Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SEIRINKOGEISHA BOOK PREVIEWS ONLINE!

I figure a lot of Same Hat readers are familiar with the publisher Seirinkogeisha (青林工藝舎), but if you're not they are one of the driving forces of contemporary indie manga-- a small publisher (not unlike Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly in North America) behind a stable of diverse and exciting artists, many showcased in their AX anthology/magazine. They are also closely connected to tacoCHE in Nakano. Along with IKKI, EnterBrain/COMIC BEAM, and a few other publishers in Japan (Ohta, some of the stuff in MORNING), Seirinkogeisha is carrying the torch for indie manga- publishing both manga by contemporary creators and collections of unknown or under-appreciated artists of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.



I realized recently that lots of fans of this stuff, waiting to see it in translation, might not be aware that the rad folks at Seirinkogeisha have been posting online a growing selection of previews of their new releases. These are all in Japanese (of course) but even untranslated hopefully present a cool flavor of what's happening right now. They post updates to their blog each time they add new previews too!

If you're interested in seeing what's happening in contemporary indie manga from one of the most interesting comics publishers in the world, I strongly encourage you guys check out the samples! For most titles, they put up the first chapter or so of the book-- and though their web reader is a bit slow to load, it's a great resource for nerds like us. I haven't read any of these books (except for the Yamada Hanako one) so please share comments if you have!

Thematically and visually, Seirinkogeisha's crop of new releases are all over the place (in a good way), but here are a few of ones I found most interesting:


生きる2010 (Ikiru 2010 aka We Live 2010) by Takashi Nemoto [PREVIEW]
The gnarliness we've come to love and expect from Takashi Nemoto is in full force here. The first story in the book/preview is in trippy full-color, and the entire book looks to be equally dense and brimming with sketchy details.


レッツゴー!!おスナック (Let's Go! Snack Bar) by Toyo Kataoka [PREVIEW]
Kataoka is featured in the AX Anthology, and has published a series of short story collections. In his work, Tokyoite Kataoka's uber-ornate and grotesque manga style is used (to great effect) to tell blue collar neighborhood stories about the city's day laborers, bar flies, and housewives.


ドストエフスキーの犬 (Dostoevsky's Dog) by George Akiyama [PREVIEW]
I picked up a copy of this book, along with Akiyama's ANGURA after having them recommended by Shintaro Kago himself. In Dostoevsky's Dog, Akiyama's elegant and clean lines serve up a a collection of raw tales, full of sex, sin, and coming of age angst. One of my favorite discoveries of the last year!


FLIGHT by Tsurita Kuniko [PREVIEW]
I'm not super familiar with Tsurita Kuniko, but this book collecting various manga from her short career has majorly piqued my interest. From a few online bios, it sounds like Tsurita's comics were published by Shirato Sanpei in GARO, starting right away in the mid-60s when she was just a high school student and continuing until the early 80s. She is reported to have worked in some way with Shigeru Mizuki, but fell ill with SLE and died at the early age of 37,


砂の剣 (Sword of the Sand)) by Susumu Higa [PREVIEW]
Another title/creator I'm not super familiar with, this one is Seirinkogeisha's latest book released (also featured on the cover of the latest AX). Sword of the Sand looks to be a humane and personal wartime tale set on Okinawa during the end of WWII.


Sujiko by Osamu Kanno [PREVIEW]
This is the first collection from Seirinkogeisha of the absurd and weirdly literary art comics of Osamu Kanno. I don't know much about this guy (post in the comments if you do!) but he has been consistently publishing short stories in AX since the beginning, and made his cartooning debut in 1982 (according to this profile via a Tsuge site). His "The Stranger" is the first story in the new AX Anthology. I am intrigued by this preview and want to learn more about these comics...

From Caroline Bren in the comments:
In addition to last year's book from Serinkogeisha, Osamu had another collection around the same time by Hokutoh Shobu, which I believe has been his regular publisher since the begining of his 80's. The recent book as well as one older one seem to still be available, but there is larger bibliography here. Most of the excerpt from his book that appears on the Serinkogeisha site first appeared in AX #58, and AX #71 had a cover feature on Osamu (but only a short comic). I haven't read any of the books but the pieces in AX are great.



ダニー・ボーイ (Danny Boy) by Shimada Toranosuke [PREVIEW]
I picked up a manga called "Träumerei" by artist Shimada Toranosuke last Spring in Tokyo, after seeing his works at the BIG AX FESTIVAL (pics of him from the show in that post). At first I didn't realize he was a contemporary cartoonist, and thought Seirinkogeisha had reprinted something from the early 70s.

Shimatora has a lovely little story in the AX Anthology ("Enrique Kobayashi's Eldorado"). His style is cartooning in a really beautiful and literal sense, simplifying faces and settings down to elegant lines and contrasting black & white shapes. I haven't read any of his stuff beyond Träumerei, which jumped setting from Cambodia to Japan to the Middle East to America, but this book seems to be a series of short stories named after songs (Danny Boy, Far East Suite, etc), focusing on war, music and late-20th Century politics(?).


正義隊3 (Justice Corps 3) by Yuka Goto [PREVIEW]
The third volume of this action series by young & awesome cartoonist Yuka Goto (age 32). Justice Corps looks like weird shirt drawn in a retarded and mean high school girl's notebook, which is an aesthetic that I love. Goto has a story called The Neighbor in the AX Anthology, and I just love that Seirinkogeisha publishes this type of work. The HETA in her heta-uma is STRONG, but also hilarious, like if Mat Brinkman's MULTIFORCE was drawn by Tammy from Esther Pearl Watson's Unloveable.


As a final note, I realized I never blogged about "Tamashii no ASOKO" the book about the late (& genius!) Yamada Hanako-- a fantastic biography & collection of her high school comics, college zines and assorted works. I've had an art crush on her since first seeing her comics in Comics Underground Japan, and will devote a full post to the book sometime (of which, you can get a sample at the link above).

8 comments:

Evan said...

Ryan! I think we need to translate some of this! Awesome post...

vogdoid said...

This is awesome, thanks!

I wanted to ask you about Toranosuke Shimada, whose story "Enrique Kobayashi's Eldorado" was my favorite in AX. Have you seen anything else by him? Any chance of more of it reaching the US?

c.bren said...

In addition to last year's book from Serinkogeisha, Osamu had another collection around the same time by Hokutoh Shobu, which I believe has been his regular publisher since the begining of his 80's. The recent book as well as one older one seem to still be available, but there is larger bibliography <a href="http://www.geocities.jp/bbtugeken/0ph00.html>here</a>. Most of the excerpt from his book that appears on the Serinkogeisha site first appeared in AX #58, and AX #71 had a cover feature on Osamu (but only a short comic). I haven't read any of the books but the pieces in AX are great. & of course he just debuted in English in the new AX book.

ryan said...

@Evan: This list definitely overlaps with the DESIRED FUTURE PROJECTS list in my head :0

@vogdoid: He's a fantastic creator, isn't he? I liked his story in AX Anthology too :) I have only read TRAUMEREI but he has a lot of books out in Japan. I haven't heard of any other books by him coming out, but he'd be a fantastic author for Fantagraphics :)

@c.bren: This is great information, thank you so much! Adding it into the post itself now. I was so excited that his THE STRANGER was the first comic in the AX Anthology.

jimpac said...

In a dream world some US Publisher would link with Seirinkogeisha and release all of their back catalogue!

I'd love to know what's on your desired future projects list but I guess you have to keep that shit close to your chest.

It's hard to chose which of these artists I would most like to see in English. If I could only have one I'd have to go with Yuka Goto and Action Force. I really dug 'The Neighbour' in the Ax Anthology even though it doesn't seem to be getting that much love from other places.

Are you going to post something more indepth about 'Angura'? Think I've heard a few scraps of info here and there but would love to see a full post.

ryan said...

@jimpac: Ah yeah, I figure you can gather my favorites from reading Same Hat, but I do have a short list of books I'd love to edit for some publisher someday.

I have yet to finish reading Volume 2 and 3 of Angura, but I do plan to post about it in the coming weeks. It's a gnarly and awesome series, and I can see why folks like Kago but also more "literary" types really like it. It's a weird mix of apocalyptic fiction, historical novel, slapstick and buddhist musing. Really solid stuff.

Interesting to hear you liked Goto too, I feel like a lot of manga fans might not be willing to go for that level of Heta-Uma but I think she's great. I wish I was more creative and could get over my anxiety and draw something like that someday!

brainvsbook said...

Osamu Kanno is amazing! I hope someone takes a chance on publishing more than just the Ax story in English. I just finished reading Zo o Mita Otoko, a book of his from the eighties, which was so full of things to think about that my poor head might explode. From Japanese sources that I've come across, he seems to have made his debut in Yagyo 3 published by Hokuto Shoboh in April 1973, and then had the story "Hoshi no Yoru no Monogatari" published in the June 1973 issue of Garo.

Cbren said...

Speaking of Osamu Kanno, according to the Seirinkogeisha twitter he lives in Morioka, in Iwate, an area that was affected by the quake and has been experiencing power outages and other problems. Luckily, he and his family are okay. Areas like Morioka badly need supplies, so it wouldn't hurt to contribute relief.