Akatsuka Fujio

This may not be that directly related to film, but one of my favorite manga artists (and one of the favorites of my son), Akatsuka Fujio, died on the 2nd at the age of 72. Akatsuka was one of the famous residents of Tokiwa-so, the rundown apartment where many of the postwar manga greats like Tezuka Osamu, Ishinomori Shotaro, and Fujiko F. Fujio lived. Akatsuka worked in a variety of genres, including shojo manga (his Himitsu no Akko-chan was a big hit as an anime), but his genius lay in gag manga, creating such great works as Osomatsu-kun, Moretsu Ataro, and especially Tensai Bakabon, the masterpiece that deconstructs, if not destroys the very premises of manga. He never quite surpassed such a devastating and brilliant work, but his experimental and playful verve continued, as he made some silly movies in the late 1970s like Shimooichiai yakitori mubi and Akatsuka Fujio no poruno gyagu. He was on good terms with the comedic fringe (he's famous for supporting Tamori when he was starting out), and also had connections with the radical left (the only time I ever met him was at the party for Adachi Masao when he got out of jail). His gags became popular phenomenon, and even Godzilla was once caught doing a "shey" (the body gesture Iyami always did in Osomatsu-kun).  

Being a fan also of Sugiura Shigeru (note my article on him and Godzilla in In Godzilla's Footsteps), the great gag manga artist of the 1950s, I was impressed when Akatsuka, on the occasion of Sugiura's death, declared "I never met Sugiura, but he was my teacher." To me Sugiura, Akatsuka, and Sasaki Maki (another experimental manga artist greatly influenced by Sugiura), form a very significant and alternative line in Japanese manga history.

Gomeifuku o inorimasu na no da!

Everything © Aaron Gerow. Send comments and suggestions to webmaster@aarongerow.com