Japan Tsunami before Tsunami. Nippon Chinbotsu. JAPAN SINKS. A MANGA

Japan Tsunami before Tsunami. Nippon Chinbotsu. JAPAN SINKS. A MANGA
MAK [Vienna] Austria 16/01 > 21/04/2013
metalocus, INÉS LALUETA
"Nippon Chinbotsu. Japan Sinks. A Manga". Courtesy of MAK

With the Nippon Chinbotsu manga series which is about the sinking of Japan after a series of earthquakes, the manga-ka (manga or comic artist, cartoonist) Tokihiko Ishiki produced a megaseller that has remained popular until today. The MAK exhibition Nippon Chinbotsu. Japan Sinks. A Manga takes this well-known example as a basis to explore the visual aesthetics and graphic-art quality of manga, which have risen into a mass phenomenon of contemporary culture far beyond the isles of Japan.

Ishiki took the inspiration for his manga series from the best-selling novel Nippon Chinbotsu, first published 1973 and adapted into several movies, by science fiction writer Sakyou Komatsu (1931–2011). The book describes the fictitious submergence of the whole of Japan, one of the most earthquake-endangered areas in the world, following several cataclysmic earthquakes and passes epic criticism on the progress-and-technology-obsessed Japanese society of the 1970s and ’80s.

Working closely together with Komatsu, Ishiki combined the novel and the visuals of the 2006 movie made by anime specialist Shinji Higuchi into a highly successful manga, which appeared in weekly installments between 2006 and 2009 and was also published as a 15-volume pocketbook series.

Beginning with the predicted doom of Japan, which, according to one scientist, is about to be entirely destroyed within only 322 days by a chain-reaction of disastrous earthquakes, Ishiki’s manga interweaves several narrative strands, of which the two most important address the questions of if— and how—the Japanese population can be evacuated and eventually rescued, as well as of how the threatening uncontrollable destruction of a high-technology nation might be averted. Unlike the movie, the manga has no happy ending—Japan goes under.

The MAK exhibition focuses on the graph...read more