A fascinating period in Japanese history explored by a master of manga
Showa 1926–1939: A History of Japan is the first volume of Shigeru Mizuki's meticulously researched historical portrait of twentieth-century Japan. This volume deals with the period leading up to World War II, a time of high unemployment and other economic hardships caused by the Great Depression. Mizuki's photo-realist style effortlessly brings to life the Japan of the 1920s and 1930s, depicting bustling city streets and abandoned graveyards with equal ease.
When the Showa era began, Mizuki himself was just a few years old, so his earliest memories coincide with the earliest events of the time. With his trusty narrator Rat Man, Mizuki brings history into the realm of the personal, making it palatable, and indeed compelling, for young audiences as well as more mature readers. As he describes the militarization that leads up to World War II, Mizuki's stance toward war is thoughtful and often downright criticalhis portrayal of the Nanjing Massacre clearly paints the incident (a disputed topic within Japan) as an atrocity. Mizuki's Showa 1926–1939 is a beautifully told history that tracks how technological developments and the country's shifting economic stability had a role in shaping Japan's foreign policy in the early twentieth century.
About the Author
Born in 1922 in Sakaiminato, Tottori, Shigeru Mizuki is a specialist in stories of yokai 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 yokai 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“We’re talking 500 million yen in earthquake loans.” (Mizuki 18). SHOWA a History of Japan book starts in the Japanese depression, at the same time as the American Depression but much worse. It shows that some countries have it worse than others. SHOWA A History of Japan tackles what people can do and some procrastinate they made little people out of dynamite and sticks and how the town is depressed. In the book SHOWA a History of Japan the reader is thrown in to a life after Japan after a earthquake hit. [EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT JAPAN’S BANKS ARE THROWN INTO A [CRASH DUE TO THE EARTHQUAKE THAT HIT OVER NIGHT!] Everyone is poor, the stock markets have crashed, and just like America the currency. (in this case Yen instead of the dollar bill) is worth next to nothing. [The main character, in this book since most of the characters do not have names so his name to me is Billy, he has a great family with a younger and older brother, mom, dad, and a gramma figure called Nonnonba. The brothers go to school, while the dad tries to get a job, mom stays at home and cooks while Nonnonba helps with what she can. Later in the book Nonnonba dies and his little brother says “i can’t believe that Nonnonba is dead…” (Mizuki 275) and that China and Japan (Mizuki 276) “Relations between china and japan are about to explode.”The qoutes help prove that when bad things happen you can always find a way to deal with it through life. SHOWA a History of Japan is a great book if the reader wants to learn about the history of Japan during and their Great Depression that they had sooner pthan the Americans. The way it could grab readers is that it is in the style of a graphic novel, which for some people it is a little easier than a big block of text because the pictures that author Shigeru Mizuki drew helps show what the characters feel and how they look without describing them for the whole book. Designs of the characters are simple he does complex designs on people from history. Something to take away from this book is that be thankful for what everyone has. The way that the author presents his book is really good for people who can not read books with text blocks. Some people procrastinate and have to start the page over. One quote is “That Golden ball looks delicious.” (Mizuki Pg 29) this makes so the reader can read and not procrastinate while reading. SHOWA History of Japan also has a sad Tone;the japanese in their version of the Great Depression. In SHOWA a History of Japan it tackles what people can do in this town.The book is a great read its a graphic novel and that can be good or bad or how the reader looks at it, the book reads right to left wich to some Americans is a little confusing. The book makes the reader feel bad as the main character is trying to stay alive with what little money everyone has.
This book is amazing, I went through it in two days and couldn't put it down. It is massive in scope and I'm amazed at how he is able to balance the telling of his own personal experiences with the larger, historical and political narrative. Funny, tragic, witty, critical, vulnerable, and very human. I can't wait to get the rest of them!