Chevalier Jiro Taniguchi (he's a knight in France!) died last year at the age of 69. I understand that this book, published in 2008, but set in 1966, is autobiographical and tells the story of how he got into manga in the first place - on the production side, not the reading side. That distinction is important, because this work almost never shows him reading a comic! When we meet him, that's all we get: someone on a voyage, or more accurately adrift, apparently never having departed a port. There's no history here excepting in what we learn tangentially as he floats along, carried by life's currents rather than rowing his own passage. As an autobiography it also drifts from reality in that he's a character with a different name in the story.
He is working in a small textile business and hoping to get a shot at design when, on a trip to visit a friend, he finds himself hijacked into working for a major mangaka - a creator of manga. I'm far from convinced that exchanging the life he had in what I understand is a beautiful Kyoto was worth moving to megacity Tokyo for (the population there was ten million even in 1966!), but never having been to either place, knowing only what I read, I have to take his word for it! I do find it intriguing that Kyoto becomes Tokyo by simply moving the first three letters to the end of the word! This works equally in Japanese or English, but whether it means the same thing when switched in Japanese, I can’t say.
But I digress, as usual. His lowly job is filling in the blanks in the artist's work - painting backgrounds and so on. This seems highly suitable since he is himself a background to the lives of others as told in this story. Eventually he gets his own work published and the rest is history. The story is a bit weird at times and slow moving, but overall I liked it and I recommend it.