Ever seen this train carriage in Kyoto? Manga writer Taniguchi Jirō happens to be my favourite. Especially the time travel story Haruka na machi e/Distant Neighbourhood, which was recently turned into a live action movie by Sam Garbarski. It is about a Japanese office worker in his midlife crisis, who gets warped back to his youth in 1960s Japan. He falls in love again and discovers the secret of his parents. Can he stop his father from leaving the family? Will he mature during his unexpected trip to the past?
Taniguchi is clearly “the psychologist” among the manga artists. He earned the nickname of “the Hergé of Japan” for his sober and clear drawing style. Tottori is his home town, therefore the advertisement is on a train carriage from Kyoto to the city of the big sand dune (see blog December CJS Blog). Taniguchi has also mangafied Kawakami Hiromi’s wonderful novel “The Sky is Blue, the Earth is White” – about a compelling love story of a young women with her former school teacher. !!! Must-Read !!!
Taniguchi depicts faces and identities from their vulnerable side. This transpires even from the reproduction on the train carriage. His characters are hesitant, pensive, and seeking. I also love the way he draws landscapes, places, nature, even big cities like Tokyo in a realistic and almost inviting manner. If you want some more action or even crime, check The Quest for the Missing Girl about teenage prostitution in Shibuya.
In short, a confession: I would never have thought that my excursions to Japanese graphic literature would make me re-think my own relationship with my parents… Taniguchi (who makes a short appearance in the film Distant Neigbourhood) has proved otherwise. Touché, monsieur !