ahorbinski: A snakes & ladders board.  (struggle & stagger)

Shimizu Isao is probably the most famous "manga historian" in Japan, though this book (1999) isn't an academic text, much to my frustration: there are no citations beyond the dates and original publications of the images, and Shimizu displays the usual tics of Japanese scholarly writing that are deeply infuriating to someone trained in the more rigorous American style, especially his habit of making claims about what people thought with absolutely no evidence to back it up, and his habit of going on pointless tangents (such as his talking about his trip to Egypt by way of an introduction to how professional cartoonists portrayed women in the era of imperial democracy).

That said, Shimizu is a giant in the field, and a lot of what he says here (the influence of movies on manga in particular) agrees with things that I have already been thinking and conclusions I have previously drawn from my research. Of course, there's also plenty of things I disagree with him about, most notably in this book his addiction to the empty, outdated term "Taisho democracy" and his conviction that manga has important continuities with the "amusing pictures" of the Edo period. It would be difficult to overstate the degree to which I am opposed to this position, and in my opinion, Shimizu should know better, particularly since he is probably the single most knowledgeable person about prewar comics periodicals anywhere. Oh well.

For further remarks, see the dissertation.


ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

May 2016

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