The Birth of Kitaro

Meet one of Japan's most popular characters of all time-Kitaro, the One-Eyed Monster Boy

The Birth of Kitaro
collects seven of Shigeru Mizuki's early, and beloved, Kitaro stories, making them available for the first time in English, in an all-new, kid-friendly format. These stories are from the golden era of the late 1960s, when Gegege no Kitaro truly hit its stride as an all-ages supernatural series. Mizuki's Kitaro stories are both timelessly relevant and undeniably influential, inspiring a decades-long boom in stories about yokai, Japanese ghosts, and monsters.

"Kitaro's Birthday" reveals the origin story of the yokai boy Kitaro and his tiny eyeball father, Medama Oyaji. "Neko Musume versus Nezumi Otoko" is the first of Mizuki's stories to feature the popular recurring character Neko Musume, a little girl who transforms into a cat when she gets angry or hungry. Other stories in The Birth of Kitaro draw heavily from Japanese folklore, with Kitaro taking on legendary Japanese yokai like the Nopperabo and Makura Gaeshi, and fighting the monstrous recurring villain Gyuki.

With more than 150 pages of spooky and often funny comics about the titular yokai boy, The Birth of Kitaro is the perfect introduction to the award-winning author Mizuki's most popular series, seminal comics that have won the hearts of Japanese children and adults for more than half a century.


"There are incredibly detailed establishing images, quite beautiful, long shots with very little negative space […] these contrast with the more event-driven panels, which tend to be much simpler and are much closer to the characters. This is a book that will appeal to children and adults alike, and I’m already looking forward to the next volume."—The Quietus

"There’s no doubt that Birth of Kitaro is a great entry point into Kitaro’s yokai filled world, and it’s worth picking up."—The OASG

"Originally published in magazines between 1966 and 1968, these humorous and spooky entries introduce readers to one of the most famous characters in Japan."—Andrea Lipinski, School Library Journal

"Its deep background in Japanese mythology and folklore can make it slightly less accessible to western audiences, until you start to read it and get sucked in by Mizuki’s ability to spin a yarn."—Paste

"[The] Birth of Kitaro is a great read for any young readers or fans of Shigeru Mizuki or yokai."—Manga Xanadu

“Readers will see why Kitaro has been a popular character for decades in Japan and will want to read more volumes to discover the rest of his adventures.”—Library Journal

"... a fantastically eerie read ... for long time readers, [Shigeru Mizuki's] early [work] is a great historical marker of his growing talent, allowing to see where this master artist got his start."—Fangoria on The Birth of Kitaro

"The aesthetics on display in The Birth Of Kitaro are diverse, and Mizuki’s ability to affect three or four different complex styles in the same story is mesmerizing. His stories are quaint and fun—certainly enjoyable to read—but the way he draws establishes him as a titan, and his reputation as a major talent is confirmed again and again."—AV Club

"If you haven't experienced Kitaro before, this is a perfect place to start."—The Anime News Network


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