Manga Action is a fortnightly manga magazine for adults, first published as a weekly in 1967. Among the titles published in the magazine, some may be familiar to Indians: Lone Wolf & Cub, Lupin III, Old Boy and Crayon Shinchan. That’s right! Crayon Shinchan is a manga for adults. Indians are familiar with Crayon Shinchan from the anime based on the manga that airs on Hungama, a kids TV channel!! Another title published in the magazine is Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossomsby Fumio Kono, which was translated into Hindi as नीरव सन्ध्या का शहर साकुरा का देश and published by Vani Prakashan in 2015.
As Indian readers know, the practice of having pictures of models in sexy outfits on magazine covers is followed in India too.
Comiket is the world’s largest comics event, held twice-yearly in Tokyo. About 500,000 people attend. This event is a celebration of doujinshi, the Japanese word for self-published comics. I made a feature documentary about it and doujinshi sub-cultures in Tokyo called The Fragile Heart of Moé. Comiket has a lot of parody or fan-fiction material. We also filmed another event called Comitia, which focuses exclusively on doujinshi with original content. During the filming, artists generously gave us copies of their work. There are so many sizes, and extremely varied art styles. Here is a sample.
In 2007, on my first visit to Japan where I was invited along with other filmmakers by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), a friend from Kolkata, Manojit Chattopadhyay, who runs Kriyetic Comics, had fixed a meeting with Tezuka Productions, and he kindly invited me to come along. I couldn’t make it to the meeting, but Manojit handed me these souvenirs given to us by Tezuka Productions. They are complete manga by Osamu Tezuka, each about 200 pages and a bit smaller than the size of a pack of cigarettes. The print is tiny but entirely readable, and attests to the high quality of Japanese printing technology. Quite possibly, the world’s tiniest manga!
On the left is Iron Roadand the one on the right contains three stories The Fossil Island, Robin the Fish Spirit, andThe Maiden of Tatsugafuchi. The Fossil Islandis a dream narrative where Osamu Tezuka, a poet and a newspaper reporter visit an island and dream various dreams upon coming across some strangely shaped rocks with cameo appearances by Sherlock Holmes and Arsene Lupin!
Chidaruma Kempo (चिदारूमा केम्पो) by the amazing manga artist Hiroshi Hirata is the first Japanese manga to be translated into Hindi in 2005, thanks to the efforts of another manga artist Yukichi Yamamatsu. Yukichi’s quixotic mission to bring manga to India is documented in his manga travelogue Stupid Guy Goes to India. Both Hirata and Yamamatsu were part of the gekiga movement in Japanese comics in the 60s and 70s.
Another trivia- Hiroshi Hirata also draw the Japanese calligraphic logo of Akira (dir. Katsuhiro Otomo), the anime masterpiece.
A short profile on Hiroshi Hirata at work in his studio:
Here is a masterclass by Hiroshi Hirata, filmed at the Salon del Manga.