A Journey To The Empire Of Signs
Japan is a place of special fascination for the acclaimed international comics creator Igort, who has visited and lived there more than 20 times, and worked in the country's manga industry for more than a decade. In this masterful new book—part graphic memoir, part cultural meditation—Igort vividly recounts his personal experiences in Japan, creating comics amid the activities of everyday life, and finding inspiration everywhere: in nature, history, custom, art, and encounters with creators including animation visionary Hayao Miyazaki. With beautifully illustrated reflections on subjects from printmaking to Zen Buddhism, imperial history to the samurai code, Japanese film, literature, and manga, this is a richly rewarding book for anyone interested in Japan or comic arts practiced at the highest level.
"A loose chain of commentaries on bits of Japanese culture that have made an impression on Igort (…) illustrated with exquisite pen-and-watercolor images that filter iconic Japanese imagery through the visual techniques of European comics.”
The New York Times
" Mixing detailed sketches and delicate watercolors with occasional historic photographs and pen-and-ink portraits of the people he worked with, the resulting collection is less a complete story and more a conversation with the reader, complete with humorous anecdotes, tangential asides, and the occasional rant about how insane the workload is in Japan compared to what artists are expected to produce in Europe. (...) A captivating glimpse into the mind of an artist."
Starred Review - Booklist
“In this pleasantly meandering graphic album, Italian cartoonist Igort collects his scattered impressions of Japan, stitching together short stories, essays, and samples of the comics he drew for manga publisher Kodansha while living in Tokyo. (…) If this rose-colored view is a touch naïve, Igort’s warmly colored art, combining the elegant clear line of European comics with the expressive simplicity of manga and a touch of ukiyo-e, goes a long way toward selling his vision.”
Watch a video of Japanese Notebooks in the making (in Italian).
★ Comicon 2016, Naples Comic Festival - Best Artist Award
★ Lucca Comics Festival 2016 - Author of the year