The Minamata Story: An EcoTragedy

Seán Michael Wilson and Akiko Shimojima. Stone Bridge, $14.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-61172-056-3
Wilson and Shimojima (The Satsuma Rebellion) lead readers capably, if somewhat drily, through the generational repercussions of a shocking environmental disaster. Minamata Disease, a neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning, struck a Japanese fishing village in the 1950s. Even when it was traced to water pollution, there was little governmental response, and cases mounted for years, with symptoms ranging from disability to coma to death. As panic spread and the local fishing economy tanked, the afflicted families were discriminated against and scapegoated. Wilson tells this tangled story through a modern-day college student named Tomi, who discovers while researching a class project that his grandmother lived through the period. This frame distances without adding much perspective; though the more effective present-day scenes feature real-life victims sharing their memories from an assisted living facility. Shimojima’s simplified, old-fashioned character designs against detailed backgrounds read occasionally stiff and uneven, but come alive when depicting the fish, the sea, and the natural beauty of southern Japan. Though the execution falls short, the complicated history of environmental injustice depicted makes this worthy reading. (June)
Reviewed on : 06/03/2021
Release date: 01/01/2021
Genre: Comics
Ebook - 978-1-61172-940-5
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