Love is Sky Blue by Serata Minami (恋は水色/世良田美波)

This story originally appeared in volume 53 of the Japanese alternative comics anthology AX. For my money, it is the best story in the collection — a sweet, sentimental tale of young love told in a charming visual style.













The word 水色 (mizuiro, meaning “light blue”) is made up of the characters for water and color, so the title of the story could also be translated as “Love is the Color of Water.”

Salamander by Tsuge Yoshiharu (山椒魚/つげ義春)

Tsuge Yoshiharu was an artist whose work needs more exposure here in America. We’re just now starting to get every last thing Tezuka ever did, but there have only been a handful of Tsuge stories officially released in different magazines — The Comics Journal translated his seminal work “Screw-Style” (ねじ式), and RAW released both “Red Flowers” and “Oba’s Electroplate Factory” — but other than that and a few stories scanlated online, his work remains mostly elusive in English.

While in Japan, I picked up a collection of his stories simply entitled ねじ式. It contains many of the stories that are available online — “Swamp,” “Mushroom Hunting,” “Chico,” “Gensenkan” — and ten others, including the title story and “Oba’s Electroplate Factory.” Of the remaining stories, I’ve decided to contribute a translation of “Salamander,” the shortest work in the collection.





Utsurun Desu. by Yoshida Sensha (伝染るんです。/吉田戦車)

Utsurun Desu. (which can roughly be translated as It’s Infectious.) was a four-panel gag strip (4コマ漫画) by Yoshida Sensha that featured a bizarre cast of recurring characters. The humor is strange and often awkward and outrageously funny. Here are a few of the strips:




NOTES: Also, after looking around, it turns out that the blog SAME HAT! has translated several Uturun Desu. strips, as well. Please check them out.

A Place That is Not There by nishioka bro. & sis. (そうではないところへ/西岡兄妹)

The following short opens the collection 地獄 (hell) by nishioka bro. & sis. (which is how their name is translated on the cover from 西岡兄妹). Like most of my Japanese-language books, I found 地獄 at a bookstore while studying abroad in Japan (when I came back home after three months, my suitcase was ridiculously heavy). I was drawn to their surreal artwork and bizarre stories that, in some cases, such as the example that follows, are more like poems.

Click on the images to enlarge, and read from right to left:







A daruma, or Dharma, is a Japanese doll that is associated with Buddhism, good luck, and wish fulfillment.

Arhat is a Buddhist term referring to someone who has reached enlightenment.

An Excerpt from Kids These Days by Kubo Kiriko (いまどきのこども/玖保キリコ)

Today, I’d like to present “The Tale of Kuriko” (クリコちゃんの話, Kuriko-chan no Hanashi) from the second volume of Kubo Kiriko’s Imadoki no Kodomo (Kids These Days). I found this book at a Half-Price Bookstore many years ago — probably 2006 — and I have always loved it. I was just starting to learn Japanese at the time, and the six-page stories of these children were easy for me to understand, and many of them made me laugh out loud.

Since these books have, unfortunately, never made their way to American bookstores in English translation, I hope that presenting a small chapter from the series will in no way offend the artist or publishers. Also, this is my first time using an image manipulator in order to translate, so the scans are not exactly professional quality. If I continue to do these in the future, I will try harder to learn how to clean up the scans. And so without further ado, here is Entry No. 1’s very first manga translation, “The Tale of Kuriko.”

Simply click on the images to make them larger. (Also, remember to read from right to left.)