by Kazuichi Hanawa
published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon; $19.99 US
Doing Time‘s author spent three years in jail due to violating Japan’s gun possession laws, and he’s captured the time in excruciating detail. It’s very different from what one sees of American prisons in the media, since the Japanese prisoners are very regimented and well-behaved.
Unfortunately, Kazuichi Hanawa, the author, shares little of his interior perceptions or feelings. There’s no insight into what brought him there or what he learned or how the experience changed him as a person, and I couldn’t tell the other characters apart enough to understand their context.
The last few pages, an interview with the author by some of those who helped him during his trial, was thus more interesting than the rest of the comic, although he mostly gives off the feeling of wanting to put the whole thing behind him and get on with his life. If that’s the case, I wonder why he allowed the book to be published at all.
It’s certainly an unusual experience to read about, but the monotony carries through too much to the reader for me to recommend this book. More information is available at the publisher’s website.