Yoshihiro Yonezawa (1953–2006)
(Manga critic and Comic Market (Comiket) Representative)
Born in Kumamoto City in Kumamoto Prefecture on March 21, 1953, Yoshihiro Yonezawa participated in the activities of the literary critics group Meikyu while a student at Meiji University. Initially working as a writer and editor, he published The History of Post War Manga Trilogy beginning in 1980 and from then on worked as a critic of popular culture in general and manga in particular. He was involved in the establishment of the Japan Society for Studies in Cartoon and Comics and served on its board of directors. In 1999, he received the 21st Japan Society of Publishing Studies Award for Bessatsu Taiyo: Hakkinbon, and in 2002, he received the 26th Japan Society for Children’s Literature Award for On Fujiko Fujio: The Formula of F and A. In 2007, he received the Seiun Awards Special Award.
In 1975, Yonezawa co-founded the 1st Comic Market (Comiket), serving as representative from 1980 until 2006. He also formulated the principles for the current Comic Market, where dojinshi (self-published material) are exhibited and sold.
- His main books
- A History of Postwar Girls’ Manga (Shinpyosha 1980)
A History of Postwar Science fiction Manga (Shinpyosha 1980)
A History of Postwar Gag Manga (Shinpyosha 1981)
The World of Collection B-Class American Memorabilia (Shobunsha 1999)
On Fujiko Fujio: The Formula of F and A (Kawade Shobo Shinsha 2002)
The History of Post War Baseball Manga (Heibonsha 2002)
The Formalism of “Tears” As Depicted In Manga (NHK 2004)
Tezuka Osamu Mangaron (Kawade Shobo Shinsha 2007)
Yoshihiro Yonezawa passed away from lung cancer on October 1, 2006, at the age of 53.
From Birth to High School Graduation
Yoshihiro Yonezawa was born and raised in Kumamoto, spending his adolescent years there. Even then, he was already publishing manga and critiques.
|Born in Kumamoto.|
|Joined the Azu Manga Study Society in his third year of junior high school.|
|Participated as a staff member in the 8th Japan Science Fiction Convention JAPAN (KYUCON).|
Yonezawa’s Activity during His School Days and the Early Days of the Comic Market
Around this time, there was an increasing need for manga critics as there was a movement towards manga being regarded as a subculture, and pulp story comics grew in popularity. It was against this background that Yonezawa, while still a university student, began writing.
|Was accepted into Meiji University and comes to Tokyo with great ambitions.
Joined the Meiji University Science Fiction Club; also produces dojinshi (comic fanzines).
|Formed the literary critics circle Meikyu; members published a manga-critiquing dojinshi entitled Manga Shinhyoka Taikei.
In the same year, Yonezawa held the first “Comic Market” exhibition and sale of dojinshi (self-published material) was held.
|A dojinshi (self-published material) sponsored by Yonezawa entitled Glotta is launched.|
Birth of Yoshihiro Yonezawa the Manga Critic and Comic Market Representative
With the publication of The History of Post War Manga Trilogy, Yonezawa began his writing activities in earnest. Against the backdrop of the anime boom, the Comic Market rapidly grows into a huge convention. Yonezawa also underwent great changes in his personal life during this period
|Published his first book, A History of Postwar Girls’ Manga.
The second book in The History of Post War Manga Trilogy, A History of Postwar Science fiction Manga, was published in the same year.
|The third book in The History of Post War Manga Trilogy, A History of Postwar Gag Manga, was published. Yonezawa established a foundation for himself as a manga critic.|
|Appointed Representative of Comiket Co.|
|Around this time, Yonezawa wrote a commentary on the book Basic Knowledge of Modern Terms.|
Yonezawa Moves into Various Genres as a Manga Critic and as a Cultural History Critic
With the generalization of awareness of the term otaku, the otaku culture began to come under attack.
Despite the force of the backlash, the Comic Market expands even further.
|Yonezawa was given the task of composing and creating a commentary for Children’s Magazines in the 1960s in Bessatsu Taiyo: Children's History of Showa-Era Japan, 1960-1973.
Consequently, Yonezawa became involved in the composition and editorial supervision of many books in the Bessatsu Taiyo series.
|Became an instructor at the Japan Journalist College.|
|Established Comiket Inc.|
|Yonezawa oversaw the compilation of QJ Manga Selections and began publishing the series.
Became a judge for the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize (1997–2002).
|Received the 21st Japan Society of Publishing Studies Award|
Although in terms of chronology these were Yonezawa’s twilight years, the seeds sown by his earlier work bore fruit so that this appears to have been a period of preparation for a further huge step forward in the future.
Not limiting himself to critiquing manga, with a firm footing in cultural history and subcultures, Yonezawa continued to expand his activities as an affirmant for Japanese culture both in Japan and overseas.
|Held the Emergency Symposium: Considering Expression and Copyright.|
|The Japan Society for Studies in Cartoon and Comics is established; Yonezawa is appointed a director.|
|26th Japan Society for Children’s Literature Award|
|Comic Market (Comiket) exhibits in the Japan Pavilion at the 9th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition|
|Received the Takumi Shibano Award at the 44th Japan Science Fiction Convention (HAMACON 2); was appointed as a judge for the Norakuro Manga Award.|
|Passed away in October.|
|2007||Awarded the Seiun Awards Special Award at the 65th World Science Fiction Convention / 46th Japan Science Fiction Convention (Nippon 2007).|
For this chronology, slight additions and alterations have been made to the chronology published in A Bouquet for Yoshihiro Yonezawa (Torauma Shobo).
The original chronology was compiled based on a chronology compiled by Yon Soda using as references materials provided by the Yonezawa family and Yonezawa’s works, the “Tosho-no-ie Shojo Manga Lab: the Work of Yoshihiro Yonezawa (Japanese)” , and materials published by the Comic market and adding various information trails for Yonezawa remaining on the Internet (compiled by Mr. Shoji Takagaki).