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Shigeru Mizuki, author of the enduring supernatural manga GeGeGe No Kitaro, which popularized the Japanese spirits known as yōkai, passed away today at age 93.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Mizuki had been hospitalized since Nov. 11, following injuries he sustained when he fell and hit his head at his home in Tokyo.
Long beloved in his own country, Mizuki rose to international attention in 2007 when his NonNonBa became the first manga to be honored as Best Album at the Angouleme International Comics Festival. Drawn and Quarterly began publishing his work in English in 2011, with his searing semi-autobiographical war story Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, which won an Eisner Award; two volumes of Showa, his history of the Showa period, won the 2015 Eisner. His most recent work to be released in English is his biography of Hitler, published earlier this month by Drawn and Quarterly.
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Drawn and Quarterly announced Wednesday that it has the license for Shigeru Mizuki’s GeGeGe No Kitaro, the third manga the publisher has acquired from the award-winning creator.
The book, which D+Q simply refers to as Kitaro, is a retelling of a traditional Japanese story about a boy who fights with yōkai, the spirits of Japanese folklore who range from good-natured tricksters to dangerous menaces. The series debuted in 1959 in the boys’ manga magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine, and has been adapted for several anime and games as well as a live-action movie.
This is actually the second English translation of Kitaro; the Japanese publisher Kodansha put out a bilingual English/Japanese edition in 2002, but I believe that was intended for English students in Japan, not the import market, and it doesn’t seem to be available in the United States.
D+Q’s other two Mizuki manga are Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, the story of a doomed battalion of Japanese soldiers in the waning days of World War II, and NonNon Ba, his memoir of growing up with his grandmother in a world populated by yōkai.