Collaborations are always potential grounds for creative insights and positive cultural exchanges. Japan As Viewed By 17 Creators is an example of such. Nine French speaking authors were invited to tour eight cities in Japan, where eight Japanese creators resided. The foreign creators were to create stories from the eight cities they visited. The Japanese creators created stories of their hometown. The results were then collected into an anthology of comics, translated into five different languages. Fanfare Ponent Mon happens to release this in English.
Jiro Taniguchi was included with a short story known as Summer Sky, centering on his hometown of Tottori and set during Showa 28 (1953). The protagonist visits his hometown from Tokyo to care for his mother. There he meets Sayo, a 16 year old cousin who is promised to marry another. Under the clear sunny skies with the backdrop of a relentless ocean, youth, and a one sided first love is realized. The story was only about 12 pages, but surprised emotions were essentially captured. Obviously roles for females back then were strictly made for the good of a male, and that is perhaps still the same as nowadays, since Japan lags behind other nations on gender equality.
In being allowed to sample Taniguchi’s artwork with the others stories in the book, there is a contrast in art style, and toning. There is a questionable open ended conclusion, but you can say this is a reflection of Taniguchi’s thoughts as to his hometown, a seaside rural area, that is greatly contrasted to the urban sky lights of Tokyo.
This week, manga bloggers are writing about Jiro Taniguchi’s and other bloggers contributions are listed here.