Drawn & Quarterly. Apr. 2023. 284p. tr. from Japanese by Ryan Holmberg. ISBN 9781770465060. $24.95. F
This collection of stories brings together the seminal works responsible for establishing Tsuge’s (Red Flowers) reputation as a founding father of the Japanese counterculture in the 1960s, as well as one of the most respected manga creators of all time. “Nejishiki” follows a gruesomely wounded young man’s search for a doctor among the bizarre and weirdly menacing denizens of a mysterious village. An antisocial man flees society to live in the woods, where he becomes obsessed with the well-being of a crustacean in “The Crab.” In “The Mokkiri Tavern Girl,” a weary traveler ponders whether to take advantage of a young woman who seems willing to do pretty much anything in order to escape her miserable life as an innkeeper’s servant. The stories “Master of Gensenkan Inn,” and “Master of the Willow Inn,” also depict weary travelers confronting the darkest, most unsavory aspects of their souls. Despite their shared plot elements and thematic concerns, each story collected here feels totally surprising and original due to Tsuge’s ability to evoke searing emotional intensity through mesmerizing imagery.
VERDICT A disturbing, thoroughly captivating depiction of masculinity in postwar Japan.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing