Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Doing Time Paperback – January 1, 2010
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
About the Author
Born April 17, 1942 (or 1947) in Japan, cult horror manga-ka Hanawa began his career in Garo in 1971 with [i]Kan no Mushi[/i], a tale about a destructive boy who is taken to a sadistic accupuncturist. He then focused on macabre satires based on Japan's medieval aristocracy. In 1994 he was arrested and put in jail for possession of illegal firearms. After his release he collected his experiences in this book [i]Doing Time[/i] which was first serialized in the magazine AX in 1998.
Top customer reviews
"Doing Time" is author Kazuichi Hanawa's biography on his two years in prison from 1995-1997, in Sapporo, Japan. Hanawa was a model gun enthusiast, but crossed the boundaries when he acquired a real gun. Practicing with the gun in the woods, he ran afoul of Japan's strict gun-control law and the police arrested Hanawa for illegal position of a firearm.
Most jail-biographies focus on the oppressive and harsh nature of jail, or the injustice suffered by the inmates. Hanawa takes a much different tone in "Doing Time." He doesn't deny that he broke the law, and seems to be at peace with the fact that he broke society's rules and now he has to pay. From the very start, with his short essay "How to Dress in Prisoner's Clothes," Hanawa is more concerned with the normal aspects of daily life in prison (like learning to use a prison toilet) than in attempting to illicit sympathy or outrage from his readers.
Not a complete biography, "Doing Time" is snatches of memorable events or reflections during Hanawa's time in prison. There is no clear timeline, no passage of point A to point B. The comic does not begin with Hanawa's trial and end with his leaving prison. There is some introductions to the other prisoners, and what people talk about in jail. But much of the book is just wandering and drifting in a place where days of the week and months have no more meaning, and your life is measured out in years to go.
Being Japanese, of course, much time is dedicated to the prison meals, and memorizing on what day of the week what food comes. Food is one of life's great pleasures, even more so when you are in captivity and have nothing much to look forward to. Hanawa lays out big two-page spreads of the monthly prison menu, as well as little tricks he learns like adding soy sauce to the 3-parts wheat/ 7-parts rice mixture.
Hanawa uses a couple of different drawing styles, but stays mainly consistent with a clean line and detailed background. The prisoners are all drawn as short and squat, almost like little children, but with rough adult faces. As can be expected, the situations in prison can get earthy, but nothing of the horrors of rape and violence like American jails. Just a bunch of stinky guys piling into a communal bath together and talking about their athlete's foot.
"Doing Time" has an interview with Hanawa and a separate commentary. Both give deeper insight into the nature of Hanawa's crime and sentence, and subsequent freedom. Needless to say, his enthusiasm for model guns has since waned.
As a collector of interesting guns, Hanawa ran afoul of Japan's strict gun ownership regulations and was caught testing out some of his unlicensed acquisitions in a remote location. Perhaps the starkest contrast to American law is that Hanawa was imprisoned for three years for a wholly nonviolent and nondestructive event, while a similar offense in the U.S. is typically met with fines. In fact, some of Hanawa's historical guns would be exempted by U.S. gun law, but are strictly forbidden by Japanese law.
Hanawa doesn't spend any time lamenting his unjust punishment, or how awful life in prison is, instead focusing on the actualities of his situation and how to make the most of it. He's accepted that he is to spend three years in prison, and he's created an excellent documentary about the duration. It's intensely detailed, and while it spends a lot of time on the minutia of prison life, it effectively conveys the feeling of passing the time by the very nature of this attention to the minutia, making all of it very interesting. Black and sepia drawings throughout spell out these details down to their finest points, with thousands of tiny lines that feel like time passing, minute by minute, for three years. It's the perfect medium and style for the narrative that Hanawa is delivering.
It's not a story that's full of action, making it a true documentary in this sense. It's filled with schedules, pages of meals, and the intensity of small moments of anxiety and respite in a severely restricted environment. Rules are rarely broken, and if they are, it's never in a violent manner. Prisoners spend their days producing art, or resting, or bathing, and have all seemed to accept their fate without struggling against it. We never get to see documentation of the punishment for breaking these rules, because Hanawa never saw it happen. Despite this lack of action, this voyeuristic and honest view into a prison cell remains compelling and makes every page meaningful. If you like documentaries or Japanese culture, or even the intellectual nature of independent comics, this is perfect for you.
It's a story about a prison, but there's little vulgarity, unlike what US prison reality shows and dramas would have you anticipate. Minor male nudity and typical locker room discussions occur, but Doing Time does not contain anything even slightly gratuitous. If anything potentially offensive does happen, which is rare, it's an expression of the lack of privacy in prison and little else. Doing Time is a tremendously interesting peek into a foreign, fascinating place, and a great window into a wholly different genre of manga.
-- Collin David
If you want a glimpse inside a Japanese jail - there is no better book to read.
The tone and manner of the book is objective, calm and peaceful. It's nothing like his regular fictional stories where he likes to push the limits of how grotesque one can get!