Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Interview With Shigeru Mizuki

Sarudama offers some reviews of recent Yokai publications by my hero, Shigeru Mizuki. From the site: "Tsukimono Hyakkai - vol 1. This is just a classic example of my oft repeated assertion that Japan is SERIOUSLY FREAKY regarding the amount of (real) traditional superstition is has floating around its cultural core. I mean, just try looking for a humorous cartoon edition of by a Western author of an encyclopedia of spirits traditionally believed to latch onto unsuspecting folk. I lived in Japan a while and fairly absorbed its almost whimsical view of the supernatural, but I've now been back (in the US) long enough to get a little wide-eyed when translating some of these titles. To Japanese audiences, these titles are wholly inocuous and well-received but they still tend to jar me back into recognizing a considerable cultural divide regarding the supernatural." There is also a link to a nice little interview from the Japan Times discussing, amoung other things, his traumatic experiences during WWII... "There, he saw comrades killed in bombings and dying of diseases. Some also killed themsleves out of despair. Then when Mizuki himself contracted malaria and was hovering on the brink of death, his left arm was blown off in an air raid by the Allied forces and the stump soon became infested with maggots." Yuck. Also from the Times:"At age 82, Shigeru Mizuki is undoubtedly among the most popular -- and certainly one of the longest-standing -- cartoon artists in Japan. There is probably no Japanese adult who is not familiar with his name, or who has not at least glanced at the voluminous comics/animation series "Ge-ge-ge no Kitaro," for which he is best known."