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Goin’ Japanesque!

“Company Warrior YAMAZAKI”: Manga on Social Phenomenon of Death by Overwork

Japanese media sometimes runs news on “karoshi”, which is defined as death by overworking. It is still fresh in our minds that this concept of “karoshi” became a hot topic even in foreign countries several years ago.

Work dominates someone’s life completely and the person’s life is even cut short by the stress coming from it. We would like to introduce the manga “Company Warrior YAMAZAKI” this time, which came forth from such a uniquely Japanese social phenomenon.

*“Yamazaki” is a common family name in Japan. And the whiskey “Yamazaki” sold by Suntory is also well known in the world.

 

Synopsis

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The time of the story is set in the near future.

Takuro Yamazaki is a capable dispatched worker and he solves all problems quickly and correctly at the companies he is dispatched to.

Takuro Yamazaki comes up with innovative product ideas one after another, and a rival company sends an assassin in order to oust him.

The assassin starts not only sabotaging Takuro’s projects but also trying to end his life.

But Takuro Yamazaki is actually a cyborg called “Business Commando”, a next generation businessman that was created from a salaryman who died from “karoshi”.

 

Characters

1. Takuro Yamazaki

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He is the main character of this story. His name before his death is “Tatsuro Ozaki”.

He died from “karoshi”, by working too much. But in order to leave assets to his surviving family and to create a better future for his children, he is reborn as a cyborg “Business Commando”.

As a cyborg, he is always calm and does not reveal his emotions.

Having become the “Business Commando”, he has been dispatched to other companies as a project leader, and completes his projects without allowing compromises.

In addition to completing projects, he has demonstrated high abilities in training junior employees at his company. The interaction between Takuro Yamazaki and other employees who work with him makes the main thread of this story.

He normally wears black rimmed glasses. However when he battles with Business Commandos that are sent by rival companies, he switches his glasses to “Yamazaki Eye (conversion item that looks like sunglasses)” and gets into “combat mode”.

During the combat mode, he employs special attacks including “Necktie Blade” in which he uses a necktie like a sword or “Business Card Slash” in which he throws business cards like ninja’s shuriken (ninja stars) and slices the enemy.

2. Rinko Kashima

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She used to be a delinquent girl that ran away from home.

She meets Takuro Yamazaki in an incident, and starts to act together with him against his will.

She becomes a monitor of new products developed by Takuro Yamazaki, and participates in his projects as an assistant.

She knows he is a cyborg, and gradually grows to be an adult by watching his work and life closely and learning from it.

 

Analysis

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Making a salary man who died from karoshi into a cyborg and sending it back to the work place (battle ground). This setting of the story might become reality if it is in Japan.

Takuro Yamazaki unfolds death-matches against hostile business entities’ Business Commandos not only in work but also in physical combats literally for life.

Takuro Yamazaki’s business style appears even ruthless. And Takuro performs his tasks indifferently and appears truly like a “Business Commando”.

But through his stern appearance there is a glimpse of Takuro Yamazaki’s “gentleness to people”.

This combination poses questions to supporting characters and the readers; what work is, and what it means to live in the contemporary society.

The main character is modeled after “Issei Ogata”, a famous talent in Japanese show business world.

When this story was modified into a live-action video, “Issei Ogata” naturally starred as Takuro Yamazaki.

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Some of the products that Takuro Yamazaki worked on or developed in this story are common products in market today.

For example, cellular phones and flat-screen TVs appear as new products in the story.

Actually this story is a little bit old.  Having been published in the 1990’s, the story has completed in 12 volumes in Japan.

Therefore you may feel some time gap now in 2016.

However it is a great story that questions the readers on passion for work and meaning of growing up to be a part of society and work.

This is an old story and may be difficult to obtain, however we strongly recommend you to give a try to this story.

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon
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