Top Manga by Jiro Taniguchi [Best Recommendations]

También puedes leer este artículo en:Español

This article is devoted to a recently departed mangaka with a looong career: Jiro Taniguchi. Born in Tottori and knighted in France, he started his career as an assistant for the mangaka Kyota Ishikawa. Highly prolific, Taniguchi was working until 2014. He had a simpler way of viewing things in life, so if you love historical manga and slice of life manga, keep reading. We are going to review some of the best works by Jiro Taniguchi!

8. Bocchan no Jidai (The Times of Botchan)

  • Genres: Historical
  • Volumes: 5
  • Published: 1987

Bocchan no Jidai is based on the real life of Natsume Souseki. He would become a famous Japanese novelist, known for works like Kokoro, Botchan and I am a Cat. Souseki lived in the Meiji era, which is considered as critical for Japan because it was the transition to a more westernized culture. Through a life of ordeals and an original mind, Taniguchi describes what it is like to grow up and become an artist.

This manga is on the lines of Oliver Twist, but set in Japan. Through the superposition of the fictitious character Botchan and his creator, Taniguchi and his collaborator Natsuo Sekikawa took us back to the Meiji era with all its contrasts, issues and marvels. No wonder this well researched manga won the Osamu Tezuka Culture Award! It is also good to know it has an English version as well 😉

7. Inu wo Kau

  • Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Seinen
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: 1991

Natsume Souseki and Jiro Taniguchi had something in common: they occasionally explored animal protagonists for their works. Inu wo Kau is composed of four stories: Inu wo Kau, Soshite Neko wo Kau, Niwa no Nagame, Sannin no Hibi and Yakusoku no Chi. The first four are about a couple who raise several animals, while the last one is similar to another manga by Taniguchi called Kamigami no Itadaki. Be patient, because we will talk about that one later 🙂

What stands out in Inu wo Kau is the realistic and moving way in which Jiro Taniguchi portrayed the animals. The first story makes you cry, so be prepared with a few tissues. This manga won the Shogakukan prize! So, if you like quality stories about animals, here is a great option.

6. Kodoku no Gourmet (A Solitary Gourmet)

  • Genres: Slice of Life
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: 1994

Taniguchi teamed up with Kusumi Masayuki (who has worked only for a couple of other titles) for this manga. The main topic here is not even food (as could be thought due to the title) but choice. Gorou Inogashira is a normal salary man who is depicted in the act of choosing what to eat. In this story, you will not find details on the food, either, just a bit about places and prices.

Japan is a country that has manga about everything. Kodoku no Gourmet is innovative in terms of focusing on human behavior, rather than giving us one more obvious title about food. This manga was so successful that it got its own anime in 2017. The fact that it was picked up for animation over a decade after its release proves that some stories are timeless… and that food will always be a hot topic.

5. Hare Yuku Sora

  • Genres: Drama
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: 2005

By this point, you might think Taniguchi was a soft author. Well, here we are throwing a bit of tematic diversity to surprise you. Hare Yuku Sora starts with a dramatic accident between a motorcycle and a van. The van’s driver dies and the young motorcycle driver regains his consciousness… only to find that he has the van’s driver mind! Yes, the van’s driver is now in the motorcycle’s driver body.

This manga revolves around having a second chance to do what really matters to you. In the case of the van driver, he wanted to spend more time with his family, but didn’t get the chance. The problem is that he does not look like himself anymore. Of course, it is important is to think about the depthness of life and death. Hare Yuku Sora will leave you thinking for a long time.

4. Ryouken Tantei (St. Mary's Ribon)

  • Genres: Slice of Life, Seinen
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: Mar 2, 2011 to Oct 24, 2012

Perhaps you like Detective Conan or other detective stories. Maybe you are also into nostalgic westerns or stories like Little House in the Prairie and Heidi, which cherish the wonders of nature and the simple life. In that case, Jiro Taniguchi wrote something for you. In Ryouken Tantei, he partnered with Itsura Inami to bring us a peculiar detective.

Taku Ryuumon lives alone in the mountains, with his only companion, a dog called Joe. However, one day a visitor requests him a special favor. Although Ryouken Tantei is brief, we can experience the human nature even in such a remote place. If you like mysteries with a slow pace, Ryouken Tantei might be the right option for you!

3. Haruka na Machi e (A Distant Neighborhood)

  • Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Seinen
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: 1998

Haruka na Machi e tells us the story of a salaryman who, on his way back from a business trip, decides to visit his hometown. On the way, he remembers his days as a student in Junior High School. Our protagonist also recalls the conflicts with his family. However, thanks to his adult perspective, he replays his memories with a different twist.

What is interesting about Haruka na Machi e is how it plays with the psychological principle that memories can be reconstructed in a different way depending on how much the person changes across time. The slice of life in this one is more centered around the characters as well. Published in several languages, Haruka na Machi e also received an adaptation to French film. Full of fantasy, nostalgie and depth, this is Jiro Taniguchi at his best.

2. Chichi no Koyomi (My Father’s Journal)

  • Genres: Slice of Life, Seinen
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: 1994

If there is something the Japanese are afraid of it is natural disasters. Going back into time to the 1950s, many houses were built of paper and wood. Therefore, when the great Tottori Fire stroke, our protagonists were left in ruins. They don’t only lose material goods, but their bonds are put into test as they desperately try to recover.

If you ever wanted to know how the middle class used to live in Japan, this is the manga you should read. Once again, Taniguchi employed a mature protagonist (Yoichi) who remembers the past to tell us his story amid a fresh perspective. It is noted that the author knew the circumstances of the protagonist well (let’s remember that Taniguchi’s hometown was Tottori). We can get so immersed in the narrative that we can actually connect with the characters. Full with quiet moments and tension, but also with beauty and forgiveness, Chichi no Koyomi is a pleasant travel back in time.

1. Kamigami no Itadaki (The Summit of the Gods)

  • Genres: Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Sports, Seinen
  • Volumes: 5
  • Published: Feb 1, 2000 to Mar 1, 2003

Kamigami no Itadaki was originally a novel written by Baku Yumemakura. The protagonist is Fukamachi, who finds a camera in a small Nepalese shop. It is said that George Mallory, who was the first to climb the mountain Everest, disappeared in 1924. However, the camera looks like it belonged to him. Therefore, Fukamachi decides to climb mount Everest with his friend Habu Joji to see if he can find clues on what really happened to Mallory.

This is another masterpiece by Taniguchi, and more packed of action than his usual stories. The manga won several prizes, counting with several adaptations to film. Once again, it made it to France! If you do not feel attracted to other more slow paced manga by Taniguchi, this one might be what you are looking for.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes manga these days is so fast-paced that we forget to slow down a bit and savour the simple things in life. Jiro Taniguchi’s work is also valuable from a historical point of view, as he documented a moment when Japan was finding its own identity amid the influence from Western countries. It was a time shaken by change and conflict, which is palpable in every page of his works. Taniguchi’s characters are so full of life that we don’t doubt you should give them an opportunity. Have you read any Taniguchi manga? Tell us in the comment! Don’t forget that we are open to all. See you soon!

Kamigami-no-Itadaki-manga-358x500 Top Manga by Jiro Taniguchi [Best Recommendations]


Author: Sakura_Moonprincess

Writing about anime by Moonlight. Swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the Moon.

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Sakura_Moonprincess