The Bird Master



The below is an excerpt from Yoshiharu Tsuge’s semiautobiographical manga The Man without Talent (translated from the Japanese by Ryan Holmberg). In keeping with the customs of the medium, both the panels and the text are intended to be read from right to left.


Yoshiharu Tsuge is a cartoonist and essayist best known for his surrealistic, avant-garde work. He began drawing comics in 1955, working primarily in the rental comics industry that was popular in impoverished postwar Japan. In the sixties, Tsuge was discovered by the publishers of the avant-garde comics magazine Garo and gained increasing recognition. He withdrew from Garo in the seventies, and his work became more autobiographical. Tsuge has not published cartoons since the late eighties, elevating him to cult status in Japan. He lives in Tokyo.

Ryan Holmberg is an arts and comics historian. He has edited and translated books by Seiichi Hayashi, Osamu Tezuka, Sasaki Maki, Tadao Tsuge, and others.

From The Man without Talent, by Yoshiharu Tsuge, translated from the Japanese by Ryan Holmberg. Images courtesy of New York Review Comics.