Human Clock: A Horror Manga Classic

⚠️ This article contains information about suicide which may be upsetting to some readers. Discretion is advised.


Not all media immediately become cult classics. It might take years, decades even, for obscure works to gain that appeal. Such was the case of Seiichirō Tokunan’s short horror manga, Human Clock.


Originally published in 1962 for the kashihon rental market, Human Clock tells the story of a high school dropout who spends his days in his family’s clock shop. Though the premise seems simple, the manga itself is far from mundane. Told through distorted imagery and convoluted writing, Human Clock chronicles Tadashi’s descent into extreme isolation and eventual madness.


Whether it was its disturbing contents or simply the throwaway nature of rental manga, Human Clock was quickly forgotten upon its first release. It wasn’t until a small reprint of the manga years later that people really began to pay attention. But to understand what awarded Human Clock its cult status, we need to look not only at the manga itself, but at the man behind the work.


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