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This is the official page of my graphic novel CHI NO MONOGATARI - 血の物語
Chi No Monogatari -血の物語
血の物語 = Pronounced as Chi No Monogatari
It is a Japanese graphic novel that I am making.
This graphic novel is about the Genpei War. It's about how the Emperor lost his power and how the Shogun took over Japan. It revolves around characters who got pulled into the Genpei War and those who caused it. It is about the clash of the biggest clans at the time, the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan.
Having spent years reading and researching, it is all coming together in this graphic novel.
Without overloading the reader with countless elaborate details, I made it easy to digest.
It simplifies the historical context and a lot of the most important things about Japan. It starts with the Pantheon of the Japanese Gods, how Japan came to be, and how the Emperor descended from the Gods.
We are going to see the Emperor lose his power and witness the rise of the Shogun through the eyes of ordinary people to make it more relatable. The Genpei War was a clash of classes.
This graphic novel gives you the historical context. I wish this sort of book existed when I was a kid. I love making this. I hope you all enjoy it.
- What does CHI NO MONOGATARI mean?
It means Bloody Tales/ Story of Blood.
- What made you want to do this graphic novel?
Firstly, I love drawing, and I'm good at it. I love telling stories, and I am good at it.
Secondly, I love Japan. It has given me so much that I want to give something back. Valuable lessons like discipline and a strong work ethic. Its history with samurai and ninjas. From video games to movies, from food to art. From its language to its ancient values.
I always wanted to make a comic with strong and aggressive Japanese samurai, bloody battles, and sexy Japanese women, and this is the result. We have Chi No Monogatari.
- What makes this graphic novel so different?
It's bilingual. The dialogue and thought captions are in Japanese. The subtitles are in English.
It gives the feeling of watching an old black and white Japanese samurai movie.
What's unique about this, is that when you read the dialogue in Japanese, you find your own Japanese voice in it.
At the beginning of my comic, there is the 'Reading Japanese' page that tells you how to read Japanese in Hiragana and Katakana. Although the dialogue is written in Furigana containing the Kanji charcters, it tells you how to pronounce them too.
At the same time, you get to learn the Japanese language while learning about Japan's history.
While learning Japanese, I met a lot of people from all walks of life, from students to pensioners, who want to learn the Japanese language but don't have time or struggle with it. This book is something any person on any level can read and enjoy. I want learning to be fun.
There are no sound effects like 'Boom!' or 'Pow!' because I want to leave that to the readers' imagination.
It's Bloody, It's Violent, It's Beautiful.
- Where did the idea come from?
It came from 2 places:
Firstly, I love Japan. I love Japanese samurai movies and animes, to understand what they were saying I watched them with English subtitles. That was how I learned to speak Japanese.
A lot of movies do not give you enough time to read the subtitles since there is limited time to read and process what's being said while trying to watch the film and enjoy the cinematography. The graphic novel breaks down the pace, giving you all the time you need to enjoy the looking at the artwork and feel what is gong on.
Secondly, comics with foreign languages. I have comics in different languages, although I love the artwork but I don't know what they are saying. What really kicked this idea into practice was Alan Moore's 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', there are scenes that contain speech bubbles with foreign words but no translations. This made me wish I knew what the characters were saying. So I resolved this issue with subtitles.
- Why is it landscape?
It feels bigger. It gives the feeling of a panoramic view. It allows the drawings to be bigger in order to breathe.
- Why is the title not in English?
Due to legal reasons, I was unable to use the word 'Blood' and 'Bloody' in the title. Since this is a Japanese graphic novel, a Japanese name is more suitable. It feels authentic.
- Why the Japanese dialogue? Isn't it better to have the whole thing in English?
The Japanese language makes it feel authentic. When you read in Japanese, you can hear your own Japanese voice emerging from within. Your imagination brings the characters to life. To me it's a lot better to have the actual language.
- I've never read Japanese before, will I be able to understand it?
Yes. To make it easier, I have included a 'Reading Japanese' section which includes both Hiragana and the Katakana chart, and tells you how to pronounce each character.
Thankfully in Japanese every character in the Hiragana/Katakana chart has one sound.
It also enables you to familiarise yourself with the Kanji characters too. This graphic novel has a sort of built-in Japanese language course. Everything is simplified and is accessible for anyone who is interested in Japanese culture.
Even if you don't want to read the Japanese, all thoughts and dialogue are available in English subtitles.
Bibliography (so far):
Books by the Historian Stephen Turnbull
Stephen Turnbull is my favourite historian for he has written so many books covering Samurai history in depth, I recommend you check out the rest his work.
- The Genpei War
- The Samurai Sourcebook
- Samurai: A Military History
- Samurai: The Story of Japan's Great Warriors
- Early Samurai AD 200 to 1500
- Warrior Monks
- Fighting ships of the Far East 1
- Fighting ships of the Far East 2
- History of Japan to 1334, by George Samson
- The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari), translated by Royall Tyler
- The Chrysanthemum Throne, by Peter Martin
- Samurai Arms and Armor, by Antony Cummins
- Samurai Rising, by Pamela Turner
- Japan to 1600, A Social and Economic History, by William Farris
- Samurai, Warfare, and the State in the Early Medieval Japan, by Karl Friday
- The Daily Life in Japan, by Louis Frederic
- The Ainu of Japan, by Forgotten Books
- Understanding Shinto, by C. Scott Littleton
- Japanese Mythology, by Ashkenazi
- Japanese Mythology, by Juliet Piggot
- Zen Buddhism & Shinto by Simple Guides
- The Kojiki
- The Nihongi
What inspired you?
My writing is inspired by Alan Moore, he adds an immense level of complexity into his work that makes his literature interesting to read.
My artwork is inspired by Frank Miller, I love the style of his black and white drawings. I like the intensity in his art.
The artwork for this graphic novel is also inspired by the Japanese Woodblock prints and paintings by artists like Utagawa Kuniyoshi, they portray life in Japan beautifully.
There are a lot films that inspired me to make this graphic novel:
- Seven Samurai (1954)
- Samurai Rebellion (1967)
- Nippon Tanjou, The Three Treasures (1959)
- Throne of Blood (1957)
- Samurai: Musashi Miyamoto trilogy with Toshiro Mifune
- Sword of Doom (1966)
- Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)
- Shin Heike Monogatari (1955)
- Shin Genji Monogatari (1961)
- Yojinbo (1961)
- Sanjuro (1962)
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
- Cromwell (1970)
This is all I can think of at the moment, I will add more later.
If you have any other questions, feel free to email me: muskulle [at] protonmail.com
Thank you for reading.
I look forward to hearing from you.