Skip to main content

Tokyo Akahon Manga “Gulliver’s Travels” by NAKAMURA Hiroshi

According to a post by akahon manga researcher Yuuzora Retro (pen name), the Tokyo-based publisher Taikōdō (泰光堂) created their Manga Classics series in response to the PTA backlash against manga contributing to delinquency in Osaka.

This is Gulliver’s Travels by NAKAMURA Hiroshi (中村ひろし), a B6-sized 3-color akahon* printed with red ink fills on either blue or green lines costing 85 yen.



NAKAMURA seemed to be the main artist for Taikōdō as evinced by the ad pages at the back.


There is no publishing date, but it probably wasn't too far from 1951 when "Cinderella" and "Snow White" from the same series were published.

Looking at the stamps on the endpapers on the back, we can see that this particular book was rented out at a kashihon-ya (rental comic shop) in Saga, Kyushu called Imazato Neo Shobō. It was lent to me by a Mr. Fujita, a collector heavy into Showa-era items. I will continue to introduce the books I was able to borrow from his collection until it joins the display of early Showa comics at the Kōshi Manga Museum (合志マンガミュージアム) where I often give lectures about comics history.

The story focuses on the most visually fun parts of the Gulliver story, namely when he visits the teeny-tiny Lilliputians and the huge Brobdingnagians, people who make him look respectively huge and tiny. The line work is simple, likely to match what the printers were capable of for this smaller press, but the artwork itself is better than many of the same era and distribution type. The layouts are lively and have depth and the figures themselves are dynamic. The style itself seems to be inspired by 1930's animation by Fleischer Studios, as were many manga of this period, including the 1938 feature "Gullivers Travels."

I'll be doing more posts about manga on this blog so visit us again. Cheers!

*I'm calling it an akahon based on the abundance of red ink and the commentary by Yuuzora Retro referenced above, though you could call it a kashihon manga as it was lent out at a kashihon-ya.
**For more info about akahon, here is an article about akahon at The Comics Journal by manga scholar Ryan Holmberg.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Phenomena - Dario Argento, Jennifer Connelly, and Donald Pleasance

And don’t forget the chimp, the gimp, and the swarms of six-legged creatures. Jennifer Connelly stars as Jennifer, an American at a creepy European boarding school (see Suspiria). She’s pretty and rich, but lonely. Her parents have abandoned her and she’s WAY too friendly with bugs.  What’s a girl to do? Why become friends with a slightly creepy entomologist dude, that’s what. I’m sure she only had an eye for his bags and for his cute assistant, a chimpanzee. Something that is now a thing, I’m sure. Like many Argento flicks, there are decapitations and attempted decapitations. Also lots of blood and broken glass. And mirrors. And useless cops. An excellent follow-up to Suspiria which I’d like to talk about in the future.

Starry-eyed heroes of Akira 'Leiji' Matsumoto

Hello, friends and manga-philes.      You probably know that my interest in Japan was originally fueled by a combined interest in Japanese animation and martial arts. My interests expanded somewhat over the years, but one big change happened about the age of 15 when I bought my first Japanese collected comic. From that moment on, I became more interested in comics than animation and eventually after moving to Japan, I started to collect the comics of Mr. Leiji Matsumoto .       At first, I was put off by the heavy-lined art and blocky characters, but the more I got into the stories, the less I cared about the style. Eventually, though, I started to appreciate the artistry much in the same way it took me a while to warm to Jack Kirby's art.      Like most Leiji fans, I was heavy into Space Cruiser Yamato , Captain Harlock , Queen Emeraldas , and finally, Galaxy Express 999 . These comics were created in the 70's and are representative of Matsumoto's style of that time. After

Ninjas vs Cowboys, Top 10 Cowboy Manga

I talk about US ninja comics and Japanese cowboy comics on Tim Young's Deconstructing Comics . Listen to it here ! I based on the lecture I gave last year at the Koshi Manga Museum . First slide from my Ninjas vs Cowboys presentation. Here are my Top 10 Cowboy Manga: 10. Bullet Tommy  『弾丸トミー』by Shige SUGIURA This is a classic, one of the earliest comics. It's a "gag manga" for kids and so pokes fun at the various Western movie tropes. The art resembles Shoney's Big Boy, doesn't it? 9.  The Cactus Kid  『サボテン君』by Osamu TEZUKA This is one of Tezuka's early Western manga when he had only seen a few westerns at the time. I like the idea of a guy who wants to turn his parents' saloon into a milk bar. 8. The Belle Starr Gang  『ベル☆スタア強盗団』by Akihiro ITO Ito is known for his Geobreeders  saga, but this is his take on the real-life outlaw Belle Starr and her gang. I like the art and the attempt to incorporate real-life events into the