The first Mangasplaining Extra (MSX) and Fantagraphics collaboration to bring Susumu Higa’s Okinawa to print is already getting rave reviews. The book was originally scheduled to come out in July, but a last minute delay had it moved to August. This is not unusual in today’s seat-of-your-pants post-pandemic world of publishing. The reason, however, was not disclosed until last Friday – turns out the printer objected to certain references in the book’s bonus interview with the author.

Christopher Woodrow-Butcher explained the reason behind the delay on the MSX Newsletter:

“As you might remember, the book was originally supposed to come out in July. However, during the proofing stage, we got some “feedback” from the printer in China that all of the mentions of Taiwan in the (new-to-this-edition) interview with Higa-san would need to be removed from the work, as would the mention of China in the book itself during the war. So, uh, we moved printers, and lost just enough time to miss our window for Comic-Con. Such is life.“

A huge chunk of book printing takes place overseas, and it is fairly uncommon for political reasons to cause a holdup. In the case of China the reasons for objections include referring to Taiwan (possibly as a separate entity to mainland China, which claims it as a rogue province) and, when it comes to World War 2/the Pacific War (aka the Second Sino-Japanese War), the Empire of Japan invaded the Republic of China (when the Chinese Communist Party was not in power) between 1937 and 1945 – this period alone is quite contentious. It is interesting to hear that politics was the reason for the delay. Thankfully the book is coming out with the interview left untouched (and we can discover for ourselves what was potentially objectionable).

Susumu Higa’s Okinawa is translated by Jocelyne Allen, lettered by Patrick Crotty, and edited by Andrew Woodrow-Butcher. It was the serialised launch title of the digital-only MSX (a spinoff of the Mangasplaining podcast) delivered via Substack newsletter. It is a compilation of two manga by Higa – Sword of Sand and Mabui – that depicts the impact of the Pacific War on the residents on the author’s home of the island of Okinawa, the fifth largest island of Japan and which lies to the far south west of Honshu (the largest and which tends to be regarded as “mainland” Japan). The MSX exclusive access to the digital edition of Higa’s Okinawa ends on August 21. You will still be able to check out MSX’s behind the scenes articles on the translation and production of Okinawa – so if you are keen for more exploration of the work after you pick it up in print, go ahead and sign up.