Dousei Jidai notes

January 15, 2009

Kamimura Kazuo

I have a long essay about KAMIMURA Kazuo’s Dousei Jidai in TCJ #295.  It’s a sprawling, messy romance from the early 70s about two youths who move to Tokyo to chase their dreams.

And shack up.  For 2000 pages.

It if sounds like Red-Colored Elegy, you’re right.  The title means “The Age of Cohabitation,” more or less, and it reads not a little like an editor “encouraged” Kamimura to catch Elegy‘s wave.  But it’s his own work, probably his best, and he knew how to work a page.

Notes, contexts, sources:

  • Kamimura’s Official Site, with scant English and ample images.
  • Two Kamimura stories: “Belt-Man” (Obi no Otoko), about a man who really likes belts; and “Kanto Plain” (Kantou Heiya), which showcases his landscape.  Japanese only, but quite readable.
  • A YouTube video with the original hit song based on the manga.  Why don’t more books have theme songs?  Someone should work on this.
  • An utterly creaky new version, with OSHIDA Reiko standing in front of a big drawing of Kyoko & Jiro.  It’s funny how quickly youth culture turns into nostalgia– Dousei Jidai still has an edge, I’d say, just like Nouvelle Vague films, despite the dust
  • YouTube also had a clip from the DJ movie that was an utter scream– sub-Suzuki Seijun artsy-pink– but Shochiku complained, and here we are. (The TV drama’s still up, but unwatchable.)
  • Lambiek’s spare KK page has one of the signature images from the book, at least

Kamimura died in 1986, rather young.

He worked often with the writer of Lone Wolf & Cub, and their book Lady Snowblood was issued in English by Dark Horse.  He also had TANIGUCHI Jiro as an assitant, who’s won quite a few Western fans.  I far prefer Kamimura, whose line & stories are more ragged, sentimental, and beautiful.

Finally, some online Japanese articles I consulted:

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