First-time publisher brings English translations of Japanese comics to the U.S.

Mangabomb founder Kenichi “Keith” Nakamaru

Mangabomb founder Kenichi “Keith” Nakamaru

It was a home sale that would change his destiny.

When Kenichi “Keith” Nakamaru struggled with confidence issues while beginning a real estate career many years ago, he always fell back on the positive lessons about choosing a path and moving forward in life embedded within “Otokogi,” a manga comic book created by Hiroshi Motomiya.

Five years ago, Nakamaru sold his home in Nagano, Japan, to move to the U.S. As it would turn out, the buyer was one Hiroshi Motomiya. Yes, that Hiroshi Motomiya.

Today, with the Japanese cartoonist’s blessing, Nakamaru publishes an English translation of Motomiya’s most famous comic, the corporate drama “Salaryman Kintaro,” in the pages of Mangabomb magazine, Nakamaru’s free monthly manga anthology. He published Mangabomb’s fourth issue last month and will distribute the fifth on Dec. 10.

Hirosho Motomiya’s  Salaryman Kintaro

Hirosho Motomiya’s
Salaryman Kintaro

Now working for an automotive parts supplier in Huntington Beach, the first-time publisher is already distributing 30,000 copies of Mangabomb throughout Southern California. Westside drop points include Mitsuwa Marketplace in Mar Vista as well as Giant Robot and a handful of other locations in the Sawtelle District.

In October’s third issue, Nakamaru even debuted his own story, an ancient China-set tale called “Greatwall: Legend of the Solar Fist” and drawn by Landon Ruan, an artist he befriended at Anime Expo this summer.

It’s a far cry from importing auto parts.

A character from “Greatwall”

A character from “Greatwall”

“This is a totally different area and I’m learning new things every day,” Nakamaru said.

And just like a chapter of “Salaryman Kintaro,” the story of Mangabomb is “to be continued…”


— Michael Aushenker