Sunday, December 01, 2013

Discovery: Showa, A history of Japan

A friend brought to my attention yet another classic manga. Since I'm in a period where I'm focusing on historical manga, it's definitively a title that I want to check out! I am not sure why I am surprised since it was announced nearly a year ago, but I'll take any Shigeru Mizuki coming my way, particularly from Drawn & Quarterly. It's a must. I don't know yet if I'll buy it or simply borrow it at the library, but stay tuned!

Showa: a History of Japan, 1926-1939 is the first volume of Shigeru Mizuki’s meticulously researched historical portrait of twentieth century Japan. This volume deals with the period leading up to World War II, a time of high unemployment and other economic hardships caused by the Great Depression. Mizuki’s photo-realist style effortlessly brings to life Japan of the 1920s and 1930s, depicting bustling city streets and abandoned graveyards with equal ease.”

“When the Showa Era began, Mizuki himself was just a few years old, so his earliest memories coincide with the earliest events of the Era. With his trusty narrator Rat Man, Mizuki brings history into the realm of the personal, making it palatable, and indeed compelling, for young audiences as well as more mature readers. As he describes the militarization that leads up to World War II, Mizuki’s stance toward war is thoughtful and often downright critical – his portrayal of the Nanjing Massacre clearly paints the incident (a disputed topic within Japan) as an atrocity. Mizuki’s Showa is a beautifully told history that tracks how technological developments and the country’s shifting economic stability had a role in shaping Japan’s foreign policy in the early twentieth century.” [ Text from the publisher's website ]

Showa: a History of Japan, 1926-1939 , by Shigeru Mizuki. Montreal, Drawn & Quarterly, october 2013. 6.45 x 8.765 in., b&w, paperback, 560 pg., $24.95 Can. ISBN: 9781770461352. A preview is available on D&Q site. Volume 2 (Showa 1938-1944) coming in april 2014.

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