When manga artist Shigeru Mizuki died last week, news sources not just in Japan, but all around the world – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Reuters, and numerous others – published articles about his life and work. Mizuki had been involved in creating manga since the 1950’s, but it is only relatively recently that his work began appearing in English. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths (originally published in Japanese in 1973) received a “Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia” Eisner award in 2012, Nonnonba and Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan, were nominated in 2013 and last year, and earlier this year, the next two volumes in the non-fiction series, Showa 1939–1944 and Showa 1944–1953 again won in the category.
So far, Mizuki’s work has received only a small amount of scholarly attention – certainly compared to the number of academic publications on Hayao Miyazaki and Osamu Tezuka. Why this is so is a valid question. Obviously, Mizuki is still largely unfamiliar to Western audiences. In addition, the few works of his that have been translated differ significantly in their style and subject matter from most other manga available in the West, so it is plain-out hard to analyze them comparatively. In fact, I would argue that the most direct way to approach Mizuki’s writing would be to de-emphasize the manga aspect of his work, and to read him alongside authors like Erich-Maria Remarque, Gunther Grass, and Yuriy Bondarev – writers for whom the War (whether the First World War or the Second) was the defining event of their lives and the single event that directed their entire careers. It is no surprise, for example, that Christina Knopf includes Mizuki’s work in her survey The Comic Art of War: A Critical Study of Military Cartoons, 1805-2014 (McFarland, 2015).
So, as I have already done for Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, Satoshi Kon, and Makoto Shinkai, and as I am in the process of doing for Osamu Tezuka, I would like to begin compiling a bibliography of English-language academic writing on Shigeru Mizuki. The entries in it are drawn from items that are already included in the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies, and correspond books, chapters in edited collections, and articles in academic/scholarly journals that discuss Mizuki’s life and work extensively. I am, of course, aware of other academic publications that mention Mizuki in passing or include discussions of his work – an example is the essay “Early modern past to postmodern future: Changing discourses of Japanese monsters”, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous (Ashgate, 2013) – so this bibliography is selective, rather than comprehensive. It is also a work in progress, and will be updated continuously as I identify new items to add. Any new additions will be reflected on a separate page, not in this post.
Shigeru Mizuki: A Bibliography of English-Language Scholarship
Olutokun, Deji Bryce. The Showa masterwork of manga pioneer Shigeru Mizuki. World Literature Today, 89(3/4), 24-28.