JAPAN AS VIEWED BY 17 CREATORS

Japan as viewed by 17 Creators

REVIEW
JAPAN AS VIEWED BY 17 CREATORS

This is an excellent collection of comic stories. The styles are all over the map, but the stories themselves are centered exclusively on only one spot on the map: Japan.

I've not been to the country in question, but the exploration of the places around Japan presented here give a sense of a feeling about the place, from travelogues and short stories, to surrealistic tales and standard "relationship" stories. The tales are presented from a multitude of angles, and from natives to foreign born aficionados. There are also tales from the merely interested outsider who has been in the country of Nippon.

The book leads off with a letter from editor Frederic Boilet to one of the contributors describing this publishing project. The two page letter outlines the purpose and scope of the volume, more or less a pitch to the possible contributor, obviously predating the book itself. Then the book begins (no table of contents) with the first story by Kan Takahama. Sixteen more contributors follow; I include four pages samples (below) which are from the stories by Nicolas De Crecy, Frederic Boilet, Jiro Taniguchi, and Fabrice Neaud.

Pages from Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators

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There is not a lot of history here concerning Japan itself. The personal histories and concerns of the creators are the priority object which fuel these stories, some of which are reactions to Japanese culture or experiences as a Japanese citizen. There are also slightly surreal fantasy tales set in Japan which make points about the country by less than direct means. A few stories are almost like home movies about visiting this museum or that tourist place - - on the whole these are still interesting, though less personal. The tone and attitudes vary; maybe the most unusual thing is that the non-Japanese stories (from French artists) seem to make much more specific observations, whereas the Japanese creators do not.

Altogether this book is an intelligent and thoughtful collection of viewpoints and feelings about the country of Japan, almost exclusively set in the present "modern age" with very little which requires any previous knowledge of the place (one of the exceptions is the nostalgic and romantic Jiro Taniguchi story "Summer Sky" which is set in 1953). The art styles vary from "manga style" to familiar European styles, with a few stops in between, all in black and white with half-tone screening for grey tones. The printing and binding of the book is professional, with a nice hinge-flap cover

Related: Manga Index for this website

Wikipedia has a general overview of Japan here.
The Publisher web site for the book is here.

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Manga and Related

Manga Index

Naruto, April 2020 Shonen Jump, Masashi Kishimoto

Naruto, July 2007 Shonen Jump, Masashi Kishimoto

Abandon the Old in Tokyo - by Tatsumi

Camie - One Piece by Eiichiro Oda, Shonen Jump Feb 2012

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda, April 2012, Princess Shirahoshi, 2-page spread

One Piece Page by Eiichiro Oda - July 2007

Genkaku Picasso by Usamaru Furuya

Chiaki from Genkaku Picasso by Usamaru Furuya

Bakuman by Takeshi Obata

More Bakuman by Takeshi Obata

DeathNote #1 by Obata and Tsugumi Ohba

Tite Kubo artwork from Chapter 274 of "Bleach"

Japan as viewed by 17 comics creators

Color page from Bakuman #1

See review of Deathnote #1

Black and White pages from Bakuman #1

Manga Faust Deal!


Original page December 28, 2006 | Updated Feb 2013

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