Toshiko Tomura is a genius; the darling of the intelligentsia. A modern-day Michelangelo, this twenty year-old is already an established international stage actress, an up-and-coming architect, and the next recipient of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize as Japan’s best new writer. Her actions make headlines in the papers, and inspire radio and television programming. And like many great talents, her troubled past is what motivates her to greatness. She has the amazing ability to emulate the talents of others.
Toshiko is also the mastermind behind a series of murders. The ultimate mimic, she has plagiarized, blackmailed, stolen and replicated the works of scores of talents. And now as her star is rising within the world of the elites and powerful she has amassed a long list of enemies frustrated by the fact that she has built critical and financial acclaim for nothing more than copying others’ work. Neglected as a child, she is challenging the concepts of gender inequality while unleashing her loneliness upon the world as she climbs the social ladder one body at a time.
One of Osamu Tezuka’s most wicked tales, The Book of Human Insects renders the 70’s as a brutal and often polarizing bug-eat-bug world, where only those willing to sell their soul to the masses and become something less than human are capable of achieving their wildest dreams.
“I suppose just reading a story like that could be repugnant to some people, but I found it weirdly enjoyable. It’s not like Tezuka sugarcoats his lead’s fundamental awfulness, or blatantly asks that we enjoy it as she destroys people—even in that ‘hate the player/love the game’ way that you saw all over pop culture in the early 1970s. It’s most fascinating to me as a big ol’ hate letter to the emerging Japanese post-war generation, although Tezuka includes a vile war-era criminal in the book as well.” —Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics and the creator of the iconic character Astro Boy. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was considered the frivolous medium of comic book art.
368 page paperback