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SMAC! Web Magazine

Husbands a great source of inspiration for manga!?

“If a Japanese female manga artist gets married, she’ll definitely make a manga about her husband”… that statement is not an exaggeration! There are plenty of manga about husbands out there. The most famous example is My Darling is a Foreigner by Saori Oguri. It’s about the author’s husband, an American journalist named Tony. Tony is also a language nerd, and the manga shows unique episodes from their daily life. In 2010, it was made into a movie, which was shown in 7 different countries and regions, including Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. The fun part is that Tony knows more about Japan than many Japanese people!

If you like this kind of theme, another manga I can recommend is Bangladesh de Tama no Koshi (Marrying into Money in Bangladesh) by Azusa Kurokawa. This is about a guy who stayed in Japan illegally for 18 years! Upon marrying the author, Azusa, he was finally able to get a visa. They go to back to Bangladesh together and Azusa finds out for the first time that her husband’s father is something of a local celebrity. This is a great manga for learning about the culture and customs of Bangladesh!

Moyoko Anno, a popular manga artist with several hits behind her name, like Happy Mania, published a very interesting manga in 2005 called Insufficient Direction. Her husband is the director of the world famous anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hideaki Anno. This story is about daily life with this man of mysteries (the director) and it made Evangelion fans dance with joy. He does loads of weird things, like going days without bathing or refusing to eat fish or meat. However, thanks to the influence of his wife, he does get better, little by little. In spring last year, it was made into an anime, which was hugely popular.

On a different note, Sayaka Yamazaki married Haruki Izumi, a manga artist 20 years her senior. Her manga My Daring is 55 Years Old is a cute work that touches on the life a married couple with a generation gap. It’s basically a happy-go-lucky story, but there are some serious points. For example, Sayaka gets flustered thinking “If we have children now, then by the time they grow up, he’ll be 75 years old!” However, since he’s great at cooking and housekeeping, she really can’t complain. As a manga artist in her thirties who was leading a rather unhealthy lifestyle, there are loads of good points for her!

Others include works that touch on serious issues, like Tenten Hosokawa’s Tsure ga Utsu ni Narimashite (My Partner Suffers from Depression) or works that introduce the husband’s occupation in an interesting way, like Saori Taira’s Kaiji Ota ga Ukkari “Naka no Hito” to Kekkon Shita Ken (A Navy Nerd Carelessly Marries Someone on the Inside). Another one is Bekkyo Shitara, Otto wo Suki ni Naremashita (Living Separately Helped Me Love My Husband) by Kanae Anzai, a frank tale of a couple going through a rough period, which included 3 years of living separately!

At any rate, if your wife is a manga artist, you’re always going to be observed from various angles, and you never know when you might be used as plot material for her next manga! Actually… my wife is also a manga artist! I spend everyday living in fear of her sharp eyes and pen!

•Korosuke Narasaki

Taiyo Nakashima