We shout irasshai!! to translator, writer, and hardcore yokai fan Zack Davisson as he joins the Popzara Podcast to chat about his English translation of manga master Shigeru Mizuki’s illustrated version of Kunio Yanagita’s Tono Monogatari, perhaps the most important – and certainly most popular – text on the history of Japan’s considerable monsters, myths, and legends.
But that’s not all: Popzara favorite Kevin, from YouTube’s StoryDive, gets a welcoming tadaima!! as joins our own Nathan Evans and Zack on a highly educational (and highly entertaining) look at what it was like helping bring one of Japan’s most popular historians (comic or otherwise) to a wider audience, being called a modern Lafcadio Hearn, and the pressures of creating the first English translation of Mizuki’s mammoth Showa: A History of Japan.
Come for the Tono Monogatari, but stay for the bonus look at the history of Japanese folklore (including yokai and kami), including the spiritual (and cultural) significance of perhaps the most popular yokai of them all, Godzilla. Is there a difference between yokai and kami? What was the “Great Yokai War” and who won it? What’s it like visiting the fabled Mizuki Shigeru Road in Sakaiminato? And why the heck did it take so long for English translations of Shigeru Mizuki to arrive?
Even if you don’t know your kappa from your tengu, there’s still much to learn and appreciate by deep-diving into Kunio Yanagita’s Tono Monogatari, and Shigeru Mizuki’s illustrated version makes these stories more accessible than ever.