Gwashi! Umezu Kazuo desu
You can enjoy listening to his greeting "Gwashi! Umezu Kazuo desu" (Gwashi! I am Kazuo Umezu.) by clicking on the button above.

“Kami no Hidari-te Akuma no Migi-te” (God’s Left Hand, Devil's Right Hand)

“Left Hand of God, Right Hand of the Devil”
(Kami no Hidari-te Akuma no Migi-te)



“The Darkness Album”
(Yami no Album)

 

 

 

 


“Umezu House”

Kazuo Umezu was born on August 3rd, 1936 in Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture. His family soon moved to a small town deep in the mountains of Nara Prefecture where his father would both terrify and delight with bedtime stories of local legends featuring snake women, malevolent ghosts and shape-changing spirits. The oppressive darkness of the surrounding forest was terrifying not for what lurked beyond it, but for what it could conceal. This same inky blackness would spill out onto the pages of his stories in later years.

In 1955 and at the age of 19, Kazuo Umezu made his debut with The Siblings in the Forest (Mori no Kyodai), a retelling of Hansel and Gretel in step with the cartoonish style that was popular at the time. Soon after, he found himself drawn towards the underground movement of Gekiga, avant-garde manga that discarded the childish conventions held by the industry in favor of cinematic pacing and the adult allure of noir and hard sci-fi. Umezu set himself apart from his contemporaries by lacing his hard-boiled tales with supernatural undertones, something that would become his signature even as he shifted gears towards comics for young girls.

His marriage of doe-eyed girls with grotesque imagery birthed a new genre and earned him the moniker of The Godfather of Japanese Horror Comics. Much like the Grimm fairy tales his debut work drew inspiration from, his stories pull the reader out of their comfort zone and towards a bleak depiction of human morality. In his controversial masterpiece, The Drifting Classroom, elementary students blasted to a desolate future learn that monsters, famine, and plague are nothing compared to the carnage wrought by their fellow man.

While it’s true that his work can be extreme, it exists at one of two opposing emotional poles—horror and comedy. The same insight into the human condition that allowed him to instill fear into readers also propelled him to the top of the world of gag comics. The antics of Makoto-Chan, a fecalphilic kindergartner, and his demented family have became a part of the public psyche.

“Gwashi!”

Instantly recognizable symbols such as Gwash and his trademark red and white striped wardrobe have made Kazuo Umezu a national institution. During the 70’s he destroyed the stereotype of the manga artist as a reserved shut-in with his self-composed musical debut, The Darkness Album (Yami no Album), and subsequent live performances. An entertainer above all else, this drive to innovate and amaze fuels works that bring about a strong emotional response from the audience.

“Watashi ha Shingo” (My Name is Shingo)

After acute tendinitis forced him to retire from the world of serialized comics in 1995, he has re-channeled his creative energies into other forms of expression, including television, films, a haunted house, collectibles, and architecture. Most recently, construction of his candy-striped home, known to many as the Makoto-Chan House, met with opposition from neighbors and support from fellow artists, proving that there are always new venues in which to innovate and challenge conventions.

Cat Eyed Boy
A chilling concoction of dark vignettes dripping with the macabre, the grotesque and the absurd. Hated by humans and demons alike, Cat Eyed Boy dwells in the shadows of the human world. No matter where he goes, terrifying situations involving humans and demons begins to unfurl.
Available from Viz Media

 

The Drifting Classroom
Out of nowhere, a Japanese elementary school is transported into a hostile world. Soon, the students and teachers must struggle to survive in impossible conditions, besieged by terrifying creatures and beset by madness. Part horror, part science fiction, The Drifting Classroom is a classic can't-put-downmanga series from horror manga master Kazuo Umezu.
Available from Viz Media

 

Orochi: Blood
Set at first inside a gigiantic, weird mansion, this tale is a story about two sisters. The older one, Kazusa, is the perfect sister, but the younger one, Lisa, is always scorned as inferior in comparison. One night after fighting with her husband, Lisa goes on a drunk-driving spree and crashes into another car. Fortunately, a mysterious girl named Orochi is there to divert the car enough, so that Lisa's injuries aren't fatal. As a result though, Orochi falls asleep for several decades. Eventually, Orochi wakes to find that she's being taken into the mansion where the two sisters now live together as older women where the truth gradually emerges where we find out the true nature of these sisters.
Available from Viz Media

 

Scary Book: Reflections
Kazuo Umezu presents two feature-length tales of terror. In "Mirror," a narcissistic girl's reflection begins to take mean-spirited command of her life; and in "Demon's Revenge," a sadistic samurai master bent on seeking retribution for his son's injuries finds the tables of vengeance turned against him.
Available from Dark Horse Comics

 

Scary Book: Insects
In "Butterfly Grave", ever since the mysterious and untimely death of her mother when she was still an infant, Megumi has had an inexplicable, devastating phobia of butterflies. Upon visiting her mother's grave years after her death, Megumi begins being haunted by a black butterfly that only she can see and which seemingly causes waves of destruction and misery to Megumi's family and friends wherever it appears. But when Megumi's father decides to remarry, Megumi begins to fear that her new mother is turning into the very thing she dreads most.
Available from Dark Horse Comics

 

Scary Book: Faces
In "Fear," Aiko is always ignored and neglected when compared to her beautiful older sister, Momoko. But when Momoko is horribly disfigured in an accident and goes mad, it's up to Aiko to bring home young girls her sister can use . . . to make a new face! And in "The Coincidental Letter," a young girl named Yoko, in a fit of mischief, sends an insulting letter to a made-up girl at a made-up address warning her of a horrible fate. However, by incredible coincidence, both the girl and the address are real, and everything in the letter starts coming true!
Available from Dark Horse Comics

 

Reptilia
In Reptilia, a hunter sets out into a legendary swamp and dies three days later. Today, Yoko knows little about what happened to the hunter—her grandfather— but when terror strikes her village on the anniversary of her grandfather’s death, she must face the same threat that took his life years before.
Available from IDW Publishing