My Picture Diary (Hardcover)

My Picture Diary By Fujiwara Maki, Ryan Holmberg (Translated by) Cover Image

My Picture Diary (Hardcover)

By Fujiwara Maki, Ryan Holmberg (Translated by)


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The wife of Japan’s most lauded manga-ka documents a year in their lives with her own artistry.

In 1981, Fujiwara Maki began a picture diary about daily life with her son and husband, the legendary manga author Tsuge Yoshiharu. Publishing was not her original intention. “I wanted to record our family’s daily life while our son, Shosuke, was small. But as 8mm cameras were too expensive and we were poor, I decided on the picture diary format instead. I figured Shosuke would enjoy reading it when he got older.”

Drawn in a simple, personable style, and covering the same years fictionalized in Tsuge’s final masterpiece The Man Without Talent, Fujiwara’s journal focuses on the joys of daily life amidst the stresses of childrearing, housekeeping, and managing a depressed husband. A touching and inspiring testimony of one Japanese woman's resilience, My Picture Diary is also an important glimpse of the enigma that is Tsuge. Fujiwara’s diary is unsparing. It provides a stark picture of the gender divide in their household: Tsuge sleeps until noon and does practically nothing. He never compliments her cooking, and dictates how money is spent. Not once is he shown drawing. And yet Fujiwara remains surprisingly empathetic toward her mercurial husband.

Translated by Ryan Holmberg, this edition sheds light on Fujiwara's life, her own career in art, writing, and underground theater, and her extensive influence upon her husband's celebrated manga.

Fujiwara Maki (1941-99) was an artist, actress, and writer. After growing up poor during and after World War II, Fujiwara moved to Tokyo in the ‘60s and became a leading actress in the underground theater scene. In 1969, she met manga artist Tsuge Yoshiharu; they got married after their son Shosuke was born in 1975. She began drawing and writing in the early '80s, completing her first and best-known work, My Picture Diary, in 1982. Her other publications include the children’s book Guess What Kind of Shop This Is (1985) and the painting collection Candy Store (1994). After cameoing in movie adaptations of Tsuge’s manga in the early ‘90s, Fujiwara died of cancer at the age of 57.
Product Details ISBN: 9781770466623
ISBN-10: 1770466622
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
Publication Date: September 19th, 2023
Pages: 284
Language: English

“A charming and at times heartbreaking read.” —Malaka Gharib, NPR

“[My Picture Diary presents] universally empathetic glimpses of a wife and mother increasingly overwhelmed by home life, suffocating under sexist expectations.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“Decades after it was drawn, this glimpse behind the curtain of a troubled artistic relationship remains vital and resonant.” —Publishers Weekly

“[My Picture Diary is] a vessel for internal processing—the documented venting of a woman whose surroundings are constraining to the point of alienation.” —The Comics Journal

“A charming and at times heartbreaking read.” —NPR Books We Love

“Maki ends up giving a voice to countless women who feel stifled and trapped by roles pushed on them by society.” —Otaku USA

My Picture Diary provides more context and insight into Tsuge’s work but also shows Fujiwara as an artist in her own right.” —Manga Bookshelf

“The diary entries portray both a simple story of family life... and a powerful critique of the patriarchal systems that Maki struggled against.” —Book Riot

“[An honest] example of domestic life portrayal in Japan in the early 1980s.” —Graphic Medicine

“Unvarnished… Fujiwara documents what it’s like living with depression in a frank manner.” —Comics Beat