I Owe My Life To a Manga

Imagine owing your very existence to a comic book?

Okay, it is a manga to be exact and it happens to be a major contributing factor in the road that lead to me being here!

This manga hit the shelves of post war Japan in 1951 when it was serialized in a national newspaper. Soon after it was made into its own series. The manga tells the tale of a father who takes his son Wataru to Kenya on a business trip. They are attacked by a rampaging rhino and are thus separated. Wataru winds up being taken in my a Masai tribesmen and then has a wealth of adventures with giant snakes, dinosaurs etc.

It captured the imagination of boys and girls across the country but none so much as my father.

As soon as he hit 18 he decided to follow his dream and headed for Kenya. Here he met my mum and then I came along.

My father still lives in Africa. It’s been nearly 35 years and I don’t think he will ever leave. I have asked him about Shonen Kenya and he said this to me;

“I have learned that there are no giant talking snakes here. The masai don’t look like they did in the manga either!”

My father is not the warmest person on the planet. But his silence is reassuringly moving, his eyes are sad, his spirit of adventure and independance is humbling and his story is unfathomable.

Hiro told his father this tale and it just so happened that he was a Shonen Kenya fan too. Such a fan that when he had the pleasure of meeting the author/artist in the 70’s he had them signed! Sometime ago, he sent us the entire series to keep. They are so precious to me.

I hope that my little snippet from my yesterday has not bored you.

I am tirelessly interested in why and how people move from their birthplace to seek adventure.

Have you also a tale to tell?