Who says that manga isn’t literature? Eight famous mangaka are being recruited to draw special covers for eight literary classics, which will appear in bookstores across Japan in the near future.
The campaign, launched by Poplar Publishing’s child-oriented imprint ‘Poplar Pocket,’ has a rather provocative title: ‘You don’t know how good the classics are.’ Clearly, it aims to demonstrate to a new generation the appeal of these literary classics by drawing them in with a manga illustration, penned by a famous author.
The authors that Poplar Publishing has recruited have, in turn, varied pedigrees. There are those who belong to the shonen demographic, such as Paru Itagaki, but also the essay format (Sukeracko) and shoujo (Arina Tanemura). This will hopefully cover all possible bases for the attempt to marry manga and the classics. Check out the full list of authors below:
- Inio Asano
- Paru Itagaki
- Sumito Oowara
- Haruko Ichikawa (Land of the Lustrous)
- Etou Hiroyuki (Mahoujin Guru Guru)
- Sukeracko (Heitaro ni Kowai Mono wa Nai)
- Arina Tanemura (Full Moon wo Sagashite)
- Lily Hoshino (Otome Youkai Zakuro)
With regard to which literary classic each mangaka will be tackling, we don’t know as of what. But what we do know is that there are eight classics for these eight authors to illustrate for. They are:
- Botchan by Natsume Soseki
- Night on the Galactic Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa
- The Restaurant of Many Orders, also by Kenji Miyazawa
- Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Two Years’ Vacation by Jules Verne
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Twins at St. Clare’s by Enid Blyton
The works listed above are not just considered as literary classics in the Japanese literary canon, but across the entire world, so it is a huge honor for these mangaka to be asked to draw covers for them. Poplar Publishing will also be holding a “quiz” via Twitter on famous quotes from the works, so go and try your luck if you’re particularly knowledgeable. In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the sketchy art style of Sumito Oowara might work with the sarcastic tone of Botchan, or something similar.