Feb 7

JET alum and 'Tonoharu' creator Lars Martinson.


JET alum/cartoonist Lars Martinson (Fukuoka-ken 2003-2006), author of the graphic novels Tonoharu: Part Two and Tonoharu:  Part 1, is the focus (along with Adam Pasion, author of the Sundogs anthologies) of a thoughtful Japan Times article by Gianni Simone on comics about Japan “that tell it like it is.”

Here’s the link to the article:  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110205a1.html

And below are a few excerpts about Martinson from the article:

The comic life of expats in Japan

Americans Lars Martinson and Adam Pasion tell it like it is with cutting-edge manga

By GIANNI SIMONE Special to The Japan Times

Tales of expat life in Japan all too often get blown out of proportion and quickly become picaresque adventures that little resemble real life.


Luckily for us, many comic artists who have lived here seem to be more level-headed and have tackled the subject with a more realistic, no-nonsense approach.


As the title suggests, “Tonoharu: Part Two” is not Martinson’s first foray in the field of expat comics: He self-published the first volume of this four-part saga in 2008 thanks to a grant from the prestigious Xeric Foundation.

Martinson, 33, first arrived in Japan in 2003 to work as an assistant language teacher, and spent the next three years working at a junior high school in a small town in Fukuoka Prefecture. His second stint in this country was in 2008 when he studied East Asian calligraphy under the auspices of a two-year research scholarship from the Japanese government.

Travel had played a pivotal role in his life (he had lived in Thailand and Norway as well), so when he came up with the idea of producing a graphic novel, he decided to make foreign travel a central theme.

“I planned from the start to turn my Japanese experience into a comic,” Martinson says, “even though I didn’t want it to be a mere autobiographical story. So I chose a 20-something American like me as the protagonist, but added a fictional group of eccentric expatriates living in the same rural Japanese town.”

At times living in the middle of nowhere was a challenge. Still, Martinson has no regrets about those three years spent in Kyushu.

“I’m actually a city slicker,” confesses Martinson, “and would love to live in a huge city in Japan at some point. Also, I’m sure that expat communities are awesome, but they can also separate you from the native population. When you live out in the country, you don’t have the option to just hang out with other Westerners, and this can force you to get involved in the host culture in ways you probably wouldn’t otherwise.”

Click here to read the full article:  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110205a1.html

Click here to read more JetWit posts about Lars Martinson:

Click here for Lars Martinson’s official blog/website:  http://larsmartinson.com

Comments are closed.

Page Rank