The River Shinano Vol. 1 of Kamimura and Okazaki | Review


Published on Dec 29, 2018


Yukie is the daughter of a rich landowner of a rural region of Japan is extremely poor, as ravaged by icy winters and from the frequent floods of the river Shinano, which ruin the crops and put in serious risk the life of the peasants. In this first volume (the first part of a saga in three chapters), we will find a Yukie girl, then girl and then already the woman, a heroine, a rebel who discovers an intense love, first with his nearly the same age as Tatsukichi and then her professor Translation, with whom he lives a love that is taboo, that blows away the conventions of the time and the rigidity of japanese society.

In this work full of maturity, the master Kamimura (Lady Snowblood, brought in Italy by J-POP already in 2014), and Okazaki Hideo address a theme is probably still present in Japan, although apparently less than in the Showa era (25 December 1926 – 7 January 1989), or the problems of a couple's life, and the conflict between personal feelings and the rigid rules of japanese society.

Takano Yukie, the protagonist, decides to live a life outside the box, living freely, his own desires, and clashing with the japanese society, falling in love with a young man of a different rank, Tatsukichi, a young love that seems destined to last forever, but, like all the loves of this type, it will not last the test of time and distance; but the real step further in the training of the girl will be his relationship with his professor, Translation Yusuke, that upset the life of the school, but will also be reflected in the costumes that the other couples adopt in consequence of what the two young women have broken the social conventions of their era.

But the manga is not a simple love story, is also a fresco of the time, with its contradictions and its customs, which displays the typical elements of the narrative universe of Kamimura, beauty, elegance, and melancholy: the regulation very hard school frequenstata by Yukie contrasts with the behaviour of the director, the exceptions to his boasted morality. Not to mention the father of Yukie, who seems to maintain a public image that in reality does not correspond absolutely to the behaviour that adopts in private.

The stretch of Kamimura is an extremely elegant and in the course of the pages and always manages to give the story a sense of dynamism and movement very strong, thanks also to the rhythm that imbues the plot, as well as to cut the film that adopts in the construction of the plates.

The package proposed by Coconino Press – Fandango is a volume hardback very solid addition to the manga also has a memory of Kamimura Kazuo written by his daughter, Kamimura Migiwa, appeared originally within the volume Ichiyo ura-nisshi.

The translation is by Paul Brand, a great expert and passionate of the figure of Kamimura Kazuo, so she has curated two exhibitions about him at Ragusa in The world of eros, 2014) and later also to Lucca (The simplicity of beauty and 2016).

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