Everyone who knows me has a general idea that I’m obsessed with Japan. So lately I’ve been buying these graphic novel collections by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who’s been called “the grandfather of alternative manga for the adult reader”. He has two collections published so far, The Push Man & Other Stories, and Abandon The Old in Tokyo, which contain stories that were published during the 60′s. Yoshihiro’s drawing style is very simplistic, but his stories are often very dark and disturbing, often dealing with violence, rape, abortion, and pornography.
What the stories really show is how the Japanese struggled through a time of intense change, trying to modernize and adapt to a renaissance in their culture. They didn’t know quite what to do, or how to act, everything was becoming incredibly difficult to process, and people felt as though their lives meant little, they were just one in a crowd.
I HIGHLY suggest reading these, especially if you have any interest in Japanese culture or history in general.