6.1 x 8.5
840 Pgs
$36.95 CAD/$34.95 USD

Edited and designed by Adrian Tomine.

Acclaimed for his visionary short-story collections The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, and Good-Bye—originally created nearly forty years ago, but just as resonant now as ever—the legendary Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi has come to be recognized in North America as a precursor of today’s graphic novel movement. A Drifting Life is his monumental memoir eleven years in the making, beginning with his experiences as a child in Osaka, growing up as part of a country burdened by the shadows of World War II.

Spanning fifteen years from August of 1945 to June of 1960, Tatsumi’s stand-in protagonist, Hiroshi, faces his father’s financial burdens and his parents’ failing marriage, his jealous brother’s deteriorating health, and the innumerable pitfalls that await him in the competitive manga market of mid-twentieth-century Japan. He dreams of following in the considerable footsteps of his idol, manga artist Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Apollo’s Song, Ode to Kirihito, Buddha)—with whom Tatsumi eventually became peers and, at times, stylistic rivals.

Translated from the Japanese by Taro Nettleton.

Praise for A Drifting LIfe

What's impressive is how well [Tatsumi] manages to capture that giddy rush of disocvery, that feeling that not only can you suceeed at your work, but you can transform it and yourself, enriching both in the process. 

Robot 6 / Comic Book Resources

His nakedly personal work, created when the medium was predominantly impersonal, made Tatsumi unique in Japan and around the world.


This is a huge work, with dozens of people and places drifting in and out of the story, but there is surprisingly little filler. Every piece works in harmony with the others to create a passionate, moving portrait of an artist coming to terms with his desire to create... A Drifting Life is alive with sights and sounds so intense, so real, one would swear they’re coming from right outside in the trees, or from the ground itself.


[A Drifting Life's] pleasures are cumulative; the book has a rolling, rumbling grandeur. It’s as if someone had taken a Haruki Murakami novel and drawn, beautifully and comprehensively, in its margins.

The New York Times

A Drifting Life is a beautiful portrait of a dark time during which Tatsumi's artistic experimentation was clearly a guiding light for a fledgling movement. 

LA Times

In the hands of a talent like Tatsumi . . . hidden worlds are excavated and dark corners of the human condition illuminated.

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