What a tough read.It s an interesting bit of history, seeing how Japanese forces were living and fighting And this is a great example of a book for those who have a low opinion of those backwards graphic novels by which I mean read right to left, not so much as a racial thing Although maybe I m misinterpreting the criticism What s sort of bizarre about the whole thing is that it does make me question how effective Japanese forces could have been as WWII went on They were outnumbered and stuck on islands, but there was always a fear that the Japanese would dig in and be almost impossible to beat, and the only way to break through would mean great loss of life.However, this book makes me think otherwise Because when given the choice between retreating to the mountains and engaging in guerrilla warfare or making a suicide charge, the leadership elects to make the suicide charge And when some of the force fails to make the charge, their leaders commit suicide and the rest of their troops are ordered to make a second, re do suicide charge It s a bizarre way to fight a war, in my humble, 2013 opinion Or maybe it s a western viewpoint Either way, I can t wrap my head around the idea of putting some version of honor above the possibility of success when it comes to winning a war Because let s face it, dropping the bomb was effective, successful But as honor goes, I don t know that it s exactly a noble act or anything I guess one of the most undervalued resources in wars has always been the willingness to abandon the moral high ground.Oh, and by the way, as most books regarding war, this one definitely proves that the whole thing is really, fundamentally stupid I mean, just a mind blowingly poor way to resolve anything I m not calling the soldiers stupid or anything like that, but the very concept of war is such a bizarre, ridiculous leftover from a time long past. This is a both beautiful and disturbing portrayal of WW II from a Japanese perspective from one of the foremost Manga artists of Japan known for GeGeGe no Kitaro. What was odd about this one was that somehow the fact that the characters are so cartoonish made it even grotesque when they were blown to pieces or mowed in half by machine gun fire Apparently 90% of this story was true, with the exception being that in reality, not everyone was killed Obviously Suffice it to say, I have no desire to ever use my secret time machine to take me back to the war in the Pacific. Intense and depressing Mizuki did a fantastic job of showing the soldiers in humorous, relaxed moments amid the constant threat of enemy fire This decision made the ending even heartbreaking I m glad I didn t read this in public. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths Review By Shigeru Mizuki The graphic novel, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths , was an astonishing experience for a Mizuki virgin, such as myself Prior to this reading, I had never experienced the elegant and truly magnificent work of Shigeru Mizuki Shigeru Mizuki is regarded as one of the most famous and respected cartoonists in Japan The story takes place in Papa New Guinea, where some of the Japanese are stationed during World War II The graphic novel follows several different characters, all of whom are in the military Characters range from the rookie hating Yoshida to gentle characters like Nogami or Maruyama The Baien Battalion is in Papa New Guinea, in order to protect it from the Allies The characters encounter the horrors of the war, as the island itself is deadly From alligator deaths to shortage of food to Allied attacks, the Battalion is constantly hindered Many of the soldiers don t know what they are fighting for, as Japan is miles away As the soldiers start decreasing, and news of what is truly happening in Japan spreads, they are sent on a death march or a suicide march This is where the noble deaths of the title is derived from The soldiers march bravely with a sense of patriotism, as they walk into their own deaths, with honor Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths , seemed like a book I would favor due to it being set during World War II The story s plot was very comedic and serious at other times At times characters would talk of prostitutes, at others of honor Mizuki certainly illustrates and depicts how soldiers truly feel about such wars Throughout history, soldiers have unwillingly, for the most part, fought in wars The Japanese army was at the time reckless and this is evident in Mizuki s work The effects of the war regrading the soldier s inner humanity is obvious, as enemy attacks and diseases plagued the soldiers I felt that the story showed the Japanese perspective, which is very much important We rarely look at the other side, and this new perspective definitely is one to see At the time, Americans viewed the Japanese as enemies and as ruthless perpetrators responsible for the attacks on Pearl Harbor Yet in reality, many of these soldiers did not have a definite idea of who the enemy was or why they were fighting, especially not on their homeland, but rather on their mother country s colony This new fresh look offers the reader a new lens, from which to see the other side The story definitely contained perspective and the sense of humanity As I have stated earlier, perspective is offered to readers, and helps view the Japanese at the time, from a new light Especially, because these soldiers were dumbfounded as to why they were in the war at all Humanity is also explored by Mizuki, as we see the effect of the war, on the various soldiers The soldiers march towards their deaths, sometimes twice, because they survived the first time All of these soldiers do so with honor and patriotism, yet one cannot stop one s self from questioning the world s powers How can nations virtually make soldiers do such horrific things Perhaps only the people understand the true burden of such a war, and national leaders simply do not Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths , although comedic at times, provokes ones thoughts towards humanity itself and its gruesome wars. One of my new favourite authors after this one Funny and terribly horrible in equal parts. Shigeru Mizuki b 1922 is something of a national treasure in Japan His innovative manga titles place him the same league as Osamu Tezuki, the artist referred to as the God of Manga Mizuki made his name with manga involving Yokai, the sometimes playful, sometimes malevolent demons of Japanese folklore In 1973 he published this magnificent anti war tale I have read several manga that are billed as adult in content, but this usually means the stories are sexual or grotesquely violent than other, mainstream offerings Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths is the first manga I have read where the adult label applies to material that is morally complex and emotionally devastating It deserves a place with such Japanese anti war classics as Kon Ichikawa s film Fires on the Plain 1959 And western readers should not look on this tale of moral depravity among the Imperial Army s officer class with too much smug superiority It is a story of soldiers forced in to a suicide mission, a mission that initially fails and therefore must be repeated because the glorious sacrifice of the soldiers has already been reported The twisted logic and gross disregard for human life is apalling, but remember that Stanley Kubrick s Paths of Glory 1957 involves the execution of French soldiers for cowardice after their refusal to follow a clearly suicidal order That setting is World War One.Mizuki s was assigned to the battalion described in his story, and would have died had he not lost an arm in a previous fight some weeks before the final orders came through Mizuki depicts the New Guinea setting as a combination of tropical paradise and absolute hell hole Soldiers are starving, dying of malaria, and lining up seventy men deep for the attention of the handful of comfort women their officers have provided them Important work on camp construction can be delayed for days while soldiers search for the remains of a comrade almost certainly eaten by a crocodile But the officers insist that remains must be returned for proper burial A severely wounded soldier has his finger cut off by a shovel so the body part can be returned to his family As his friends leave with the grisly trophy, the soldier, who is mortally wounded, is still alive and suffering.Japan has lost the war at this point Fire bombings of major cities has begun and Hiroshima is not far in the future The insane logic of the suicide mission is the outcome of the rigid training of an officer class who treat their soldiers as fodder The criminal insanity of forcing the men to return after they survive the first assault will leave readers enraged. This was a total impulse read, and I could not be happier with my decision.The book is a graphic novel accurately, translated Japanese manga that looks over the last few weeks of a small infantry section of the Imperial Japanese Army Stationed in New Guinea, these men go through the hellish life often led by Japanese soldiers on Pacific Islands and that s not even counting the horrific treatment they received from their superiors.The book is primarily a vicious attack on the wartime practice of gyokusai the noble death in the title , which was a deliberate suicide charge It was seen by the Japanese military at the time as a far preferable fate than surrender, or dying like a dog from bombs, starvation, or disease But, as is the case in the book, doing this often meant the pointless sacrifice of hundreds and thousands of good soldiers who could have fought a much longer and tougher battle if they were allowed to withdraw in good order, as most other militaries would do imagine the Pacific war if the Japanese hadn t been committed to this pointless death it might have been even bloodier as far as the Allies are concerned, which is hard to imagine The events in the book are mostly based on fact, and are drawn from the author s experiences during the war.I highly, highly recommend this book to any history buff who like me enjoys the perspective from the other side It s so easy, due to most pop culture concerning the Pacific War, to forget the individual Japanese soldier, just a normal person trying to survive, and maybe get one meal This book corrects that huge void, in a very visually compelling way.My only note is a purely personal one This is the absolute first time I have ever read manga, and therefore the first time I had to navigate with the right to left part Right to left pages was easy enough to get, but reading right to left inside the panels themselves was much harder. A Landmark Publishing Event Of One Of Japan S Most Famous CartoonistsShigeru Mizuki Is The Preeminent Figure Of Gekiga Manga And One Of The Most Famous Working Cartoonists In Japan Today A True Living Legend Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths Is His First Book To Be Translated Into English And Is A Semiautobiographical Account Of The Desperate Final Weeks Of A Japanese Infantry Unit At The End Of WorldWar II The Soldiers Are Told That They Must Go Into Battle And Die For The Honor Of Their Country, With Certain Execution Facing Them If They Return Alive Mizuki Was A Soldier Himself He Was Severely Injured And Lost An Arm And Uses His Experiences To Convey The Devastating Consequences And Moral Depravity Of The WarMizuki S List Of Accolades And Achievements Is Long And Detailed In Japan, The Life Of Mizuki And His Wife Has Been Made Into An Extremely Popular Television Drama That Airs Daily Mizuki Is The Recipient Of Many Awards, Including The Best AlbumAward For His Book NonNonBato Be Published In By D Q And The Heritage Essential Award For Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths At The Angoul Me International Comics Festival, The Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Special Award, The Kyokujitsu Sho Decoration, The Shiju Hosho Decoration, And The KodanshaManga AwardHis Hometown Of Sakaiminato Honored Him With Shigeru Mizuki Road A Street Decorated With Bronze Statues Of His Ge Ge Ge No Kitaro Characters And The Shigeru Mizuki International Cultural Center Mizuki shares his experiences from WWII through this beautifully created comic Its a tragic story full of faulty people who just want to fill their bellies and stay alive Its easy to see our allies as humans, just like us, but harder to see that in our enemies I love works like this for the main reason that it reveals our similarities and gives me a stronger sense of kinship with humanity Mizuki has a fascinating illustrative style of beautifully rendered backgrounds and cartoony characters The juxtaposition of cartoony men against hyper detailed backdrops is visually captivating It gives a strong sense of space and atmosphere I found it highly immersive I appreciated the expertly done establishing shots, panel transitions, flow of conversation and plethora of personalities There are so many reasons to recommend this work
was Japanese manga cartoonist, most known for his horror manga GeGeGe no Kitaro He was a specialist in stories of y kai and was considered a master of the genre Mizuki was a member of The Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology, and had traveled to over 60 countries in the world to engage in fieldwork of the y kai and spirits of different cultures He has been published in Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Taiwan, the United States and Italy He is also known for his World War II memoirs and his work as a biographer.
- 372 pages
- 総員玉砕せよ! Sôin Gyokusai Seyo! [Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths]
- Shigeru Mizuki
- 10 May 2019 Shigeru Mizuki