New graphic novel tells the story of farmer Naoto Matsumura’s lone mission to save the animals abandoned during the Fukushima nuclear disaster
What You Need to Know:
- With the print and digital release of GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA, TOKYOPOP launches “Comics That Matter,” its initiative to utilize the graphic novel medium to raise awareness about important causes and social issues. The book will be released in time for the March 11th anniversary of Japan’s tsunami and follows on the heels of the company’s heart-wrenching graphic novel collection, VICTORY FOR UKRAINE.
- GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA vividly depicts the true story of the aftermath of devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku, Japan from the perspective of Naoto Matsumura, an ordinary man who risked his life by remaining behind to care for animals left behind following the disastrous meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Written by French author Fabien Grolleau and poignantly illustrated by Ewen Blain, GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA will make a lasting impression on readers of all ages with its soft, expressive art style and impactful story and characters. The book adeptly blends European art style with Japanese aesthetics and characters, while spotlighting key issues affected by the tragedy. This results in a unique graphic novel experience that fits TOKYOPOP’s “Comics That Matter” initiative perfectly.
- Comics can make us laugh, make us cry, make us feel powerful, make us feel seen, and bring us together. TOKYOPOP invites you to read more “Comics That Matter”.
- GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA features a forward written by Roland Kelts, the Tokyo-based writer, journalist, scholar, and renowned authority on Japanese culture. Bonus content in TOKYOPOP’s edition includes photographs of the disaster and its aftermath by acclaimed photographer and Fukushima resident, Ko Sasaki, along with photography and information about the tragedy by TOKYOPOP founder and Pray for Japan filmmaker, Stu Levy.
- “I will never forget my experiences in Tohoku immediately after the tsunami, especially the resilience and determination of the local people,” says TOKYOPOP founder Stu Levy. “Naoto Matsumura exemplifies this spirit – and his will to not only survive but also to ensure the survival of the creatures he loves. I am proud we can bring readers Fabien and Ewen’s extraordinary work as part of our Comics That Matter initiative, and I invite readers of all ages to discover his mission and become inspired to find ways to make a difference in their own communities.”
- “When I discovered Matsumura-san’s life in the forbidden zone of Fukushima, I immediately was in awe of this man’s courage, modesty, and nobility,” recalls GUARDIANS OF FUKUSHIMA author Fabien Grolleau. “His story is full of hope and resonated with themes I was keen to explore as an author, such as ecology and nature, and with the vision I had of Japanese myths that I wanted to share through comics.”
- "I am honored to contribute to this project, which is an artistic celebration of nobility and perseverance in the face of tragedy and incompetence," says Roland Kelts. "It's also beautiful, and I'm grateful that TOKYOPOP is publishing GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA for English readers worldwide."
- GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA is the second title in this new catalog of TOKYOPOP graphic novels published under its “Comics That Matter” initiative, which also includes 2022’s release of VICTORY FOR UKRAINE, an impactuful collection of nine stories by Ukrainian creators focusing on the heroism of the Ukrainian freedom fighters in the face of overwhelming forces.
About GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA
It was March 11, 2011 when a massive earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami, which, in turn, destroyed the cores of three reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. This tragedy cost almost 20,000 lives and devastated countless more, including that of Naoto Matsumura, a farmer evacuated from the deadly radiation zone.
Unwilling to abandon his beloved animals, Naoto chooses to return home to his farm — and to fight for the beauty of life. This important graphic novel originating from France alludes to timeless Japanese legends as an ode to Mother Nature, and human resilience.
GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA was originally released by the French publisher, Steinkis, and has been licensed for English language release by TOKYOPOP.
GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA, written by Fabien Grolleau, artwork by Ewen Blain • 144 Pages • Print MSRP: $19.99 • ISBN-13: 9781427871367 •On sale February 28th
About the Creators:
Author Fabien Grolleau was born in 1972. He began his career as an architect, then in 2003, he and Thierry Bedouet founded the publishing house, Vide Cocagne, in Nantes, France, where he remains the publisher. In 2013, he began various collaborations as a screenwriter. In 2017, Grolleau published Audubon, On the Wings of the World (Nobrow) in collaboration with Jérémie Royer. The illustrated biography met with critical and international success, including many translations and two Eisner nominations in 2018 for Best Reality-Based Work and Best U.S. Edition of International Material.
Illustrator Ewen Blain was born in Orléans in 1981. Raised on comics from an early age by his passionate father, he told himself that one day becoming a cartoonist would be a great idea. Here he is today illustrator of novels, albums, games, and other documentaries for children, he draws (almost) every day and that makes him happy.
Source: Official Press Release