Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Daiba, Intro and Page 1

I started reading Yoshiharu Tsuge's works in part because of my interest in tracking down one book each from the people that knew Tezuka back when he lived in Tokiwa Manor just outside of Ikebukuro, and because of my research for the History of Manga series in my other blog (Three Steps Over Japan).  Tsuge was listed in the Japanese wiki as one of the people that visited Tokiwa, but he wasn't part of the Heroes of Tokiwa Sou exhibit held recently.  So, he was on my list of "manga artists of interest", but not very far up.  Then, I started running into various mentions of manga, recently translated into English, that had run in Garo magazine back in the '60s and '70s, and Tsuge's name kept turning up as having been a significant contributor to Garo, and to the gekiga (realism) movement in manga at the time.

To start out, I just picked up the first volume of his early works anthology, which wasn't very impressive.  As an artist, Tsuge had been fairly young and naive, and his first couple years' of output were crudely drawn and run of the mill.  But, he'd made his name in gekiga with one specific short story - Neji-Shiki (Screw Style), which had been turned into a successful live action horror movie, known in English as "Screwed". Curious as to how he went from naive to twisted and bitter, I then picked up the 2004 edition of the Neji-Shiki short-stories collection.  And yes indeed, he'd made some progress in the 13 years from his debut as a yonkoma (4-panel) gag artist to his appearance in Garo around 1965.

However, the title short story doesn't jive with the description of Screwed.  I'm thinking there's a big "based on the original idea by" buried in the movie trailer somewhere.  Anyway, as I was going through the book, I was half-searching for a story to run through Nihon-go Hunter, and "Daiba Electroplating Company" caught my interest.  It's fairly crude, taste-wise, and does have some "adult" themes, but I found it challenging to translate.  Be warned, you may not like this one.

"Daiba" came out in April, 1973.  And it's my next project for Nihon-go Hunter.  I'll start out by including the first page here.

This is the text for page 1.

Daiba Electroplating Company

"Daiba" could be treated as "Big Place", or "big company", but I'm going to use it as a Japanese company name, which is what I expect was the original intent.  On page two, it's given just as "大場鍍金", (Daiba Plating).


  1. Beautiful. thank you so very much for posting this. My Tsuge collection steadily grows.

    I do believe this was translated and published in English as 'Oba's Electroplate Factory' in Raw Vol 2 #2. But it's impossible to track down , so I've never had the opportunity to read it.

    I'm not so interested in learning Japanese so much, I just love gekiga manga. But maybe I will pick up some Japanese along the way thanks to your translator notes.

  2. Mr. A - thanks for the comments. I've been following Garo more closely over the last few weeks, and had planned on uploading more of Tsuge's manga (untranslated, at the moment) if it appealed to me. Unfortunately, my laptop screen died, and I have to figure a way to get my files off the hard drive, as well as buying a new computer. Which may take a week or two. But, if you already have some of Tsuge's manga let me know which ones they are, and if I find some that aren't in your list, I'll be more likely to feature them here (granted, I'm only picking 1-2 manga from each Garo issue at a time, so there's no guarantee that I'll scan every Tsuge manga I encounter. But, I'll see what I can do.)

  3. Well Here is everything that can be found translated online as far as I'm aware (all of which I have):
    Mushroom Hunting
    The Outside Inflation
    The Deadly Dried Squid Technique

    Other than these there are 3 very rare publications of Tsuge's work in English:
    Oba's Electroplate Factory (your blog being the only place to find it online - with your own original translation I might add)
    Neji Shiki (Which I just ordered on ebay! Can't wait to finally read it in English.)
    Red Flower (It was translated back in the 80s and you can find it on Amazon for about $120!)

    Have you ever been involved in any scanlation communities? There's a large community actively translating and editing manga online. Maybe you should look into what they've been doing before translating anything else on your own.

    For example, it's not common to have before and after images side-by-side (although I understand you're encouraging people who want to learn Japanese). And usually when a work has been translated It's uploaded as an archive onto a file sharing site so that people can download all the pages in one go (Although I don't mind navigating through each of your entries and reading your notes, it would make the manga easier to read if I could download all the pages in one go.)

    Sorry for such a delayed reply. It seems Blogspot is not sending me e-mail alerts when someone replies to my comments. Hope you get your new computer and recover those files soon. Whatever you choose to upload in the future, I'll be here to read it.


  4. Thanks for replying back. Don't sweat the delay. Is the Neji-shiki copy just one short story, or is it the full collection?

    I tried getting One Manga to host these translations, but they ignored me. The translation groups are constantly short of hands and don't seem to be interested in titles that don't have enough of a fan base. I guess I could try contacting each one to see if a specific title has been/is being translated, but seems to be a lot of work.

    Yeah, the reason for picking a particular story is because I want to understand how the Japanese sentence structure works, and to use that for helping others with their studies. But, I'm only getting 2-5 hits a day on that, which may not be enough to justify continuing this blog. Then again, I'm doing the translations for myself, so once I'm done with a story I really want to tackle it's a simple matter of putting it here...

    I try to put a direct link in the index page to the media fire album, so you should be able to get all the pages that way. Please go to the Daiba index page and click on the direct link and let me know what happens.

  5. Neji-Shiki, as you know, is one of his most famous works (they even made a film based on it), so that is why the Tsuge anthology book you have is called Neji-Shiki. It’s common practice to name an anthology of short stories after the most famous title contained within. The book I just purchased contains only the Neji-Shiki short story by him, not any of the other titles from the Japanese anthology that you have.

    There are plenty of resources for those wishing to learn Japanese (including special manga text books created for educational purposes). I would say it’s an impossible mission to compete for the attention of language students against huge corporate level educational establishments, even if you have the best of intentions to genuinely help people. Sorry to be blunt, but at the end of the day it’s highly unlikely anybody will come here seeking help with learning Japanese with so much out there to choose from.

    Having said that, there is certainly a growing demand for alternative manga, especially if it cannot be found translated anywhere else. If you could provide a steady stream of new titles (like 1 every month or 2), and we got the word out, the amount of traffic would steadily increase and you would have a nice little community of manga lovers coming here. Granted, it’s never going to be a huge hit. But there will be a group of real manga fans forming who genuinely appreciate what you’re doing.

    If you’re going to be translating in your spare time as part of your studies anyway, but don’t feel like spending all that time editing text, I’m more than willing to photoshop the scans to save you time.

    As far as I can tell, you need a media fire account, which costs money, in order to download all the pages at once. Otherwise you must download the pages one at a time, which is pointless because the resolution on the files is identical as those hosted on this blogspot. As things stand now, it’s easier to navigate from blog entry to blog entry expanding and saving the images as you go.

  6. I knew about the naming conventions for anthologies. Just didn't expect to find Daiba sold by itself, since the version I saw is only 8-10 pages long.

    You make some good points. If I did translate shorter works it'd have to be on a one-per-month schedule, depending on the word count/page count.

    The problem with having someone else do the photoshopping is that I'm scanning the pages at 300 DPI to maintain the image quality, and that makes the pages about 700K each. Sending the files as e-mail attachments is a pain, because most e-mail readers limit attachments to 2-4Meg max. If there were an FTP drop site, that'd make it more reasonable.

    Figures. I don't know of a photo hosting site that doesn't have at least one drawback like that. Flickr's free account I think has a 1 meg upper limit. Photobucket is 1 gig, but the 7-10 gig bandwidth restriction will get you if you have lots of visitors. We know about Media Fire. What we need is free FTP hosting and unlimited access. Kind of an unreasonable expectation...

  7. Hey guys I found the raw version and put it up on this blog

    I am in search of a good scan of Red Flowers now and I would love to be able to read the Salamander story from Garo #33 by Tsuge.

    If you are translating more Tsuge and need help with the lettering and hosting let me know I can help you.

  8. Thanks for the link. I have scans of the other Tsuge manga, but they're all on a hard drive that I don't have access to anymore. If I can ever get my hands on that hard drive, I'll get the files to you.