Ryan Holmberg is an arts and comics historian. He has taught at the University of Chicago, the City University of New York, and Duke University and is a frequent contributor to Art in America, Artforum, and The Comics Journal. He has edited and translated a number of books of Japanese comics, including Tadao Tsuge’s Slum Wolf, forthcoming from New York Review Comics. He is currently a visiting Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo. (August 2017)
The publisher of the English edition of Kazuto Tatsuta’s book Ichi-F, about the Fukushima nuclear power plant, has opted to call this 550-page tome of dry, detailed reportage a “graphic memoir.” The original Japanese subtitle describes the manga instead as a “rōdōki,” literally a “record of labor,” putting more emphasis on the work itself than the person doing the work. The difference might seem trivial, but it speaks to many of the things that Ichi-F both succeeds and fails in doing.