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Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths Paperback – April 26, 2011
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About the Author
Born on March 8, 1922, in Sakaiminato, Tottori, Shigeru Mizuki is a specialist in stories of yokai and is considered a master of the genre.He is a member of the Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology and has traveled to more than sixty countries to engage in fieldwork on the yokai and spirits of different cultures. He has been published in Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Taiwan, and Italy.
Top Customer Reviews
The first half of the book is a tale of steadily increasing misery; The soldiers are poorly fed, suffering from untreated diseases, and forced to work in dangerous conditions. Enlisted men were regarded as less than human by the Japanese army brass, who refer to them as "worms." Nonetheless, their humanity shines through in their vastly different personalities, their memories of home, and their humor. Even the cruel Sergeant Honda, who dispenses blows as casually as orders, shows rare empathy when he gives his boot to Maruyama (who lost his in a gross but funny incident involving a latrine and a rice bucket) and declares his intention to go barefoot. The soldiers may be less than human to their commanders, but they are very much alive to the reader--which makes it so terrible when we see them die horribly, one by one, from jungle diseases, accidents, or just plain stupidity.
As the book progresses, the enemy closes in, and the Japanese commander, Tadokoro, makes the decision that the unit must hurl itself against the Allies in one last suicide charge.Read more ›
It's impossible to overstate author Mizuki Shigeru's importance in modern Japan. This is a man who literally has his own museum, and bronze statues raised in his honor. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he showed up on the money, someday after his death. He is best known for his folklore monster comic "Ge ge ge no Kitaro," but he exorcises a different kind of demon in his WWII historical comics. In one of the defining acts of Mizuki's life, he was conscripted and sent to Papua New Guinea, where he lost his arm. But the loss of his arm also saved his life--while he recovered in a hospital Mizuki's platoon was ordered into a suicide charge just like the one depicted in "Onward to Our Noble Deaths."
Mizuki's style has always been about blending discordant elements: comedy with tragedy, cartoony, exaggerated art with photorealism, sacred with the profane. As a comic artist, he is a true grandmaster who has been perfecting his craft for more than fifty years--which is a wonder in itself. How many other artists stay vibrant and vital in their nineties? But even from his high throne of respected artist, he doesn't take himself too seriously.Read more ›
The main theme of the work is compelling: a group of Japanese soldiers have been ordered to perform a blatant suicide charge, but through the fog of war are inexplicably not killed. In the meantime however, their superiors have already announced their deaths 'for the glory of Japan'. Upon learning of the survival of the men, they are not rescued or cared for, but are ordered to attack again for no strategic purpose so as to not bring "dishonor" upon all involved. The message: get it right this time and die. Can't you do anything right? And do the officers who order them back to die join in the suicide charge? No.
The story explores how each person involved in the attacks uniquely reacts to the situation, from rank soldier to superior to those watching safely from the sidelines. Considering that the author of "Onwards" (Shigeru Mizuki) actually served in similar WWII circumstances, even losing his arm, these subplot stories are equally captivating and focus on some of the nontypically portrayed (but sometimes equally deadly) tasks of war that deal with staying alive in order to fight: building shelter, getting food and water, cleaning latrines, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best artwork EVER from the preeminent and most famous Japanese cartoonist, Shigeru Mizuki, who served (2nd World War) in the Imperial Army!
Bonus: it's 90% true. Read more
There are many reasons to read Onward Towards our Noble Deaths, and it’s hard to pick which one to start with- a good problem to have. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very rare to find Japanese 1st person accounts of WWII, this unique style shows the humanity behind the barbarous behavior of the imperial armiesPublished 16 months ago by Christian J Lemoi
I have read John Toland's The Rising Sun a couple of times. This is a history which focuses on the Japanese side of World War II. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ian K.
A classic that starts out with the soldiers going to a Comfort Station (using Comfort Women). Every student of Japan should read this and have this manga in their library. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kingston girl