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Tea Leaves

Burn on, Joe: Manga icon lifts a nation's spirits

Saga of 1960s street boxer finds new popularity in Japan

An exhibition on the legendary Japanese manga "Tomorrow's Joe" at the Setagaya Bungakukan in Tokyo.   © Kyodo

The fate of the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo may still be hanging in the balance, but one indirectly related event is already in progress. That is the "Tomorrow's Joe" exhibition, which I recently viewed at the Bungakukan (Literary Museum) in the city's Setagaya Ward.

"Tomorrow's Joe" is probably Japan's most famous sports manga. Serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1968 to 1973, it has sold over 20 million copies in book form and spawned two hit TV anime series and three films. More than that, it summed up a whole era and way of thinking that still resounds in today's Japan.

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