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NJAHS event Saturday Jan 25th

General discussion (non-Usagi Yojimbo related) about all things Japan -- Feudal Japan, Samurai, Ninjas, Anime & Manga, Chambara films, Japanese Pop Culture, Otaku, martial arts, history, sushi, giant robots, Godzilla... anything Japan-related!

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NJAHS event Saturday Jan 25th

Postby Steven Ng » Thu Jan 23, 2003 21:52 +0000

I went to see Stan's artwork at the NJAHS in San Francisco's Japantown. The three-page Netsuke story, the UY Book 11 Seasons cover painting, and the UY #54 Return of Lone Goat and Kid inked cover are on display. Very exciting to see the originals.

Usagi completists will want to pick up the society's magazine Nikkei Heritage Vol. IX, Number 2 (Spring 2002) for a page and one-half article by Chiori Santiago. Several manga subjects and Japanese-American cartoonists are covered in the rest of the issue.

This Saturday from 2-5pm, Carl Horn (Viz Communications), Frederik Schodt (Manga! Manga!), and Tomoko Saito (Studio Proteus) will appear. This is all free to the public.

National Japanese American Historical Society
1684 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
415-921-5007
www.njahs.org

Best,

Steven
Steven Ng
 

Postby Stan Sakai » Thu Jan 23, 2003 22:05 +0000

I wish I could be there for the panel. I had to decline because of a prior engagement. I would have liked to have seen Fred again. I have both of his books on manga. He was also our interpreter when Sharon and I were in Japan as guests of Tezuka Studios.
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Panel discussion

Postby Steven Ng » Wed Jan 29, 2003 22:06 +0000

I arrived a little late with the panel already in progress. Fred was speaking on Henry Kiyama and his Four Immigrants Manga. Kiyama was primarily a fine artist and put on a show with his comic work in one room and the fine art in another. Fred lamented his lack of success in finding any of Kiyama's fine art, particularly portraits of wealthy San Franciscans, in the city. Fred's current works include translating Astro Boy for Dark Horse and working on a biography of a half Chinook Indian/half Scottish American who lived in Japan.

Carl Horn spoke on the fine points of configuring Japanese manga for the American market. Feeling each artist's story deserves its own treatment, he chose to have Eagle: The Making of an Asian American President, a story by a Japanese artist about America, read in American style. Because the panel arrangement allowed for it, each panel is repositioned for left to right reading. This was compared to the older practice of flipping the entire page.

Tomoko Saito retouches Japanese manga and letters it. She brought up some newer American publishers of manga who only change the dialog balloons for their books. Japanese sound effects are left as is without explanation. She finds younger Americans deal with it well, but older readers find it hard to follow. Tomoko finds it to be a good answer for cheap entertainment. Studio Proteus usually deals in higher class manga and Tomoko likes the cleaned up versions they do. Still, she said her friend Kenichi Sonoda (Gunsmith Cats) sometimes calls her up to rant about the reversed images, but she feels it is needed to do good business.

A good deal was made of the relative success of manga in Japan compared to comics in the US. Carl feels Japanese read more than Americans and cites the existence of newstands everywhere in Japan. Fred compared the Japanese commute on trains to American commutes in cars, leading to the large books on tape market here. Carl made reference to Fred's early comments on the American heyday of comics (strips) in the 1920's and 1930's. Being seen in newspapers gave them the broad appeal still seen up to the present day as in Charles Schulz's Peanuts. Some of these men became millionaires like some Japanese mangaka today.

Tomoko brought up the alarm Japanese comics community feels over today's Japanese children who spend all their money on cel phones.

Those were the main points as I recall them. Best,

Steven
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Postby Stan Sakai » Thu Jan 30, 2003 8:35 +0000

Hi Steven,

Thanks for the report.

I believe Fred stated, in the introduction to that book, that Four Immigrants Manga is the first modern graphic novel, that is a novel told in comic book format. That is a terrific story that follows Japanese immigrants in San Francisco in the 1930's or so. It comments on how they adapted to a foreign country, racism, WW II, the great SF Earthquake, and other event.
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