A History of Japan
An Internationally-renowned cartoonist and reluctant war vet details Japan's involvement in World War II
Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan continues Eisner award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki's historical and autobiographical account of Japanese life in the twentieth century. This volume covers the devastation of the Sino-Japanese War and the first few years of the Pacific War-a chilling reminder of just how harsh life in Japan was during this hostile era. Pivotal events like the attack on Pearl Harbor are reframed as part of a larger context detailing the country's brutal military expansion into Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Its effects on the otherwise unseen Japanese populace similarly come to the fore.
On a personal level, these years mark a dramatic transformation in Mizuki's life too. His idyllic youth in the countryside comes to an abrupt halt when he is conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army against his will. On the tiny island of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea, a constant struggle for survival ensues. Not only must he fend off attacks from Allied forces, but from the harsh discipline of his own commanding officers too. It is here that Mizuki comes to understand the misery and beauty of the island itself, a place that will permanently mark and haunt him for the rest of his life.
About this Author
Shigeru Mizuki (1922-2015) was one of Japan's most respected artists. A creative prodigy, he lost an arm in World War II. After the war, Mizuki became one of the founders of Japan's latest craze--manga. He invented the yokai genre with GeGeGe no Kitaro, his most famous character, who has been adapted for the screen several times, as anime, live action, and video games. In fact, a new anime series has been made every decade since 1968, capturing the imaginations of generations of Japanese children. A researcher of yokai and a real-life ghost hunter, Mizuki traveled to over sixty countries to engage in fieldwork based on spirit folklore. In his hometown of Sakaiminato, one can find Shigeru Mizuki Road, a street decorated with bronze statues of his Kitaro characters.
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