Shigeru Mizuki

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Shigeru Mizuki
水木 しげる
Born (1922-03-08) March 8, 1922 (age 93)
Sakaiminato, Tottori
Nationality Japanese
Area(s) Writer, penciller, inker, manga artist,
Notable works
GeGeGe no Kitaro
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths
Showa: A History of Japan
Awards See below

Shigeru Mizuki (水木 しげる Mizuki Shigeru?, born March 8, 1922) is a Japanese manga artist, most known for his Japanese horror manga GeGeGe no Kitarō (Japanese: ゲゲゲの鬼太郎, lit. "spooky Kitarou") - originally titled Hakaba Kitarō (Japanese: 墓場鬼太郎, lit. "Kitarou of the Graveyard") - Kappa no Sanpei, and Akuma-kun. Originally from Sakaiminato in Tottori prefecture, he currently resides in Chōfu, Tokyo. His pen-name, Mizuki, comes from the time when he managed an inn called 'Mizuki Manor' while he drew pictures for kamishibai. A specialist in stories of yōkai (a subgenre in Japanese horror), he is considered a master of the genre. He is also known for his World War II memoirs and his work as a biographer.


Born in the coastal town of Sakaiminato, Mizuki was originally named Shigeru Mura (武良 茂 Mura Shigeru), the second of three sons. Described as a drifting, curious child, his earliest pursuits included copious amounts of drawing and hearing ghost stories from a local woman he nicknamed "Nononba".[1]

However, in 1942, he was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army and sent to New Britain Island in Papua New Guinea. His wartime experiences affected him greatly, as he contracted malaria, watched friends die from battle wounds and disease, and dealt with other horrors of war. Finally, in an Allied air raid, he was caught in an explosion and lost his left arm. While in a Japanese field hospital[2] on Rabaul, he was befriended by the local Tolai tribespeople, who offered him land, a home, and citizenship via marriage to one of their women. Mizuki acknowledged he considered remaining behind, but was shamed by a military doctor into returning home to Japan first to face his parents, which he did reluctantly.[1]

Upon arriving home, Mizuki had initially planned to return to New Guinea; however, the occupation of Japan changed that. His injuries did little to help, nor did the fact that his older brother, an artillery officer, was convicted as a war criminal for having prisoners of war executed. From his return until 1956 he worked as a movie theater operator until his break as a cartoonist.

In 1957, Mizuki released his debut work, Rocketman. Since then, he has published numerous works, both on yōkai and military works. He has also written many books on both subjects, including an autobiography about his time on New Britain Island and a manga biography on Adolf Hitler.[1] In 1991, he released a short work titled War and Japan published in The Sixth Grader, a popular edutainment magazine for young people, detailing the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army during their rampage in China and Korea and is narrated by Nezumi Otoko.[3] The work serves as a powerful counterpoint to revisionist manga like the works of Yoshinori Kobayashi and by extension a way for Mizuki to express his anger at those responsible for all of Japan's victims. When not working in either field, he paints a number of subjects, though these works are not as well known as his literary ones which have made him a household name.

In 2003, he returned to Rabaul to rekindle his friendship with the natives, who had named a road after him in his honor.

In 2005, Shigeru Mizuki appeared in a cameo role in Yōkai Daisenso ("The Great Yokai War") directed by Takashi Miike, a film about yōkai inspired by his work; several of his characters make cameo appearances. A brief explanation about his works also is mentioned in the film.

In 2010 NHK broadcast an asadora about his married life, Gegege no Nyobo, based on his wife's autobiography.


Mizuki Road
Mizuki Road
Mizuki Road

Sakaiminato, the birthplace of Mizuki, has a street dedicated to the ghosts and monsters that appear in his stories. One hundred bronze statues of the story's characters line both sides of the road. There is also a museum featuring several of his creations and works.


Mizuki has won numerous awards and accolades for his works, especially Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro. Among these are:

Selected works[edit]


  • Hakaba Kitaro (1960–1964)
  • Kappa no Sanpei (河童の三平?, 1961–1962)
  • Akuma-kun (1963–1964)
  • Terebi-kun (テレビくん?, 1965)
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō (1967–1969)
  • Hitler: A Biography (劇画ヒットラー Gekiga Hittorā?, 1971)
  • The Miraculous Notebook (不思議な手帖 Fushigina Techō?, 1973) — a one-shot published in the magazine Comic Mystery about a notebook that killed whoever's name was written in it. The same idea was used in the smashhit manga Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Although this fact is a coincidence, Ohba has stated he did not have any particular inspiration for his story.[9]
  • Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths (1973)
  • NonNonBa (のんのんばあとオレ Nonnonba to Ore?) (1977)
  • Showa: A History of Japan (1988–1989)


  • Mizuki, Shigeru. 水木しげるの日本妖怪めぐり (Hepburn: Mizuki Shigeru no Nihon Yōkai Meguri, lit. "Shigeru Mizuki's Ghosts and Demons".)
  • Rabauru Senki (Memories of Rabaul)
  • Mizuki, Shigeru. "Graphic World of Japanese Phantoms". 講談社, 1985. ISBN 978-4-06-202381-8 (4-06-202381-4)


  1. ^ a b c Otake, Tomoko (February 6, 2005). "Drawing on experience". The Japan Times. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ Showa: A History of Japan 1944-1953, p 284
  3. ^
  4. ^ Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on August 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Shigeru Hall to Open". Anime News Network. March 3, 2003. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "2003 Tezuka Award Winners". Anime News Network. April 24, 2003. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Non Non Ba to Ore Wins "Best Comic Book" Award". Anime News Network. August 2, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  8. ^, Seek Japan, October. 27, 2010.
  9. ^

External links[edit]