Women In Comics: Japanese Edition

So, “everyone knows” that there are no women comics creators, right? That’s why it is unthinkable that there should be any female guests or panelists at comics conventions. We wouldn’t want Mark Millar to catch a nasty case of Girl Cooties now, would we? (Actually he’s done a bit better this year, but I note that Paul Cornell couldn’t negotiate panel parity so he isn’t doing panels.)

Anyway, that’s here in the West. Japan is different. Japan doesn’t think that comics are just for boys. And last week Moto Hagio, one of the most respected manga creators, was awarded the Medal of Honor (Purple Ribbon), which I gather is the highest honor that a creative person can get in Japan. (It’s a bit like getting an OBE, complete with audience with the Emperor.) I found out via a follower on Twitter this morning, but Anime News Network did report it.

Moto Hagio is a three-time Seiun winner in the Best Comic category. It looks like a lot of her work features m/m romance. If I wiggle my nose I may be able to summon Jonathan Clements who can doubtless tell us everything about her.

7 thoughts on “Women In Comics: Japanese Edition

  1. Want to hear something hilarious? I walk into a comic book store in Toronto specializing in manga and they had no idea who she was. Finding info about her on the web in English is difficult. Had to special-order her recent omnibus from a local shop, http://www.amazon.com/A-Drunken-Dream-Other-Stories/dp/1606993771

    One can also purchase A, A¹ online. I found some other things harder to find at MangaFox . . .
    First encountered her in 1996 in an unlicensed collection by Viz called Four Shojo Stories, where there is a science fiction story called They Were Eleven, which has a similarly interesting approach to gender as A, A¹. There’s a film of They Were Eleven available on Youtube, which as a different storyline than the story published there.
    When I first found it it did not have subtitles, but now it does! I intend to watch it all the way through: Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmbPhS3yd5I

  2. ack pardon Amazon link. I didn’t realize I’d pasted it . . .the collection is A Drunken Dream and other stories

  3. The manga industry in Japan is interesting.

    There is genre delineation (i.e. Manga for Boys written by men, Manga for Girls written by women) but the borders are also porous (girls read Boys manga and boys read Girls manga).

    The genre divide there is also interesting. Not grouped by subject matter (ie fantasy, scifi, crime) but more along the lines of gender/age groups (ie boys = shonen, girls = shojo, men = seinen, women = josei, etc.).

    But yes, no shortage of female creators in Japan.

    1. The borders aren’t just porous with regard to readers, of course – there are plenty of women writing shonen (Romiko Takahashi being an obvious example), although not so many men writing shojo.

  4. I’m familiar with the anime of They Were Eleven, but not much else has been available over here, even in fan circles, whereas her contemporary Riyoko Ikeda is quite widely known – I’m guessing for fairly accidental reasons.

  5. Only just saw this — Moto Hagio is definitely on the slate for a big SFE entry, along with many other prominent female manga creators, including six other Seiun winners.

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