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The Comics Journal

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Charles M. (Charles Monroe) Schulz (1922-2000), Cartoonists -- Comic books strips etc., Japanese literature, Cartoonists, Graphic novels


Charles Schulz’s Peanuts turned 71 years old on October 2, and we celebrate the anniversary of this world-famous comic strip with a love letter from Japan. Natsume Fusanosuke originally wrote this essay[1] about his connection to Peanuts in 1999 for a supplement issue of Bungei Shunjū magazine: a special on one of the gods of comics, Tezuka Osamu, with whom Charles Schulz stands in great company. Natsume is a voracious reader and a global observer of both manga and world comics. Here, he describes the appeal of Peanuts for Japanese readers and how it compares to a similarly beloved Japanese comic and cartoon character, the blue robot cat Doraemon. Peanuts was imported to Japan in 1969 (translated by the poet Tanikawa Shuntarō), and still enjoys great popularity (Fantagraphics’ The Complete Peanuts was published in Japan in 2019 by Kawade Shobō). Natsume considers some of the cultural factors that explain why the strip, even though it is very American, still appeals to generations of Japanese after all these years. He also attempts to explain why the character Doraemon has a similar appeal to many Asian peoples, but had yet to (and has yet to) find an audience in America. We take this moment to wish Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang a happy birthday!

- Jon Holt & Teppei Fukuda, translators


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