Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tokiwa-sou Playback, Part 3

The Fujiko Fujio section requires a bit of explanation. Hiroshi Fujimoto and Abiko (AKA: Abi-chan) Motou were friends that teamed up to work under the pen name "Fujiko Fujio". They eventually went their separate ways in 1987, with Hiroshi working under the name Fujiko (F) Fujio (FFF), and Abi using Fujiko (A) Fujio (FAF). FFF was the taller, thinner of the two, constantly wearing a beret and smoking a pipe. FAF was shorter, stockier, and always wearing sunglasses. FFF is best known for creating "Doraemon", while FAF reached lesser fame with "Smiling Salesman". I'd reviewed FAF's "Black Humor" a while ago.

In the 16-page Tokiwa Monogatari chapter, Hiroshi and Abi both arrive at Tokiwa on Oct. 30, 1954, and are taken to their room by Terada. The story is punctuated by recreations of photos that Abi and Hiroshi had taken at the time. They notice a hole in one door, supposedly made when Tezuka kicked it in anger at an editor. They're happy having a bigger room to work in, but the extra space scares them and they move their desks so they can have their backs against the wall. They meet Tezuka, who wants to go out to watch a movie with them, but an editor sleeping on the bed nearby wakes up and asks where the finished manga is. At one point, they're pulling an all-nighter, and they stick each other in the face with their pens if they fall asleep. On Sept. 2, 1955, Shinichi Suzuki arrives and they have a small welcoming party with Terada. At the end, Shinichi wraps himself up in a futon in an imitation of an Arabian dome tower (at this time, FAF is 21, Shinichi is 21 and Terada is 23.) On May 4, 1956, an 18-year-old Ishinomori and a 21-year-old Akatsuka are pictured drawing in their room. Ishinomori wants to use 3 panels on a B6-sized sheet of paper to have a spaceship fly in on the page in CinemaScope form. The editors turn the idea down as taking up too much of the page in only 3 panels, so Ishinomori fixes it by drawing more panel lines over the existing artwork. A little later, FAF and Ishinomori are in the kitchen washing up, when Shoutaro mentions that he's going to Ueno station to pick up his older sister who's coming to visit from the countryside. FAF imagines a female version of the grumpy Shoutaro, and is stunned to find that the woman is beautiful. The story ends with Terada getting a new camera and insisting on shooting up the roll with group photos, making everyone really impatient to get on with eating dinner.

The first Fujiko Fujio story is a 4-page short about a Japanese boy visiting Rome, and discovering a hidden underground library with the help of some local kids. This is followed by an 8-pager called "Sabaku no Kiba" (Desert Fang), about a young boy caught up in the tank warfare in Africa in WW II. The boy is injured and brought to a German camp. He runs afoul of a German General and is executed. The last section is "Sports no Aki" (Fall Sports", 3 pages of 4-panel gags parodying school sports (volley ball becomes ballet ball, football incorporates chestnut thorns, and the pitcher in a ball game is actually secretly eating a baked sweet potato). Then there's a two-page article reminiscing about the manor, and the first half of a 1-page timeline for the building and the various artists.

Eiko Mizuno is the only notable female artist to have spent time at Tokiwa. Born in Yamaguchi prefecture in 1939, she debuted in Shojo Club with "Red-Maned Pony" at age 13. In 1958, at age 17, she traveled to Tokyo to work in Tokiwa Manor for 4 months as part of a 3-person team project called U-MIA, along with Ishinomori and Akatsuka, funded by Kodansha. The group's name came from the initials of the three members, plus "U" (you). She went on to create manga including "Hoshi no Tategoto" (Star Harp) and "Fire". I reviewed one volume of her "Konnichiwa Sensei" series.

In her 8-page Tokiwa-Sou Monogatari chapter, Eiko writes about arriving at the manor and being introduced by her editor, Akira Maruyama, to Akatsuka and Ishinomori. They're surprised to find that this tomboy is actually female. She also meets Ishinomori's beautiful sister and Akatsuka's mother. They work on a few titles, and eventually Eiko is introduced to a nasty side of the manor - bedbugs, cockroaches and beetles (Akatsuka is disappointed that none of them scare her). At the beginning of the summer, Ishinomori's sister becomes sick and suddenly dies, which halts manga production for a while. Later, Eiko hears some Paul Anka music coming out of one of the rooms, and this starts her off on a record buying spree. She finally returns to Yamaguchi prefecture after only 4 months, but she remembers her time at the manor for the rest of her life.

The one manga selection is "Red-Maned Pony". This is a 16-page western featuring two rival ranches - North Ranch and South Ranch. Each year they have a rodeo, and Lois from North Ranch, and her pony, named "Pony", win this time too. South Ranch's main daughter, June, sets her eye on Pony and tries to take it from Lois, but the horse itself fights her off. Eventually, North Ranch falls victim to cattle rustling and to make ends meet they sell Pony to South for $400. June is happy to finally get her hands on the horse, but she notices that they've also picked up a bunch of new cattle somehow. She wonders if her father arranged the cattle rustling, but he confronts his lead cowpoke and that guy claims he did it all for South Ranch. June's father gets his back up and all of his men turn on him. Just then, Pony breaks into the room and starts throwing everyone around. The men try to escape and are caught by June. In the end, June apologizes to Lois, and returns both the cattle, the money and Pony.

"Red-Maned Pony" is followed by a 1-page article from Eiko, and Part 2 of the Tokiwa-Sou Chronology.

Naoya Moriyasu (1934-1999) has probably the most informative chapter in the book. While he didn't achieve any real fame, he did draw a lot. The Japanese wiki entry lists over 30 "principal" works, including "Rantan Matsuri", "Akai Jitensha" (Red Bicycle), "Suzuran no Hanasakeba" (Blooms of the Lily of the Valley), "Kamera no Onechan" (Camera's Older Sister) and "Mizuiro no Booto to Tomoni" (Sharing the Light Blue Boat).

According to his Monogatari chapter, he was born in Okayama, and traveled to Tokyo around 1953 to try to break into the manga market. He had an introduction to Suiho Tagawa, creator of "Norakuro" and he wormed his way in to work as an assistant. One former assistant had been Machiko Hasegawa, creator of "Sazae-san", and three of the current ones were Yuu Takita, and the Yamane twins Akaoni and Aooni. After a little while, Naoya tried shopping one of his own stories around but none of the publishers wanted it. Depressed, he found himself being introduced by Hideo Furusawa (director on "Gulliver's Travels") to Terada, and then moving in to Tokiwa. But, he supposedly was too lazy to actually draw anything. So, with about six months of rent past due, he ran back home to Okayama. In revenge, Terada drew up a "Wanted Dead or Alive" poster, with a $10 reward. When he saw this, Naoya became angry at the price being so low, and increased it up to $10,000 himself.

What I find most fascinating about this chapter is in getting a link to Yuu Takita's past. For me, Takita is an unknown. He made a big enough impact on the manga industry for the Kawasaki City Museum to mention him specifically in one of its exhibits in the 1990's, and he was a friend of Kunio Nagatani's to the point of getting a cameo appearance in Kunio's "Aho-Shiki" collection. But he just kind of starts showing up in Garo magazine at one point without fanfare, and then kind of takes it over. Suddenly, in "Tokiwa-Sou Playback" I finally find an indication that Yuu had apprenticed with Suiho, and between Naoya, Kunio and Takemaru Nagata, had at least three connections to the Tokiwa group.

Naoya's first selected manga is the 4-page "Moskva", about a Russian boy being asked by his uncle to come help catch a bear causing problems in a small village. Turns out the bear is a scam perpetrated by a villain that gets people to leave their houses to chase the fake bear so he can loot them. The boy and the uncle catch on to the scheme and capture the con man. They receive a reward and the boy returns to Moscow.

"Mikan ga kawa ni Nagareru Koro" (Oranges Fall into the River) is an 8-page short about a young girl that comes to a big city in order to try to make a living some how. She is taken on as a maid in one household, but makes the mistake of buying a tengu mask at a fair and trying to use it to surprise the family's baby son. The parents get mad and kick her out of the house. Desolate, the girl makes her way to a nearby river, where a boat carrying oranges (Japanese mikan) is so overloaded that many of the mikan fall into the river. She scoops out a few, and the captain of the boat warns her away from the dock, where the boat could accidentally bang up against her. The captain lets her keep the mikan since the island he hails from is overflowing with them. The girl is smitten by the captain, and waits for him to come back again. After several days she still hasn't run into him a second time, so she buys a one-way ticket and travels out to try to find the island he came from. The parents at the house where she had been working get worried for her, and wonder what's happened to her. The only clue is in the closet where her futon is stored - the tengu mask and a note saying "I'm going to the mikan island". They hope that she arrived there safely.

This is followed by a 1-page article and a 1-page song.

Tokuo Yokota (1936-) is credited with "Margaret-chan" (1963-1970-something, Margaret magazine), and as co-writing on "Hougen" with Harumi Mitsui. The Japanese wiki lists over 20 manga titles for him, including "Margaret-chan", "Tamaoki-kun", "Hajime Hajime no Sono Hajime" (Before the Beginning) and a series of books on various famous historical figures.

His 8-page Tokiwa Monogatari chapter starts out with him, Akatsuka and Ishinomori getting together in Akatsuka's room where his mother is making dinner for them. Fujio hates carrots, so he complains and "Toku" eats both Fujio's main dish and everything else as well. They then go outside for an after-dinner sumo match and Toku wins because "he ate his carrots". Then it comes time to work and all Toku wants to do is watch sumo and baseball on Ishinomori's TV. Fujio and Ishinomori go out to buy cigarettes and Toku talks them into letting him play pachinko, since the prizes for winning includes packs of tobacco. He loses and they have to go to the store anyway. Finally he decides to work, but he needs to borrow paper, a pencil and a pen from Fujio. When he sits down to draw, he falls asleep.

Tokuo's first sample manga is 12 pages of "Koketa and Takeko", a young brother and sister gag series. The brother does poorly in school, while the sister is smarter but still gets into trouble. This is followed by 8 pages of "Zukkoke Family", consisting of similar gags with a different group of characters. Finally, there's a 1-page article and a page showing a selection of Yokota's characters.

Yokota was born on Oct. 30, 1936. So we still have time to plan for celebrating his birthday this year.

Takao Yokoyama is the last artist given here, and another one of the frequent visitors to the Manor. In fact, he's the one that dropped by the manor when Fujio Akatsuka was trying to live off a box of rice cakes and a kettle of soup and ate all of the soup at one sitting. While Takao did create some of his own manga, his main credits seem to be as Akatsuka's assistant at Fujio Pro.

In his 16-page chapter for Tokiwa Sou Monogatari, Takao starts out by describing his fear at the first meeting he had with Tezuka. He'd grown up in Miyagi Prefecture, near the city where Shotaro Onodera (later working under the pen name Shotaro Ishinomori) lived. Takao would read manga whenever he had the chance, and at one point had sent in for a sketch pad from one magazine. He started drawing, and then discovered that the magazine was offering the chance to meet Tezuka. He traveled over one city, met with Ishinomori (then still attending school as Onodera) and made friends with him. Eventually, Fujio Akatsuka and Ishinomori go to Tokyo and set up in Tokiwa. Takao gets invited through the manga magazine and meets both Tezuka and Terada, but he's ashamed to say that he can't remember any of the advice Terada had given him. Time passes and Takao gets a job at a factory in Tokyo but keeps trying to draw for the magazines. One day, he goes to Tokiwa to visit Ishinomori, but Shotaro had gone back to Miyagi prefecture, and this is when he stays with Fujio for the soup incident. He then quits his factory job, starts getting part-time work as Fujio's assistant, and spends more time at Tokiwa. (One side story is of Terada's mixed drink invention - the "chuda-" (shochu mixed with cider).

Takao's one featured manga is "Miss 3A no Himashiyu" (Miss Class 3A's Castor Oil). This is a 14-page gag story about 3 school boys attracted to the same girl - Miss 3A. The two bigger boys have the same last name, but the more attractive one gets along better with 3A, causing the two of them to fight occasionally. The third one is a nasty little wimp that resents the other two. At one point, the wimp decides to fight the ugly one and is easily humiliated. For revenge, he goes home and grabs a pellet rifle and a bottle of barium (his father is a doctor, and the barium is used for x-rays, and is also kind of diarhetic). The wimp forces the other two at rifle point to drink the barium, then threatens them with exposure if they raise a hand against him. The two bigger boys find the wimp at 3A's house and the entire story comes out. Because there's no barium left, 3A gets a bottle of castor oil and tries to talk the wimp into drinking it as a "taste of his own medicine". When the wimp refuses, the girl drinks it herself, shaming the wimp. The next day, the two bigger boys are doing ok, but the castor oil is much more effective than barium, and the wimp and 3A spend all their class time running to the restrooms. 3A is in a foul mood and calls all three of them idiots.

The last person in the book is Akira Maruyama, editor at Kodansha Publishing, and responsible for Shojo Club magazine. He's the one who had asked Akatsuka and Ishinomori to take on some of Tetsuya Chiba's work after Chiba had badly cut his hand on a knife, and he'd also brought Eiko Mizuno to work at Tokiwa. MastersofManga claims to have interviewed Akira and will post that eventually.

Akira was the only non-artist invited to the Tokiwa Manor reunion party in 1981. He contributed a 10-page article about the artists.

The final entries in the book are "Shin-Manga Group" - 30-pages of stories about the group that Terada and others had formed while at the manor. And then 3 more pages of writing from Takao Yokoyama. This book is highly recommended to fans of manga history, if you can find used copies of it from an auction site.

1 comment:

A.B. said...

This is a great series of posts, Curtis! TSOJ is becoming essential reading for the history of manga. I'm going to have to try and pick this up.