Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The History of Manga, Part 9

(Marumaru Chimbun, from Birth of a Million Seller, used for review purposes only.)

The Kyoto Manga Museum is a very good online source of information in English about early manga history. Click on the "Collections" tab, then on "Please enter here to the Manga Gallery". The first entry is on Eshinbun Nipponchi (Picture Newspaper + a play on "Japan" and "Punch"), which was based on Japan Punch, founded by Brit Charles Wirgman in Yokohama. Nipponchi started in 1874 by Robun Kanagaki and Kyosai Kawanabe, and consisted of simple line drawings and conservative political content. The jabs at leaders Taisuke Itagaki and Yukichi Fukuzawa (Yukichi founded Jiji Shimpo, mentioned in part 8) went over poorly with the public and the magazine folded after 3 issues. However, it did lead the way for other caricature magazines that followed, starting with Kisho Shimbun (1875), Marumaru Chinbun (1877) and Garakuta Chinpo (Kyoto, 1879).

(Tokyo Puck, from Birth of a Million Seller, used for review purposes only.)

Next is Shonen Puck (1907), edited by Denkichi Kashiwabara, an employee at Jitsugyou no Nihon. Denkichi saw the success of Tokyo Pakku ("Tokyo Puck", 1905) by our man Rakuten Kitazawa, and decided to create Japan's first dedicated children's manga magazine. Shotaro Kawabata was the artist for Shonen Puck for 3 years, but it eventually folded. It wasn't until 1924 and Kodomo Pakku (Children's Puck) that there was another try at a purely manga magazine for kids.

(Ehagaki Sekai, from Birth of a Million Seller, used for review purposes only.)

The third entry is a great list of names for adult cartoon magazines, in a boom that was a result of the political pressures from the Russo-Japanese War. Jiji Manga Hibijutsu Gaho (1905, Kyoto), Nipponchi (1905), Tokyo Pakku (1906), Osaka Pakku (1907), Joto Ponchi (1907), Ehagaki Sekai (1908), Warai (1908), Shonen Pakku (1908) and Poten (1908). Poten, from the French "potin" (rough and tumble) was 34 cm x 19 cm, with a single sheet topical satire manga centerfold spread, full color pages and a page of 4 usable picture postcards. (Ehagaki Sekai (Postcard World) had the idea first.) But, it looks like Poten only ran for the one issue.

(Osaka Puck, from Birth of a Million Seller, used for review purposes only.)

This brings us to the entry on Kodomo Pakku (Children's Puck), the next attempt at a children's manga magazine. It was published in 1924 by Tokyosha company, which eventually bought out Shonen Gaho and Kodomo no Kuni (which we've seen many times earlier). It contained artwork by Takeo Takei, Yumeji Takehisa and Yutaka Aso. The KMM article's author, Isao Shimizu, comments that about half of the manga in the magazine had word balloons, a practice used by "Shochan no Boken" in the Asahi Graph paper in 1923, and the other half was still in the older "manga-manbun" style without the balloons. Takeo and Minoru Yamada are singled out for special praise on the quality of their work. Only issues 1 through 4 of Kodomo Puck have been confirmed.

Finally, we have the Kyoto Manga Museum gallery entry on Manga no Kuni (Manga Country). This one ran from May, 1935, to January, 1941. In August, 1940, it changed its name to Sashi Manga Kenkyu. Published by Kotaro Nakane (Japan Manga Workshop), it's primary aim was to train cartoonists, and it included information on the manga industry, discussions, research and information on comics industries in other countries, mainly Germany. Konosuke Nakane (1900-1987) originally was a tram driver who was laid off for trying to unionize the tram workers. He then managed a boarding house, started up an art college and began the Japan Manga Workshop to train artists from 1935 to 1965. It was the JMW that published Manga no Kuni.

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