Tokyo is an ocean of opportunities, and artists are especially appreciated here. From painters and sculptors to jazz and rock n’ roll musicians. As far as comics are concerned, well, they can still make the headlines and hit Twitter’s top trending hashtags.
But if you don’t read Japanese and maybe want to skip the bookstore, consider reading comics produced by Japan-based artists, many of which you can find online. We’ve rounded up three new series to keep you entertained during these mind-boggling weird days of Covid-19.
1. 66 Days
What better way to challenge your own anxieties than to read a comic that brings them to life in humorous ways. 66 Days is a webcomic and the result of a collaboration between two illustrators located on opposite ends of the globe — literally. One is in Japan and the other is in Argentina.
Matthew Moss and Luis Santamarina both share a passion for visual storytelling. They met through remote working on a common project and have both found that with quarantine came a concerning lack of work and a lot of stress. Making the best of an awful situation, they decided to bet on how many days the quarantine would last: 66 days. “We want to help through creativity and humor,” says Moss. “This was a chance to take a worldwide dilemma and blast some light on it from across the globe through artistic collaboration.”
Read 66 Days over on Webtoons.
2. Kokoro: A Graphic Memoir
Christine Mari Inzer is a half-Japanese American girl living in Tokyo. Four years ago, in 2016, she published her first book, Diary of a Tokyo Teen. Obviously, her love for illustration runs deep.
Fast forward to 2020, she has over 140,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts a couple of comics every week. Still very much nailing the slice-of-life style, Inzer reflects on her heritage, her place in the world and, occasionally, the weirdness of Japan.
Earlier this month, Inzer launched and successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign for her second book, Kokoro: A Graphic Memoir. If you don’t get the chance to back up the project before August 1, you can still enjoy her work over on Instagram @christinemaricomics.
3. The Salaryman
Back in 2019, we interviewed Michael Howard, author of The Salaryman, a memoir of his time working in Japan. This summer, it was announced the Amazon Japan bestseller would get its very own manga adaptation.
Illustrated by Rena Saiya, who worked with Howard to illustrate the original book, this “manga-fication” hopes to bring to life the author’s humorous writing as well highlight even more only-in-Japan characteristics of life in Tokyo.