A Drifting Life

J. Caleb Mozzocco

Yoshihiro Tatsumi was virtually unknown in the U.S. until 2005, when Drawn and Quarterly began publishing collections of his short works of gekiga, the term he used to differentiate the more adult, literate comics he and his peers were creating in the 1960s from the kids’ comics of the time.


A Drifting Life
Four stars
Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Drawn and Quarterly, $30.
Amazon: A Drifting Life

Ironically, his 840-page memoir probably won’t help readers get to know Tatsumi too much better, at least not personally. A Drifting Life isn’t the story of Tatsumi’s personal life (he even gives his stand-in a fictionalized name) so much as it is the story of gekiga—a story that just so happens to coincide with that of the young Tatsumi, the early years of the manga business and medium and post-war Japanese society.

All seemed to be adrift, and if the young artist couldn’t quite seize and direct the path of his life, his art was a different matter entirely.


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