World Map Room by Yuichi Yokoyama / ISBN 9781939799128 / A 176-page paperback from Picturebox, translated by Ryan Holmberg
In this, Yuichi Yokoyama’s long-awaited original graphic novel, published simultaneously in Japan and France, a stripped-back plot and minimal characterizations allow the artistry of Yokoyama’s ethereal drawings to shine through. The events within the narrative are spare and enigmatic: Yokoyama is as much fascinated by shapes and visual effects as he is by character and plot. First, the protagonists visit a city; then, our heroes watch airplanes departing and arriving at an airport; next, they go on board a ship and cross a river. Eventually, they arrive at a building where a man welcomes and guides them to the “world map room,” where they inspect a library. Eventually they leave, and reach a pond with a sunken ship. Their guide starts to explain the ship’s history, and slowly, with casual suddenness, the novel comes to a close.
Yokoyama is the author of Travel, New Engineering, Color Engineering and Garden (all published by PictureBox). He was the subject of a one-man show at The Kawasaki City Museum in 2010, and has exhibited in galleries and museums in Tokyo, Singapore, Rome and San Francisco. He lives and works in the suburbs of Tokyo.