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Abandon the Old in Tokyo Hardcover – September 5, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; First Edition edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894937872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894937870
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The second volume of Drawn and Quarterly's ambitious reprinting of selected works by manga master Tatsumi picks up where the first left off. This outing once again showcases Tatsumi's pitch-perfect psychodramas, but this time with stories that are a bit more ambitious and sure-footed. Tatsumi more or less invented his own genre, making compelling manga out of everyday moments that otherwise pass unnoticed. His characters are anonymous faces we pass on the street, and he gives them an unsuspected inner life. In the opening story an artist for children's stories discovers a new, sinister vocation until he's found out. In another story a man is held captive by a woman who blames all men for her own psychological (and physical) scars. And in still another, an old man, once a proud business owner, returns to his derelict office day after day, despite the end of his company. Tatsumi lends all of these characters sympathetic voices through his minimal dialogue and deft line work. No one captures urban Japan quite like Tatsumi—even the streets feel nuanced. This collection of seminal work by a comics master is essential reading for anyone interested in the artistic development of the medium. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The stories in editor Tomine's second collection of this groundbreaking comics creator originally appeared in 1970, when Japan had recovered from the psychic setback of World War II and embarked on its "economic miracle." Tatsumi reveals, however, a segment of Japanese society that remained defeated, made up of weary, emasculated, working-class men, often paired with resentful women. In the title story, a frustrated truck driver taking care of his decrepit, demanding mother reaches his limit. In others, a disgraced businessman returns to his deserted office every day, long after the company has gone under, and a burned-out children's manga artist turns his talents to more disreputable pursuits. It's hard not to read an autobiographical element into that last one, related to the fact that Tatsumi combined the words for drama and art to coin a term,gekiga, for his work to set it apart from comics aimed at children. His powerful drawing style depicts the characters with a starkness and simplicity that matches what is presented of their lives and conjures a convincing urban milieu through detailed backdrops. These decades-old tales are unlike anything published in the U.S. before or since, and it's gratifying that America is now finally catching up with Tatsumi's genius. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This is a collection of manga stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.
J. Wan
That is why this book is fundamentally amazing, and well worth picking up and reading.
Monkey
Some of his best pieces read like great short stories in literature do.
Somnath Basu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Abandon the Old in Tokyo (Drawn and Quarterly, 2006)

"The more we jam ourselves together, the more isolated we all are." I still have no idea why it is that some authors would pen a line like this and have it be utter trash, while a select few-- the redoubtable Yoshihiro Tatsumi among them-- can make it sound like the deepest sort of philosophic meditation... and get away with it.

This is the second compendium of Tatsumi's work to be published in America (the first was The Push Man and Other Stories), and all I can say is "it's about bloody time." This is amazing work. Tatsumi mentions in the interview after the stories that he was entirely unaware of the "underground comix" movement in America at the time he was drawing these stories; it's amazing that he developed independently along the same lines of thought as they did, but that seems to be what happened. Tatsumi's stories are the same kind of slice-of-life thing, but with less of a drug atmosphere and more pessimism (I want to say "nihilism," there, but it's not quite right; there is a sense of hope in some of these stories, however quickly it may be crushed). The end result is small, profoundly affecting pieces of work that command the reader to devour them. If you haven't had the pleasure of encountering the work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi yet-- and most of us in America haven't-- you owe it to yourself to make his acquaintance. **** ˝
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Loyd A. Boldman on January 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Abandon the Old in Tokyo is a collection of dark stories of the ghosts that can haunt "ordinary" city life. The people and situations seem entirely familiar in spite of the unfamiliar Tokyo surroundings and desperate, often obsessively fetishistic relationships. Tatsumi's art seems limited at first glance (many characters share the same "inexpressive" face), but he brings out an amazing array of emotions and keen observations. More than once I was reminded of Poe -- self-absorbed people caught in their own private hells. Not for the easily offended, but if you like David Lynch or Chuck Palahnuik, you'll feel uncomfortably at home.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eva J. Huber on May 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
super smart and down to earth- all the nitty gritty that most people don't see or choose to ignore as part of their actual lives, all here in hnest simplistic poetic beauty. a timeless classic for sure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a collection of manga stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. If you have only experience with Astroboy or the more recent Pokemon/Naruto/mecha manga this will be a surprise and perhaps not to your taste. There are no magical creatures, cyborg computer hackers, fantastic robots, ninjas or samurai. Tatsumi shows a realistic gritty dirty often sordid Japan. The people are often frustrated, disappointed and have lives lacking meaning and satisfaction. Taken together, they offer an interesting look into the oily, dirty underbelly of the normally glossy techno efficient face presented by postwar Japan. If you like more serious comics (Chris Ware, Harvey Pekar, Art Spegelman, etc.) you'll probably appreciate Tatsumi.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Davison on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tatsumi is a great artist and storyteller, so why only 4 stars?

The reason is the unrelenting bleakness of the stories. After the middle story, "Unpaid", I found it very hard to finish the collection.

Perhaps collecting these stories in one place is a mistake, due to their depressing tone. Apparently, the stories originally appeared in different places. Amazingly, two of them in children's magazines!!

I was also left wondering about Tatsumi's place in Manga, since Koji Suzuki in the introduction admits to not knowing about Tatsumi beforehand. In the Q&A at the end of the book, Tatsumi can't think of another Japanese author working in the same style.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Georgia C. VINE VOICE on November 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have not read this author's work before and was interested because his stories, based upon those of the other reviewers here, seemed to present a very different atmosphere from North American writers. Despite being fully aware that the subject matter in "Abandon the Old" could be shocking, I was perhaps more taken aback by the sense that the author WAS NOT trying to shock. These stories are small, quiet, and utterly terrifying. I really hope reality is not anything close to what happens in these stories, but perhaps it is, in dark corners that we do not want to know about.

I really could not stop reading because the stories are compelling and the drawings have a simplicity that is essential to their power. I would NOT recommend this book if you're very sensitive to sad, crazy things. But who knows, maybe it will be good for you to explore why the stories in this book are frightening, and whether the world around you is any less so.

I am remaining a bit light on the details of the stories within because I don't want to give any of it away. Suffice it is to say that they are about urban life in Japan, and what happens to people who have reached the point of total despair - you will not be able to predict what happens next. These stories do not pull their punches and I warn you that at least one of them breaks a Western taboo that will not be gone anytime soon.

I'd give it five stars for impact, but I was greatly upset the rest of the evening. I know that this would mean it deserves five, but if you read it you'll see what I mean. It's beautiful and ugly.
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