A History of Japan
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
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A master cartoonist and war vet details Japan’s involvement in World War II
Showa 1939–1944: A History of Japan continues the award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki’s autobiographical and historical account of Showa-era Japan. This volume covers the final moments of the lead-up to World War II and the first few years of the Pacific War, and is a chilling reminder of the harshness of life in Japan during this highly militarized epoch.
Mizuki writes affectingly about the impact on the Japanese populace of world-changing moments, including the devastating Second Sino-Japanese War, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the first half of the Pacific War. On a personal level, these years mark a dramatic transformation in Mizuki’s life, too. His idyllic childhood in the countryside comes to a definitive end when he’s drafted into the army and shipped off to the tiny island of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea. His life becomes a constant struggle for survival, not only against the constant Allied attacks but against the harsh discipline of the Japanese army officers. During his time in Rabaul, Mizuki comes to understand the misery and beauty of the island itself, a place that will permanently mark him and haunt him for the rest of his life.
Born in 1922 in Sakaiminato, Tottori, Shigeru Mizuki is a specialist in stories of yōkai and is considered a master of the genre. He is a member of the Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology and has traveled to more than sixty countries to engage in fieldwork of the yōkai and spirits of different cultures. His work has been published in Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Taiwan, and Italy, and he was the first manga-ka to win the grand prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, Europe’s highest prize for comics.
“A powerful, maddening and at times bitterly funny war story . . . A revealing look at World War II from the opposite side.” —NPR
“Shigeru Mizuki is one of Japan’s greatest illustrators, a master of both realism and manga.” —The Globe and Mail