genres: autobiography,biography,history,manga,war,World War 2
Shigeru Mizuki is the preeminent figure of gekiga/manga and one of the most famous working cartoonists in Japan today -- a true living legend. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, is his first book to be translated into English and is a semi-autobiographical account of the desperate final weeks of a Japanese infantry unit at the end of World War Two. The soldiers are instructed that they must go into battle and die for the honor of their country, with certain execution facing them if they return alive. Mizuki was a soldier himself (he was severely injured and lost an arm) and uses his experiences to convey the devastating consequences and moral depravity of the war.
Mizuki's list of accolades and achievements is long and detailed. Currently in Japan, the life of Mizuki and his wife has been made in an extremely popular television drama that airs daily. Mizuki is the recipient of many awards including Best Album award for his book NonNonBa (to be published in 2012 by Drawn & Quarterly) and Heritage Essential award for Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Special Award, Kyokujitsu ShaŹ Decoration, Shiju HaŹshaŹ Decoration and the Kodansha Manga Award. His hometown of Sakaiminato honored him with the Shigeru Mizuki Road, a street in his town decorated with bronze statues of his Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro characters and the Shigeru Mizuki International Cultural Center.