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Kariya Tetsu

Entry updated 4 April 2022. Tagged: Author, Comics.

(1941-    ) Chinese-born Japanese comics writer, in Australia since 1988, whose early works were chiefly muscular men's Manga featuring gangland violence and histrionic struggles for power. Among these, there is little of genre interest save perhaps Otoko Ōzora ["Man Big Sky"] (1980-1982 Shōnen Sunday) which, in importing Wuxia tropes to the Japanese mainland, flirts with Fantastika in a modern setting. In the Children's SF field, Kariya's early Mecha tale Ginga Senshi Apollon ["Galaxy Warrior Apollo"] (1975 Shōnen King), drawn by Shigeru Tsuchiyama, became the basis for the Anime series UFO Senshi Dai Apollon ["UFO Warrior Great Apollo"] (1976-1977; vt Shadow World), and he is also credited with the original concept for the sf show Megaloman (1979).

He is best known for Oishinbo ["The Gourmet"] (1983-2014 Big Comic Spirits; 1983-2014 111vols; trans as Oishinbo: A La Carte 2009 graph 7vols), a manga series drawn by Akira Hanasaki (1956-    ) in which jet-setting journalist Shiro Yamaoka travels Japan sampling variant cuisines and attempting to assemble the perfect menu. It swiftly achieved best-seller status in its home market, with each of its 111 volumes shifting more than a million copies, emblematic of the epicurean trends of the "bubble"-era economic boom of the 1980s (see also Bubble E Go! Time Machine Wa Drum-Shiki). As with some of the works of Rumiko Takahashi, this domestic popularity and relatively mundane subject matter led to a subversion of its intent overseas, used as a window into everyday Japanese culture and customs by foreign students.

The story came to a sudden close after the chapter "Fukushima Shinjitsu" ["The Truth About Fukushima"] (May 2014 Big Comic Spirits), in which Yamaoka began to suffer nosebleeds and lethargy after returning from a fact-finding trip to the site of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear Disaster. Despite Kariya's assertion that his character's symptoms were a faithful account of his own experiences, corroborated by several of his fellow travellers, he was subject to censure at the highest level, accused of scare-mongering and defamation by Shinzō Abe, the prime minister of Japan. His publisher was hounded with a barrage of nuisance calls, for which Kariya blamed professional racketeers, and the strip's "hiatus" proved permanent. Its inclusion in a genre encyclopedia is hence a matter of delicate interpretation: it is the Japanese authorities who declare Kariya's story to be a work of fantasy; its author calls it nonfiction. [JonC]

see also: Nuclear Energy.

Tetsu Kariya

born Beijing, Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China: 6 October 1941

works (selected)

  • Oishinbo ["The Gourmet"] (Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1983-2014) [graph: in 111 volumes: pb/Akira Hanasaki]
    • Oishinbo: A La Carte (San Francisco: Viz Media, 2009) [graph: in seven volumes: trans of extracts from the above, rearranged by culinary themes: pb/Akira Hanasaki]


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