The Children of ‘Aumākua by Marisa Torigoe
Some artists have opted to use manga to explore more personal and self-reflective narratives rather than adventure-oriented stories. In her work, The Children of ‘Aumākua, Marisa Torigoe (b. 1988) reveals the deep personal connections developed between human characters and revered Hawaiian figures and deities.
Living in a seaside town on the island of Hawai‘i, ten-year-old Manuwai learns to cope with the stress of her combative household. She is whisked away by a large shark who teaches her about the ‘aumākua, deified ancestors who watch over her family. ‘Aumākua is a tale of a girl’s reconnection with the natural world drawn in exquisite detail. ‘Aumākua, published in 2010, also raises issues about the representation of Hawaiian culture. Torigoe, while not of Native Hawaiian ancestry, wrote under the Hawaiian pen name “Pua Kalaunu” or “crown flower.” Although she now regrets this decision, she originally intended to pay homage to the Hawaiian culture through her stories and images.
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