Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi Drawn and Quarterly Abandon the Old in Tokyo is a collection of manga stories from 1970 by Japan's Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who produced 500 pages of work that year. This collection, the second volume in publishing house Drawn and Quarterly's series on Tatsumi's work, consists of eight stories. The collection contains drinking, nudity, violence and despair. The opening image is of a man sitting on a toilet, peering directly at the reader. The work is not as glamorous and fantastical as the Japanese 'pinky violence' films of the 1960s and 70s. Rather, the drawings and text are a masterful depiction of the grim realities of the time for the working class. The genre is called gekiga, a term coined by Tatsumi in 1957 that translates as 'dramatic pictures', and is characterised by a realistic approach to cartooning. 'Unlike my contemporaries, I felt no need to incorporate humour into serious stories. I wanted to represent reality,' says Tatsumi in an interview in the back of the book. The text is edited, designed and lettered by Japanese-American graphic novelist Adrian Tomine. Koji Suzuki, author of the Ring trilogy novels and Dark Water, wrote the introduction. He observes that: 'The sensibilities evoked by the art and the stories told in the dialogue are specific to Japan in the 1970s. Disillusioned and disobedient civilians were stunned and simultaneously frustrated with the pace of postwar modernisation. We wanted change but were scared of it, too.' In the title story, a labourer named Kenichi is living with his infirm and elderly mother, who raised him on her own. It's implied that she earned money through prostitution when she was younger. Kenichi's fianc?e, who thinks he lives alone, insists on visiting his apartment. Under pressure, he devises a plan to stow his mother in another place, but the outcome is tragic. In addition to being an engrossing story, every panel reveals a facet of Tokyo in 1970: a communal sink in an apartment building, commuters crowding onto a train, and a realtor's storefront. Perhaps it is this recording of the mundane that makes the work so compelling. 'Tatsumi's fans are growing in rank here and abroad now,' Suzuki writes in the introduction. 'This is because no one does the minor villains and petty villainies of everyday life like him.' Somehow, divorce and botched cosmetic surgery become entertaining plot points in Tatsumi's hands. The downtrodden protagonists express in their limited way the alienation and anger that can come with living in cities. Despite many characters being slightly unsavoury, it's hard not to relate to them.