Monday, December 28, 2009

The History of Manga, Part 12


(Shonen Club cover, from the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)

Kenichi Katou (1896-1975) was a pivotal player in the mid- to recent-history of manga. Born in Aomori prefecture on May 28, 1896, as well as being a kendo master, he joined the Kodansha publishing company in 1921. Initially, he worked as the editor-in-chief on the 少年倶楽部 (Shonen Kurabu, renamed to 少年クラブ (Shonen Club) in 1946) magazine. While there, he worked with famous names like the historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa, as well as introducing new artists like Suihou Tagawa, creator of "Norakuro, Private Second Class" (1931), and Keizou Shimada, creator of 冒険ダン吉 ("Boken Dankichi", 1933) to the public. In 1936, he launched the new publication "Kodansha no Ehon" (Kodansha Picture Book).




(Manga Shonen and Shonen Club covers. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)


("The Wonderful Journey", by Tezuka. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)


("Angel, Second Class", by Ishinomori. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)

In 1947, Kenichi decided to strike out on his own, creating his "漫画少年" (Manga Shonen) magazine. It was here that he had the biggest impact on manga history, publishing Tezuka's "Jungle Taitei" and "The Wonderful Journey", and helping promote the "Tokiwa Manor Gang". Shotaro Ishimori's "Second Class Angel" appeared in Manga Shonen in 1952. He also printed Machiko Hasegawa's "Sazae-san". However, Manga Shonen ended its run in 1955 and Kenichi returned to Kodansha.


(Yakyu Shonen covers. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)


(Shonen Magajin cover. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)

He became the section chief at Kodansha, then eventually a board member. One of the titles started at this time was Yakyu Shonen (Baseball Boys). And, he also launched this one, obscure, magazine in 1959, called Weekly Shonen Magajin (Weekly Shonen Magazine), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in March, 2009. He died on June 30, 1975, at age 79.


(Kodansha Ehon cover. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)


(Medal you received for joining the Manga Shonen fan club. From the Authentic Account exhibit book. Used for review purposes only.)

References:
Short bio (Japanese only).
Additional info (Japanese only).
"An Authentic Account: Manga Shonen" exhibit book.

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