The man who coined the term gekiga. Born on June 10, 1935, Tatsumi grew up in Japan after World War II and during the growth of manga. His love for comics, both writing and drawing them, was strong even in his youth, and he started out as many did by drawing postcard yonkoma. After meeting and speaking with his inspiration, Osamu Tezuka, Tatsumi began to work on longer projects such as an omnibus. The political, financial and moral strife of post-WWII Japan eventually inspired him to write darker comics about the normal everyday man. Wanting to differentiate this new style from the happier and goofy manga of the day, he coined a new term, gekiga, and the movement of Japanese alternative comics began.
Yoshihiro Tatsumi has published many short stories in the gekiga style that influenced many, even his great inspiration, Osamu Tezuka. His longest and most extensive work is his autobiographical A Drifting Life, a must-read for those who desire to know about the history of manga.
Tatsumi's works are published in English by the Canadian Drawn and Quarterly.
Works by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
- Black Blizzard
- A Drifting Life
- Abandon the Old in Tokyo
- The Pushman and other Stories
- Hito Kui Gyo
Tropes associated with the work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi:
- Author Avatar: Played straight in the case of 'A Drifting Life's Hiroshi''. Subverted in the short stories, see Reused Character Design.
- Beige Prose
- Crapsack World: His short stories. A Drifting Life is more idealistic.
- Darker and Edgier: The whole point of inventing gekiga, dramatic pictures, as opposed to the more lighthearted manga stories of his contemporaries.
- Downer Ending: Many of his short stories are vignettes who have No Ending, but most of them have a Downer Ending, sometimes only implied.
- Fan Disservice: The dark tone of his works makes sexuality and nudity appear disturbing.
- Humans Are Bastards: Humans in his works are depicted as intrinsically flawed and predisposed for vice.
- Loser Protagonist: The signature style of his short stories.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The neurotic mood of his short stories.
- Rape as Drama: Rape and ambiguously consensual sex is horrifyingly common in his work, often to characterize the rapist, who commited his crime due to intense stress.
- Reused Character Design: Just like Tezuka, he uses a cast of reoccuring characters.
- The most notable character is a wide-eyed man with short hair who played Hiroshi in A Drifting Life and is the most common protagonist in his short stories. He's is not an Author Avatar however, as Tatsumi clearly states many times. In most stories, he's a highly ambiguous Loser Protagonist, who often surrenders to his instincts and anger.
- Another reoccuring character is a slender guy with neatly done short hair, who often starts as a valuable member of society but experiences a Protagonist Journey to Villain. Also often casted as a Wholesome Crossdresser.
- A woman with curls is regularly casted as a Femme Fatale or The Vamp who exploits the protagonist emotionally and financially.
- Trope Maker: Of dramatic manga for adults, called gekiga.
- Trope Namer: He also named the new genre.
- Slice of Life: He specialized in short stories that present vignettes from the live of people of the working class.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His famous short stories are far on the cynical end, A Drifting Life is more idealistic.
- The Stoic: Most of his male characters. There are moments in which they are Not So Stoic.