'd be disappointed.
  • Icefrog, the developer of Defense of the Ancients, has virtually no information known about him beyond his internet name and that he is an employee for Valve, working on Dota 2.
  • Shinichi Shimomura, one of the leading designers of the Kirby series and the director of Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, vanished sometime after Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land's release. He's so elusive that a sizable contingency of people assumed that he was actually Satoru Iwata operating under a pseudonym, which was eventually debunked when two pictures of Shimomura from a Japanese Kirby's Dream Course guidebook surfaced online in 2022. Other rumors suggest that he passed away in 2003, possibly in a car accident, but the lack of information regarding Shimomura (to the point where only devoted Kirby fans are aware of his existence) leaves his fate inconclusive; most folks assume that he simply retired.
  • Yasuyuki Hasebe who was the battle planner of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy VI, the battle designer of Super Mario RPG and most notably the director, writer, and designer of the Cult Classic The Legend of Dragoon hasn't been seen since. He seems to have retired from video games and was an executive employee at Soliton Systems, an IT Security/Data Streaming company, until at least 2018.
  • Pokémon:
    • Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokémon franchise, rarely makes public appearances, though he is still very involved at Game Freak as its Executive Producer. This ended up reaching a point where photos of Tsunekazu Ishihara, president of The Pokémon Company, are frequently mislabeled as ones of Tajiri.
    • Atsuko Nishida, the artist of many iconic Pokémon including Pikachu and Bulbasaur, is notoriously camera-shy. Very few photos of her exist, and in 2018, she spent an entire interview hiding behind a giant Pikachu doll.
  • Hitoshi Akamatsu, who created Castlevania and worked on the original NES trilogy, has vanished off the face of the Earth. Even his name was unknown to fandom for many years, and many people who worked at Konami at the same time claimed to have never met him. (This seems to have been the case with many of the members of the original Castlevania team, however the rest of them have other credits and didn't just fade out of sight as Akamatasu did.) His only known interview was from a 1987 magazine interview on the making of The Goonies II, which is the only time Konami has ever directly acknowledged Akamatsu's hand in the creation of the original Castlevania.
  • Very, very little is known about Carol, creator of the Super Mario World ROM hack Brutal Mario. They have no social media presence, no personal information is known about them in general and they've done no interviews online about their work whatsoever. Then again, this is also kind of a trend with Japanese ROM hack authors as a whole, with the people behind Super Mario World YEAHH, Scarlet Devil Mario and Super Mario LD being equally reclusive and hard to find out about online.
  • Zig-zagged by Tarn "Toady One" Adams of Dwarf Fortress fame. While he's very willing to give interviews and attends the occasional con, in his personal life he seems to spend most of his time holed up in his apartment, sleeping during the day and working at night, and living mainly off Quiznos sandwiches and Dr Pepper. After the New York Times article that brought his hikkikomori tendencies to the attention of the fans there was a rather heartwarming outpouring of concern for his long-term health and offers to send him some proper food or even find him a live-in housekeeper.
  • Vince Perri, creator of the infamous Action 52. Initially, he was relatively active in the game's marketing, even showcasing it at a Consumer Electronics Show. After the game's dismal reception, however, he disappeared from the public eye. Very little is known about him, and there are no pictures of him anywhere.
  • Iron Tower Studio game designer Vince D. Weller, who served as director for The Age of Decadence, is actually operating under an alias, and while active in terms of communication, it's only when it concerned the game. An interview with Rock Paper Shotgun revealed that this a necessity due to him already working at another company, thus not allowing him to manage other businesses openly.
  • Akira Kitamura, the creator of Mega Man, seems to prefer being out of the spotlight in relation to his famous creation. He only directed the first two games in the series, but left Capcom shortly after the second game was finished and eventually left the video game industry altogether after trying to strike out on his own for a bit. Since then, he has only given a few interviews.
  • Sayori, main writer and illustrator of the game Nekopara. Sekai Project asked his guests to not take any pictures or videos at her panel on Anime Expo 2016.
  • Jeff Spangenberg was the founder of Iguana Entertainment and became a high-ranking executive in Acclaim Entertainment after being bought out by them. After being fired from Acclaim for undisclosed reasons, he partnered with Nintendo to create Retro Studios, but Nintendo bought out his stake in the company due to mismanagement and the discovery that he had been misusing funds and hardware to host a lewd website. After this, he founded the short-lived Top Heavy Studios and created The Guy Game, an erotic party game that flopped with critics and in sales and was banned from stores due to the inadvertent inclusion of an underaged girl. Despite previously being a rather high profile game developer, Jeff Spangenberg has seemingly disappeared from public life after the failure of The Guy Game, with him refusing requests for interviews, having no real online presence, no more involvement in the game industry, and his current whereabouts and activities are unknown.
  • Sivak Games, creator of Battle Kid and its sequel. Other than his infrequently-updated YouTube channel, he has no online presence to speak of. Almost nothing is known about his personal life (other than that he's an American currently working in Japan), to the extent that nobody even seems to know his real name.
  • Before the launch of Mighty No. 9 Keiji Inafune was pretty active both on social media and on the interview scene, doing regular talks with websites and engaging with fans. However, after the game's shaky launch and tepid reception, along with his comments about the Japanese game industry and his role in Capcom's Audience-Alienating Era of moving towards more Western-focused games making him a pariah in the industry, he's since been mostly quiet and shied away from the public eye.
  • Tomoyoshi Miyazaki, co-creator of the Ys series (having worked as a scenario writer for the first three installments with director and lead programmer Masaya Hashimoto) and founder of the development company Quintet that worked on various cult Super NES classics such as SoulBlazer and Illusion of Gaia, disappeared from the public completely after his involvement with a shady credit card settlement company that went out of business in 2010 due to being unable to actually pay off any of its customers' debt. Because of this the rights to Quintet's back-catalog were in legal limbo for years, as Miyazaki was nowhere to be found for negotiations. It wasn't until 2021, that Square Enix was able to remake one of Quintet's titles, ActRaiser, for current platforms, with former members of the Terranigma team also campaigning for that game's revival.
  • Bo Andersson founded Overkill Software with his brother Ulf and with it helped direct PAYDAY: The Heist along with its sequel. However, internal strife between the brothers (chief among them being that Bo was the mastermind behind Payday 2's infamous safe drill fiasco which Ulf was heavily against) caused Ulf to leave Overkill. Bo and Overkill would eventually work with Starbreeze Studios to create a disastrous piece in 2018 based off of The Walking Dead which had plenty of backstage drama and was one of 2018's biggest gaming flops. Its failure combined with the bad blood from the PAYDAY fandom towards his decisions and several Starbreeze/Overkill executives being indicted for insider trading, has made Bo pull a Jeff Spangenberg and seemingly disappear not just from the industry, but from the face of the Earth entirely.

    YouTubers 
  • The owner of Maru, arguably the most famous cat featured on YouTube. The channel has over 200 million views and is the 7th most subscribed channel in Japan, but Maru's owner/s has never been seen on-screen and no one has any idea what they look like outside of the fact that at least one is female. This is strange, considering the worldwide popularity of the channel and the fact that someone somewhere would likely recognize the apartment and/or cats seen in the videos or associated blog. Various attempts to contact Maru's owner have always resulted in failure - the agent representing Maru refuses to send correspondence from fans to said owner(s), and despite it being a huge moneymaker, no one can get a hold of said owner outside of a single interview they granted to a Japanese cat blog.
  • Former YouTube celebrity Miss Hannah Minx left the Internet in late 2013, leaving all her profiles unattended. The crowd-funded film she was supposed to star in was never made. Allegedly, she got bored of her Japanophile persona, got married, had children and disappeared off the radar to raise her kids. Still it's surprising that, in this day and age, and with such an active fanbase, nobody managed to confirm this or find anything more about her.
  • The person who makes HowToBasic might be this, by virtue of being The Faceless in all of his videos. The public doesn't know Mr. Basic's identity because his face is never shown.
  • James Rolfe, best known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, has no problem talking about himself or his childhood, as shown in the many videos he has shared on Cinemassacre. Anything involving his family, especially his wife and two daughters? Under lock and key. While his wife has assisted on many of his AVGN videos, she herself has never appeared in person in them and is always referred to as "Mrs. Nerd" in credits of his works.
  • Despite his millions of views and his 3.1 million subscribers, nearly nothing is known about GradeAUnderA except that he's British and used to be a math tutor. To date, he has done a face reveal for his 2 million subscriber milestone; another video revealed his real name to be Ram although this is entirely unintentional on his part.
  • Similar to the above, I Hate Everything, also known as Alex, has also never shown his face in his videos and prefers to keep it that way. This later turned into a joke on his own videos, showing everything EXCEPT his face. That said, he does show his face regularly now on JAR Media, a YouTube channel run by Alex and his friends.
  • For two years, YouTuber The Mysterious Mr. Enter didn't show his face or reveal his real name, instead representing himself with a static cartoon avatar and using the pseudonym "Mr. Enter". Even after he revealed his real name and showed his face, Enter seldom talks to others online (outside of his Discord, and even then it's primarily focused on his pet project, Growing Around) and does not share his e-mail or Skype with anyone but his very close friends/workers for his projects. He also deleted his Tumblr back in 2016, closed his Twitter in early 2020, and left DeviantArt in mid-July of that same year, making him more, well, mysterious.
  • Todd in the Shadows is kind of a Downplayed example because we know his real name (Kenneth Munson - "Todd Nathanson" is a pseudonym) and he interacts with fans, but he always wears a mask over the top half of his face, not wanting people to know what he looks like. This gimmick was apparently because he was working for a newspaper at the time and was considering a teaching job, but stuck to video reviews instead when they proved more sustainable. While he often joked about the ambiguity of his appearance and race, he appears unmasked in a 2016 video shot by Lindsay Ellis (he’s visible in the “Norway” introduction), and Ellis confirmed in a later video that Todd is half-Vietnamese.
  • Lindsay Ellis herself would blip off the internet following her retirement from content creation in late 2021, itself the result of her suffering multiple online targeted harassment campaigns. Her social media was abandoned, and her only major public appearance since then was as a panelist at VidCon 2022, mentioning she was still dealing with the aftermath of chronic harassment, and that if she ever returned to social media, it will be in a much more limited capacity to promote her books. She did make a comeback in late 2022, but a very restrained one: her Twitter was solely managed by her agent, and more tellingly, her return to video essays was limited to the streaming service Nebula, not YouTube.
  • FunToys Collector Disney Toys Review (aka DisneyCollectorBR) boasts over 11 million subscribers and status as one of the richest and most-watched YouTube channels. The only thing we know about the identity is that she's a Brazillian woman.
  • Many Barney Bunch video makers fall under this trope. Then again, it's probably for their protection knowing that the Bunch is a known trolling group.
  • PurpleEyesWTF was at a point in his internet career fairly open about himself, regularly showing up at conventions, making live-action shorts, and willingly giving out his real name when credited on others' videos. However, he's since then disappeared with the informal farewell to his fanbase being an interview he gave explaining his absence and plans to retire to focus on his job and marriage. He's also revealed he's never been that open about his channel in his personal life anyways. Since then, information about him had been altered and pictures have been removed wherever possible to respect his privacy, including on this very wiki.
  • ThoseDudesWithAHat, the creator of The Review Reviewer. All we know is that he nicknames himself "Timber" as evidenced by his DeviantArt page.
  • Sp00nerism used to be this back when he was part of The Creatures. He never appeared in real-life vlogs of the group and the only time he was seen on camera was wearing a horse mask. This changed in 2013 when he surprised his fans with a face reveal during an RTX panel. Since then he's dropped the secrecy and has shown himself on camera more often.
  • Downplayed by Soviet Womble: He's not particularly secretive about his personal life, but he refuses to ever show his face on camera while streaming; partly because he considers it vain, but also because he'd rather not get hassled by fans in the street. (Rumours that he really is a womble are strenuously denied.)) The only part of him that's ever been seen on camera is a hand either petting or feeding a dog treat to his beloved French Bulldog Lulu.
  • Cr1TiKaL early on, and still is to an extent, very reclusive. The only thing people originally knew about him was that he was a male. There was a rumor at the time that his name was Charlie from a comment that was left on one of his first videos but it was up for debate if that was true. He would drop hints from time to time about some personal life, but people were unsure if any of it was true. It wasn't until 2015 that he confirmed his real name was Charlie and in 2017 he showed off his face for the first time. Recently he has more comfortable with being on camera and has opened up about more of his life, showing his girlfriend, dogs, and even his father in recent videos.
  • Very little is known about FFL2and3rocks, who created the Third Rate Gamer show, outside of YouTube including his real name or even his age.
  • Almost nothing is known about the creator behind Bad Lip Reading since he chooses to remain anonymous so that the humor of his videos doesn't affect his more serious work. The few things he has revealed are that he's male, from Texas, was inspired to create the channel after he tried to read lips like his deaf mother did, and does all the voices in his videos himself, even the female ones (though he has had guest voice actors in some later videos).
  • The musician and voice-over artist known only as "Corpse Husband,” who rose to prominence through group playthroughs of Among Us, due to his dark sense of humor and his deep speaking voice. He reportedly suffers from a number of health issues, including anxiety and agoraphobia, and so is extremely selective about the personal details he chooses to share. Only his left hand has been seen on camera to date.
  • Ding Dong of OneyPlays fame has not given his full name nor has revealed his face and is only known by his nickname and cartoon avatar.
  • Toy YouTuber and reviewer of fascinating media (such as movie marketing) Patmac became this. He stopped updating his Twitter in 2020 and went on a long break from uploading videos after August of that year. He uploaded two new videos in 2021 but went radio silent again.
  • Horror YouTuber Savox is quite mysterious. He's never shown his face in his videos, and so far all we've seen of him is his hand in a few images on social media. He has basically no online presence outside of YouTube and Twitter, and only occasionally posts on both. The only details he's made public are that his name is 'Max', he's British and in his thirties. He's also never appeared in any videos outside of his own channel, which is odd considering many horror YouTubers tend to collaborate with others at least once.
  • Not much is known about Life of Boris outside of YouTube. While he has shared bits and pieces of his personal life (including his occupation, as he's a programmer for an unidentified Estonian company) and has appeared at VidCon London in 2019, his country of origin is unknown (although he's confirmed to have lived in both Russia and Estonia and he identifies as an Estonian) and he covers his face in every video he's in, in the interest of preserving his anonymity.
  • Noah Antwiler used to be extremely active online in producing The Spoony Experiment and collaborating with the likes of That Guy With The Glasses, but had since dramatically fallen off starting around 2013-2015, partly due to preexisting conditions (after several years believing he suffered from burnout and depression, 2012 saw him being diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder), partly due to several personal and public meltdowns, including an incident of quickly reaching a Patreon goal of starting a Spoony Experiment movie, only to realize he was in over his head and the project never materializing. The Spoony Experiment website was abandoned as of 2019, and Noah's only major internet presence consists of his Twitter and sporadic gaming livestreams on his YouTube (his last major video release came out in 2016). A surprise interview in late 2022 had him confirm that much of his long absence was for the sake of restoring his mental health, and that he's interested in returning to making content again, though only time will tell when they'll see the light of day.

Fictional examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • An episode of Sailor Moon dealt with Yumemi Yumeno, a talented artist who felt she was too plain to be taken seriously as a romance painter. While she doesn't stay permanently indoors, she paints fake portraits of herself (depicting 'self as a beautiful and royal-looking woman) and stays in the background during her own exhibitions. After she's targeted by Zoicite, forcibly turned into the youma she was in her former life, and rescued by the Senshi, Yumemi decides to stop hiding and in her new exhibition, she includes a picture of her actual meganekko self.
  • The painter Emu Hino from Crying Freeman, until she becomes the target and then the wife of Yoh "Crying Freeman" Hinomura.
  • The novelist Hideomi Nagato from Case Closed, somewhat justified by his horribly disfigured face (coming from a horrible incident in his high school years where a "fiery" prank ended with him scarred and a little girl orphaned) and his past as a Hikikomori.
  • Ryu Shizuka from Bakuman。 is frighteningly recluse, to the point he initially only talks to his editor over the Internet. He gradually gets better.
  • Rohan Kishibe from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a mangaka who is already famous for his work by age 20 but is also reclusive and highly eccentric. His Stand powers also happen to center around his talents.
  • Kona "Frau Kojiro" Furugoori from Robotics;Notes single-handedly created the fighting game Kill-Ballad, which she also maintains. She is also a notorious Hikikomori.
  • Miu of Blend-S seems to heavily dislike staying outside and interacting with people:
    • In Episode 6, the cast goes on an outdoor trip to a lake. Kaho, Akizuki, and especially Miu appear almost physically ill.
    • In Episode 8, she happily thinks to herself that, having bought enough paper, she won't have to go outside until the next Fan Convention.
  • The Boy's Love manga artist Juon Mejiro from Princess Jellyfish, who's so reclusive that none of the other characters have ever actually seen her. She never leaves her room and communicates with the other residents of Amamizukan by passing written messages back and forth to them under her door. The final chapter of the manga reveals this is largely because Mejiro is actually male; he fell in love with Chieko and enforced Amamizukan's "no male residents allowed" rule so no other men would go after her, but this forced him to shut himself up in his room so none of the other residents would find out he was a man himself.
  • Invoked in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! As one of her schemes, Kanamori gets Asakusa and Mizusaki to wear paper bags over their heads at the first screening of their latest animation. Since it's well-known that Mizusaki is also a famous fashion model, Kanamori expects that the implication she's trying to conceal her identity will drive up interest, and therefore sales.

    Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who mini-episode "My Own Private Mozart", it's discovered that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself has actually become one of these. Having been made immortal in exchange for annual symphonies produced exclusively for his mysterious patron, he's long since outlived all his loved ones and his popularity, as by now he's worn out all creative impulses through decades of contract-driven work. At the age of a hundred, Mozart lives alone except for his butler - who actually goes so far as to arrange a special birthday party of masked guests just so someone will listen to his music, hence why the Doctor and Evelyn get involved. And it turns out that both the butler and the guests are mass-produced clones of Mozart looking for meaning in their lives.

    Comic Books 
  • By the time The Wicked + The Divine begins Tara has completely withdrawn from making any public appearances outside of increasingly rare performances and only meets with the rest of Pantheon if there's a very good reason. People assume this is because she's just stuck-up and views herself as superior to everyone else. It's actually because she's attracted a massive Hatedom and receives so many rape and death threats that staying away from the public is for her own safety.

    Fan Works 
  • Hanako Ikezawa in Reconciliation is a best-selling author, but is quite uncomfortable with book signings, and tries to avoid calling attention to herself when a flight attendant recognizes her. She also only has one friend at the start of the fic- her publicist, Sho- as a result of distancing herself from Lilly and Hisao after her Bad Ending.
  • Personality Conflicts: Art Fortunes, creator of the Beetleborgs comic series, is described in narration as "semi-reclusive"; his first appearance in the series has him answering his phone with "Art Fortunes speaking, how did you get this number?" The person calling him happens to be someone who knows him in canon - Josh Baldwin, the former White Blaster Beetleborg, who's amused by his reaction.

    Films — Animation 
  • Clay Calloway from Sing 2 is a popular Lion rock star who performed many popular songs in universe, pretty much everyone loves his music, and Buster claiming to be friends with him is what gets him the gig with music producer Jimmy Crystal, but the problem is Calloway has made no public appearances since the death of his wife 15 years prior, who was also his muse for his songs, when attempts are made to meet him he scares them off with his electric fence and a paintball gun, eventually Ash has a heart to heart talk with him and is able to bring him out of retirement.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Stranger Than Fiction has Karen Eiffel, the author/narrator of the central character, who could only be found by looking at her ten-year-old tax return.
  • The writer in Field of Dreams, Terrence Mann (played by James Earl Jones). He was actually J.D. Salinger in the book, but as you can imagine, that changed pretty quickly (Salinger threatened to sue if he was featured in any adaptation of the novel).
  • The character of William Forrester from Finding Forrester was largely based on J.D. Salinger.
  • Performance has Turner, a reclusive rock star played by Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones.
  • In Scanners, the character of Benjamin Pierce is a telepath of dubious sanity who once tried to kill his family before he was rehabilitated through art. He lives out in the woods and hates company.
  • Get Crazy had a roster of rock star expies at a New Year's Eve concert, including Lou Reed playing reclusive spokesman-for-a-generation folk-rocker Auden (a thinly-veiled Bob Dylan).
  • Reach Me had Teddy Raymond, the author of the eponymous bestselling self-help book, who stayed away from press and fans because he was afraid of crowds.
  • Only Lovers Left Alive has Adam, who puts his music out through a contact and supplier named Ian, and writer Kit Marlowe - the Christopher Marlowe - who lives with his protegé Bilal. This is because both are vampires.

    Literature 
  • Benno von Archimboldi from Roberto Bolaño's 2666.
  • Vida Winter in The Thirteenth Tale, very much so. She never allows anyone into her home, and whenever she speaks to reporters, she concocts elaborate lies about her childhood. No one knows anything about her, despite her outselling every book except for the Bible.
  • The protagonist of Jacqueline Wilson's novel Midnight is a young girl called Violet, who has an obvious crush on her favorite fantasy author. Trouble is, he's rather elusive, but Violet manages to find him in the end.
  • More Information Than You Require has a minor subplot about a boy who realizes his neighbour is actually (a fictionalized version of) J.D. Salinger. Salinger tells the boy he's working on a sequel to Catcher in the Rye, but he's so culturally cut off that he doesn't realize that having Holden Caulfield attend a school of wizardry has already been done.
  • "Night Film" has the reclusive filmmaker Stanislas Cordova, who has gained a sort of Stanley Kubrickian reputation. All of his films are released via an "underground network" rather than through a traditional studio and are reportedly very disturbing. He is rumored to not have left his massive estate in decades. Also, there are only a few photographs of him and many believe that he wears drag to disguise himself as his personal assistant. In the end, it is revealed that the two are different people, and Cordova himself was committed to a nursing home.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and its many adaptations), legendary chocolatier Willy Wonka has been this for years when the story starts, at least since industrial espionage forced him to fire his original workforce and retire for a time. And when his factory started making candy again, no one could figure out how it was possible, since no one was ever seen entering or leaving the place. Thus, when the prospect of winning a visit to the factory is raised, it becomes a global obsession...
  • The Man in the High Castle's titular character.
  • Wintermute in the Neuromancer stories. The story is kicked off by trying to find the artist behind a series of highly unusual sculptures.
  • John Rothstein, the first murder victim in Finders Keepers.
  • Discworld examples:
    • Leonard of Quirm is first introduced locked away in a secluded wing of the Patrician's palace and rarely if ever allowed into the outside world, which appears to be fully voluntary on his part: Given his Absent-Minded Professor tendencies and penchant for designing weapons of such terrible destructive power that they frighten even him, keeping him out of the public eye is necessary for his own safety and that of the general public.
    • Methodia Rascal in Thud!, who spent his entire life shut up in his rooms, painting a huge mural of the Battle of Koom Valley, writing odd notes to himself, and occasionally worrying that he might be a chicken.
    • Subverted with Miss Felicity Beadle, children's author, in Snuff, whose neighbours think of her as reclusive, whereas she's actually very sociable with the local goblin tribes, and is only a Shrinking Violet when dealing with other humans because the alternative would be screaming at them about their Fantastic Racism. Possibly in Goblin.
  • In Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, Lieselotte's mother Josephine is a famous painter, but she isn't the most comfortable with people, even her immediate family. As a result, she has the tendency to retreat to paint her days away, and her oldest child Lieselotte does not recall ever spending much time with her.
  • The Hermit from Hieroglyphics refuses to allow Machen to give out his name because he'd rather Machen be the target of scrutiny from the literary establishment.
  • Pareidolia and the Gilded Scar features a few of these characters, most notably the narrator in Of The Artist who spends the majority of the story alone and only speaks to the mountain once.
  • Lemony Snicket, the in-universe author of A Series of Unfortunate Events rarely shows his face due to constantly being on the run from authorities. Even out-of-universe, he never makes public appearances, and Daniel Handler, (the real-life author) shows up instead as his "representative."
  • Sartoris, who in Small World (Tabitha King novel) is a name alongside Van Gogh or Picasso, becomes so fed up with fame that he buys a barren island only accessible by helicopter and lives there with only a housekeeper, painting in private in a tiny bungalow just this side of poverty and refusing to show or sell any of the masterpieces he's created in the past twenty years.
  • Anthony Price's spy thriller Soldier No More has a subplot about Antonia Palfrey, author of the trashy but bestselling historical novel Princess in the Sunset, who never makes public appearances and rarely meets in person with anyone except her lawyer and agent. In the main plot, an agent is being investigated for Suspicious Spending, but the investigator eventually realizes that his money isn't coming from bribery or blackmail — he is Antonia Palfrey.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Stig is made out to be this "in-universe", for lack of a better word. Averted rather spectacularly when the previous Stig outed himself by way of a tell-all book about his time on the show. The identity of the current Stig remains unknown, but there are rumours that the role has passed on to Sabine Schmidt, a professional racing driver and co-presenter of the German answer to Top Gear who guest-starred in a couple of the team's adventures on the Continent. Make what you will of the tabloid articles alleging that Jeremy Clarkson was cheating on his wife that started popping up not long afterwards...
  • In an episode of Frasier, Frasier and Niles meet a character named T.H. Houghton (obviously comparable to J.D. Salinger), who wrote one book and then vanished off the map. They're horrified to realize that their hero loves talking about baseball with their blue-collar dad.
  • In the Alternate History of Watchmen, Ryan Murphy is one, staying almost entirely away from the public as he produces American Hero Story, a dramatization of the lives of history's masked heroes.

    Theatre 
  • RENT: Roger almost never leaves his apartment for anything (Due to being on the verge of dying of AIDS and a recovering heroin addict and is busy writing a love song to leave behind after his death.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 3 has Agatha, the elderly widowed violinist.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Michael Angelo, an agoraphobe responsible for the neon signs for New Vegas. Since he is incapable of leaving his workshop, he asks the player to take pictures of landmarks around the Mojave for inspiration.
  • The Beginner's Guide stars the narrator and creator of The Stanley Parable Davey Wreden, who mentions that the creator of the games shown in this game is a recluse in the very first one.
  • The graffiti artist known only as CAT from The World Ends with You. The main character is an avid fanboy but scoffs at the idea that he might know his identity, and NPCs speculating on it aren't hard to find. It's Hanekoma.
  • Dr. Kenneth Farnstien became this in The Journeyman Project 2, during the year 2221. He purchased a space station and moved it into Saturn's orbit, and only made a brief reappearance on Earth in an attempt to sell some paintings made by what he claimed to be a new kind of Artificial Intelligence, which in fact was true. Dr. Farnstien later perished when the station was hit by a meteor shower in 2247.
  • Micheal Arthate, the protagonist of Scratches moves into a Victorian Mansion to become this, but later becomes distracted by the house's past.
  • Two of the romance options in Stardew Valley are Leah, a sculptor who lives in a small cabin by the lake in Cindersap Forest, and Elliot, a struggling writer who lives in a shack on the beach.
  • According to some supplementary materials for Touhou Project, Satori is this, as she's mentioned to have anonymously published books in the surface world.

    Visual Novels 
  • Drew Misham, and his daughter Vela, from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. This actually turns out to be a deconstruction; because he insisted on being an artist, his wife left him and his daughter to fend for themselves. He becomes this after an incident where his daughter was kidnapped, and her distrust of the outside world forces him to lock his door, only communicating with a two-way mailbox. His own income as an artist was only barely enough for them to get by, and was forced to turn to forgery in order to pay the bills.
  • Despite his success as a children's author, Yakumo from Spirit Hunter: NG has very little personal relations and none of them have ever been inside his home. This is because he's a spiritualist who kidnaps young girls and mutilates them into dolls in his attic.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has Tohya (aka Ikuko) Hachijō, a female mystery writer who lives alone in a small mansion, barely ever meets anyone, is a jerk to the few people she meets, and feels little more than contempt for most of her fans. She actually writes many of her works under various pen names to give herself an aura of mystery and spent a good chunk of her life writing novels that she didn't let anyone read.

    Web Comics 
  • Madam von Silfersked of Anders Loves Maria. She hasn't left the house since Anders graduated from university.
  • Housepets!: The author of the popular Pridelands series of books routinely does public appearances, interviews, and signings. However, this is only a front, as the real author is her cat, Res. For his privacy, his owner pretends to be the author and only takes them along to pretend to be a guest speaker.
  • Sydney Morgan of the webcomic This Is Not Fiction does show up to book signings (albeit wearing obfuscating sunglasses), but she otherwise keeps herself hidden (going as far as to list her address as a gay club). The main premise of the comic is the characters trying to find out who she really is.
  • Word of God is that David Willis's Author Avatar in Dumbing of Age, as opposed to his sporadic appearances in the Walkyverse, is the reclusive creator of the cartoons Dexter and Monkey Master and Ultra Car who lives in a cliffside mansion with a solid gold lawn.

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold!: Agatha Caulfield, Arnold's favorite author, lives alone on Elk Island. Arnold has to take a boat to visit her in order to write his essay. He learns to his disappointment that she was a bitter and angry old woman who decried her old books. However, by the end of the episode, she's inspired to write a new book based on her experience with Arnold.
  • A.K. Yearling, the author of the Daring Do books in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic lives out in the middle of nowhere and almost never appears in public. It turns out this is because she actually is Daring Do, her books aren't fiction, and "A.K. Yearling" is simply an alias.
  • The Simpsons: "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" has Stacy Lovell, the creator of the titular doll, who Smithers claims hasn't appeared in public in twenty years. Lisa (rather easily) tracks her down to a gated community called "Recluse Ranch Estates" where she resides in a house exactly like the one the doll lives in.
    Lisa: Excuse me, Miss Lovell? I'd like to talk to you about Malibu Stacy.
    Stacy: Do you have any idea how many kids have tried to track me down?
    Lisa: Am I the first?
    Stacy: [Beat] Yes.

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