Hokusai, le premier mangaka

Hokusai
de Shotaro Ishinomori
1987 (Kana, 2010)

L’histoire :
C’est la biographie romancée de Hokusai (1760-1849), le plus célèbre des artistes japonais, peintre, dessinateur, graveur, qui vécut 90 ans (fait exceptionnel pour l’époque) et que l’on considère également comme le « premier mangaka ». L’histoire débute quand, âgé de 42 ans, le peintre choisit le nom de Hokusai (en référence à la constellation de la Grande Ourse, « Hokusai » en japonais), et décide de donner un nouveau virage à sa vie d’artiste. En effet, désireux de trouver un style original et novateur, non imité des anciens mais ancré dans son époque, Hokusai choisit de tout quitter, jusqu’à son nom, au risque de perdre le confort de la vie d’artiste connu, pour se remettre en permanence en question, et questionner son processus créatif jusqu’à trouver le style parfait, le style Hokusai.

Hokusai, Le Mont Fuji rouge

Construit en flashes-backs successifs, le manga nous présente des épisodes méconnus de son existence, de 42 ans à sa mort, à 90 ans, encore en pleine possession de ses moyens artistiques et intellectuels. Une vie souvent précaire, parfois miséreuse, mais sans concessions à la facilité, et dictée à la fois par ses exigences artistiques, et par… ses pulsions érotiques. Jusqu’à sa mort, Hokusai sera infatigable, comme artiste, et comme amant…

Ce que j’en pense :

Shotaro Ishinomori, l’auteur de ce manga, est un des plus grands mangakas des années 60 à 90. Connu pour ses séries de science-fiction (Cyborg 09, Le voyage de Ryu…) ou de sabre (Sabu & Ichi), Ishinomori, qui fut ami et disciple de Tezuka, est également célèbre pour avoir initié le genre du Sentai, pour la télévision (il est à l’origine de San Ku Kaï, Sentai bien connu en France).

Excellent dessinateur, influencé par le style de Tezuka, donc, Ishinomori rend hommage à Hokusai en dessinant sa biographie, le peintre étant considéré comme « le premier mangaka« .

Si on peut mesurer la distance qui sépare l’oeuvre et le style de Hokusai de la création manga d’aujourd’hui, il faut tout de même rappeler que c’est bien Hokusai, qui, en 1814 (!!) inventa le terme de « manga » pour désigner ses carnets de croquis, publiés à l’époque et qui rencontrèrent un grand succès parmi les amateurs (et acquéreurs) d’art du 19ème siècle. Le terme manga est resté depuis, pour désigner les histoires illustrées en bande dessinée qui parurent au Japon sous l’influence des comics américains, notamment sous la plume d’Osamu Tezuka.

exemple de croquis réalisés par Hokusai dans ses "mangas"

Soyons clairs : l’oeuvre de Hokusai est plus adaptée à l’exposition dans des musées qu’à la parution en albums. Cependant, ses Hokusai manga, ou carnets de croquis, recèlent une invention et un art du dessin qui influence encore aujourd’hui les mangakas soucieux de réalisme et d’authenticité. La raison pour laquelle Ishinomori dessine cette biographie romancée est que tout mangaka peut se retrouver dans le processus créatif de Hokusai.

Ishinomori met l’accent sur la persévérance, l’obstination, l’obsession de Hokusai à trouver son propre style, quitte à abandonner tout confort pour retrouver la vérité de son art. Cette biographie est également une métaphore de la condition du mangaka, obligé de « pondre » un nombre de planches sur demande du studio qui le publie, pour pouvoir vivre décemment de son art. Le Hokusai que décrit Ishinomori est ainsi tiraillé entre, d’une part, la nécessité de produire pour vivre, voire pour survivre, et d’autre part, l’ambition artistique propre à tout créateur. Au fil des épisodes narrés dans le manga, Hokusai hésite entre ces deux exigences, la pression financière de commanditaires avides d’une création répondant aux critères exigés par le public, et l’obstination à créer une oeuvre personnelle, qui marquera le public par sa personnalité et son intégrité.

Hokusai, le fantôme

A ce sujet, la fin de la vie de Hokusai, comblé d’honneurs et pourtant pauvre comme Job, montre à quel point le processus créatif ne s’éteint jamais, pour un authentique artiste ; et à 90 ans, au seuil de la mort, Hokusai se considérait encore insatisfait, et capable de livrer l’oeuvre ultime qui ferait de lui un créateur indépendant, à part entière.

Ishinomori nous offre ainsi, à travers la biographie de Hokusai, le premier mangaka, son propre testament, celui d’un homme éternellement taraudé par le doute, et par l’éphémère statut de créateur, et nous livre une leçon de courage, de persévérance, et surtout, de liberté. Hokusai, qu’il soit le peintre réel, ou le personnage réinventé par le manga, est une exemple à suivre, et un maître dont les leçons restent encore et toujours d’actualité.

A noter que l’édition de ce manga chez Kana, collection Sensei, est exemplaire, 600 pages d’un papier de grande qualité, et ponctuées de reproductions de l’oeuvre du maître. Un superbe objet à posséder, et à thésauriser.

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95 Responses to Hokusai, le premier mangaka

  1. Ffenril says:

    Ooooh Kana a sorti ça ? Ca a l’air intéressant et vu que je m’intéresse un peu à l’oeuvre de Shotaro Ishinomori avec 4 tomes de Cyborg 009 disponibles en France, je vais me le procurer :)

  2. le gritche says:

    Merci pour cette excellente review ! Ca fait envie.

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  5. Pilou says:

    J’adore les mangas et je veux devenir mangaka!.

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  7. Pingback: Les secrets de l’économie japonaise en bande-dessinée, de Shôtarô Ishinomori | Les chroniques d'un newbie

  8. Pingback: Hokusai de Shotaro Ishinomori – Les Blablas de Tachan

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