Wednesday 28 April 2021

Through Teachers' Eyes (Part 2!): Bringing Asian Poetry into the Classroom

Editor's note: In last month's column, we asked two writers and educators, Inez Tan (in California) and Ann Ang (in Singapore), to each tell us about an Asian poem that they loved teaching. Their reflections on poems by E.J. Koh and Toeti Heraty, respectively, proved to be a hit – so we're back this month with two other writers and educators, Jennifer Wong (in the UK) and Esther Vincent Xueming (in Singapore), writing about how they've brought Asian poetry into the classroom. Enjoy! 

Left to right: Jennifer Wong, Ocean Vuong, Esther Vincent Xueming, Ow Yeong Wai Kit


Esther Vincent Xueming on Ow Yeong Wai Kit 

I first stumbled upon Ow Yeong Wai Kit’s “Elegy for a Silent Stalker” when he sent it in to The Tiger Moth Review back in 2019. Written after Kay Ryan, who describes her own poems developing “the way an oyster does, with an aggravation” (Poetry Foundation), Wai Kit’s “Elegy” similarly aggravates the reader with its opening line: “Who wouldn’t be a polar bear in the tropics?” Perhaps what is so appealing to me about “Elegy” is its overtly critical attitude about the unnaturalness of keeping animals in captivity, which resonates with me as an animal lover.

Since then, I have used this poem at workshops for teachers, and written about it alongside Shucolat’s Tribute to Inuka in a recent issue of enl*ght. When the opportunity came for me to design a poetry unit for my Year 4 students this year, I decided to teach “Elegy” comparatively alongside a poem of mine, “Falcon” in an ecopoetry-themed lesson. I began the lesson by introducing the poets, and gave students a common working definition of ecopoetry. We noted that an ecopoem had to be both “environmental” and “environmentalist”, in that it had to be about the “nonhuman natural world”, “ecocentric, not anthropocentric”, and set in an environment “implicitly or explicitly, impacted by humans” (Poetry Foundation). Rhetorically, it should be urgent and unsettling. With these understandings in mind, I gave students a brief account of Inuka’s life, and shared some photographs that characterised Inuka in specific ways: as a cub bonding with his mother, relishing his (supposedly) favourite meal of watermelon ice cake and finally, with a strip of green running down his spine where algae had grown, to show how unsuited he was to a tropical climate. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of contextualisation, which helps students recognise how poems are cultural artefacts belonging to a larger ecosystem beyond the page and classroom.

We then read the poem and focused on two key themes: the ethics of keeping animals in captivity, and the relationships between humans and nonhuman beings (and our obligations towards them). The class was given a few minutes to share their responses with each other in pairs, and we then reconvened to look at the second poem, “Falcon”, in a similar way. After that, students were broken into larger groups to compare the two poems, using the following questions (from the Poetry Moves Teaser Booklet) as a guide:

  • What similarities do they share in terms of purpose, message, stylistics (literary features), theme?
  • How are they similar or different in terms of cultural and historical contexts?
  • How are they different in terms of purpose, message, stylistics (literary features), theme?
  • How does reading two poems together change/complicate/contradict your understanding of each poem’s purpose, message, stylistics (literary features), theme?
Using their mobile phones, they captured their group’s responses into a Google document in their Google Classroom, and in the interest of time, each group was then asked to choose one question from the four to present to the rest of the class. To consolidate their learning, I gave them a group essay outline task as an extension activity where they could choose to respond to either “Elegy” or “Falcon”. Interestingly, all except for one group picked the former with spirited essay outlines that demonstrated sound understanding of the poem’s themes and literary features. Their insightful personal responses passionately addressed the ethics of keeping animals in captivity.

All in all, teaching “Elegy” and “Falcon” comparatively allowed for students to deepen, expand and extend their understanding of the themes taught, and by comparing the two poems, they could refine and evaluate the poems’ differing perspectives. Not surprisingly, students’ responses are richer whenever they are able to examine a text in relation to other texts, making comparative teaching one of my favourite pedagogical approaches.

Elegy for a Silent Stalker
After Kay Ryan; for Inuka the polar bear (1990-2018)

Ow Yeong Wai Kit 

“Singapore's last polar bear Inuka was put down on Wednesday morning (April 25) after a health check-up showed that the 27-year-old animal's ailing health had not improved significantly... Inuka’s enclosure will be refurbished and might be turned into a sea lion exhibit.” – Straits Times, 25 April 2018

Who wouldn’t be a polar bear in the tropics?
A solitary last emperor, an Arctic ambassador
paddling a marionette dance in his own lagoon,
never to be laid adrift on dwindling ice floes
or having to forage for food scraps ebbing soon.
His shaggy pelt, his algae-ridden fleece glows
amidst rations of apples and fish. He lumbers,
the scraggly hulk heaving to bear his own weight.
Resting his neck on his hairy paws, he slumbers
in an air-conditioned palace, his jowls sagging
on artificial permafrost. He knows the tundra
is an inconceivable dream. He has no need to hunt
for an ursine paramour. Trudging across icebergs
of indifference, he licks his fur. Silently, he stalks
nothing more than his own shadow.

Jennifer Wong on Ocean Vuong 

My Father Writes from Prison’ is one of my favourite poems from Ocean Vuong’s collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds. Written in an epistolary style, it grabs the attention of the reader right away with the use of dialect, conjuring a sense of intimacy and an opaqueness of meaning. Here is the reimagined voice of a father writing from prison, and the use of the slashes helps to reinforce the fragmentary narrative, as if—traumatised by his experience of the war—the father cannot or will not be able to tell his son all that lies buried in his heart. From the confession of how ’I crushed a monarch midnight’ to the glimpse of ‘the moss-covered temple a shard / of dawn in the eye of a dead’, the images are tinted with feelings of guilt, sadness and tenderness. There is also the constant holding back of speech, of what is nearly on the tip of the tongue. The constant disruption of syntax helps to convey this, such as the way the slashes splice the poem into disjointed lines:

my hands that pressed the 9mm to the boy’s / twitching cheek I was 22 the chamber / empty I didn’t know / how easy it was / to be gone these hands

Through these disruptions, the reader realises—slowly and painfully—the level of violence being alluded to, and the father’s inability to tell the story. There is a visceral connection between the hands that destroy (‘my hands that pressed the 9mm’) and the body that is violated.  

Look at the way hunger is captured in the later part of the poem. The father addresses the son, saying:

I’m so hungry / a bowl of rice / a cup of you / a single drop / my clock-worn girl / my echo trapped in ’88 / the cell’s too cold

The longing shifts from physical hunger to the longing for family attachment, embodied in the imagery of ‘a cup of you’, while the body also longs for physical intimacy (‘my clock-worn girl’) in this unnatural and inhuman prison space.

When I teach this poem, I usually will ask my students to discuss and derive important elements of a prose poem based on Vuong’s poem, and how we can maintain a sense of coherence within the poem despite the seemingly disjointed narrative. I then ask them to write a letter to their family or their loved ones, revealing something that was hidden before. Afterwards, students are asked to break down the contents of the letter into more ‘poetic snippets’ by using slashes. Often, this will generate a fascinating jigsaw of meanings and metaphors.

You can listen to Ocean Vuong reading this poem here


Esther Vincent Xueming is the editor-in-chief and founder of The Tiger Moth Review, an eco-journal of art and literature based in Singapore. She is co-editor of two poetry anthologies, Poetry Moves (Ethos Books, 2020) and Little Things (Ethos Books, 2013), and is currently co-editing an anthology of ecofeminist personal essays entitled Making Kin (forthcoming publication, Ethos Books). Her debut poetry collection, Red Earth, which was a finalist for the 2020 Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize (New York), is also forthcoming with Blue Cactus Press (Tacoma, Washington) in Fall 2021. A literature educator by profession, she is passionate about the entanglements in art, literature and the environment.

Jennifer Wong was born and grew up in Hong Kong. She is the author of several collections including Goldfish (Chameleon Press) and a pamphlet, Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Melon Poetry 2019). Her latest collection, 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press 2020) has been named the PBS Wild Card Choice by Poetry Book Society. She has a creative writing PhD from Oxford Brookes University and teaches creative writing at Poetry School and Oxford Brookes. Her poems, reviews and poetry translations have appeared in World Literature Today, Oxford Poetry, Magma Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry London, PN Review and Asian Review of Books. She is currently also writer-in-residence at Wasafiri.

Read Nashua Gallagher on Jennifer Wong's latest collection here


Sunday 25 April 2021

Alfred Raquez and the French Experience of the Far East, 1898-1906 by William L. Gibson

William L. Gibson has just published Alfred Raquez and the French Experience of the Far East, 1898-1906, as part of the series, Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia. 

In 1890, a man calling himself Alfred Raquez appeared in Indochina claiming to be a writer travelling the world to escape unfathomable sorrows back home in France. He published thousands of pages of highly detailed travel accounts that open a unique window onto the European presence in the Far East. And yet, despite the charm and the ebullience and the erudition, through all his travels and rising fame, the man kept a secret that was so mortifying that even his closest companions would not learn of it until after his death in 1907. In truth, Alfred Raquez did not exist... 

Alfred Raquez and the French Experience of the Far East, 1898-1906 provides a fascinating read for students and scholars of colonial Southeast Asia, and European colonialism more broadly. 

William L. Gibson and his co-editor Paul Bruthiaux have previously published In the Land of Pagodas and Laotian Pages, both translations of Raquez's travels through Asia at the turn of the century, and both published by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press.

William's articles have appeared the Mekong Review, the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient, and BiblioAsia, amongst others.

William's trilogy of hard-boiled crime novels set in 1890s Singapore is published by Monsoon Books. 

Wednesday 21 April 2021

The Mountain Whisperer – Another novel to add to the Jia Pingwa canon, reviewed by Nicky Harman

Jia Pingwa, ‘China’s master story-teller’ as the launch event for Mountain Whisperer dubbed him, remains relatively unknown to the English-language reader although a number of his novels have been translated. For anyone wanting to make his acquaintance, there is Turbulence, translated by Howard Goldblatt (1991); Happy Dreams, (Nicky Harman, 2014); Ruined Capital (Howard Goldblatt, 2016); Backflow River, (Nicky Harman2016, a free-to-read novella); The Lantern Bearer, (Carlos Rojas, 2017); Broken Wings (Nicky Harman, 2019); Shaanxi Opera, forthcoming; and now, Mountain Whisperer translated by Christopher Payne, and published, in a beautiful edition, by Sinoist Books, 2021. 

Even judging by the small collection which has been translated (a tiny part of his oeuvre), what is striking is the range of Jia’s writing: panoramic epics, rural and urban, with a cast of hundreds or the ‘small stories’ (Jia’s words) with a mere half-a-dozen; from ebullient characters we can imagine meeting anywhere, to the fey and the frankly oddball ones we are only likely to meet in the pages of his novels. 


Mountain Whisperer is one of Jia’s epics, hefty, though conveniently divided into four books set in different historical periods. Its unifying thread is the funeral singer, the eponymous mountain whisperer, one of Jia’s fey characters. As he lies dying in a cave high in the mountains of Shaanxi, he tells the stories of a soldier, a peasant, a revolutionary and a politician, and the parts they played in the struggles that forged the People’s Republic of China from its turbulent birth to its absurd reversal.  

And yet, the real protagonist of Mountain Whisperer could be said to be the land itself. Jia describes how it has shaped the lives and culture of local communities and embellishes his own writing with excerpts from an ancient compilation of mythic geography and fabulous beastsPathways Through the Mountains and Seas.


There is insufficient space here to give a proper synopsis of the whole novel. I will just say that, of the four stories, my personal favourite is the fourth, about a man called Xi Sheng of very short stature. This section brings us bang up to date. So much so, in fact, that we have a scarily prescient description of a pandemic – scary because this novel was written in 2013, Jia tells us. Of course, another coronavirus hit China and other countries in 2003, ten years before this novel was written. But the description of how the epidemic struck the villages is eerily familiar, today. ‘From the national capital it extended its tendrils throughout the country, leaving no place untouched. The first symptoms were akin to catching a cold: a headache, blocked nose, fever, joint pain and incessant coughing. Once the infection made its way into the lungs, death would follow shortly. The people in Qinling took to cursing the southerners, then Beijingers, all asking the same question: how the hell had it spread to Qinling?’ 


It would be remiss of me to finish this review without devoting some space to Jia Pingwa’s Afterword. Every novel he writes has one, and they are remarkable: extended essays which describe how he dreamed up the novel, what challenges he faced as he wrote it, the real-life elements that he has fictionalized, and what this particular novel means to him personally. For this last reason alone, I thoroughly recommend reading it, perhaps even before you begin the book. A 500-page novel about a place where you have never been and are never likely to go to, can seem daunting. But the Afterword of Mountain Whisperer takes us, the readers, by the hand, sits us down with Jia Pingwa, and allows us to listen as he talks from the heart. Here is a small excerpt: 


Three years ago, I returned to Dihua [Jia’s birthplace], on the eve of the lunar New Year. I visited my ancestors’ graves and lit a lantern to remember them. This is an important custom in the countryside, and if lanterns aren’t lit for some graves, it means there is no one left in the family to light them. I remember kneeling down in front of them, lighting a candle, and then the darkness that hung around me grew even denser. It seemed as though the only light in the entire world was the one emanating from the small candle I held. But... my grandfather’s visage, my grandmother’s too, as well as the forms of my father and mother, they were all so clear! ….

From Dihua, I returned to Xi’an and for a long time I remained silent, uncommunicative, often shut up in my study doing very little, except for smoking. And there, in those clouds of tobacco that blanketed my study and swirled about my head, I recalled the past decades, time seemed to flutter by, unstable, fleeting, surging in great waves of reminiscences... the changes wrought on society over the past hundred years, the wars, the chaos, the droughts and famines, revolution, political movements upon movements, then the reforms and to a time of relative plenty, of safety, of people living as people. Then my thoughts drifted to my grandfather and what he had done with his life. I wondered how he had lived, and how his son had come into this world, my father and his life, and the lives of the many townspeople from the place we called home. 


In [the Qinling mountains] I saw so many ancient trees, the cassias with large, yellowish leaves that draped down their trunks like finely woven baskets, as well as gingko trees with trunks so wide it would take four men to wrap their arms around them. I also saw the people who lived in the mountains, often busily rebuilding homes, and there within their compounds planting many saplings. There are times when life can surprise and amaze you, and there are other times when it is cruel and vile. The mountain whisperer is like a spectre wafting across Qinling, decades upon decades, winding his way through the affairs of this world without obvious reason, without clear intent or form, solitarily observing the lives as lived but never delving in too deeply, never becoming too involved. Then, finally, death visits him. Everyone dies, and so too does every age. We see the world rise to great heights and then we see it fall. The mountain whisperer sang songs of mourning, and those same songs welcomed him into the netherworld. 

Sunday 18 April 2021

Julian Sedgwick on Tsunami Girl

Julian Sedgwick is the author of numerous books for children and young adults, including the Mysterium and Ghosts of Shanghai trilogies, and co-author of the Carnegie shortlisted  Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black. He combines writing with his work as a Zen shiatsu therapist, and has a lifelong interest in the cultures and folklore of East Asia. Tsunami Girl is the product of a four year long engagement with communities in Fukushima prefecture affected by the 2011 Great Eastern Japan earthquake, tsunami and radiation disaster.

Tsunami Girl is a part prose, part manga novel for young adults (and above!) telling the story of Yūki Hara-Jones, a 15 year old girl caught up in the 2011 disaster. Yūki is only a quarter Japanese, but lives for her annual trips to Japan to spend time with her award-winning manga artist grandfather. Grandpa Jiro has long since stopped drawing his manga, but he still encourages Yūki in her own creative imagination. As the events of the tsunami and radiation disaster unfold, Yūki has to use those inner creative resources to survive and rediscover a way to live. The manga and prose intertwine two different ways of telling that story.

So, over to Julian...

We have just passed the tenth anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster. Up and down the North East Japan coast the survivors and bereaved of this colossal natural disaster have been thinking, memorialising and processing the events of March 11th 2011. For some, there has been healing and forward movement, while others are still held by the shock and trauma of the disaster that killed almost 20,000 people. 

But for the residents of towns around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant there is yet another, third, dimension to the disaster: the nuclear radiation fallout that followed three partial meltdowns at the power station. Some towns and villages remain inside the evacuation or ‘difficult-to-return’ zone set up after the accident, whilst others are slowly starting to re-open to returning residents. Processing and recovery here have taken a lot longer due to the practical problems of the contamination of the land.

And yet . . .

What has inspired me over and over again to continue the researching and writing of Tsunami Girl is the extraordinary optimism and forward-looking nature of the people of these communities. The people of Odaka, Fukushima - who I have been visiting and corresponding with over the last three years - have never tried to hide the pain and difficulties of their lives, but also have been keen to champion the hope that they feel for the future. There is as much laughter as pain, as much joy as heart-searching. Whilst there is still anger, that has never descended in my friends into self-pity. How have they managed this optimism and hope in the face of such odds? And are there any takeaway lessons for how we manage the current global pandemic? 

It was a cold March day shortly after the 7th anniversary of the disaster when I arrived in Odaka for the first time. My contact took me to meet returning residents in the improvised pop-up social hub in the middle of town. Immediately the bleakness of the empty roads of the exclusion zone gave way to warmth, and laughter and a sense of home. We sipped green tea, and I asked my first tentative questions about what life was like now.  Almost the first answer I got from Yuko-san – the driving force behind the pop-up hub – was the fact that they she and the other returnees were not trying to rebuild the old community, but rather to construct a new one. Perhaps even a better one: more interconnected, social, greener and flexible in ways of doing things. And indeed, over the following three years, I have seen how life in the town has focussed around new start-up businesses, events, community activity. Tomoko Kobayashi – who is the fourth-generation owner of a nearby  Japanese style inn – is as much skilled now at community radiation monitoring and nuclear science, as she always was in hosting and feeding visitors to her ryokan. New skills, new experiences, new incomers to the town have enriched lives, as much as the trauma and loss of 2011 have damaged it. 

Another thing that struck me on my very first chilly day in Odaka: how unique each person’s experience of the disaster was. For every survivor there is a different experience and set of memories. Tomoko-san, for example, still felt OK about looking out at the Pacific Ocean, whereas Yuko-san – who took me to the low hill she ran to escaping the tsunami – could hardly bear to look in the direction of the waves. Whilst everybody’s confidence has been shaken to some degree, it is different for every person who experienced the quake, wave and meltdown. And, for some, creative and imaginative responses have been vital, from poetry to art to writing ghost stories . . . 

The North East of Japan – a region known as Tōhoku – has long been an area rich in ghost stories and yōkai monsters. Often seen as a rural and poorer part of the country, its development lagged behind the modernization of the late 19th and 20th centuries. But its rich culture and folklore has remained distinct, and the intensity of its ‘otherworldly-ness’ still to be found. The Tales of Tono – collected and retold by Kunio Yanagita – remain a Grimm’s Fairy Tales equivalent for Japan, depicting strange and bizarre events in Tono, Iwate. Further north, sulphurous and volcanic Osorezan – or Mount Fear – marks the point where souls cross over to the other world after death. A handful of blind mediums can still be found there, as can thousands of Jizo statues placed to help those souls find peace. It is perhaps not surprising that such a haunted place as Tohoku should sprout so many ghost stories after a disaster of almost unimaginable proportions. 

Soon after the tsunami dozens of reports started to surface of taxis picking up passengers who wanted to be taken to areas destroyed by the wave. When the driver started to feel there was something strange going on, they looked round to find the back seat empty. Spectral figures were spotted walking the damaged roads at night. Firefighters were repeatedly called to houses that were no longer there – they offered prayers and the calls ceased. So startling was the number of stories that a local university professor of sociology and his graduate students started to collect and study them. Some survivors have taken part in ghost story writing clubs, turning their own experiences into short stories as a kind of group therapy.

I tried to imagine Yūki’s experience as fully as I could, working in as much first and second hand testimony as possible, until she came to life in my mind. Together with my Japanese sensitivity reader (who had done listening volunteering with survivors immediately after the disaster), and Chie Kutsuwada, who brilliantly has brought the manga portions of the novel to life, we tried to create a story that did justice to the disaster and its aftermath. Yūki’s deep imagination, her collection of cultural fragments of East and West, her friendships and family and hopes and fears all work together to summon the world of Tsunami Girl, and her own creative vision of a small, but indomitable super hero called Half Wave.

I hope the book does justice to its background and inspirations. There is always complexity and nuance behind the headlines and cliches in any news event. Even with ghosts . . .

In Tomoko’s case I asked her if she had seen any of the ghosts after the disaster. We were sitting in the warmth of the recently reconstructed and re-opened sushi restaurant in Odaka as the cold and darkness swirled around the still largely uninhabited town. She laughed and shook her head. ‘No, but it’s funny. We used to have ghost in the inn. We could hear him walking around upstairs often when there was no-one up there.’ She looked up as if listening and mimed the walking action. ‘But ever since the tsunami we haven’t heard him once. Maybe the disaster frightened him away.’ 

That moment – and many other conversations which combined down-to-earth humour, flexibility, playfulness, warmth and a sense of togetherness – showed me how these communities have coped with the disaster, and maybe offer a strategy for us all now.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Indie Spotlight: Cozy Mystery Author Anne R. Tan

Indie Spotlight is a column by WWII historical fiction author Alexa Kang. The column regularly features hot new releases and noteworthy books, and popular authors who have found success in the new creative world of self-publishing. In this column, Alexa chats with Anne R. TanUSA Today best-selling author of the Raina Sun Mystery series and the Lucy Fong Mystery series. Her humorous cozy mysteries feature Chinese-American amateur sleuths dealing with love, family, and life while solving murders. 

What is a cozy mystery, and why do you write them?

A cozy mystery is typically a mystery with no gore, sex, or foul language. The bad guy is always caught at the end, and life returns to normal. Since I was a teen, my favorite reading genre is cozy mystery. However, the amateur sleuths are rarely a person of color.


The lack of diversity didn’t bother me until the birth of my daughter in 2011. I can find books with Chinese characters, but if the books are set in the U.S., the stories are usually about the immigrant experience. And if the books are set in Asia, the stories are “exotic and foreign.” While feeding my infant in the wee hours of the morning, I had a Jerry Maguire moment. I will write books that are more relatable to my American-born Chinese (ABC) daughter.


What is the inspiration for your books?

My Raina Sun Mystery series features a third-generation ABC from a large Chinese family. Raina Sun is your average grad student. She has the same concerns as everyone else—mounting bills, a boatload of Ramen…and murder. With her zany grandma as her sidekick, Raina stumbles on one dead body after another. Her ethnicity and culture shape her viewpoint and the course of the investigations. 


There are many aspects of the Chinese culture and beliefs my daughter will never experience because we live so far from a major Chinese hub like the San Francisco Bay Area. I hope to document these cultural aspects in my books.



Why do you indie publish your books?

I indie published my first book in 2014 after my son's birth (my children changed the trajectory of my life). While my books follow the cozy mystery genre expectations, a traditional publisher would never pick them up. 


I have a Chinese-American sleuth, a diverse cast, and Chinese culture. And Raina Sun travels, so she doesn’t always stay in her small town or neighborhood. These books are the American experience of Chinese families that have lived in America for multiple generations. Traditional publishers like to publish the Chinese immigration experience of my grandparents, and while that is important, they are not as relevant to my children. 


Interestingly enough, a big traditional publisher offered me a three-book deal a few years ago when diversity became desirable. However, their version of diversity is still too restrictive, so I declined the offer. I love the creative freedom of indie publishing.


What is your writing process like?

I am a civil engineer (yes, I love math). With a full-time job and young children, I write in the cracks of life. Hence, I write more than half my books on my phone. While my children are doing their after-school activities, I am tapping away on the sidelines. Sometimes I scribble thoughts into notebooks. 


The creative life, while rewarding, is all consuming at times. You give up your hobbies and sometimes even essential activities to finish the book. Even though I set my own schedule by indie publishing, I still have deadlines. If I do not turn in my manuscript on time, it has a rippling effect on my editors and release dates. And I also get emails and messages from disappointed readers. Once the book is done, I take several months off to recharge and do everyday stuff like cleaning up the house and buying clothes for my children. 


Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

If you're interested in a humorous cozy mystery with a dash of family drama and Chinese culture, the eBook for Raining Men and Corpses (Raina Sun Mystery #1) is free at all major retailers. A wacky Chinese grandmother loves to supply my main character with “weapons of mass destruction” in each book. Thank you for hosting me.


To learn more about Anne and her work, you can visit her website at

Sunday 4 April 2021

Message to Adolf - Osamu Tezuka's Underrated Manga

Between 1983 – 1985, the celebrated artist Osamu Tezuka created one of his most underpraised manga. Adolf, also known as Message to Adolf (Adolf ni Tsugu アドルフに告ぐ) spans decades and is part historical epic, part spy thriller, part romance, and one of the first “adult manga” (gekiga) that I ever read. It is the story of three men named Adolf.