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A Drifting Life Paperback – 1 May 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 840 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897299745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299746
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 5.5 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Praise for Yoshihiro Tatsumi:
"In the hands of a talent like Tatsumi . . . hidden worlds are excavated and dark corners of the human condition illuminated." --"Bookforum
""His nakedly personal work, created when the medium was predominantly impersonal, made Tatsumi unique in Japan and around the world." --"Print"

About the Author

Born in 1935, Yoshihiro Tatsumi began writing and drawing comics for a sophisticated adult readership in a realistic style he called "Gekiga." He has influenced generations of cartoonists and lives in Japan.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Yossarian on 9 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved the story of Hiroshi Katsumi (Yoshihiro Tatsumi) a school-kid artist and writer obsessed with manga. Growing up in late 1940's post-war Osaka, he and his brother Okimasa begin having work featured in Manga Shonen and other magazines of the time.

Hiroshi meets his hero Osamu Tezuka and embarks on a life-long career in the manga publishing world, the book follows his journey from a young mangaka creating short pieces for compilations and longer whole-book works to becoming a seasoned editor. Yoshihiro-san was an integral part of a group contributing greatly to a more modern adult style of manga. He and his artist friends named the movement `Gekiga' (Dramatic Pictures) which was heavily influenced by international cinema and literature.

This is the best translated work from Yoshihiro-san i have read. The book is a satisfying autobiography that also manages to be both part history of post-war Japan and an essay on the birth of modern manga. I just wish that some of the early works mentioned in the story were available in English translation - The Civilizing Beast (1955), The Man Smiling In The Dark (1955) and Black Snowstorm (1956) look especially intriguing.

The book is a very sturdy object- a 856 page weighty tome with solid binding, quality paper and is very good value for money. Designed and lettered beautifully by Adrian Tomine and well translated by Taro Nettleton. Highly recommended. A+
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 July 2010
Format: Paperback
The book starts in 1948 where the author is 13 years old and embarking on single panels of manga and sending it into magazines, and finishes in 1960 when the author is 25 and a successful author of manga and a new style he created, "gekiga". The book is autobiographical, taking in details of Tatsumi's (renamed Katsumi HIroshi in the book) home life, his ill brother, his philandering father, his dedicated mother, and moving him through high school becoming progressively interested and committed to manga, until he becomes a full time manga artist and writer. The cultural and political history of Japan is documented as well but the main focus is on the development of manga in this postwar era and how it developed over these years.

This is the best book I've read all year, comic books or otherwise, for so many reasons. The story is so well written and drawn throughout. We see Tatsumi's self doubt and determination to become a strong artist throughout and his admiration of artists he met when he started, particularly the superb Tezuka Osamu, but you can't help but notice Tatsumi today has surpassed Tezuka in skill to a whole new level. He writes ironically about attempting long works (48 pages! he gasps) all the while the reader is holding in their hands an 834 page book.

And its not at all a struggle to read through all 834 pages. The story is so compelling that by the end I could genuinely read another 800 pages. The story of the manga artists is well told with its highs, betrayals, sense of adventure, creation, and originality all done by guys in their early 20s.

Tatsumi does seem to "drift" into manga.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Length: 0:18 Mins
For those who follow the work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, this book is a treat. It's a wonderful manga memoir that took almost 10 years to create. The main protagonist is no other than Yoshihiro himself, using another name of Hiroshi Katsumi.

In this book, he explores the journey he took to become a manga artist. It's an inspiring tale that looks into his relationship with his family, friend, fellow manga artists and publishers. The book title is apt as we see how Katsumi "drifts" along in his life, making the numerous career moves. Most of the time, you'll feel the doubt and uncertainty as he felt within the panels.

The book, at over 800 pages, is smartly inserted with historical events to portray the passing of time. It starts in 1948 and ends, a bit abruptly, in 1960 where Katsumi took part in the demonstration against the Security Treaty. Throughout the book, we also learn how manga has evolved and affected the artists.

I'll recommended this book to anyone who wishes to know Yoshihiro Tatsumi a little better, or a little bit of Japanese manga history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By てるてる坊主 on 11 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Others here have written about what it is. Highly recommended.

I also appreciate the fact that even though this English version is produced western-style (left to right), the publishers have not done the usual lazy thing and simply made a mirror-image of the original Japanese artwork. The panels --- with a few exceptions --- are carefully re-laid out on each page to preserve the original orientation of the drawings.

I have to subtract one star, though, for the quality of the printing, which is sometimes poor and often loses the low-contrast detailing of the original two-volume Japanese edition printed in JB6 size (128mm x 182mm).

The many references to books and films of the period are great fun to try to follow up on. Some are well-known, some very obscure.
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