Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi, translated by Taro Nettleton / ISBN 9781770462120 / 296-page paperback, about 6.5 x 8.5 inches, published by Drawn & Quarterly
“Red Colored Elegy is a condensed visual poetry that still feels avant-garde nearly forty years later.” ―The Believer
Ichiro and Sachiko are young artists, temperamental and discouraged about what life has to offer them. They fall in and out of love, jealous of each other's interests and unchallenged by their careers. Red Colored Elegy charts their heartache, passions, and bickering with equal tenderness, creating a revelatory portrait of a stormy love affair.
A cornerstone of the Japanese underground scene of the 1960s, Seiichi Hayshi wrote Red Colored Elegy between 1970 and 1971, in the aftermath of a politically turbulent and culturally vibrant decade that promised but failed to deliver new possibilities. Sparse line work and visual codes borrowed from animation and film beautifully capture the quiet lives of a young couple struggling to make ends meet. Ichiro and Sachiko hope for something better, but they're no revolutionaries; their spare time is spent drinking, smoking, daydreaming, and sleeping together and at times with others.
Red Colored Elegy is informed as much by underground Japanese comics of the time as it is by the French New Wave. Its influence in Japan was so large that Morio Agata, a prominent Japanese folk musician and singer/songwriter, debuted with a love song written and named after it. This new paperback edition features an essay on Red Colored Elegy and Hayashi's contributions to contemporary Japanese comics from the art historian Ryan Holmberg.
Born in Manchuria in 1945, Seiichi Hayashi published his first comics work in Japan's influential underground magazine Garo. A prolific artist, he is also a film and commercial director, a children's book author, an animator, and an illustrator.