Mizuki Shigeru’s Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan


So, I haven’t had as much time to work on new translations for Hyakumonogatari.com, and I can finally tell you why. I have been working on translating Drawn & Quarterly’s new Mizuki Shigeru comic Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan.

This is an epic, monolithic comic that combines the best of Mizuki Shigeru—his yokai comics, his autobiographical comics, and his war comics. It is a history of the Showa period (1926-1989), covering both his personal story growing up during the period, as well as the heady back story of politics, finance, and culture that transformed Japan from the promising flower of Taisho Democracy into the monster of WWII and back to the Economic Miracle that reconstructed the nation.

The entire series is narrated by Nezumi Otoko, and features sporadic appearances by other yokai. It’s the kind of comic you could never see in the U.S.—I like to think of it as “What if Carl Barks had written Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States but done it as a comic book using Donald Duck as the narrator?” The depth of history is incredible. I had some knowledge of the Japanese side of WWII, but when translating this I found that many of my long-held beliefs were entirely incorrect. It also puts into perspective all of the dealings that are still going on in Asia today. Or as my wife said when she read the comic—“I finally understand why China hates Japan so much.”

It’s an amazing comic and I feel honored to bring it an English-speaking audience. The comic was originally an 8-volume series in Japan, but Drawn and Quarterly is combining two volumes into one book, so it will be a 4-volume set in total.

You can pre-order the comic here:

Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan

When I am finished with the translation, I do some more translations for Hyakumonogatari.  I am planning to do a series on the yokai featured in Showa, so you can look forward to that!

Oh, and if there are any Twitter folks on here, I am also translating Mizuki Shigeru’s official Twitter posts (@mizukipro) so you can follow me @zackdavisson and see what Mizuki Shigeru has to say!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. angryscholar
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 21:21:28

    Brilliant! This looks fascinating.


  2. Zack Davisson
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 21:23:17

    It is! I am finishing up the last issue now (Volume 8). It’s an amazing comic. I love Mizuki Shigeru’s yokai work, but I think this is his real Magnum Opus.


  3. angryscholar
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 23:01:16

    That’s wild, man. Congrats on being involved with it. I think I mentioned before that one of my faculty members writes on yokai stuff. He’ll be interested to read this, if he hasn’t already.


  4. Zack Davisson
    Mar 21, 2013 @ 09:35:11

    I remember you mentioning that. Put him in touch with me, if he is interested.


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