Dog Eat Nationalism and Kobayashi Yoshinori

For the last several years I have been collecting the manga of Kobayashi Yoshinori, a rather strong-willed character who argues for a revival of Japanese nationalism and the shedding of Japan’s debilitating war guilt.  He’s been consequently been accused of many things: denying the harm of Japan’s colonization of Taiwan (1895-1945), minimizing the comfort women or ianfu system, glorifying Japanese war criminals, and whitewashing the Rape of Nanking.

Throw in a talk-show appearance, a little hate mail, a few hundred drawings, and you have a good day of Kobayashi’s work.  Love him or hate him, one has to admit that he is fiercely productive.

For as long as I have been reading his work, I have been frustrated by the apparent lack of interest among translators in these manga.  They deserve to be translated!  And I have mentioned this in just about every class I have taught for the last three years.  Fortunately, today a resourceful student, Michael Gray at Pacific Lutheran, directed me to some excerpts where fans/enthusiasts have done just that, available here (about whaling).

More excerpts and translations from Kobayashi’s oeuvre are available here (on pro-American Japanese).

Both translations are from Tokyo Damage Report, the very rich web resource on things Japanese.

And what’s more, as it combines dogs and sea life, the pages which Stephen at Tokyo Damage Report elected to translate elide rather nicely with my October 15 essay on the anti-Japanese internet in Beijing:

Kobayashi's reflection on dog eating in Korea and the whaling industry in Japan
Kobayashi's reflection on dog eating in Korea and the whaling industry in Japan; via Tokyo Damage Report

Perhaps Chin Music Press or Montreal’s truly magnificent Drawn & Quarterly can be enticed into such a project.  Chinese audiences are well aware of Mr. Kobayashi’s work, as portions of it have been reprinted (about 4-5 pages worth) in retrospectives on WWII published in Beijing in 2005; a translation into Chinese would broaden the ability of Chinese interlocutors to refute the perspectives, much the same way that translations of Chinese nationalistic texts can help moderate Japanese to tone down, or at least understand, the excesses of Chinese national sentiment.

How much do you want to bet that the first full-length translation of one of his manga is available in French before English?  I will take as many wagers on bande dessiné as I can afford!

Kobayashi, refering to Pearl Harbor, ironically calls for support for American policy of preemptive strike
Kobayashi, refering to Pearl Harbor, ironically calls for support for American policy of preemptive strike; via Tokyo Damage Report

4 thoughts on “Dog Eat Nationalism and Kobayashi Yoshinori

  1. Hello – this is Steven, who did the scanning/translations you posted . If you like my work, please link to my site on your front-page. It’s kind of weird if you name-check your friends who sent you the links, but you don’t name-check me who actually did the thing. TOKYO DAMAGE REPORT is the site, and http://www.hellodamage.com/top/ is the URL.

    Thanks,

    Steven

    1. Stephen, got it, and am adding the acknowledgment and the link on the original post. Thanks again for doing the translations; if and when I get around to doing my own, which will certainly be less accurate and extensive than yours, I will probably post something in your comments or otherwise let you know. As you can see, they got me excited. My interests are in the artist’s depictions of the Chinese people, depictions of World War II, and Japanese war criminals, areas in which he obviously has done quite a bit of work.

      I should also add that you’ve got a mean website over there! Extensive. I have to admit it’s a bit intimidating as my current knowledge of manga is limited (although I’m attempting to start from the beginning with Yoshihiro Tatsumi and gekiga [劇画]) and even moreso regarding the Japanese metal scene (I once went to a live show of Electric Eel Shock in a blizzard outside of Cleveland, absolutely wondrous and visceral, and very occasionally catch a Japanese punk band in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin). So, anyway, domo arigato, with emphasis on the sumimasen.

    2. I should add that I rooted around on your site a bit more, but can’t find out if you are indeed located in Tokyo or not. Maybe it doesn’t really matter, but if you could let me know if you’re in Kansai, Kanto, or Kansas, I could pimp the site a little more accurately. Thanks again for the original translation and the comment.

  2. Hello, I’m starting a project to translate this manga series with full context and notes. If you’re interested in helping me out, shoot me an e-mail.

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