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New York Art Students League scholarship. The Four Immigrants Manga: Kiyama stayed in the United States for thirty years, studying art and mastering Western techniques and became a well-respected artist whose works, many of which have survived, were widely exhibited.
Kiyama returned to Japan for the last time inand while he was there, war broke out, forcing him to remain. He taught school in his hometown of Neu and continued creating his own works until his death in Kiyama also created what may have been the first graphic novel approximately seven years before an American comic book was published.
Inhe had his work on exhibition at the Golden Gate Institute, and in addition to his drawings and paintings, he displayed fifty-two episodes of a cartoon created in the style of American comic strips titled Manga Hokubei Iminshi, or A Manga North American Immigrant History.
It represented the lives of Kiyama and friends who had taken the names of Charlie, Fred, and Frank and covered the period fromwhen the young students first arrived, to Kiyama, who deliberately used a style that was crude and cartoony, similar to that seen in American strips, hoped that it would be carried by a newspaper, but it was perhaps too long, or too documentary, and it was never picked up.
The work was praised by people prominent in the Japanese community, as well as by the consul general of Japan. Schodt came across a copy of the work in a Berkeley library in and began to translate it.
He later published it as The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, Kiyama's edition was handwritten in Meiji-period Japanese, but where other ethnic groups, including Chinese and English speakers appear in the story, they speak their own languages.
This hand lettering remains, supplemented with English text, and some panels are reversed to accommodate the left-to-right flow of English. Historian reviewer Benson Tong called the volume "charming, yet poignant. The translation notes and historical comments are valuable and necessary complements to the manga; the cultural history becomes far more accessible to the uninitiated.
Fred hopes to succeed in farming, Frank in the import and export business, Charlie in the study of American politics, and Henry, like his creator, in art. Most of the episodes are set in the city, however, and there are many that provide histories of the earthquake and fire, the Spanish flu, World War Iimmigrant marriage customs, and property rights, or the lack thereof.
The four never assimilate, but rather adapt in a society that still mistakes the Japanese consul for a Chinese servant. They lose money in risky ventures and reach various levels of success. A wry verbal wit joins this visual wit, as the immigrant characters observe their situation with occasional anger but no malice.
Where it arises, Kiyama's anger animates his humor. It is an attitude like this that would make this manga so attractive as a teaching text.
Schodt hastens to apologize for the racism, adding that Kiyama learned to draw African American and Chinese stereotypes from the newspapers of the day.
But the ugly side of the immigrant experience rounds out The Four Immigrants Manga and makes it more than just an interesting antiquity. The reviewer wrote that "some of the things that happened to them were really quite terrible, such as when Charlie and Frank were bundled onto a truck at gunpoint and driven out of Turlock with a warning never to return, or when Charlie's request to gain his precious citizenship was denied, even after he'd fought on behalf of the United States.
Yet the characters can still dismiss their bad fortune with a wry sentence or even a joke. Humphrey in American Studies International. Humphrey, review of The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco,pp.
Hayashi, review of The Four Immigrants Manga, p.Henry (Yoshitaka) Kiyama's The Four Immigrants Manga is a wonderful primary-source document for anyone interested in gaining insight on the Japanese immigration experience in San Francisco near the beginning of the twentieth century.
When Yoshitaka Kiyama arrived in San Francisco from Japan in at the age of nineteen, he took the name of Henry. Kiyama stayed in the United States for thirty years, studying art and mastering Western techniques and became a well-respected artist whose works, many of .
The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in Publisher: Stone Bridge Press. The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, by Henry (Yoshitaka) Kiyama, Frederik L.
Schodt this book includes extensive notes historically pinpointing several of the cartoons and an introduction providing an overview of Price: $ Yoshitaka Kiyama ( - ) arrived in San Francisco in to study art at what was then known as the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, later to become the San Francisco Art Institute.
Over the course of 20 years Kiyama studied traditional western art, becoming a painter of some note. Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama was born on January 9, , in Neu, a little village in Tottori Prefecture, western Japan.
In , at the age of nineteen, he sailed to San Francisco, where there was a growing community of Japanese immigrants, many of whom were shosei, or young student-workers. As Frederick Schodt, this volume's translator, points out in an excellent introduction, it would be about another seven years until the first comic books appeared in the United States.
Kiyama took his creation with him to Japan and returned in with printed copies of the page Four Immigrants Manga.