Otaku World Reviews:
The Four Immigrants Manga

Reviewed by Dov Sherman

The Four Immigrants Manga
written by Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama
translation by Frederik L. Schodt
published by Stone Bridge Press

 * Excerpts from The Four Immigrants Manga

At the beginning of the twentieth century, four young Japanese men came to America to seek their fortunes. They faced culture shock and prejudice. They experienced the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, fought in World War I, and made lives for themselves. Yoshitaka Kiyama, who took the name Henry, came to America to study classic art and, along the way, he chronicled the experiences of himself and his friends from their arrival in 1904 until his return to Japan in 1924, at the beginning of the anti-Japanese exclusionary movement.

The Four Immigrants Manga is drawn in the style of contemporary comic strips of the time, such as Growing Up With Father. The tale it tells is one of hardship and a pioneering spirit. Asian Americans and those interested in the experiences of early Asian American immigrants will find The Four Immigrants Manga both enlightening and poignant. While Kiyama's work serves well as a documentary, it also tells a heartfelt story which will move you to both laughter and tears. Written in a time when traditional comic book artists wouldn't dare address such heavy topics, Kiyama portrays the injustice and prejudice he and his friends faced as immigrants in an America whose arms were not as open as it once claimed.

This book is an important chronicle, a reminder of the humanity of our forebears but still highly relevant today. It takes its place beside other important manga, such as Barefoot Gen, to open our hearts to the history which has shaped our world.

A piece of manga history
Educational, entertaining, and emotionally stirring
May have been the first comic book ever created in America