Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths

Shigeru Mizuki

Drawn and Quarterly




368 Pages


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Shigeru Mizuki is the preeminent figure of Gekiga manga and one of the most famous working cartoonists in Japan today–a true living legend. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is his first book to be translated into English and is a semi-autobiographical account of the desperate final weeks of a Japanese infantry unit at the end of World War II. The soldiers are told that they must go into battle and die for the honor of their country, with certain execution facing them if they return alive. Mizuki was a soldier himself (he was severely injured and lost an arm) and uses his experiences to convey the devastating consequences and moral depravity of the war.


Praise for Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths

"As Shigeru Mizuki's World War II graphic novel masterpiece approaches 40 years old, Drawn & Quarterly has released the first American translation in a gorgeous production that reads from back to front, from right to left, in true Japanese style and captures a side of the war in the South Pacific you've never seen . . . With hundreds of vignettes, Mizuki captures the brutal lives of enlisted men serving in the Imperial Army in Papua New Guinea near the end of the war, where soldiers can be ordered to chop off a nearly dead soldier's little finger to prove he died in battle, or to lob back ignited grenades that have been tossed into their trenches . . . Mizuki presents the reader with the guilt of friendly fire, the waste of good men, the relentless imperative to die rather than be taken prisoner, the shame of surviving . . . In a dazzling variety of layouts and frames of all sizes, the reader watches in horror as platoons of endearing characters are ordered to run at the enemy in a banzai charge with no hope of survival. The last few stunning panels have no text. None is needed. Mizuki has made his point, achieving an overwhelming sense of loss."—Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Shigeru Mizuki

  • Born on March 8, 1922, in Sakaiminato, Tottori, Shigeru Mizuki is a specialist in stories of yokai and is considered a master of the genre. He is a member of the Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology and has traveled to more than sixty countries to engage in fieldwork on the yokai and spirits of different cultures. He has been published in Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Taiwan, and Italy.