GeGeGe no Kitarō (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎) is a multimedia franchise created in 1960 by mangaka Shigeru Mizuki. It is best known for its popularization of the folklore creatures known as yōkai, a class of spirit-monster to which all of the main characters belong. The story follows Kitarō, a young boy of the Ghost Tribe born in a graveyard, and the adventures and battles he has with various yōkai from all over Japan.
Starting with a kamishibai in 1954, it has been adapted for various media, such as manga, anime, novels, live action, stage plays and video games.
The phrase "GeGeGe" originates from Mizuki's childhood nickname GeGe, which he was given because he had trouble saying his own name, getting stuck on the middle ge syllable.
- Main article: Hakaba Kitarō
The Kitarō story began life as a kamishibai (picture story show) in 1933, written by Masami Itou (伊藤正美), as Hakaba Kitarō (墓場鬼太郎, Graveyard Kitarō). It is said to be a loose reinterpretation of the similar Japanese folktale called the Kosodate-Yūrei ("The Child-Rearing Ghost.") In 1954, Mizuki was asked to adapt the series by his publisher.
- Main article: GeGeGe no Kitarō (manga)
After kamishibai fell out of popularity, Hakaba Kitarō was published as a rental manga starting in 1960, but it was considered too scary for children. In 1965, renamed to Hakaba no Kitarō (墓場の鬼太郎, Kitarō of the Graveyard), it appeared in Shonen Magazine and ran through 1970. It was toned down from the creepier, more ironic stories of the rental manga, and gradually became a threat-of-the-week hero story. The series was renamed GeGeGe no Kitarō in 1967 and continued in Shonen Sunday, Shonen Action, Comic Bom Bom and many other magazines. Stories about Kitarō's adolescence were briefly published in Shukan Jitsuwa. The manga has been reprinted many times, but no collection contains the entire series, and each collection is ordered differently.
In 2002 GeGeGe-no-Kitarō was translated by Ralph F. McCarthy and compiled by Natsuhiko Kyogoku for Kodansha Bilingual Comics.
In 2013, "Kitaro," a compilation of classic Sixties manga episodes, was released by Drawn & Quarterly, with English translation by Jocelyne Allen and an introduction by Matt Alt.
The initial GeGeGe no Kitarō anime was first broadcast on Fuji Television on January 3, 1968. A new anime series has been made every decade since 1968, all of them animated by Toei Animation and aired on Fuji TV. The 3rd, 4th and 5th adaptations also received theatrical films.
In January 2008, an all new anime named after and based on the original Hakaba Kitarō story began airing on Fuji TV's late night Noitamina slot. From the first GeGeGe anime through the fifth, as well as the Hakaba anime, Medama-Oyaji was always voiced by Isamu Tanonaka. The sixth anime, the first after his death in 2010, featured Kitarō's original voice actor Masako Nozawa taking over the role.
The opening theme to all six series is "GeGeGe no Kitarō", originally performed by Kazuo Kumakura and covered by a new artist for each adaptation, starting with the 3rd series. Hakaba Kitarō had it's own original theme song, Mononoke Dance by Denki Groove.
- Main article: GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985 TV movie)
- Main article: GeGeGe no Kitarō: The Demon Flute
- Main article: GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007 film)
- Main article: GeGeGe no Kitarō: Sennen Noroi Uta
The first live action adaptation of Kitarō was the Monday Dramaland TV movie in 1985. In 1987, a made-for-video film titled The Demon Flute was released. In 2007 a theatrical film starring Eiji Wentz as Kitarō was released, with a sequel being released the following year. In all four adaptations, Medama-Oyaji is voiced by his anime voice actor Isamu Tanonaka.
A radio drama aired in 1978 on TBS Radio. It covered the stories The Birth of Kitarō, Hakusanbō, The Great Yōkai War and Ghost Train among others. It featured the original cast of the 1968 & 1971 anime, with the aforementioned Masako Nozawa and Isamu Tanonaka reprising their roles as Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji, as well as Chikao Ōtsuka reprising his role as Nezumi-Otoko. The series was narrated by Mizuki's close friend Ikkaku Tanabe.
- Main article: List of GeGeGe no Kitarō video games
- Main article: List of GeGeGe no Kitarō characters