Social Discontent Highlighted in Manga Works of Tsuge Tadao and Katsumata Susumu

Wayne Muromoto
Commentary
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

This is not your American-style funnies; that’s for sure.

The Honolulu Museum of Art exhibition, “The Disasters of Peace: Social Discontent in the Manga of Tsuge Tadao and Katsumata Susumu,” features the manga (Japanese comic book) art of two socially conscious Japanese creators, Tsuge Tadao and Katsumoto Susumu. Their works appeared in the manga periodical Garo, which was published from 1964 to 2002. In Garo’s glory years, the 1960s and 1970s, it hit a circulation of more than 80,000 readers a month. Garo was noted for its brutally realistic and oftentimes depressing comics that focused on social and psychological issues besetting post-World War II Japan.

The tone for the exhibit is set by its title, which is a play on the “Disasters of War” etchings by Francisco Goya. The etchings depicted the horrific atrocities committed by Napoleon’s army when it invaded Spain. This included graphic scenes of massacres, starvations, beheadings, castrations and torture. The tone is made even more explicit when you enter from either one of the show’s two entrances. There are copies of Goya’s etchings right next to the exhibition title.

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