Yoshiko OkuyamaJun 10, 2023
Japan’s Graphic Memoirs of Brain and Mental Health
Palgrave Macmillan 2022
Yoshiko Okuyama's book Tōjisha Manga: Japan’s Graphic Memoirs of Brain and Mental Health (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) defines tōjisha manga as Japan’s autobiographical comics in which the author recounts the experience of a mental or neurological condition in a unique medium of text and image. Yoshiko Okuyama argues that tōjisha manga illuminate otherwise “faceless” individuals and humanize their invisible tribulations because the first-person narrative makes their lived experience more authentic and relatable to the reader. Part I introduces the evolution of the term tōjisha, the tōjisha movements, and other relevant social phenomena and concepts. Part II analyzes five representative titles to demonstrate the humanizing power of tōjisha manga, drawing on interviews with the authors of these manga and examining how psychological or brain-related symptoms are artistically depicted in approximately 40 drawings. This book is highly recommended to not only scholars of disability studies and comic studies but also global fans of manga who are interested in the graphic memoirs of serious social issues.
Shu Wan is currently matriculated as a doctoral student in history at the University at Buffalo. As a digital and disability historian, he serves in the editorial team of Digital Humanities Quarterly and Nursing Clio. On Twitter: @slissw.