Established in 1974, the Journal of Japanese Studies features original, analytically rigorous articles from across the humanities and social sciences, including comparative and transnational scholarship in which Japan plays a major part

Whaley 50:1


Who Let the Dogs Out?  Race as Illness in Tezuka Osamu’s Ode to Kirihito

This article examines the link between illness and racialized difference in the medical manga Kirihito sanka (1970–71; Ode to Kirihito, 2006) by Japan’s “God of Manga,” Tezuka Osamu (1928–89).  Centering on a fictional disease that physically transforms its victims into human-canine hybrids, Kirihito sanka illustrates how easily ethno-racial stereotypes can inform discourses on disease, and how discrimination and racism are illnesses without national or cultural boundaries.  As such, the manga is a sterling example of Tezuka’s gekiga-inspired works of the 1970s that evolved to tell more literary and socially resonant stories reflecting the author’s racial politics.

Volume 50, Number 1 (Winter 2024)
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