Manga is art. Surely we’ve all realised that by now, and as with all art forms, manga flourishes from avant-garde experiments just as much as its tried-and-true adoptions and reworkings of pop culture. Garo magazine was an essential platform for progressive manga over its whole 1964-2002 print run. Just one of its key works was Sanpei Shirato’s Kamui, a leftist, anti-authoritarian ninja drama. The manga landscape at the time was so deeply impacted by Garo that the ‘Godfather of Manga’, Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka, launched COM magazine in 1967 to keep abreast of the trend. This magazine, in turn, gave feminist cartoonist, essayist and poet Murasaki Yamada her professional debut as a manga artist.
Chikao Shiratori was the editor of Garo, overseeing this chain of events that would come to create today’s vast array of widely readable manga styles and sensibilities. In recognition, Shiratori brought even more titles to English readers with such as anthologies as 2000’s Secret Comics Japan: Underground Comics Now. But Shiratori is now suffering from cancer, and as he fights his illness, a GoGetFunding campaign is reaching out to find him as much help as possible:
This crowdfunding campaign seeks to assist a person who helped Japanese manga become an globally recognized art form and who helped publish the works of legendary creators including Sanpei Shirato, Shigeru Mizuki, Ryoichi Ikegami, Yoshikazu Ebisu, Yoshihaaru Tsuge, Suehiro Maruo, Jun Miura, Usamaru Furuya, and many others.
Chikao Shiratori is the former vice editor in chief of the Manga magazine Garo, a former professor at Japan Journalist College, a part-time lecturer at Kyoto Seika University and the partner of Murasaki Yamada, a manga creator who started her career at Garo magazine.
This project’s aims to support Shiratori’s work and his ongoing battle with leukemia and cancer.
Go to the funding campaign‘s page for a history of Shiratori’s career, and both Garo and COM magazines. There you will also find an excerpt from his Yamada Murasaki Chronicle, following the loss of the artist who became his wife, and the story of his struggle with cancer up to now.
We wish Shiratori the best of health and good fortune as he continues his work. If any of you can spare a donation of at least $1, we’re sure it will be greatly appreciated, not just by Shiratori, but all his loved ones doing their best to support him.