Author Archives: Ryan Holmberg

Manga Shōnen (November 1952), cover by Ōtsuki Sadao and Nagata Toshio showing Tezuka Osamu doll in diorama.

The Fukui Ei’ichi Incident and the Prehistory of Komaga-Gekiga

Though generous to his fans, and generally warm with his peers, Tezuka Osamu (1928-89) was not above letting professional jealousy get the best of him. The first time this trait reared its head in public was in 1953, when, in … Continue reading

 
Matsumoto Masahiko, Space Express (Central bunko, 1958), revised version of pre-debut work When Worlds Collide.

Proto-Gekiga: Matsumoto Masahiko’s Komaga

One could say that Matsumoto Masahiko was the true innovator of gekiga and today’s manga. Sakurai Shōichi (cartoonist, publisher, brother of Tatsumi Yoshihiro), 1971-72 As an aside, let me point out that, around the time that the term ‘gekiga’ was … Continue reading

 
Garo no. 72 (February 1970), special issue on Hayashi Seiichi.

Manga vs. Art History: Hayashi Seiichi at SISJAC

Modern art, comics, and some words with Seiichi Hayashi. Continue reading

 
Koga Masao, “Longing for Your Shadow,” lyric and music sheet (Victor Records, January 1931); Mori Shin'ichi, Longing for Your Shadow, 12” LP (Victor Records, May 1968), cover art by Iwata Sentarō.

Enka Gekiga: Hayashi Seiichi’s Pop Music Manga

If his autobiographical reminisces are true, then Hayashi Seiichi’s literary life began with falling tears. As he recalled the early 50s in “Azami Light” (“Keikō,” 1972): “‘Look at you sniveling like a little girl,’ said my mother. She turned her … Continue reading

 
Douglas Fairbanks, Robin Hood (1922).

The Mysterious Clover: Matsumoto Katsuji, Douglas Fairbanks, and the Reformed Modern Girl

Last time, I argued that one of the first commodity icons of Japanese kawaii was probably based on a mix of Grace Drayton’s New Kids dolls and American jazz age cartooning. This time I want to focus on a sixteen-page comic published as a premium insert furoku for “a girl’s best friend,” the magazine Shōjo no tomo, in April 1934. Continue reading

 
Matsumoto Katsuji, illustration for Hans Christian Andersen's What the Moon Saw, Shōjo no Tomo (January 1934).

Matsumoto Katsuji and the American Roots of Kawaii

A look at shojo manga pioneer Matsumoto Katsuji (1904-86). Continue reading

 
Shinohara Ushio,

Shinohara Ushio’s Action Cartooning

A lost body of work we might simply call “action cartooning,” a name that captures the two art historical currents that underwrite Ushio Shinohara’s figurative work, Continue reading

 
Leora Smith, Odawara (1946-47).

Seduction of the Innocent, Hiroshima 1950

An interesting research detour. Continue reading