Thursday 27 February 2014


Imagine a Japanese comics artist, with no knowledge of Hindi and a limited knowledge of English deciding to come to India (Delhi) to translate Japanese comics (popularly known as Manga) into Hindi and hoping to convert India into Manga lovers overnight! All this at a shoe string budget and hence  operating from  a small 15 sq. mtr room ( rent  of Rs. 4500 /pm) with a shared bathroom and kitchen. The madness which follows formed the first instalment of the graphic novel titled Stupid Guy Goes to India which was published in 2011 by Blaft Publications Pvt. Ltd. (The original Japanese version was published in 2008 in Japan). By the end of the adventure, he did manage to publish a comic in Hindi but unfortunately there were no takers for it and he had to return to Japan empty handed.

Three years later the author, Yukichi Yamamatsu decides to try his luck again and returns to India with a new strategy to sell Manga comics. (Stupid Guy Goes back to India, Blaft Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2013). After all the disasters first time round, one would have thought the author would have learnt a lesson but he is still determined to make Indians read a Manga (Hindi translation). He now plans to perform Japanese stand-up comic tradition known as Manzai and sell Japanese Udon noodles to attract people. Once he has collected enough crowd he hopes they will buy his translated comic as well.  After a few days in a hotel at Paharganj, Delhi, he moves in to the same tiny room where he had stayed earlier, next door to Surinder and family with whom he had developed good relations last time he was in Delhi. However unlike last time, this edition concentrates more on his efforts and tribulations to translate Manzai and make and sell Udon noodles rather than on translation of the manga which he plans to sell in India (‘Cycle Rickshaw Wale Ki Dukaan’ CRWKD). Most of the action takes place in a slum where he sets up a stall to sell Udon noodles. Does he succeed in his endeavor to attract people to his Manzai act? Do the people in the slum take a liking to Udon noodles? And most important does he finally manage to sell a Manga comic? Read the crazy capers of Yukichi in this second edition to find out the answers. I must add here that the translated comic which he plans to sell in Delhi (CRWKD) itself is very touching and strikes an emotional chord.

However, there is a note of caution too. If you have read a Mange comic before then you will know what to expect but if not then you need to be prepared for some unusual graphics and style. Manga comics tend to have a standard size (like a digest) and a common writer and artist (Yukichi Yamamstsu, in this case).They are usually devoid of colours and are read from right to left instead of the traditional way of reading from  left to right. The emotions are exaggerated which make for some rather loud visuals which may not be appreciated by everyone. Also due to certain graphics I would not recommend this one for kids.

Towards the end, there is a chapter on Yukichi’s experiences with public toilets in India. And considering the fact that he spent a lot of time in slums you can very imagine what to expect. It is however a bit surprising that he spent most of his time in slums and in areas around Paharganj and does not venture beyond Connaught place. Any person reading this in Japan would form a very poor opinion of India and I hope next time Yukichi is in Delhi he spends  some time in better parts of the city to be able to give a more representative picture of India back home.

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