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The Push Man and Other Stories

(Tatsumi's short stories)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,842 ratings  ·  204 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 a
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 1969)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,842 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Wes Hazard
Dec 04, 2013 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
Oct 13, 2009 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
Paul Greer
Jul 30, 2014 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.
Mar 11, 2008 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
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
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
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 05, 2011 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!
Nov 16, 2009 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
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sequential-art
Yoshihiro Tatsumi's art and storytelling style is brilliant. Every single panel is expressive and conveys a lot. The stories themselves, set in a modernising, urban Japan are bleak and miserable with dark humour. Our lead characters are all lonely, broken and confused working class men who often act in shocking and violent ways. They are frequently depicted in their daily drudgery, and walking alone through the city streets. Silent witnesses to a meaningless society.

Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
A hard one to review, as are the other two collections in this series. On the one hand, I love the illustration, like an adult-orientated Mizuki, and the evocation of post-WW2 Japan is so absorbing, instantly drawing the reader into the contemporaneous world of Tatsumi's stories. On the other hand, the forceful nihilism at the crux of each story becomes dull and predictable. In one interview, Tatsumi said that he wanted his Gekiga comics to counteract the Gag-centered manga that was popular at t ...more
Jan 17, 2016 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
Feb 13, 2016 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
Jul 01, 2007 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
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m conflicted. On one hand, I loved the setting, illustrations, and foreword by Adrian Tomine.. But on the other hand, I was disappointed by the recurring violent husband/lover character and caricatures of disloyal, money-obsessed women.
Khalid Albaih
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Super impressive technically with the structure and short story lines. The amount of Misogamy and unexplained violence. Makes me don’t want to visit japan even though I did visit before.
May 26, 2012 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
Joey Dhaumya
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Before labeling this as a misogynistic collection, consider whether 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 view the story
Sam Quixote
Jul 24, 2011 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
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
If this anthology and its companion Abandon the Old in Tokyo are any indication, here's Tatsumi's basic plot idea, repeated in endless variations. A wordless working class, pre-middle aged everyman is partnered with an alcoholic fishwife who frequents (or is employed at) an offscreen strip club or brothel. Sexually frustrated and browbeaten, he ultimately discovers her infidelity. About half the time the catharsis is a violent retaliation, the other half entails his death or other escape.

I have
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
Sep 06, 2015 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.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The darker side of the city is examined in the true to life stories presented in this manga classic. Reminds me very much of the work Will Eisner: and that is a huge compliment.
Joe Lanman
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: part-read
nice art but tediously misogynistic
Oct 27, 2014 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.
Mike Kleine
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read something and then thought out loud: WAIT, YOU'RE ALLOWED TO DO THAT? You'll think that a lot when you read THE PUSH MAN AND OTHER STORIES. Perfectly digestible (usually only 8 pages long). Tatsumi, honestly, I feel, is someone who has paved the way for a lot of storytellers, and no one even knows who he is. He's the kind of cat who can create an entire 48pp comic in one week (all by himself). You witness his work ethic and immediately, you begin to feel like shit (he's so goo ...more
Ashkin Ayub

in the late 1950s, master yoshihiro tatsumi began using the visual language of manga to tell gritty, morbid, literary stories about the private lives of everyday people, ‘common folks’. he has been called ‘the grandfather of Japanese alternative comics.’

tatsumi is widely credited with starting the ‘gekiga’ style of alternative comics in Japan. he has thus influenced comic artists around the world.

a lone man travels the country, projecting pornographic films for private individuals while attempti
Eva Inzu
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's unbelievable I could manage took this book from bookshelf and read all way through.
Why unbelievable? I read few pages of his book Drifting Life? .. it's a bit bitter and ended up not finishing it. I know that time (when these stories wrote) was quite dark moment, let alone this lower class character. Honestly I don't wanna know (too bitter?) :p

But I read it.. hey, it's really good compilation, I got absorbed reading it, wanna know what next until I finished it. Some here said misogyny, but
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Perhaps it's a cultural thing, but it's odd to read an interview with an author where he asks that people don't assume he is the man in his cartoons.

It is, however, understandable in this highly misogynistic collection of cartoons from "the father of Japanese alternative comics." The main character in most of these short comics is a laboring man with complicated (i.e. unhealthy) relationships with a woman or women. Some of the comics border on revenge fantasies, except that they don't have any
Jason Keenan
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: japan
I'm torn about The Push Man and other stories.

On one hand the construction and story telling is so strong. A lot of tough realism and complex human stories are captured in just a few pages.

On the other hand the stories are so dark and so bleak it's hard not to be repulsed. Or maybe I am wrong and that is the strength of the stories - presenting such hard hitting realism that you can't help but react.

It's my first gekiga story - the adult manga almost invented by Tatsumi. I plan to explore mor
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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

Other books in the series

Tatsumi's short stories (3 books)
  • Abandon the Old in Tokyo
  • Good-Bye
“The rat gave birth. Six little ones...cute baby rats... None of them are like Hitler.” 7 likes
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