Secrets of the Earth Manga

This is a manga comic developed by Japanese 6th grader Aika Tsubota and published by Save the Sea Committee in 1991. Aika created this comic in response to a prompt from her teacher to convey information about environmental issues in a format that first graders could understand. This comic has now been translated into multiple different languages and distributed to children around the world. The comic touches on issues like pollution and acid rain and highlights the work of grassroots activists whilst calling for international cooperation. Tragically, the 12-year-old author died of a brain hemorrage merely hours after finalizing the work.

Author(s): Aika Tsubota

Aika began drawing when she was two years old. By the age of five, she was studying art books and copying the cartoon figures from comic books. Soon, she began creating her own characters and stories, making her own comic books, and sharing them with her delighted classmates. As she grew older, Aika became more and more aware of the environment and the need to protect it. She often went walking with her grandmother to pick up trash in their neighborhood. When she was ten years old, she decided to write her autobiography. In it, she wrote, “I would like to become an Earth that is powerful, gentle to cradle, and fosters all of the lives on it.” In September, at the beginning of Aika’s second semester in sixth grade, her teacher assigned each student a project of his or her choice to complete before the winter break. Aika decided to do what came naturally: create a comic book. But this comic book would be very different from her others. This one would teach people to care about the world she loved (Source).

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