Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy 93rd Birthday Shigeru Mizuki, creater of GeGeGe no Kitaro!

Shigeru Mizuki, March 8, 1922 (age 92) is a fascinating mangaka (maker of manga or comics) who is most well-known for his yōkai, which is a sub genera of manga that is about Japanese spirits and ghost from folk traditions.

In the early 60’s he wrote Hakaba no Kitarō, which translates literally into “Kitarō (of the) Graveyard”. It’s about a half boy, half yōkai named Kitarō who has one eye, lives in a graveyard and fights for peace between the yōkai and the humans. 

He is helped in his work by his father, Medama-oyaji, literally translated as “Eyeball Father” because he is made manifest on Earth by his sons missing eyeball. Kitarō was made into a popular animated tv show called Gegege no Kitarō and has become an icon in Japan inspiring all kinds of merchandise, live action movies and even a museum. 

Mizuki has a wonderful style that combines richly detailed backgrounds with cartoony charicatured people.

Drawn and Quarterly has been translating Mizuki’s work. In addition to their translation of Kitarō they have also translated Mizuki’s memoir of his childhood growing up with his grandma in the title NonNonBa. She was the one who taught him about the traditional folk yōkai (spirits or ghosts).

They have also translated Mizuki’s semi-autobiographical account of his time serving in the war (where he lost an arm) in the book Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths 

and his modern history of Japan in the four book Showa series named for the emperor of the time.

You can see Gegege No Kitaro here - http://www.drunkentengu.com/mizuki/
You can see a lot of Mizuki’s beautiful Yokai illustrations here - http://hyakumonogatari.com/category/from-mizuki-shigeru/page/4/
You can get Drawn and Quarterly’s translations of his work on their website - https://www.drawnandquarterly.com/author/shigeru-mizuki

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