Sunday, June 13, 2004


I'd read all the articles about how diverse Japanese manga are, with subjects that range from cooking to mah jongg to pachinko. But Shigeshoushi by Mitsukazu Sangen (I'm not completely sure that that's how the surname is read, since it's in kanji with no furigana), an installment of which I acquired the other day, still came as a shock: it's a manga about undertaking. As in preparing dead bodies for burial. The hero, "pursuing his dream" (as the opening splash page states), has travelled from Japan to study at the Pittsburgh College of Mortuary Science, presumably to learn to be an undertaker. The title means something like "dead makeup master," and each episode is called an "embalming," so the episode I own is "embalming 16." I haven't read the manga yet, but it appears to be completely serious, not a comedy.

The magazine which carries it, awomen's manga anthology called Feel Young, looks very interesting itself, with series by Erica Sakurazawa, Shungicu Uchida, and Kiriko Nananan. Hopefully, I'll get around to describing it here someday.

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