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:
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!