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Thursday, 5 June 2014

Out Now from D&Q: Showa 1939 – 1944 A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki!

Gekiga lovers are in for a treat this week: Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan by the legendary Shigeru Mizuki, is now in stores! The first volume, Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan was nominated for an Eisner Award for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia.” And the second volume ups the stakes and makes for an even deeper, more emotionally impactful story.


Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan is the second volume of Mizuki's sprawling epic, which shows two parallel narratives – one historical and one autobiographical – during the Showa (or "peace"/"harmony") period of Japan's history. 


In the 1939-1944 volume, Mizuki dissects Japan's entry into World War II, and shows Mizuki's coming-of-age as he struggles with being drafted and becoming a soldier. Shigeru paints himself as a naive and lazy teenager, occasionally somewhat ignorant of the true horrors of war.


But when Shigeru is finally transferred to Rabaul (a small island in Papua New Guinea), his life changes forever, and he is forced to grow up quickly, while experiencing horrors previously beyond his imagination.


While it's a dark and terrifying period of Japan's history, Showa 1939-1944 has heartwarming and funny moments as well, and continues to present a gorgeous, well-rounded, and interesting historical autobiographical saga.


So pick up the first volume if you haven't already, and when you're done, come grab Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan for a summer of amazing gekiga!

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