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“Too dark, won’t sell, no commissions” — such was Tadao Tsuge’s verdict on his oeuvre back in 1994. Though he was a noted contributor to alternative manga magazine “Garo” in its heyday during the late 1960s and early ’70s, Tsuge remains a cult figure even in Japan, overshadowed by the reputation of his older brother, fellow manga scribe Yoshiharu.

There’s a certain irony in this collection of Tadao’s translated stories, which appears at a time when Yoshiharu’s work is still largely unavailable in English. But “Trash Market” stands on its own merits, vividly capturing the tumult and existential funk of Japan’s postwar period as seen through the eyes of society’s least fortunate. A veteran of numerous blue-collar jobs, Tsuge knew what he was talking about.

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