Saturday, September 7, 2013

History of Kitaro, #8

Any mistakes in the translation are mine and mine alone. All rights to the translation belong to Curtis H. Hoffmann. Please do not reproduce without permission. All images used here for review purposes only.

Rental Book Era #7, "Secret Conversation" and "That Odd Person"
The predecessor to "Dai Kaijuu" (Big Sea Monster), and Kitaro, the Bizarre Incident Investigator.

After Izumi Books went bankrupt in 1962, Shigeru Mizuki drew a number of fantasy books and illusionary romance series installments. In 1964, his "Naisho no Hanashi" (Secret Conversation) story was released by Toukousha, "Japan's smallest publishing company". The president, Sakurai Shouichi, was a former manga artist. He was the older brother of the founder of the gekiga manga movement, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and the model for Mizuki's bucktoothed, glasses-wearing Yamada character. Sakurai held Mizuki in great esteem, and Shigeru in turn trusted Sakurai, producing various rental book, short story and romance series manga for him, including his masterpiece "Akuma-kun". Now, let's look at "Naisho no Hanashi", and the Satoh Pro version of "Okashina Yatsu".

"Naisho no Hanashi" (Secret Conversation) - Nezumi Otoko goes to a battered old town and buys a dried-up human soul. However, Kitaro eats it and the next day his body melts. To restore him, Medama Oyaji (Father Eyeball) and Nezumi carry the liquid body up to the yokai hospital on Osore-zan mountain. On the ascent, a snowstorm hits and Medama takes refuge in the hut of a guy named Yamada. The story changes; Aomori University's genius student, Yamada, and someone named Muraoka, are participating in a scientific expedition to New Guinea to search for Geijin (or Kujira-kami - Whale God). Geijin attacks the party and pretty much wipes it out. Nezumi obtains some of Geijin's blood, and he and the surviving member, Muraoka, inject it into Yamada. Yamada immediately turns into Geijin. At the yokai hospital, Kitaro has been restored to normal. Also there is Yamada in Geijin form. Kitaro has "clean blood" injected into the patient, and Yamada turns human again. This story was later rewritten as "Dai Kaijuu" (Big Sea Monster) and serialized in Weekly Shonen Magajin.

"Okashina Yatsu" (That Odd Person) - Published by Satoh Pro. The prologue is a retelling of "Hakaba Kitaro's" birth (when he still had 2 eyes). In this story, Kitaro has a sign hung at his door announcing him as a "Bizarre Incident Investigator". This time, his client's lover has been possessed by a "suspicious person", and trapped inside a painting. What sets Kitaro apart from other manga is that we see him partaking in normal everyday activities. This story was also rewritten for magazine serialization and the scenes made more fragmented.

Next time: The Rental Book Era, Part 8 - "I'm a New Student" and "The Stupid Man"

(Picture on the right)
"Okashina Yatsu" (started in 1964). A remake of Kitaro's birth and Nezumi Otoko's first appearance. The second half was remade as "Onmaragi" (Shadow Penis Demon).

(Picture on the left)
"Naisho no Hanashi" (started in 1964). Geijin's form as a Zeuglodon shows up in "Daikaijuu" unchanged as a Basilosaurus.


  1. I love reading about manga history. Reminds me about how different things used to be.

    By the way, I was looking around in the Garo folders and noticed that garo_6908_64_06_07.JPG in your Garo 2 folder appears to be broken.

  2. Thanks for the comment.
    There's a number of broken pages in those folders, because of screw-ups by mediafire. Contact me in email if you want the missing pages.