07 January, 2016

A drifting life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

A drifting life is an autobiographical look at the life of renowned manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. His character (named Hiroshi Katsumi in the story) deals with the struggles of becoming a manga artist in post war Japan.

A drifting life covers a great deal of the social events which Japan faced following the second world war in short asides. It also focuses on Hiroshi's own passions, such as French and American films, novels and Osamu Tezuka (author of Astro Boy, Kimba, Princess Knight etc) which affected Hiroshi’s own manga and storytelling style. Hiroshi’s personal struggles are also highlighted through personal friendship and family issues and the ongoing business, trust and loyalty issues between artists and publishers.

Hovering over this story is Hiroshi’s struggle to come to terms with his own identity as a manga artist and the identity of his genre as ‘manga’. This forms the basis for Hiroshi developing the more adult ‘gekiga’ style (think: adult graphic novels opposed to the term comic books) for which he is credited .

Never straying from its core purpose of documenting the struggles of a manga artist in a booming post war Japan, A drifting life is a wonderfully illustrated historical piece and highly recommended to those with an interest in manga and its innovators, particularly during this period.

Title: A drifting life
Author: Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Recommended by James W, Mangere Bridge Library

James W comes fully equipped with head shake and tut tutting finger. He has mastered the half back-flip.

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