War is a victorious, perhaps bitter, maybe a painful playground for adults. In war, we imagine soldiers moving to shoot their enemies, nurses rushing to heal the injured, politicians and generals posing in front of battle plans, and civilians running away from the crossfire. Our memories of war are ingrained with images of adults trying to make sense out of that chaos. For years we have been surrounded by timeless photographs and movies about that war that to this day, we envision the war strongly as an adult’s world.
But what about the children? Where is the child’s place in our social memory of the Pacific war?
Finding the child’s place in social memory entails an understanding of social memory and the value of children’s experiences in relation to the grand historical World War II narrative. Their frail voices in World War II histories speak of how much their war experiences have been neglected. However, as these children find their voices as adults, the recollection of their World War II experience as children becomes unbearably loud.
These are the memories of three Japanese children during the war against the images of Japanese childhood as constructed by Japan’s propaganda machinery. The memories of Keiji Nakazawa, Osamu Tezuka, and Shigeru Mizuki present a different story of the Pacific War —providing a fresh yet powerful social memory that makes us question on how war affects people at all ages.
Tudors England is quite tricky — especially when you have a king who’s been hacking off his wives’ heads. One can only imagine the level of distrust in a royal court filled with intrigue and political turmoil. Ooku no K0, Child of the Kingdom, by Bikke rides on this atmosphere as Henry faces his last few days. Many were counting the days until his death while others were already plotting on who they should support next.
Mindful of of this political game is a young William Cecil who crosses a young actor on stage. He drags the young man to court and shows him to a young Elizabeth. He suggests that this young man be Elizabeth’s political decoy, a body double. And while Elizabeth finds it hard to believe, the young man proves to be as regal as her.
This chapter’s quite interesting as I’m receiving diverse reviews for the MMF! So here’s a recap on some of the things written this week!
First! Ash has reviewed Vagabond, by Inoue Takahiko, a retelling of Miyamoto Musashi’s life. He dwells on the themes found in the 3rd Omnibus of Vagabond. He is also giving away Shigeru Mizuki’s Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths. You better tell him what’s your favorite historical manga!
In The Beautiful World, Neko reviews MW with a historical perspective. He takes into context the tension of post-war Japan and the taboo sexualities that Tezuka explored. It’s interesting because I rarely see Tezuka contextualized so it’s a good read. I wonder why no one is looking at Buddha? Oh wait, Terry did. Anime Diet also has a look into samurais with Path of the Assassins by Kazuo Koike.
Jocelyn Allen from Brain vs. Book looks at Naoto Yamakawa’s Chokodoshujin, a manga about the life of Ryunosuke Akutagawa. I too have no knowledge about his life. And for a while I was thinking if he wrote mysteries and then I realize that it was Edogawa Ranpo. lol. But it looks like an interesting book and hopefully I get to read about it.
Speaking of authors’ lives, Terry Hong himself discovered Jiro Taniguchi’s book Times of Botchan, a look into the life of Natsume Soseki, a famous author who I sadly remember most for “I am a cat.”
Right here in Otaku Champloo, I talk about manga and memories, particularly why historical manga is relevant to us.
Whenever I submit proposals to my old university, professors will always ask me “Why historical manga?”
The whole world believes that comics are just comics. They are a shallow form of entertainment that exists to amuse us and that in itself is not bad but what I look at is to what degree are we amused and how does our amusement affect us.
It’s a little harder when tracing the effects of a particular manga to a particular population however, I realize, that as long as a manga exists, its values, mores, style, and art remains timeless and continues to be influential.
All the more when it’s historical manga.
Day 1 has come and gone and I think it some parts of the world (at least in mine) it’s already inching towards the 3rd day.
Nonetheless, I’m happy to receive some contributions with regards to the MMF. Hopefully, it’ll give us a glimpse on the titles that we can explore about histories most loved in Manga.
For these days, we’re looking at the women. Women have been long overlooked in history and still struggle as a voice still waiting to be found under piles and volumes of men’s history. The most fervent of women historians long for a change of history to ‘herstory’ but I think that women are
Matt Cycyk shared his thoughts on Ooku: The Inner Chambers by Yoshinaga Fumi, a powerful retelling of Tokugawa Japan had the men been powerless and the women take reign of the shogunate. Matt’s article focuses on the historical legacies incorporated in the story which enriches the authenticity of Ooku’s alternate history.
In Manga Xanadu, Lori Henderson looks at A Bride’s Story, Kaoru Mori’s epic tale about a new Mongolian bride living along the Silk Road. She speaks about Kaoru Mori’s attention to detail as well as the treatment of women as illustrated by Mori. Terry Hong of Book Dragon from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American center has also taken a look at a good number of volumes of A Bride’s Story.
Kaoru Mori’s quite fascinating and her love for history bleeds on to her pages, making it alive and real to us. She’s one of my favorite authors and I’ve lovingly dedicated a spotlight for her and her works, analyzing how her art historicizes the lives of her subjects. I’ve also written an in-depth for a previous MMF on Emma’s historical worth.
Of course, we’re not letting Shigeru Mizuki’s “granny” go unnoticed. Terry also looks into Nononba, Mizuki’s biography on his experiences as he listens to the old ladies’ stories about ghosts and such. I believe it was in Susan Napier’s The Fantastic in Japanese modern literature that she mentioned that women in Japanese literature were often associated with evil thus they are often written as ghosts in old tales. It’s rather interesting because Nononba is anything but ghost but her stories have left a great impression unto a young boy who eventually gave birth to some of Japan’s most treasured monsters.
For a first day, it ain’t that bad! I’ve got a few more links to put up but stay tuned for the rest of the MMF! Again, if you have any contributions, send an e-mail with HISTORY MMF as a title or tweet or tumble with #historymmf as a subject.