6.5 x 8.8
536 Pgs
$24.95 CAD/USD

A master cartoonist and war vet details Japan’s involvement in World War II

Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan continues award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki’s autobiographical and historical account of Showa era Japan. This volume covers the final moments of the lead-up to World War Two and the first few years of the Pacific War; it is a chilling reminder of the harshness of life in Japan during this highly militarized epoch.

In Showa 1939-1944, Mizuki writes affectingly about the impact on the Japanese populace of world-changing moments including the devastating Second Sino-Japanese War, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the first half of the Pacific War. On a personal level, these years mark a dramatic transformation in Mizuki’s life, too – his idyllic childhood in the countryside comes to a definitive end when he’s drafted into the army and shipped off to the tiny island of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea. His life becomes a constant struggle for survival, not only against the constant Allied attacks but because he must face the harsh discipline of the Japanese army officers. During his time in Rabaul, Mizuki comes to understand the misery and beauty of the island itself—a place that will permanently mark him and haunt him for the rest of his life.

Translated from the Japanese by Zack Davisson.

Praise for Showa 1939–1944

...confirms that Shigeru Mizuki is a priceless chronicler of the major events that rocked Japan during the twentieth century...these works serve as a dire warning against the dangers of imperialism, of the consequences of choosing to fight rather than to think.

World Literature Today

[Showa 1939-1944] should be of particular interest, as Mizuki had a torturous personal involvement in WWII action, where he ultimately suffered grievous physical injury.

The Comics Journal

The facts are so riveting that you’ll find you can’t stop turning the page. Add to this the art style, which continues to shift between photorealism and goofy sketches, and you’ve got a second volume that’s just as essential as the first.

Suitable for Treatment / Manga Bookshelf

Written with Mizuki's dark humor, fast-paced and gripping storytelling and breathtaking artwork, Showa is perfect for lovers of realistic comics and critical histories of Japanese empire.

Socialist Worker

Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa 1939–1944: A History of Japan [is] an unflinching history of the harsh realities of the war year’s in Japan by a Japanese veteran.

Publishers Weekly, Spring 2014 Top Ten

Passionate and meticulously researched (with copious explanatory footnotes and endnotes) Showa is an astounding and sweeping epic, and a must-read. It offers an indelible and engaging combination of human storyline, riveting life-and-death plot twists, historical education and passionately conveyed moral messaging on the horrors of war.


In [Showa], legendary manga artist Mizuki draws an exaggerated, hyper-cartoony version of himself amid some of the grimmest realities of 20th Century Japan, and lets that tension work a sly, revelatory magic.


Showa is literature, illustrated or not, at its finest: a story that sweeps you off your feet only to find, when you return to Earth, that nothing looks quite the same.

Los Angeles Times
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