ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review: Manabeshima Island Japan

Updated on July 19, 2016

Manabeshima Island (or, more properly Manabe-shima or just Manabe Island) is one of the Kasaoka Islands sprinkled about Japan’s ‘Seto Inland Sea’ — bracketed by the major Japanese islands of Honshu to the north-northwest and Shikoku to the south-southeast. The small island is within the Okayama Prefecture, and is considered part of the city of Kasaoka, from which it can be reached by ferry. With a population of only 300 or so, the island has but two villages: the larger primary port Manabeshima and the smaller Shiroyama farther northeast along the coast. It is otherwise rugged and heavily forested, with but a few beaches and hostelries.

Popular with both native and foreign travelers, Manabe is also considered to be one of Japan’s ‘cat islands’, as it has a number of different cat ‘tribes’ frequenting different sectors of the island’s main port village. (The author has helpfully described and mapped the ranges of those feline tribes, along with their ‘conflict zones’.)

This travel guidebook is first and most forcefully notable for its highly-varied subject matter. Virtually nothing about the island — food, habits, insects, plant life, traditions, drink, sea creatures, landmarks, travel, games, personalities, worship, structures, festivals, genealogy — falls outside the purview of French author-illustrator Florent Chavouet. His comprehensive eye insures that the island and its many features unfold naturalistically and episodically. The reader follows faithfully in Florent’s footsteps, enjoying every nuance of the island experience as he must have. The book is aptly subtitled ‘one island, two months, one minicar, sixty crabs, eighty bites and fifty shots of shochu’.

The book is also striking for the rich and immersive style of its illustrations. Images roam across pages, interspersed with captions, explanations, translations and instructive notes. Individuals are presented in natural settings, going about their daily routines, wearing their own particularly distinctive garb and expressions. Chavouet depicts not only his interactions with islanders, but islanders’ interactions with one another as well. One begins to understand the dynamics of family and village life.

By coupling such a broad range of subject matter with a quirky yet inviting free-form style of depiction, Chavouet has created a truly experiential guide — one in which the reader becomes fellow traveler, seeing, smelling, tasting, savoring and even recoiling from the same things as he. The resulting product is a delightful and deeply insightful exposure to an exotically intriguing island and its denizens.

The graphic artist and author won the Ptolemy Prize of the 2009 International Festival of Geography for his previous book, Tokyo on Foot. With the recent publication and subsequent popular appeal of Manabeshima Island Japan, he has become a local celebrity, with his photo and a number of his drawings posted at the village ferry office. His book has certainly boosted travel, especially among the French, to the tiny island.

Manabeshima Island Japan is a flexible cover book in vertical (portrait) format, 7.3” w x 10” h x ½” thick, consisting of 142 pages. Full-color full-page drawings interspersed with titles and text occupy all pages, and are rendered by the author-artist in vibrant mixed-media. Nestled in the book’s rear pocket is a richly detailed 20” x 28” fold-out artist’s aerial view/map of the primary port village of Manabeshima — with a guide key to book locales, no less. With fold-out map and accompanying volume in hand, one is therefore able to retrace Chavouet’s steps, enjoying each depicted experience in turn.

The book is published by Tuttle Publishing, an imprint of Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd., of North Clarendon, VT, and Tokyo, and is available in North America, Latin America, Europe, Pacific Asia and Japan from Tuttle Publishing and its affiliates. A brief history of Tuttle Publishing and its origins occupies the book’s front flyleaf.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)