Imiri Sakabashira (evidently a pen name for Mochizuki Katsuhiro) is, to us gaijin, a figure shrouded in mystery. Born in 1964, he is an important contributor to Garo, one of the major alternative manga anthologies (that, intriguingly, was also born in 1964). While the long awaited publication of The Box Man will go a long way to exposing Sakabashira to western readers, it will do little to remedy the mystery enshrouding the artist, as it does not contain one shred of editorial or biographical information – neither the original publication date nor it's original Japanese title are included on the copyright page. It is almost as if there is a conspiracy of silence in place to deliberately obscure this creator of this work. (editor's note: in the interim, we have been able to find out [from Wikipedia, no less] that the original manga of The Box Man [Hako no Otoko] was serialized in Seirinkogeisha's alternate manga magazine, Ax and collected on October 31, 2004.) Were this actually to be the case, it would make a perverse kind of sense as The Box Man is nothing if not a deliberately obscure work. Clearly working in the surrealist tradition of channeling the unconscious and getting it all onto the paper without worrying too much about what it all means, The Box Man strikes us here at The Copacetic Comics Company as possibly informing contemporary creators as diverse as Geoff Darrow and Chris "C.F." Forgues. However, not knowing when this work was originally published hinders any speculations of this nature. It does appear that he himself has been influenced somewhat by Suehiro Maruo. So, anyone reading this who is hep to the details of this enigmatic figure, please clue us in! Meanwhile, peer into a corner of The Box Man by downloading a PDF preview, here. And, for further delectation, check out his online gallery and spend some time with his sumptuously weird illustration work, here.
Please Note: This 2010 release is very close to going out of print, so don't miss the chance to get it at retail – as opposed to an inflated collector – price.
<<•>> edited by Sean Michael Wilson <<•>> This much anticipated anthology of manga from off the beaten path premiered at SPX and is now on our shelves. It weighs in at a substantial 400 pages and contains the work of 33 artists, including the recognized figures, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Imiri Sakabashira, Takashi Nemoto and Kazuichi Hanawa, who have had books published in North America by Drawn & Quarterly, PictureBox and Ponent Mon. More important, perhaps, is the first time looks at lesser known and unknown lights of Japan's alternative manga scene, and they are on ample display here. The material in AX runs the gamut from the crudely drawn and obscenely scatalogical work of Takashi Nemoto, who makes Johnny Ryan look tame by comparison, to the cutesy cuddly Shinya Komatsu, to the super-polished works of both Keizo Miyanashi (think Paul Gulacy) and Takato Yamamoto (think Suehiro Maruo), to the jaggedly angular Otoyo Mitsuhashi and a world of variety inbetween. Sexual relations are a common thread in many, but by no means all, of the works in AX, and are plainly on disply in more than one tale, making this a definite ADULTS ONLY item.
It took us a minute to get this in, but now it's finally here. And, it's unflipped – reading right to left. New Yokoyama and much, much, more!
S! #32 'Japan', August 2018
Cover: Imiri Sakabashira Contributors: Hironori Kikuchi, Imiri Sakabashira, Jiro Ishikawa, Jun Oson, Kanako Furugori, Katsuo Kawai, Keisei Kanamachi, mississippi, Nerunodaisuki, Nishioka Bro-sis, Nutoguran, Rokudai Tanaka, Takako Ooki, Tana Hiuchi, Tatari Takayama, Tokushige Kawakatsu, Tsuchika Nishimura, Wakana Yamazaki, Yoshie, Yuichi Yokoyama, Yuko Tateyama (all from Japan) and König Lü. Q. (not from Japan).
Format: A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, high quality and environmentally friendly Munken paper.