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This is a part of my unauthorized translation for ISHIZAWA Takeshi's essays from his column titled Depth of Japanese Manga. Please do not consider this piece as my own.

Pea

This week's theme is about drawing style.


TOYO Kataoka: producing stories about common folk in detailed drawings

This panel is an excerpt from TOYO Kataoka's manga. He depicts the common folks' world in his manga; it has very little to do with the extravagant world or celebrities' lifestyles.

TOYO's characters are vagrants; a poor retiree, a garageman, and the mangaka himself. They're lazy bums, a bunch of womanizers, and they lack of self discipline. They do not care about the future and live to their heart's content. If they wish to laugh, they laugh, if they wish to cry, they cry. They do not act. While we, on the other hand, act smart, rich, dilligent, disciplined and make our life stressful.

The story is interesting, but here I would like to introduce TOYO's unique drawing style. His special attribute is detailed drawings with thick lines. He doesn't use any screen tone, and everything is hand-drawn.

His faces are the most interesting. Nostrils are drawn bigger than usual, with steam coming out of them. The forehead is drawn to portray heavy sweating. Those attributes are very similar to TANIOKA Yasuji's drawing below.

This is a facial drawing by TANIOKA Yasuji (1942-1999). In early 1970's TANIOKA revolutionized gag manga in Japan. Different from TOYO Kataoka, TANIOKA's drawing style is not detailed. TANIOKA's drawing uses fewer lines and curves, so it is very abstract, but we can easily see the picture he is trying to project. Meanwhile TOYO's drawings are concrete and detailed.

This is an excerpt from his last work "Yasuji no donansentyu" (1999). With fewer lines and curves, he easily illustrates a cow, a snake, a pig, a farmer, a mountain, the sun and clouds. His minimalist style is very effective and the reader is instantly pulled into the picture.

This one is from "Neji shiki" (1968) by TSUGE Yoshiharu. This work was very popular. In 'Neji Shiki', TSUGE tells a story about a kid experience in a dream world. SAKABASHIRA Imiri probably learned about the nuance of this world from this manga. TSUGE works have been adapted into several foreign languages. TOYO Kataoka follows this drawing style, especially how he illustrates eyes, noses and lips.

TSUGE Yoshiharu also writes about his own poor lifestyle. We can laugh at TOYO Kataoka's manga, but we cannot do the same with TSUGE's, because his story is depressing and hopeless. His biological father died when he was still a little boy, so her mother remarried. His relationship with his step dad is not good, and TSUGE always hopes that he can run away from home.

TOYO Kataoka's manga reminds me of Jarinko Chie (The Little Girl Named Chie) by HARUKI Etsumi. The story also evolves around common people. Compared to TOYO's works that made people feel frail, exhausted, and lazy, Jarinko Chie is much more optimistic and lively. Different from TSUGE Yoshiharu's, Chie's world is peaceful.

Jarinko Chie's artist is HARUKI Etsumi. The manga is serialized in Shukan Manga Action starting in 1978. The heroine is Chie, an 11 year old 5th grader. Her father is a thug who loathes the idea of working. Her mother works in a food stall that sells innards satay (in Japan: hormone yaki). Even though they live in poor conditions, Chie is always optimistic.

 

The one on the left is a drawing of a cat from Jarinko Chie, the right one is a cat drawing by TOYO Kataoka

(Saturday, 01-11-2003)


MIURA Yasuto, soft strokes and nostalgic feeling.

Take a look at this panel. It was drawn with soft strokes, an excerpt of MIURA Yasuto's work. Like TOYO Kataoka, it is a detailed drawing, but more realistic and much softer than TOYO's.

MIURA's work portrays a city in the 1930s, making us nostalgic. He drawn girls with sad and melancholic faces. In his work, a little girl and the one she loves have to separate due to their destiny.

Unfortunately, MIURA's works most likely will be impossible to imported to Indonesia. It is because all his works are considered to be "porn". I use that word with the meaning "works that are intended to arouse sexual excitement". This definition is not comprehensive, but almost all people familiar with the works will agree that MIURA's works are pornographic. But, if there are low quality porn and top notch porn, probably MIURA's works are among those superior works, if such a distinction exists.

Strangely, MIURA's works are being serialized in porn magazines exclusively, and none of them have ever show up in general manga magazine. With that kind of drawing quality, MIURA's work could show up in any general magazine if he/she wanted. The artwork is superb, but the storyline is so-so. He/she probably is content with just drawing, and does not care about the quality of the storyline.

In the Japanese manga world, the porn genre started to grow in 1970s. This genre has its own part in history and is well-developed. Not all porn is welcomed by Japanese manga readers. Those who are good stand out, but those who aren't are rejected by readers. Japanese pornographic comics also have depth and an extensive history.

(Saturday, 01-11-2003)