Red Snow

Overview

AN AWARD-WINNING BOOK FROM A LEGENDARY MANGA-KA

Continuing D+Q’s groundbreaking exploration of the fascinating world of Gekiga, this collection of short stories is drawn with great delicacy and told with subtle nuance by the legendary Japanese artist Susumu Katsumata. The setting is the premodern Japanese countryside of the author’s youth, a slightlymagical world where ancestral traditions hold sway over a people in the full vigor of life, struggling to survive the harsh seasons...

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Overview

AN AWARD-WINNING BOOK FROM A LEGENDARY MANGA-KA

Continuing D+Q’s groundbreaking exploration of the fascinating world of Gekiga, this collection of short stories is drawn with great delicacy and told with subtle nuance by the legendary Japanese artist Susumu Katsumata. The setting is the premodern Japanese countryside of the author’s youth, a slightlymagical world where ancestral traditions hold sway over a people in the full vigor of life, struggling to survive the harsh seasons and the difficult life of manual laborers and farmers. While the world they inhabit has faded into memory and myth, the universal fundamental emotions of the human heart prevail at the center of these tender stories.

Katsumata began publishing comic strips in the legendary avantgarde magazine Garo (which also published his contemporaries Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Yoshiharu Tsuge) in 1965 while enrolled in the Faculty of Science in Tokyo. He abandoned his studies in 1971 to become a professional comics artist, alternating the short humorous strips upon which he built his reputation with stories of a more personal nature in which he tenderly depicted the lives of peasants and farmers from his native region. In 2006, Katsumata won the 35th Japanese Cartoonists Association Award Grand Prize for Red Snow.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of resonant short stories introduces English-language readers to the late Katsumata's distinctively poetic work, a second-wave participant in the gekiga—alternative manga—movement spearheaded by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Katsumata's frank tales of betrayal, conflict and vulnerability suggest comparisons to Tatsumi's own work. But where Tatsumi captures extreme forms of urban desperation, Katsumata narrates vignettes of rural Japanese life. Prostitution, alcoholism and other plot elements that might elsewhere be underscored are presented here as part of the texture of a difficult, traditionally defined existence. When characters fail to meet their religious and customary obligations, their lives are permeated by a magical realist culture of arboreal spirits, half-human water creatures and snow fairies. But these thematic elements are less a platform for fantasy than a material representation of the power ancient folktales retained even as mass-mediated popular music began to filter out into Japan's agrarian regions. The art preserves a sense of the comic, but rendered in a looser, calligraphic style to reflect organic images of the country. These blend seamlessly with visual flourishes that veer toward poetic abstraction. Katsumata's allusive tales sometimes climax unexpectedly with these visual grace notes, distinguishing imaginative, tonal portraits of a past, remembered world. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897299869
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 11/10/2009
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1943 in Ishinomaki in northeastern Japan, SUSUMU KATSUMATA died in 2007.

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