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The Push Man and Other Stories (Tatsumi's short stories)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,028 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
A collection of short stories from the grandfather of Japanese alternative comics.

Legendary cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi is the grandfather of alternative manga for the adult reader. Predating the advent of the literary graphic novel movement in the United States by thirty years, Tatsumi created a library of literary comics that draws parallels with modern prose fiction
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 1969)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 04, 2013 Wes rated it it was ok
Boo Hoo for the sad boys.
I know. I know. The postwar generation of Japan. Culturally scarred by the atom bomb. Searching for an identity when the militarist/imperialist tradition has crumbled. Occupied by foreign GIs. Faced with a sexual revolution while still rooted in a resolutely patriarchal culture. Teeming cities. Yes yes yes.

All of that's here, and it's a hell of a lot to face, and I know it's the environment Tatsumi's characters find themselves in, but damn if there doesn't come a point b
Apr 03, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
A colleague let me borrow this and I'm probably going to have to replace the copy now because I've read and re-read these dystopic little vignettes over and over again and can't stop. Tatsumi's characters strike a similar chord with me that my favorite English-speaking fiends do from drama and fiction (Shakespeare's Iago and Nabokov's Humbert come immediately to mind). Previous reviewers have already pointed out here that these stories tend to revolve around men who feel oppressed by women and h ...more
May 31, 2010 Vicky rated it liked it
Recommended to Vicky by: kev's pushing me to read this
The first few stories gave me a bad impression of what this book might be like. Each story features a working class man who might be a plantation worker, a push man, a projectionist. What made me skeptical was how cold and materialistic the women were in the beginning. The men would be absolutely helpless and act upon fantasies of hurting the women, like hiding a scorpion in a purse or sticking the woman's arm into a tank of piranhas. And then I would be positioned in the protagonist's perspecti ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Parka rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics

(More pictures at

Before I read the book, I had no idea who Yoshihiro Tatsumi is. He has been called "the grandfather of Japanese alternative comics" and he certainly deserves it.

The Push Man and Other Stories is a collection of short stories previously published in Japanese, now translated and reformatted for the western audience by Adrain Tomine.

In each story, Yoshihiro Tatsumi looks at a different facet of Japanese society. The main character is always a man filled with restra
Paul Greer
Jul 05, 2015 Paul Greer rated it it was ok
Interesting from a technical point of view of layout and story structure, execution of plot in short form etc. But, yes, content bleaker than bleak. the violence, hatred and misogyny drips off the page and kinds of nullifies any benefit mentioned earlier. Wasn't prepared to recommend it to anyone I know. In the preface Tatsumi says do not judge him on these early works alone. Almost interested enough to see what else he did, but maybe not.
Joey Dhaumya
Nov 05, 2014 Joey Dhaumya rated it really liked it
Before labeling this as a misogynistic collection, I implore you to consider - is The Push Man and Other Stories misogynistic or misanthropic?

I'm writing my review partly in response to Wes' stellar review. The stories had a male "protagonist" but considering how in most of the stories the character did not speak at all, and we get an "insight" into his mind only through his actions (which culminated to more often than not a sudden outburst of violence or abandonment), it is equally possible to
Dec 09, 2014 Nakkinak rated it really liked it
It's telling that every negative review complains about how pessimistic, misanthropic, and dark Tatsumi's stories are. In the neoliberal entertainment society it's highly unwanted to show the other side of prosperity and wealth. In a society that is supposed to honor effort with respect and wealth, the accusation of Tatsumi to be cynical doesn't make sense. His characters work hard, but they fail. Their labor just doesn't pay off. The people believing in the fun society are far more cynical than ...more
Jun 25, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-alt
An awesome collection of short-stories. Drawn and Quarterly (the publisher) ought to publish more volumes. The interviews at the back of each volume of D+Q Tatsumi books indicate that Tatsumi has an enormous amount of work published over the decades in Japan. I would eagerly sit down and read every single page if only I could.

I'm not sure I can say much about the actual subject matter of this book. The writing and drawing is incredible, and that should be all the prodigious comic book reader sho
Albert Wu
Jul 01, 2007 Albert Wu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphicnovels
Amazing, disturbing, revolting. Revolutionized the way I look at manga. Yoshihiro's protagonists (dare I call them "heroes?" )are mostly speechless; they're mute observers to the senselessness that surrounds them. Yoshihiro's depiction of post-war Japan is very different from the standard narrative we read in textbooks of the Japanese economic miracle coupled with orderly, conservative social norms. Rather it's one of moral confusion, sexual perversion, and soul-crushing anonymity. For those rea ...more
Oct 17, 2013 MariNaomi added it
Shelves: graphic
The art was good, but the stories were so poorly written (and ridiculously executed, but not in a good way) I wanted to cry. What a waste of art-that-doesn't-suck! And to add injury to insult, almost every story in this book of shorts was a violent misogynist fantasy (executed with the grace of a warped, hateful child), many of them not even making much sense. I want my hour of reading back!
Jan 17, 2016 Leif rated it it was ok
Seeing the approval and citation of Adrian Tomine, I thought I'd give this a try. My mistake. A strongly masculinist take on the inconstancy of materialistic women, the deviancy of sexual desire, and the vulnerable violence of men claims itself as a "slice of life" vision of the working classes, but reveals little of what it claims save for its few stories that break free from the gleeful reduction of women to their apparently-always promiscuous sex organs and men to their apparently-frequent vi ...more
May 26, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Although this was the first volume of Tatsumi-san's work to be published by Drawn & Quarterly, I read it after re-reading the second volume, "Abandon The Old in Tokyo". The handful (only 16) of stories that appear in each book are dark, trenchant forays into the human psyche. There is nothing lighthearted in any of these tales, but that makes perfect sense when you consider what the artist was trying to accomplish and when he was doing it. No matter what else, they are some of the best stori ...more
Ricardo Baptista
Dec 22, 2012 Ricardo Baptista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 06, 2015 Ray rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This early style magna is so much grittier than the new magna. Don't get me wrong I like magna like the next person but there is something else here. Not a lot of teenage love quandaries. No subject is taboo. Just plain down in the gutter realism.
Oct 29, 2014 Jason rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A bleak and harsh look at life from different points of view, although the majority seem to have a distrust of women. Not much in the way of happy endings here; still a worthwhile read.
Feb 14, 2016 Ahk rated it did not like it
The male protagonist in each of the stories is a different person (they all have different names and jobs), but are usually drawn with the same bland, innocent, open face. That face becomes more and more disturbing as each story reveals the violence and anger underneath. All of the women in the stories are flippantly cruel, taunting, and promiscuous. The protagonist is routinely mocked by other men in his life, usually co-workers. But it is usually the women that he destroys in the end, in sensa ...more
sweet pea
these short vignettes are profiles of urban dystopia. the womyn are universally callous (except for the amazing lover in make-up). the male protagonists' actions are usually a reaction to womyn's power and sexual freedom. the stories cover several disturbing themes (not the least of which is dead babies in the sewer) and are highly engaging. the illustrations are amazingly appealing and narrate the stories well. Tatsumi was one of the first to use manga styles to tell other kinds of stories. i c ...more
Christopher Aguiar
Mar 07, 2016 Christopher Aguiar rated it it was amazing
An outcast in 1969 Japan pouring all of his feelings, and those of the working class around him, into a compendium of stories that deal with serious issues such as abortion, adultery, disability and sexuality. The sombre tone interwoven throughout all of the stories connects them thematically.

Some of the stories, at times, feel like they make little sense. If you read 'A Drifting Life' - the autobiographical manga about Tatsumi - you will understand the 'gekiga' style and therefore appreciate t
Sep 03, 2015 Nitya rated it liked it
Nearly each (very) short story in this collection made me pause for at least a second, forcing myself to empathise more with these people, the impotent (manifesting literally through the absence of virility and in an inability to reach beyond their gruelling lives), cruel men and the mostly avaricious, scheming women or those more in the roles of victim. Reading stories built around the frustration, anger, depravity unleashed in a fireball at almost every tragic or darkly comic ending was a slig ...more
Mar 06, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it
I like the style, very graphic and visual with less dialogue than I was expecting. The themes are also not what I expected. Even though the characters are working class there's a constant idea that women are just valuable only as sex objects with little agency of their own (and in several stories obsession with a specific woman drives the man to do terrible things). Now, what I know about Japanese culture and manga can fit in a teacup (no pun intended) so I'm probably missing a much larger pictu ...more
The durability of Tatsumi's works are impressive: today's readers, if not previously informed, would surely be surprised to learn that these stories were created more than 40 years ago. In terms of tone and style, this work shares an obvious kinship with the "alternative" or "literally" comics that began proliferating in North America in the mid-1980s (until today), yet it predates much of that work by as much as four decades. In revisiting the works of Tatsumi, it's now apparent how much his co ...more
ash newton
Jan 15, 2016 ash newton rated it really liked it
Shelves: novigraafix
a compilation of tatsumi's earlier work consistent of a handful of short "slice of life" comics that more often than not serve as national allegory for the social and political conditions in japan during the time of their creation. repeating scenarios of sex, violence and alienation play out in different ways but each story has a fresh take without getting bogged down in too much complication, allowing the ideas to evolve simply and effectively between one story and the next. in the included int ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are quite similar in nature. The main protagonist - exclusively male - is disatisfied in life and is either beholden financially to a woman (often a sex worker), or has a negative relationship with one. The females are usually the dominant characters here, with the men coping with living in their shadow and often feeling inadequate and frustrated because of this. Some are just loners. Violence occasionally erupts. As a spotlight on a Japan with a disintegrating male workforce ...more
Apr 23, 2010 Muriel rated it liked it
Japanse film noir in manga vorm. Helaas is er nog niet zo veel van Tatsumi vertaald want dit smaakt naar méér.
Manoel Elpidio
May 29, 2015 Manoel Elpidio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
"Who are you? What are you doing here?"

Having previously read Tatsumi's autobiographical A Drifting Life , this introduction to what is actually the gekiga style he coined back in the 60s is at the same time enticing and dull. Its dullness comes from the repetition of themes, always alluding to violence, dirtiness, submission and sex, using those motifs to weave together the sense of the stories. It's not particularly dull itself, but, when looking at a general picture today, it becomes commonp
Michael Scott
Part of the series on Japanese daily life by TATSUMI Yoshihiro that also includes Abandon the Old in Tokyo and Good-Bye, Push Man is a collection of short stories depicting Japan probably just after the war (the dread, the sacrifice of everyday salary men for the sake of re-growing the economy, etc.) The topics included here, although drawn as "gekiga" (realistic drama) so by no means "easy", are the least palatable in the series; the graphics also feel the least polished.

Tatsumi focuses on the
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Jan 01, 2014 Maurice Carlos Ruffin rated it really liked it
If I told you I read a disturbing, bracing set of stories about alienation, you'd probably think that didn't sound like anything out of the ordinary.

But what if I told these were stories told in the graphic novel format, by a Japanese man, 45 years ago?

Tatsumi's vision is so clear and compelling that I read this beautiful lean set of tale straight through. I sat it aside for a few days and read it again.

Tatsumi is a genius. Not only because he reveals a Tokyo that is both familiar and strange
Mar 20, 2013 Patrick rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2008 Jennn rated it liked it
Shelves: manga
The Push Man was centered around ordinary men in odd jobs including being a Push Man (to push people into subways), a sewage worker (and finding several dead babies over time), a car mechanic (who lated killed himself after rigging the brakes of a porn star), a factory worker (who mutilated himself for money), etc.

Most were about sex, death, killing, helplessness, violence, manipulation, etc. It was weird though since it was drown in a very simple "old-school" way, so it didn't feel as nitty-gr
Sam Quixote
Sep 19, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
Yoshihiro Tatsumi's "The Push Man" is a collection of 8 page stories detailing the lives of young people in working class areas of a nameless city. As usual with Tatsumi's work the stories are highly imaginative, well drawn, and utterly compelling to read. Once you pick up the book you won't put it down until you've finished. Then you'll go back and re-read some of the more haunting stories.

The themes are of betrayal, isolation, revenge, sacrifice, and loneliness. It isn't the most cheerful of
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Yoshihiro Tatsumi (辰巳 ヨシヒロ Tatsumi Yoshihiro, June 10, 1935 in Tennōji-ku, Osaka) is a Japanese manga artist who is widely credited with starting the gekiga style of alternative comics in Japan, having allegedly coined the term in 1957.

His work has been translated into many languages, and Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly have embarked on a project to publish an annual compendium of his works
More about Yoshihiro Tatsumi...

Other Books in the Series

Tatsumi's short stories (3 books)
  • Abandon the Old in Tokyo
  • Good-Bye

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