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The Aesthetics of
Girls Culture in Japan

Deborah Shamoon

University of Hawaii Press


2012 University of Hawaii Press

All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America

171615141312 654321

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Shamoon, Deborah Michelle.
Passionate friendship : the aesthetics of girls culture in Japan / Deborah Shamoon.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-8248-3542-2 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN 978-0-8248-3638-2 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Comic books, strips, etc.JapanHistory and criticism. 2. Teenage girls
Books and readingJapanHistory20th century. 3. Teenage girls in popular
cultureJapanHistory20th century. I. Title.
PN6790.J3S283 2011


Publication of this book is made possible in part by support from the Institute for
Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame

University of Hawaii Press books are printed on acid-free paper and meet the
guidelines for permanence and durability of the Council on Library Resources.
Designed by Mardee Melton
Printed by Sheridan Books, Inc.


vii Acknowledgments

ix Note on Language

1 Introduction

chapter 1
The Emergence of the Shjo and the Discourse of
Spiritual Love in Meiji Literature

Chapter 2
Prewar Girls Culture (Shjo Bunka), 19101937
Chapter 3
Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls
Chapter 4
The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga, 19501969
Chapter 5
The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga

137 Afterword

143 Notes

157 Bibliography

167 Index
Plates follow p. 70


This project was made possible with the help and

support of many people and institutions. The Japan Foundation generously
funded two research trips to Japan. The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal
Arts, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame, provided support
for research and writing in both Japan and the United States as well as publication support.
I conducted archival research at a number of institutions. Foremost among
these was the International Manga Museum in Kyoto. I am particularly indebted
to Yoshimura Kazuma, It Y, and Watanabe Tomoko for their generosity and
help in using the archives; thanks also to Omote Tomoyuki and Kuramochi
Kayoko. I am also grateful to Takabatake Sumie and Takabatake Asako, curators of the Takabatake Kash Taish Roman-kan in Ehime, for their hospitality at the museum and for allowing me to access their archives. The exhibits at
the Yayoi Museum/Takehisa Yumeji Museum in Tokyo gave me the opportunity to view additional material. I conducted further research at the Cartoon
Library at The Ohio State University thanks to librarian Maureen Donovan.
During my research trips to Japan, I was hosted twice at Waseda University
in Tokyo through the kind offices of Katsukata-Inafuku Keiko. This research
would not have been possible without her help and the institutional support
at Waseda.
I am deeply grateful to the many people who have read this work and provided feedback over the years. I thank Alan Tansman, Miryam Sas, and Linda
Williams, for their patience, insight, and suggestions through successive drafts.
Thanks are also due to John Treat for encouraging me to write on shjo manga.
Many other scholars have also shared their expertise in helping me to develop my
ideas. Kanai Keiko, Omuro Minako, Sugiyama Naoko, Barbara Sato, Nakagawa
Shigemi, Tanada Teruyoshi, and Eve Zimmerman were all very generous with
their time in meeting with me to discuss various sections of my project. Thanks
especially to Takemiya Keiko at Seika University for graciously answering my
questions about her career in shjo manga.



I have benefited greatly from the friendship of many scholars in Japan and in
the United States. In particular, I want to thank Steve Ridgely, Melek Ortabasi,
Stephanie DeBoer, Mara Patessio, Tracey Gannon, Takahashi Mizuki, Nakagaki
Kotaro, Sugawa-Shimada Akiko, Xavier Bensky, Pat Noonan, Kukhee Choo,
Heather Warren-Crow, Sarah Teasley, Ry Beville, and Jennifer Prough for moral
support and academic expertise. Yamanashi Makiko, above all, was a kind and
generous host, a font of information and encouragement, and an enthusiastic
guide to shjo bunka and the traces of Taish roman in contemporary Tokyo.
Permission to reproduce the images in this book was generously provided
by Hagio Moto, Himawariya, Hukiya Tatsuo, Ikeda Riyoko Production, Jitsugy
no Nihonsha, Kdansha, Maki Miyako, Shgakukan, Takahashi Makoto, Tezuka
Productions, and the Yayoi Museum. I am particularly grateful to Uchida Shizue
at the Yayoi Museum for her help in obtaining permissions.
My editor at the University of Hawaii Press, Patricia Crosby, provided
invaluable support through all stages of publication. Thanks as well to the two
anonymous readers for their comments and advice.
My husband, Jason Banta, has been a steady source of support, encouragement, and love throughout the writing process. He also offered feedback and
helped with proofreading. I owe tremendous thanks to him for all the help he
has given me.
Finally, I wish to thank my parents for their love and understanding. To my
father, for his patience and enthusiasm, and to my mother, my first and best writing teacher, I am forever grateful. This work is dedicated to them.

Note on Language

Japanese names appear in this book with the family

name first. Names of scholars who have published in English, however, follow
the form given in their publications, in most cases with the family name last. Following Japanese convention, certain artists and writers are designated by their
pen names rather than their family names: Tayama Katai and Takabatake Kash,
for example, are referred to as Katai and Kash, respectively.
The spelling of Japanese words follows the revised Hepburn system. Long
vowels o and u are indicated with a macron: shjo; long a, e, and i with double
letters: oneesan, oniisan. Macrons are omitted from words common in English,
such as Tokyo. Loan-words follow English spelling rather than their spelling in
katakana: for instance, Shjo club rather than Shjo kurabu and Ribbon rather than
Ribon for the magazine titles. The exception to this is Tma no shinz, where I
have retained the katakana spelling of the name Thomas so as not to obscure
the intended pronunciation of the name. All titles are given in Japanese except
for The Rose of Versailles (Berusaiyu no bara), which I render in English to assist
All translations are my own unless otherwise noted.



In Japan in the early 1970s, a transformation took

place in the popular culture consumed by teenage girls. Young women artists,
inspired by the atmosphere of youthful rebellion and creative experimentation
at the time, took over the genre of shjo manga, or comic books for girls, and
changed it to address the concerns of teenage girls. The popularity of the comics
they created granted legitimacy and gave voice to a coherent girls culture. By the
end of the twentieth century, shjo manga had become one of the primary sites
of cultural production in Japan. This is a book about the development of shjo
manga as a genre and the meaning of girls culture in Japan.
Despite the massive popularity of shjo manga in Japan, the genre is not well
known or understood in the English-speaking world. Relatively few titles have
been translated and released in the United States, and none of the major classics of the 1970s is available in translation. The discovery that there is a special
category of manga by and for young women is often baffling to many Americans,
who are accustomed to thinking of comics as a boys-only medium. While some
find the promise of a girl-power genre of comics exciting, many shjo manga
stories resist the kind of ideology American feminists would like to see: instead
of demonstrating openly radical politics that subvert gender hierarchies, the
characters seem stereotypically feminine, and the drawing style emphasizes their
childish traits. And perhaps most surprising to Western readers, many shjo
manga stories feature romance not between a boy and a girl, but between two
boys. What, then, is the appeal of shjo manga for girls in Japan?
The answer to this question does not lie in analysis of any single shjo manga
story, but rather in understanding its cultural history: how it developed as a genre,
who the creators are, and how readers interact with the texts. Shjo manga is not
just a genre of comics aimed at a specific demographic; it is a part of girls culture
(shjo bunka), a discrete discourse on the social construction of girlhood. Since
the 1970s, shjo manga has been one of the most influential media for the creation and dissemination of girls culture, but, as I will demonstrate, the roots of
shjo manga and shjo bunka reach back to the early twentieth century, specifically
in the pages of girls literary magazines. This book will explore the connection
between prewar girls magazines and postwar shjo manga and in doing so shed
light on the discourse of girlhood created and consumed by girls themselves.


Definition of the Shjo

The first step toward understanding shjo mangaand shjo bunkais to consider the meaning of the term shjo, in its various definitions and media representations. The word shjo is most efficiently translated into English as girl,
although the Japanese word carries a much more specific connotation.1 This
term tends to refer to teenage girls, that is, girls in the liminal adolescent space
between childhood and adulthood, the end of which time was traditionally signaled by marriage and motherhood. In cultural (as opposed to biological) terms,
adolescence is marked not so much by physical age as by social convention. The
concept of adolescence, and particularly female adolescence, is one of the hallmarks of modern industrialized nations, which encourage girls to delay marriage,
childbearing, or entering the work force, usually to receive higher education
(Savage xviixviii; Driscoll 3537; Mitchell 7). While Japan in the Edo period
(16001868) did have relatively late marriages and some educational opportunities for girls, it was not until the Meiji period (18681912) that it became
economically advantageous for upper- and middle-class girls to delay marriage
in favor of advanced education (Uno 1741; Inoue 4142). Thus, a new space
opened for girls to develop socially and intellectually in ways that are quite different from the roles of childhood and motherhood, although the exact beginning and end of adolescence was and still is fluid.
The shjo, then, is strongly associated with modernity and, more specifically, the educated urban middle and upper classes. In the prewar period, a girl
became a shjo by attending an all-girls secondary school and by reading girls
magazines (Imada 5), in other words, through a process of enculturation in shjo
bunka, which was created among girls in higher schools, mainly attended by
daughters of the new urban middle and upper classes. In particular, it was the
girls magazines that gave the shjo a sense of gender identity and provided models of speech, dress, behavior, and style (Imada 910). In the prewar period, the
term shjo also implied a certain refinement, marked by chastity, sentimentality,
and the use of polite language. Even after World War II, the word shjo still has a
lingering connotation of the elegance of the all-girls school and the private space
of girls culture.
The status of the shjo in postwar Japan is harder to pin down. Kawamura
Kunimitsu argues that the era of the shjo began around 1900, flourishing from
about 1910 to 1930, that is, the years when all-girls schools were the primary
educational opportunity for girls (Otome no inori 12). Kawamura further claims
that the shjo no longer exists in Japan and that only traces of girls culture
remain today in holdovers from prewar culture such as the all-girl Takarazuka
Revue (ibid. 13). Kawamuras argument indicates just how closely the idea of

Introduction 3

the shjo is tied to concepts of purity and chastity. Some recent trends in girls
culture, such as the subculture of gyaru (gals), have moved emphatically in
the opposite direction, embracing vulgarity and sexual promiscuity.2 Anthropological and sociological work is needed to sort out the shifting landscape of girls
culture in twenty-first-century Japan. However, I would argue that girls culture
is nonetheless a coherent entity in contemporary Japan. Moreover, as I will demonstrate, postwar shjo manga still draws on themes of purity and innocence
derived from prewar girls culture. While contemporary Japan offers a far larger
variety of choices for self-identification and group allegiance for girls, the idea
of the shjo and the ideals of shjo bunka are still in circulation, whether girls
embrace those ideals or not.
As this is a literary and visual study of girls print media, I am primarily interested in fictional representations of shjo, with the understanding that these fictional representations may vary significantly from lived experiences, sometimes
intentionally. This is not an anthropological or sociological study of the lives
of real girls, but rather an examination of how normative concepts of girlhood
were created and disseminated through print media. Media representation of the
shjo vary significantly depending on audience; this book will consider two competing discourses on the shjo, one arising in literature predominantly (although
not exclusively) written by and for adult men, in which the teenage girl appears
as sexualized and threatening, and the other emerging in the texts consumed by
girls themselves, which emphasize purity and avoidance of heterosexual activity.
One of my goals in this book is to distinguish between these two discourses on
the girl, that is, the way adults (particularly adult men) portray girls and the way
girls culture created a different image of girlhood.
Theoretical Approaches to Shjo Studies

Although the concept of the shjo is central to both gender identity and Japans
modernization, it has received relatively little scholarly attention. Shjo studies
(shjo-ron) is still a nascent field in Japanese-language scholarship and even more
so in English. Although the shjo is a central feature of modernity in Japan, and
although girls culture has had a discrete and coherent discourse throughout the
twentieth century, scholarly discussion of girls in Japan has tended to be piecemeal. In spite of the significant social changes that occurred after World War
II and the American Occupation, girls culture seems to have retained some of
its key features, as I will show in terms of the connection between prewar girls
magazines and postwar shjo manga. Most studies of the girl in Japanese tend
to focus on either the prewar or the postwar period. My goal in this book is to
bridge that gap and to put shjo manga into historical context by considering


the continuities between pre- and postwar girls culture. Japanese-language

scholarship on girls culture and shjo manga, however, has been moving toward
increasing historical specificity. As this scholarship has not been translated and
is not well known outside Japan, it is worth first reviewing how girls culture has
been discussed in Japan.
The study perhaps best known outside Japan is tsuka Eijis Shjo minzokugaku (Ethnography of Girls, 1985), which propelled the study of Japanese
girls culture, in all of its seemingly trivial and inconsequential cuteness and disposability, to the ranks of serious academic inquiry. While tsukas study was
groundbreaking in considering such topics as girls school uniforms, idiosyncratic girl handwriting, dolls, and girls comics as evidence of a coherent discourse, his primary aim was to critique Japanese culture as he saw it in the mid1980s. He ends his book with an expression of male anxiety: Where is the shjo
leading us? (243). The pronoun he uses for us, wareware, is reserved almost
exclusively for reference to the (patriarchal) national body: we Japanese. However, rather than validating the narratives produced by and important to girls, he
worries about the impact of the shjoization of adult culture. His final question
is Can we change from shjo to adults? If we cant, then it will mean our
destruction (249). Again, tsuka uses a male pronoun for we, this time bokutachi, which might be translated as we guys. While tsuka celebrates girls
culture, his fear that girls will destroy Japan obscures any attempt to understand
the ways in which girls receive their own culture. tsukas anxious suggestion
that girl culture has the power to destroy the Japanese nation is common to
what I term the patriarchal discourse on the shjo, as I will discuss in Chapter 1.
While tsukas was an important study of shjo culture in his attention to everyday artifacts of culture, he perpetuates the fear that the shjo is a danger to the
Japanese nation.
In contrast to tsukas approach, Honda Masuko, also writing in the 1980s,
set her definition of the shjo in the context of prewar girls culture. Although
Honda has received less international attention than tsuka, her approach is
grounded in much greater historical specificity and a feminist perspective. In an
early essay, Honda writes that Girlhood is a topic that has long been neglected
and even dismissed as an object of derision. The world of the girl has, therefore,
been marginalized as a field unworthy of discussion. This position conceals the
logic of non-girls who seek to justify themselves by neglecting the girl. However,
we must acknowledge the logic of the girl herself, who protects her own time by,
to some extent at least, welcoming this neglect (Genealogy of Hirahira 20).3 As
Honda writes, the critical neglect of girls culture is attributable not only to sexist
attitudes, but also to the fact that the world of girls, particularly in prewar Japan,
was private, closed off to adults, particularly men. The signs of girls culture that

Introduction 5

Honda sees in the literature and art of prewar girls magazines carry emotional
weight for girls but are unreadable by adult men, who dismiss them as frivolous. Honda points to the importance of reading girls culture from the inside;
although she is no longer a girl herself, her analysis, unlike tsukas, considers
how girls themselves read those signs.
Hondas work on prewar girls culture opened the field to further historically grounded scholarship, particularly Kawamura Kunimitsus three-volume
study documenting the rise and fall of prewar girls culture and, more recently,
Shjo no shakaishi (A Social History of the Shjo) by Imada Erika and Shjo-z
no tanj (The Birth of the Shjo Image) by Watanabe Shko, both published in
2007. Watanabes study looks at the Meiji and Taish periods (1880s to early
1920s), and Imada focuses on early Shwa (mid-1920s to mid-1930s). Both studies aim to describe girls culture from the inside, that is, to look at how girls
themselves defined the shjo image, rather than using the shjo as a symbol of
national identity. Both Imada and Watanabe demonstrate that the primary site
of prewar girls culture was located in girls magazines even more than in girls
schools. Watanabe writes, Perhaps because girls culture [shjo bunka] was at
odds with the model of the good wife, wise mother [rysai kenbo] advocated in
public education, the site in which girls culture developed apart from state interests was in girls magazines (130). In other words, to understand girls culture
requires a study of girls magazines.
The strength of Imadas and Watanabes studies lies in their methodology,
specifically, their surveys of original materials. In analyzing the discourse on the
shjo in girls magazines, Imada and Watanabe look not only at articles or fiction
serialized in those magazines, but also at other parts of the magazines, such as
advertisements and readers letters, as well as analyzing patterns of readership
and comparing girls magazines to other popular press discourses. In surveying
a vast number of prewar magazines as well as reading those magazines as part of
larger discourses, Imada and Watanabe make ephemera accessible, substantiating the size and reality of girls culture. I take this approach as well, namely, the
close study of the magazine as artifact, analyzing magazines as a whole: not only
reprints of the novels serialized in them but the surrounding articles, letters,
advertisements, and illustrations to see how they created a coherent look and feel
of girls culture and juxtaposed that discourse with the dominant discourse on the
shjo in highbrow literature.
While Honda, Kawamura, Imada, and Watanabe all provide detailed readings of prewar girls culture and girls magazines, they do not make connections
with postwar shjo manga. At the other end of the historical spectrum, most
studies of postwar shjo manga begin with the development of the genre in the
early 1970s and tend not to consider any earlier antecedents. Moreover, writing


on shjo manga even in Japan has lagged behind academic study of manga for
boys. Although Yonezawa Yoshihiro published a history of postwar shjo manga
in 1980, for over a decade it was the only book-length study of the genre. In
the late 1990s, women who had grown up reading these texts, such as Fujimoto
Yukari and Yokomori Rika, began writing about shjo manga from a feminist
perspective. In these early studies, Fujimoto and Yokomori bolstered their feminist approach with a highly personal angle, recounting how shjo manga had
affected them in their formative years. As with studies of prewar girls culture,
however, once the study of shjo manga was established as a topic of serious
academic inquiry, there has been a trend toward more historical specificity.
One of the more interesting studies to appear recently is Oshiyama Michikos
2007 book Shjo manga hyshron (The Semiotics of Gender in Shjo Manga).
Oshiyama traces the historical development of a single theme, cross-dressing
and gender bending in shjo manga, and uses this topic to look at the historical development of shjo manga from the 1950s through the 1990s. This
approach, charting the genealogy of a genre by exploring various iterations of
an oft-repeated motif, allows for analysis of specific texts in historical and cultural context. In other words, the generic structures and rules, and the repetition of certain motifs or narratives contribute to the meaning of any particular
story for its audience. I have found this to be a productive methodology that
helps bring into focus the meaning and significance of classic shjo manga texts.
While Oshiyama is primarily interested in the thematic deployment of female
cross-dressing, however, I focus on homosocial relationships and include visual
as well as thematic analysis.
Academic writing on the shjo in English, like tsukas Shjo minzokugaku,
in retrospect appears to have begun with a reponse to that moment during the
height of the bubble economy in Japan when teenage girls rose to new prominence as consumers. Among the first to examine the shjo as a cultural topos was
John Treat in a 1993 essay on novelist Yoshimoto Banana, whose style is indebted
to girls novels and shjo manga. Like tsuka Eiji, whom he cites in an epigraph (Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home, 1993, 353) as well as throughout the
article (pp. 375, 379, 381), Treat considers girls culture as an outsider and limits
the scope of his analysis to the 1980s. Treat later published two more essays
on Yoshimoto Banana in 1995 and 1996. Appearing in the same anthology as
Treats 1995 essay was another on shjo culture by Sharon Kinsella titled Cuties
in Japan, which catalogs cuteness in girls culture in the 1980s, primarily with
relation to consumer goods.4 However, Kinsella does not discuss shjo manga,
nor does her analysis reach back further than the 1970s. While girls culture has
increased in visibility and importance in Japan in the years since those studies
first appeared, academic study of girls culture in English has not kept up.

Introduction 7

In-depth, historically grounded analysis did not follow the seminal essays
on girls culture in English. Instead, aspects of girls culture have been selected
for analysis, particularly author Yoshiya Nobuko (Frederick, Suzuki, Dollase),
the boys love subgenre of shjo manga (Levi et al.), and the Takarazuka Revue
(Stickland, Robertson). But while these authors all mention girls culture in passing, only anthropologist Jennifer Robertson undertakes a detailed study of shjo
identity, which she translates literally as a not-quite-female female and one
who has heterosexual inexperience and homosexual experience (Takarazuka
65). And while there have been two book-length studies of magazines for adult
women (Frederick, Sato), there have been none on teenage girls magazines.
Moreover, there is a tendency in English-language scholarship to consider all
representations of teenage girls and young women as shjo/girls culture indiscriminately. For instance, in the introduction to the anthology Bad Girls of Japan,
editors Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley are most concerned with defining badness (that is, resistance to sexism or subversion of patriarchal structures); their
project is not to theorize the concept of the girl, and the anthology does not
make a distinction between teenage girls and adult women.
My own study is indebted to the work of both Japanese- and English-
language scholars on prewar girls magazines and postwar shjo manga; however,
I have also been motivated by a frustration with the limitations of those studies in
connecting prewar and postwar girls culture. Just as the studies of prewar girls
magazines discussed above do not consider the impact those magazines had on
later generations of artists and writers, studies of shjo manga thus far for the
most part have not touched on prewar girls culture. Even in Japanese-language
scholarship, prewar girls magazines have at most been mentioned in passing; for
instance, Yonezawa spends just two pages on prewar artists Takabatake Kash
and Nakahara Junichi before skipping ahead to the 1950s (1415). Most historical studies of shjo manga, like Oshiyamas, begin with the 1950s and do not
reference that earlier culture at all.
This gap between pre- and postwar girls culture also exists in some studies
of girls literature. For instance, L-bungaku zentai yomihon (Complete Reader of
L Literature), edited by Sait Minako, purports to define girls literature but
focuses exclusively on the postwar period, ignoring the importance of prewar
girls culture. Essays in Saits anthology by Tanaka Hiko and Yonemitsu Kazunari that trace the history of girls literature in Japan do not reach any farther
back than 1960. While L-bungaku is a guide aimed at a nonacademic audience,
this gap suggests a lack of appreciation of the legacy of prewar girls culture to
girls literature today.
How are we to account for this gap? One reason may be the misconception
that Tezuka Osamu (nicknamed the God of Comics) single-handedly invented


shjo manga in the 1950s.5 Tezukas manga Ribbon no kishi (Princess Knight) is
often called the first shjo manga (Schodt 253). However, to single out Tezuka
alone is to ignore the work of many other artists in the 1950s and 1960s who
created manga for girls, such as Takahashi Makoto, whose visual style is much
closer to subsequent trends in shjo manga than Tezukas. Furthermore, Tezuka
himself was deeply connected to prewar girls culture, and many of his contributions to shjo manga derive from that connection, as I will discuss in Chapter
4. Another reason for the gap in scholarship between prewar girls magazines
and postwar shjo manga is the popular narrative that shjo manga as a genre
appeared suddenly in the early 1970s, when young women artists began to publish psychologically complex stories aimed at a teenage audience and featuring a
distinctive new visual style. While these artists established the genre as it is today,
they did not spring from nowhere as a group. But where did their visual style
come from? Why the tendency to draw characters with hugely exaggerated eyes,
in static but ornate poses? And what of the most striking feature of shjo manga,
the tendency toward androgynous figures and a preference among readers for
stories featuring male homosexuality? If shjo is a more specific signifier than
girl, what exactly is shjo about shjo manga?
This book attempts to answer these questions by making the connection
between prewar girls magazines and postwar shjo manga. While a major impetus of this study is to provide a historically grounded exploration of the shjo in
Japan, I do not mean to suggest that girls culture is monolithic and unchanging
over time. Individual readers may interact with texts as they please. Furthermore,
this is not an anthropological study of girls or magazine readership. Rather, I am
interested in how girls magazines and shjo manga create a discourse on female
adolescence: how they address their audience and create fictional images of girlhood, and what features of that image persist over time in spite of larger cultural
shifts. By necessity, this is not a comprehensive, exhaustive history. Although the
material is arranged in chronological order, I have chosen a few representative
texts in each period for in-depth study; there are of course themes and narratives
that await future study.
Girl Studies in Englisha Different Approach

My approach to analysis of the shjo has also been influenced by Girl Studies, a
field generally associated with writing on girls in the United States and Britain.
Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber are credited with bringing a feminist point
of view to the study of teenage girls and popular culture in Britain with their
1976 essay Girls and Subcultures (Kearney 4). Like shjo studies in Japanese,
Girl Studies is still a small subfield of gender studies. Even in the more than

Introduction 9

thirty years since McRobbie and Garbers essay, Girl Studies is perpetually characterized as an emerging field; as Gateward and Pomerance write, Very little
has been written about the inscription of girlhood (14).6 However, I have found
in the work of the small (but steadily increasing) group of scholars who position
their work in Girl Studies many continuities with my analysis of shjo bunka.
Although I do not use the work of any particular scholar of Girl Studies as the
praxis for this volume, I have been inspired by the idea that systematic study of
the texts and media aimed at teenage girls is key to understanding the formation
of both female and, more broadly, cultural identity.
Scholarly studies of girls in Western cultures have uncovered some similarities in the various representations of female adolescence. In The New Girl, for
instance, Sally Mitchell looks to the books and magazines that girls in England
from 1880 to 1915 consumed as a means of examining how the new concept of
adolescence was understood by the girls themselves. She writes of girls in latenineteenth- and early-twentieth-century England: The new girlno longer a
child, not yet a (sexual) adultoccupied a provisional free space. Girls culture
suggested new ways of being, new modes of behavior, and new attitudes that
were not yet acceptable for adult women (3). Just as adolescence is a time in an
individuals life for experimenting with new identities, in a larger cultural context, it becomes a space for a society to imagine changing social roles for women,
regardless of whether those new roles are ever fully realized.
Catherine Driscoll, in her book simply titled Girls, also lays out a methodological approach for the study of teenage girls and popular culture that I have
found useful. In spite of historical and cultural differences, Driscolls basic assertions about the concept of Western girlhood hold true for Japanese girlhood as
well. She argues that adolescence is not so much the physical process of puberty
but a transitory social, psychological, and cultural role on the way to adulthood,
what she calls a space in which processes of identity-formation and social placement are monitored (53). In other words, Driscoll does not fix her definition of
girlhood to any specific age or set of social behaviors. Similarly, I define the shjo
not by physical age but as a transitional state between the social roles of child and
wife or mother. Driscoll argues that the constant surveillance of feminine adolescence produced and continues to produce a discourse on girls that represents them
as problematic but at the same time central to our understanding of modern culture. She considers how the discourses of psychoanalysis, feminism, anthropology, Marxism, and cultural studies as well as youth subcultures have created the
concept of feminine adolescence. She writes, Girls figure in both the pleasures
and threats of technologized cultural progress and the promise and failure of the
modern (303). Similarly in Japan, teenage girl characters are frequently a locus
of both hope and anxiety in discourses of modernization and Westernization.



While Girl Studies in general and Driscolls work in particular do not provide a prescriptive approach to the study of girlhood in Japan, they do suggest
larger questions beyond the necessary but somewhat limiting discourse of shjo
studies. In looking at the cultural space of female adolescence, the primary motivation in my analysis, is, as Driscoll suggests, the question of who is monitoring the development of the teenage girl: is it the family, societal institutions,
potential male partners, or the girls themselves? And how does the representation of girls shift according to who is doing the monitoring? My focus on some
representative texts reveals similar images that occur repeatedly. The patriarchal
image of the shjo, that is, one defined and mediated by a male observer, is very
different from the discourse of girls magazines, and it is in that discrepancy that
competing cultural and national interests come into focus.
Toward a Genealogy of the Shjo Image

Representations of shjo tend to fall into two distinct categories, one that can be
seen in late-nineteenth-century junbungaku (pure literature, or belles lettres)
and eventually throughout mainstream twentieth-century public discourse,
which I have loosely termed the patriarchal image of the shjo, and the other
arising in girls magazines. The shjo that emerges in the patriarchal discourse
is the girl as seen from the point of view of the older man who seeks to marry
her; she is characterized through the lens of his attraction-repulsion to her. To
quote Jennifer Robertson on the shjo, controlling her was desirable because
she was fascinating, attractive and weak, and it was necessary because she was
powerful, threatening and different (Takarazuka 158). This discourse creates an
image of feminine adolescence as problematic and dangerous. Moreover, in this
construction, the shjo, as John Treat writes, lacks any libidinal agency of her
own (Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home, 1996, 281), or, perhaps more specifically, her sexuality is constructed in response to male desires and channeled into
acceptable outlets. She is imagined as innocent but also dangerously seductive,
threatening to disrupt the patriarchal control of the family.
The shjo first appeared as a fictional character in the first novels of the
Meiji period, which were modeled on the European novel. Before this period,
the proper love interest for a middle- or upper-class man was the geisha or the
prostitute. Erotic interest was only located in the floating world of the pleasure quarters, not in the home. Among the many ideas imported from the West
during Meiji was the concept of romantic or spiritual love, especially as a motivating concept in literature. As a result, this eroticism entered the domestic sphere,
and the middle- or upper-class girl emerged for the first time as a love interest in fiction.7 The shjo, as Treat points out, is a modern character that often

Introduction 11

symbolizes the problems or failure of modernity (Yoshimoto Banana Writes

Home, 1996).
This early shjo character was the girl student (joshi gakusei), who appeared
frequently as a love interest in Meiji fiction. In this book, I examine the girl student characters in three foundational novels of the modern literary canon, Futabatei Shimeis Ukigumo (Drifting Clouds, 1887), Miyake Kahos Yabu no uguisu
(A Warbler in the Grove, 1888), and Tayama Katais Futon (The Quilt, 1907),
all of which portray the dual appeal and threat of the newly emergent shjo
character. The fact that the shjo is the main love interest in these canonical,
genre-defining novels shows the extent to which the shjo is one of the key sites
in which issues of both gender identity and national identity have been contested
in twentieth-century Japan. This patriarchal image of the girl as disruptive to the
family and the nation is still reproduced today. However, it is important to distinguish between these mainstream, male authored texts aimed at a male audience
and the image of the girl that arose within girls culture, which Miyako Inoue
calls a counterpublic sphere (110).
In the early twentieth century, a normative girls culture developed primarily in literary magazines marketed to students at all-girls secondary schools.
Although the editors and many of the contributors were men, girl readers
embraced these magazines as an authentic representation of girlhood, in part
because the magazines encouraged interactivity through reader contributions to
the magazines and social clubs. In particular, the magazine Shjo no tomo (The
Girls Friend) was the most interactive of the girls magazines and from the mid1920s to mid-1930s helped to foster a reading community of girls.
The shjo image that emerges in girls culture does not appear as a threat
or source of anxiety, but rather as a point of identification. Prewar girls culture
created a private space of girlhood, a community of friends insulated from the
pressures of a restrictive patriarchy. The girl character who appeared in the fiction and illustrations in girls magazines was pure and virginal, and channeled her
romantic desires into homosocial relationships with other girls.
One of the most salient and misunderstood features of prewar girls culture is the prevalence of homosociality and particularly S kankei (S relationships), a close but temporary bond between two girls. Although S relationships
have a homoerotic element, they should not be read as lesbian in the twentyfirst-century sense of a fixed sexual identity. S relationships were tolerated,
even encouraged by educators and other authority figures, as a way to channel girls desires away from heterosexual activity. Representations of S relationships in fiction were always coded as pure, innocent, and asexual. As a result, the
love between two girls, because it was understood as chaste, becomes the ideal
expression of spiritual love. In this respect, I examine the novel Otome no minato



(The Girls Harbor), serialized in Shjo no tomo in 1938, as an example of spiritual

love between girls. Girls magazines and, by extension, girls culture provided a
temporary escape from the pressures of heterosexual courtship and marriage,
which awaited girls upon graduation. This homosocial world of girls was premised on an affinity for sameness and an idealized concept of spiritual love.
Girls magazines or, more specifically, the girls novels (shjo shsetsu) and
accompanying illustrations serialized in those magazines developed a recognizable aesthetic and literary style that came to be associated with the authentic
representation of girls culture. The artists Takehisa Yumeji, Takabatake Kash,
and Nakahara Junichi in particular created an aesthetic of sameness by featuring pairs of girls with similar or identical features appropriate for the stories of
S relationships between girls that they illustrated. Likewise, Yoshiya Nobukos
lyrical, wistful stories of female friendship defined the narrative aesthetic of girls
novels. I look at two of Yoshiyas most typical novels depicting female friendship,
Wasurenagusa (Forget-me-not, 1932) and Ban Sensei (Our Teacher, Miss Ban,
1938), both serialized in Shjo no tomo. At least as important as the stories themselves, however, were her flowery, ornate language and overdetermined use of
polite speech. Yoshiyas narrative aesthetic, like the illustrations that accompany
her work, was part of the creation of girls culture.
The private discourse on girlhood that developed in girls magazines
enabled the postwar development of girls comics, or shjo manga. A recognizable shjo manga aesthetic was formed in large part by artist Takahashi Makoto,
who adapted the style of illustration from prewar girls magazines, particularly
the work of Nakahara Junichi, to a manga format. I examine in detail two of his
early manga stories, Paris-Tokyo (1956) and Sakura namiki (Cherry Row, 1957),
as transitional works. Both stories show a hybrid style between illustration and
manga, and also a tendency to favor familial love over romance.
A dramatic change in the content of shjo manga occurred in the early
1970s, when artists, mainly young women, began creating psychologically complex stories that addressed teenage girls sexual desires. However, since shjo
manga evolved from prewar girls magazines, they also inherited the generic tendency to rely on homogender romance and sameness in romantic pairs. Two of
the genre-defining works of the 1970s that struggle to create satisfying romance
narratives are Tma no shinz (The Heart of Thomas, 1974) by Hagio Moto and
Berusaiyu no bara (The Rose of Versailles, 1973) by Ikeda Riyoko. These works
reflect some of the major changes that took place from the 1950s through the
1970s as shjo manga took shape as a coherent genre. The reliance in shjo
manga on homosexual romance between boys, gender switching, and androgyny
is linked to the legacy of prewar girls culture. Although girls culture is no longer
closed and private, many of its features derive from prewar girls magazines.

Introduction 13

In the postwar period, in shjo manga from the 1970s and beyond, depictions of homosocial relationships shifted from friendship between two girls to
the love between two boys. Regardless of gender, however, even in postwar shjo
manga adolescent development remains a central theme. The important contribution of girls culture has been its discourse on the process of identity formation, that is, a narrative that mirrors the changes the adolescent reader is also
experiencing. These narratives legitimize the emotions of girl readers through
an aesthetic that girls accept as authentically addressed to them, reflected in the
popularity of girls magazines. This aesthetic that has developed through the
twentieth century is a primary agent of what tsuka calls the shjoization of
Japan, but, rather than creating a nation of children, I see this process as giving
that girl-driven image of the shjo cultural legitimacy, contesting the older patriarchal version of girlhood.
In examining the competing discourses on the shjo, I find that girls culture
offers less a direct rebuke to the patriarchal discourse than an alternate vision of
girlhood. For that reason, this study is not concerned with representations of
good girls versus bad girls or with locating subversive or radical ideology in girls
culture texts. Rather, this is a study of representations of the ordinary girl, the
normative image of girlhood that arises in response to the competing demands
of conservative social mores and girls adolescent desires. While girls magazines
and shjo manga may not contain an overt feminist ideology, nonetheless, they
have provided girls with a protected space to participate in their own culture, to
express and read about the emotional experience of adolescence. The intense
attachment to those texts, recorded by readers in the pages of the magazines and
in fan letters, speaks to the importance of the shared experience of girls culture.

Chapter 1
The Emergence of the Shjo and the Discourse
of Spiritual Love in Meiji Literature

epresentations of the teenage girl as a

recurring figure in fiction (and public discourse more generally) begin to appear
around the 1880s, or the second decade of the Meiji period. The schoolgirl (joshi
gakusei or jogakusei) was one of several new classes of people that emerged in
the new social order of Meiji. The Meiji schoolgirl was the first iteration of the
shjo in the public imagination, but her fictional representation had little to do
with the realities of school life and adolescence for girls. Instead, as a new class
of female, the shjo from her first appearance in novels about schoolgirls was a
symbolic representation of male desires and anxieties, on both a personal and
a national level. In the patriarchal discourse on the girl, the fictional shjo is
represented as both the object of the desiring male gaze and the ultimate Other
that threatens to disrupt the family unit and, by extension, the Japanese nation
as a whole. This chapter explores the formation of the patriarchal image of the
shjo in its foundational moment, in three seminal novels of the Meiji period:
Ukigumo (Floating Clouds, 1887) by Futabatei Shimei, Yabu no uguisu (A Warbler
in the Grove, 1888) by Miyake Kaho, and Futon (The Quilt, 1907) by Tayama
Katai. These novels are some of the earliest examples of how the intersection of
increased educational opportunities for girls and a new philosophy of romantic
love created an image of the shjo as both alluring and threatening, the embodiment of the promise and the dangers of modernity.
The Dilemma of Spiritual Love in Ukigumo

Ukigumo is considered Japans first modern novel not only because Futabatei
Shimei consciously modeled his work on late-nineteenth-century Russian novels and wrote in a modernized, vernacular idiom (genbun itchi), but also because
it is an exploration of the psychological interiority of the main character and
his struggle to achieve idealized spiritual love.1 The plot revolves around a love
triangle between two young bureaucrats, Bunz and Noboru, who are both

The Emergence of the Shjo 15

vying for an eighteen-year-old girl named Osei, recently returned from a girls
school. The fact that Japans modern literary history begins with a story about a
schoolgirl and hinges on the dilemma of how to achieve spiritual love shows how
central the shjo is to discourses of modernity in Japan and how the shjo and
spiritual love are coeval, concomitant concepts.
Although Futabatei paints Osei as flighty and impulsive, satirizing her superficial adoption of Western clothing, he shows far more seriousness in describing
the problem of Osei and Bunzs failed romance and their attempt to employ
Western, or more specifically Christian, ideas of courtship and love. Futabatei
hints at the national anxieties surrounding the schoolgirl by referencing the intellectual discourse on the proper role and education of girls in the magazine Jogaku
zasshi (Womens Education Magazine), which Osei is conspicuously seen reading. In a novel in which nearly every object, from the clothing, hairstyles, and
makeup to pens and ink brushes, is representative of the tensions of the rapidly
changing society, the casual mention of this magazine is no accident. Jogaku zasshi
was founded in 1885 by Iwamoto Yoshiharu for the purpose of supporting and
encouraging the social advancement of women. The magazine provided a public
forum for the publication of writing by women and for the discussion of womens issues by some of the leading Meiji male intellectuals, including Kitamura
Tkoku and Shimazaki Tson. In an age in which all Japanese citizens were
compelled to redefine themselves, Jogaku zasshi was an important voice in the
public debate on the future direction of Japanese society.2 While the magazine
enjoyed a wide readership among both men and women, a significant portion
of the target readership was young women who had received higher education,
that is, the Meiji schoolgirl. The presence of Jogaku zasshi in Ukigumo suggests
that Osei seeks to adopt not just Western clothing but also Western philosophy,
some of which is echoed directly in the text, as Futabatei borrowed lines from the
magazine and put its language in the mouths of his characters (Levy 64, 67). Of
these new Western ideas, the most significant for this novel is the new concept of
spiritual love (renai), a new term coined in 1874 (Levy 134).
Before examining why Osei and Bunzs attempts to engage in spiritual love
are doomed to failure, it is first necessary to step back and consider how this
new conception of love entered the public discourse in Japan and how closely
it was tied to the public status of schoolgirls. Education for girls was one of the
main sites of contention in Japans struggle to modernize. Miyako Inoue calls the
schoolgirl an unprecedented category of Japanese women (41). The movement
to provide secondary education for the daughters of privileged families not only
opened a new stage in individual development, the teenager, but also provided
the basis for the development of the urban bourgeoisie. While education for
girls existed in the Edo period and earlier, the higher school system, with its


Passionate Friendship

regimented routines and uniforms, made the schoolgirl a visible sign of Westernization and modernity in Japan.
The first girls school opened in Tokyo in 1872, followed by others in major
cities (Inagaki 5). Some of the first wave of girl students in the 1870s, however,
attended boys schools and adopted boys clothing and even cut their hair short in
a masculine style, which aroused considerable consternation (Copeland, Fashioning the Feminine, 1516). In reaction to this perceived loss of femininity, in
the following decades, more girls schools opened, promising a more normatively
feminine educational track. While education for girls was a priority in Japans
modernization, the government intervened to ensure girl students conformed
to conservative ideals of feminine behavior. In 1883, girl students were banned
from wearing mens clothing (Copeland, Fashioning the Feminine, 18), and in
1899 the Girls High School Law (Kot Jogakk Rei) enforced a standardized
curriculum in all girls schools (Inoue 46).
In the middle years of the Meiji period (1870s1890s), however, before that
standardization, girls educational opportunities, while steadily increasing, were
subject to wide variation and much criticism. Although three years of primary
education became mandatory in 1872 for girls as well as boys, girls secondary
education was piecemeal and often informal, accessible primarily to daughters of
the nobility and the mostly urban nouveau riche. Following the backlash against
coeducation and the perceived masculinity of girl students in the early 1870s,
educational options for girls more commonly took the form of private tutoring dedicated to a single topic, such as classical poetry, or boarding schools run
by missionaries. Although single-sex, these mission schools were also subject to
public criticism. Mission schools provided middle- and upper-class girls with a
rigorous education in English, but the girl students also assimilated from their
foreign teachers Christian values and American individualism, which parents and
other authorities deemed out of step with the rest of Japanese society (Copeland
Lost Leaves 12). Like the girl students of the 1870s who donned mens clothes to
attend boys schools, girls who attended mission schools in the 1880s were seen
as too self-centered and ignorant of Japanese social customs and traditionally
feminine skills such as poetry composition. By 1885, there was a strong backlash
against womens education. Iwamotos goal with Jogaku zasshi was to champion
the positive effects of womens education in the face of such negative stereotyping and to promote an educational program that included both Western philosophy and Japanese culture.3
The importation of Western ideas of spiritual love, discussed in Jogaku
zasshi and elsewhere, represented a significant break from Edo period conceptions of love. Before Meiji, the terms that most closely correspond to love
were ninj (literally, human emotion) and iro (lust), both of which lack the

The Emergence of the Shjo 17

spiritual dimension associated with love in European literature.4 In Edo fiction

portraying heterosexual relationships, the geisha represented the realm of lust,
while the wife maintained the household. When iro leaves the pleasure quarters
for the domestic sphere, the results are disastrous, as in Ihara Saikakus Koshoku
gonin onna (Five Women Who Loved Love, 1685), a collection of tales of five
merchant-class wives and daughters who act on their desires rather than according to the laws of society and are all punished in the end, usually by execution,
as adultery was a capital offense. Compare this to nineteenth-century British and
American novels, in which romantic love ideally leads to marriage and hence
back to the family and social order. While not every such novel ends happily, the
resolution of love through marriage was not only possible but paradigmatic. In
Edo fiction, the only possible resolution was death, either through execution or
by double suicide. Furthermore, homosexual relationships between men were
common in the Edo period, as were eroticized images of beautiful boys. Takahara
Eiri argues that the erotic appeal of the boy was transferred to the girl with the
advent of compulsory heterosexuality in the Meiji period (192).5
In literary terms, the importance of iro before Meiji meant that the proper
realm of love stories was the pleasure quarters, and the erotically interesting
women characters were geishas, prostitutes, or other sex workers. At the moment
when iro shifted from an erotic ideal to a dirty word, literary reformers such as
Tsubouchi Shy sought to elevate the novel above the sordid and frivolous connotations of Edo fiction (gesaku).6 As an alternative to gesaku, Shy promoted
the new genre of the novel as a form of serious, high art, as it was in Europe,
and argued that the proper subject of the novel should be the middle-class family (Tsubouchi 4042).7 As a result, the love interest became daughters of the
middle and upper classes, that is, the shjo in her earliest incarnation, the Meiji
girl student.
One of the most influential public statements on the new ideal of renai and
its implications for courtship and marriage was Kitamura Tkokus essay Ensei
shika to josei (Pessimistic Poets and Women), which appeared in the February
1892 edition of Jogaku zasshi. The essay begins with the bold statement Love
is the secret key to humanity (Mathy 44). With this one sentence, Tkoku elevated the status of love, severing it from a Buddhist conception of sinfulness and
carnal lust, and instead endowing it with spiritual properties it had not previously
enjoyed. As Indra Levy notes in her study of Ukigumo and Futon, the discourse
of love in Meiji Japan constituted nothing less than a new body of knowledge
(134), knowledge that derived from the Christian philosophical tradition (Mathy
45).8 By endowing love with a spiritual dimension, Tkoku elevated woman,
the love interest, to divine status. Rather than being an obstacle to enlightenment, love for a woman could allow a man access to a transcendent spiritual


Passionate Friendship

experience. This kind of love, however, positioned woman as a conduit rather

than an active agent in or recipient of this spiritual experience. Tkoku writes,
Love begins with ones falling in love with ones own idea [ish]; the object of
love is but a phantom [kabutsu] (Mathy 43). In other words, love begins with the
mans own fantasies and ideals; the woman is almost incidental. Romantic love
for Tkoku is wholly spiritual, divorced not only from the carnal lust of the body
but from all physical reality. The most important aspect of courtship, then, was
not physical attraction, but intellectual conversation, a joining of souls rather
than the flesh.
The girl students of Meiji, like Osei, were the young women of the middle and upper classes who, at least in theory, would be the recipients of this
spiritual love. Thus, girls had to be well educated and able speak of intellectual
matters with men, although in practice this free mixing of the sexes was usually
viewed with suspicion. Spiritual love constituted a significant change in the rules
of courtship. In the old system, marriages were arranged by the family; courtship and flirtation properly belonged to the pleasure quarters. The geisha and
her suitor, the tsu, distinguished themselves with their abilities at singing, dancing, writing poetry, exchanging playful banter, and wearing extravagant clothing. While merchant-class daughters were expected to be chaste, they were also
expected to have at least some of the geishas accomplishments, usually playing
the shamisen or composing poetry. The girl students of early Meiji, in contrast,
rejected anything connected with the pleasure quarters. Modesty extended not
just to physical chastity but to their appearances as well. Girls educated in mission schools adopted relatively simple European hairstyles and refused to wear
the heavy white makeup of the Edo period.9 According to the new morality of
renai, they were expected to speak freely with men on intellectual issues but not
to behave in a flirtatious manner.
The contradictory and still unsettled systems of iro and renai form the central conflict for Osei in Ukigumo. When the novel begins, she is, through her education and her interactions with Bunz, ready to embrace renai. Bunz believes
that he has found in Osei the perfect woman to receive his spiritual love, but the
failure of their romance is not due to Oseis weakness of spirit but because of a
cultural clash over renai and iro. The shift from iro to renai did not come easily,
and the girl students in early Meiji who learned a new morality at mission schools
frequently found themselves in conflict with their parents. In Ukigumo, this leads
to a seemingly counterintuitive situation wherein the mother urges the daughter to act more provocatively. Oseis mother, Omasa, criticizes her daughter for
not making an effort to get married, saying, By the time we were her age, we
used to dress up [sharaku o shite] and go out and find ourselves a little romance
[koiro], and Osei replies, Thats obscene (Mata waisetsu) (234).10 Omasa merely

The Emergence of the Shjo 19

laughs and replies that in her youth she was quite naughty (nakanaka koitazura
o shita) (234). This exchange illustrates a shift in the meaning of obscenity and
the rules of courtship. Saeki Junko explains, This shows a strong rejection by
the daughter Osei of the mother, who boasts of having been raised in the world
of iro. The word iro along with koitazura are old forms of speech expressing the
relations between men and women, but the daughters word obscene [waisetsu]
firmly refutes the carnal implication of the relations between men and women
implied in these old expressions (71). Omasa is encouraging Osei to participate in the system of iro, but for Osei, who is attempting to fulfill Bunzs ideal
of renai, such displays are immodest and threaten the spiritual love relationship. In order for spiritual love to develop, the couple must maintain an intellectual connection and deny physical desire, a reversal of the old system of the
pleasure quarters.11
Bunzs romantic rival, Noboru, in contrast, is the tsu, the ideal Edo period
suitor who charms Osei with his wit and suggestive teasing. As far as Bunz is
concerned, however, once Osei participates in Noborus games, she has sacrificed her feminine modesty and can no longer be the object of spiritual love.
His anger at her and Noboru is not fueled merely by jealousy but by a sense of
betrayal and by frustration that they do not appreciate the importance of renai.
He indicates his displeasure with Noboru acting like a tsu in his house by saying,
Its none of my business if you come here every day and play cards with my
aunt, he sneered, and treat my cousin as if she were a geisha (300). Bunzs
mention of the geisha in his anger demonstrates his disapproval of the old system
of iro, but for Noboru and Omasa it seems only natural that courtship rules follow those of the pleasure quarters.
Osei herself seems caught between renai and iro, that is, between the old
rules of courtship and love, and the new. Indra Levy, in her study of Ukigumo
and the development of vernacular fiction, points to the importance of English education and vocabulary in the relationship between Bunz and Osei; she
argues that it is their failure to assimilate this new language fully that prevents
either of them from taking decisive action (8690). Levy argues persuasively
that the central dilemma of Ukigumo is what she calls linguistic discord (89),
including not only the many English words that appear in the text but new
concepts, particularly renai. As the clash between iro and renai begins to seem
irreconcilable, Futabatei, not coincidentally, begins to lose control of the thirdperson omniscient narrative voice: the narrator can no longer see into Oseis
mind but instead begins to merge with Bunzs consciousness. This linguistic and narrative breakdown appears strikingly when Omasa asks Osei if she
wants to marry Noboru. Osei immediately answers no but then later seems
less certain:


Passionate Friendship

Back in her own room, Osei changed her clothes and sank onto the bedding
spread on the floor. For some time she sat there, her face expressionless.
What was she thinking? Was she groping for the answer to her mothers
question? Did she regret wasting her time with Bunz when she should have
been finding herself a husband? Or had her hazy confusion been destroyed
by the sharp light of her mothers words? Did she realize for the first time
that she had come to the brink of her former, carefree life, and that this was
the moment in which her fate would be decided? Or was she being led to wild
dreams, flying toward a joyful, happy future which she could not know of?
Her thoughts were not reflected in her vacant expression, and so we cannot
tell. (345)

Here Osei is poised between Bunz and Noboru, between renai and iro, and
between a Spartan life based on the philosophical ideal of spiritual love and physical chastity, and forsaking those ideals to marry Noboru for his money, as her
mother wishes. It is significant that at this very moment, Futabateis omniscient
narrator cannot provide an answer but is left to speculate on her thoughts based
on her facial expressions, suggesting that Futabatei himself had no answer to this
dilemma. Osei seems to choose Noboru, but just at this time, he seems to lose
interest in her. For Osei, the choice suddenly becomes no choice at all. By the
time she makes up her mind to pursue Noboru in the manner he expects, he has
moved on to another girl.
The final chapter of the novel is again taken up almost entirely by Bunzs
thoughts as he watches Osei flirt with Noboru, and his observation of her behavior sums up his attitude toward iro: The gay, noisy, carefree atmosphere was only
superficial. Underneath lay a loathsome, greedy, self-indulgent, immoral, cruel
mass. Gone was the spirit of communion which once bound them and the love [ai]
which cleansed their selfish hearts. They thought only of themselves. They spoke
only in self-interest and acted to satisfy their greed (350). For Bunz, renai
is a purifying force, sweeping away the sordid reality of human relations. But
renai also relies on an atmosphere of purity and intellectual exchange. He longs
for the time when he and Osei enjoyed an intellectual relationshipeverything
then seemed free from artifice. The flirtatious banter of iro that Osei finds so
exciting is to Bunz nothing more than trickery, a means either to secure a
wealthy wife or to indulge in the sins of the flesh at the expense of the soul. Thus,
when Bunz thinks Osei is in gravest danger (351), he does not mean simply
that she is in danger of marrying the wrong man but that her very soul, the purity
that first attracted his attention, is in danger of being corrupted by iro.
The novel ends in limbo, with Bunz waiting for Osei to return home so he
can talk to her and try to bring her back to renai. As Ryan notes, critics generally

The Emergence of the Shjo 21

consider the novel to be unfinished, assuming from the ambiguous ending and
from Futabateis journal entries that he did not know how to resolve the plot
(137). Futabatei in this novel lays out one of the central conflicts of the early
Meiji era, but, unlike other reformers of his day, such as Kitamura Tkoku, he
seems unable to make a definitive statement for or against renai. Osei finds herself caught between Bunz and her mother. Neither iro nor renai fully satisfies
her, and she is unable to adhere to either system of courtship long enough to be
successful. As for Bunz, he finds that renai fails him, although he chauvinistically places the blame on Osei. Although renai has benefits for women in that
it encourages men to treat them as intellectual equals and not as commodities,
it is still linked to a repressive principle of chastity and to an unattainable, idealized vision of Western culture. The tragedy of Ukigumo is Bunzs and Oseis
inability to cross the cultural gap between Edo and Meiji social norms or even
to recognize what exactly had changed. By leaving their fates in limbo, Futabatei
points to the inherently imperfect nature of renai as a philosophy. Ukigumo is
in many ways a prescient text, not merely as the first modern Japanese novel. As
Levy argues, Futabatei attempted to develop a new form of vernacular fiction
to express foreign concepts about the function of narrative; she writes, What
is uncanny about Ukigumo is that, in spite of its ostensible ideological implications as a vernacular novel, its narrative ultimately underscores the dilemma
posed by the exotic appeal of the rhetoric of Western realism (Truth), and
the phantasms fostered by its siren-like imitation in colloquial Japanese (91).
While Levy in this quote focuses specifically on the importance of translation
for the development of realist fiction, her observation holds true for both the
new public role of schoolgirls and the new concept of renai. Like the dilemma
of narrative Levy points to, the uncertainty about proper behavior of the girl
and the inherent contradictions of spiritual love, both of which create a stalemate in the novel, continued to be central to both modern fiction and the public
discourse on girls.
The Ideal Girl Student and Marriage: Yabu no uguisu

Miyake Kaho, writing at nearly the same time as Futabatei, takes a different
approach to the debate on the proper role of the schoolgirl. In Yabu no uguisu,
the first novel written by a woman in the new modern idiom, the main characters
are all schoolgirls between sixteen and twenty, again pointing to the connection between the shjo as a new romantic character and spiritual love as the
new romantic ideal. The two main characters represent opposite approaches to
courtship: Hamako, who chooses iro and is punished, and Hideko, who chooses
renai and is rewarded. However, a third character, Namiko, whose fate remains


Passionate Friendship

unclear, suggests the difficulties of renai as the basis for marriage. Yabu no uguisu
first appeared in Jogaku zasshi and for the most part reflected the morality advocated by Iwamoto. Although Kaho valorizes education for women, some indications within the narrative suggest that Kaho recognized that the ideal girl student
was not necessarily prepared to become the ideal Meiji wife.
Unlike Futabatei, Kaho has no sympathy for girls who are enticed by iro,
and in the end Hamako, who represents the worst stereotypes of the vain and
flirtatious schoolgirl, is severely punished for her licentious behavior. At the same
time, Kaho is careful to distinguish between girls who engage with their Western
education on an intellectual level and those who merely affect the superficial
trappings of Western culture. Hamako, who flaunts her Western clothing and
mannerisms, is driven by lust. Although she is engaged to Tsutomu, the ideal
Meiji man, she scorns him in favor of her English tutor, Yamanaka, with whom
she has a sordid tryst that leads to her moral and financial ruin. Hamakos flaw is
that she has not taken her education well enough to heart: she is only interested
in learning to play the piano, presumably as a means of flirting with men. She has
merely substituted the piano for the shamisen, and her behavior with Yamanaka
is informed by iro, not by the education she has received. Yamanakas flirtation
with Hamako, however, is nothing more than a scheme to steal her money, and,
in the end, stripped of both her wealth and her reputation, she disappears from
the narrative. We only learn of her fate by hearsay: apparently, she becomes
a Christian and leads an austere, religious life.
Although Hamako chose iro, Kaho saves her from the fate of gesaku heroines
(prostitution or death) by offering her redemption in religious life. Although she
fails both socially and discursively, by not marrying and by disappearing from
the narrative, Hamako still gains spiritual and intellectual reward, indicating that
perhaps her education was not entirely in vain after all. This coda also emphasizes the importance of Christianity in girls education; although relatively few
girls became devout as a result of their time at a mission school, the imagined
connection between renai, Christianity, and spiritual purity would become an
important aesthetic component of girls culture.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Hamako is Hideko, a model of
femininity and virtue in the face of adversity. Although Hideko had attended
the same school as Hamako and Namiko, she was forced to quit after the death
of her parents in order to support her younger brother. She takes in sewing to
earn money and advances her own studies by helping her brother with his homework. She seems to be the ideal Meiji woman, educated and modest, and she
is rewarded with marriage to Tsutomu. Though they both seem to adhere to
renai, their courtship is strangely abbreviated. Rebecca Copeland suggests this
elision is because their union was a foregone conclusion, obviating the need for

The Emergence of the Shjo 23

an extended courtship in the narrative (Lost Leaves 81). However, it also seems
to reflect some ambivalence about renai on Kahos part. The scene in which
Hideko and Tsutomu finally meet is strongly suggestive of pre-Meiji literary
traditions. Tsutomu first becomes interested in Hideko when he sees a poem
that she has written displayed on the wall of a teahouse, a narrative device that
seems more appropriate to Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji) than to a Meiji
novel, and her physical appearance is described using the clichd poetic language
of Edo fiction (this flower whose beauty far surpasses autumn leaves, 119),12
rather than the individualized portraits that are a hallmark of the modern novel.
The intellectual exchange that is expected to form the basis of renai is missing:
instead of direct conversation between Hideko and Tsutomu, Tsutomus friend
Miyazaki asks leading questions that allow Hideko to display her education and
refinement. After she leaves, Tsutomu announces to his friend that Hideko is his
ideal wife, and the following chapter, the conclusion of the novel, begins with
their wedding. As a renai relationship, particularly compared to the tempestuous
emotional display of Ukigumo, this couple is not terribly convincing. If theirs is
meant to be the ideal marriage, why is their courtship so abbreviated in the narrative? This ellipsis seems to indicate some hesitation about the ideals of female
Even more disruptive than the elision of Hideko and Tsutomus courtship
is the insertion of Namiko in one chapter that allows Kaho to air her views on
womens education. The girl student does not merely study for her own sake or
even her familys sake, Namiko argues, but for the sake of the nation: to prove
that Japan is equal to the West. She says, . . . a certain person has said that a
woman should select one subject and study it thoroughly, but in such a way that
she avoids becoming overly proud. She must continue to respect modest feminine
virtue if she is to produce brilliant children and grandchildren. In this way she can
create a new nation that can stand proudly among all the other civilized nations
of the world (101). The certain person that she quotes is Iwamoto, based on
his editorials in Jogaku zasshi. Namiko, who declares that the purpose of womens
education is not merely to seduce men or to support her brother or husband, but
to serve the nation, represents a middle ground between Hamako and Hideko:
a girl student who remains in school, who wears Western clothing, but who remains
rooted in Japanese culture and is aware of Japans standing in the world.
Why then is Namiko not married to Tsutomu instead of Hideko? In the
last chapter, we discover in an aside that Namiko has married Tsutomus friend,
Miyazaki, indicating that in terms of social status, she has done quite well for
herself. However, the real catch is clearly Tsutomu, and the details of Namikos
courtship and wedding are skipped over, signaling their relative unimportance. Although Namiko seems in retrospect like the most modern character,


Passionate Friendship

she is not what the ideal Meiji man is looking for in a wife. Tsutomus speech
describing his requirements in a wife highlights the difference between Namiko
and Hideko:
I have no desire for a wife who is gifted in conversation [ksai jzu, i.e., conversing with men]. The wife I desire will not be unlettered and will naturally
be endowed with wifely virtues. I should like her to be equipped with enough
of an education so that she can acquit her duties efficiently. And I definitely
dont want one of those combustible compounds known as a hussy [otenba],
who is one part feistiness and the rest hot air! I would much prefer a wife who
can knit to one who can dance! At least the former can earn enough money to
assist with the family income. (109)

This is an outright condemnation of Hamako, whose only skills are dancing and
playing piano, and who is several times called a hussy (otenba), and foreshadows
Tsutomus eventual marriage to Hideko, who supports herself and her brother
through needlework. However, this speech also excludes Namiko, who can read
more than a little and appears at fancy-dress balls in Western clothing. For all her
natural beauty and speeches about improving the nation, Namiko does not seem
likely to become the docile helpmate that Tsutomu desires. This seems to be a
tacit acknowledgment that the girl student, even the ideal girl student of strong
moral fiber, is not quite the appropriate wife for the ideal Meiji man. Indeed, two
of Namikos more outspoken classmates go on to become teachers and choose
not to marry. Kaho was not the only one to comment on this disconnect between
the ideals of spiritual love and the realities of marriage. In his essay on renai,
Kitamura Tkoku readily acknowledges that poets who pursue romantic love
generally end up in unhappy marriages (Mathy 40). As Michiko Suzuki observes,
when Tkoku wrote of spiritual love as a means of self-discovery, he meant the
male self, with woman as a helper (10).
What then becomes of the systems of renai and iro? Certainly, the geisha
and the prostitute remain important literary figures in Meiji and beyond, but, by
the 1890s, as realism and Naturalism (Shizenshugi) became the dominant modes
of fiction and the middle-class family became the primary subject of literature,
renai with its accompanying ideals of female chastity and intellectual companionship fully replaced the codified courtship of the pleasure quarters. Meanwhile,
the appeal of the schoolgirl as a love interest continued to grow, and the disconnect expressed by Kaho and Tkoku between the ideal of renai and the reality
of marriage remained a source of tension. The central dilemma of the shjo
or schoolgirl for male protagonists was her increasingly overt sexuality and the
threat that represented to the middle-class family.

The Emergence of the Shjo 25

Yoshiko as Disruptive Shjo in Futon

The schoolgirl remained the dominant image of provocative femininity throughout the Meiji period. She appears frequently in her distinctive clothing in photographs, woodblock prints, and popular novels, such as Makaze koikaze (Demon
Winds, Love Winds, 1903) by Kosugi Tengai.13 Even as girls education became
more widely accepted, the dual nature of the schoolgirl, as both erotic and threatening to the family and the nation, appears repeatedly in the newly developed
and legitimized modern novel. One prominent example is Tayama Katais Futon,
which brings this crisis of renai, marriage, and the sexuality of girl students into
focus.14 Published in 1907, in retrospect it came to be considered one of the
foundational texts of the Naturalist movement, an early example of the autobiographical turn that would dominate Japanese literature in the twentieth century.15 Again, it is no accident that this genre-defining novel is about the failure
of renai to ensure a happy marriage and the disruptive threat of the girl student.
Futon depicts a middle-aged writer, Takenaka Tokio, who, bored with married life, falls in love with a nineteen-year-old girl student in his care, Yokoyama
Yoshiko. He tutors her in the ways of modern intellectuals and encourages her to
think independently, but when she puts his teachings into practice by falling in
love with Tanaka, a boy her own age, Tokio exposes her affair to her father, who
takes her back home, putting an end to both her affair and her education. The
tragedy of Futon is less Yoshikos downfall and more Tokios recognition that the
ideals of renai are no guarantee of domestic bliss. The semi-autobiographical
elements of the novel have been well documented (see the Henshall translation,
1820), as have the stylistic and linguistic features that mark this as a forerunner
of the Naturalist movement (Levy 155193). In a roman clef in which Katai
confesses to his adulterous, unrequited love for a schoolgirl, it is not surprising
that the narrative hews closely to Tokios perspective and that, except for the
letters she writes, Yoshiko is nearly voiceless. For these reasons, Futon provides
a clear example of the patriarchal image of the shjo, demonstrating how she is
literally a construct of the older man who desires her.
Tokio is a well-educated man of letters who adheres strictly to the system of
renai; the world of iro does not exist anywhere in this narrative. However, even
though he married his wife for love, he feels a crushing disappointment that the
love failed to last. As he says pithily, Yesteryears lovertodays wife (41).16
He had married his wife hoping that she would be his spiritual partner, that she
would, in Tkokus words, be the key to unlock the secrets of humanity. But
once she settled down to the necessary tasks of running the household and raising children, she was no longer available for such spiritual exercises, and Tokio
was left to himself. While the revolution of renai had brought men and women


Passionate Friendship

into closer contact before marriage, insisting on the necessity of intellectual

bonding instead of arranged marriage, after marriage men and women retreated
to separate worlds even while living under one roof. Tokio laments to himself,
A wife and childrenthey call them the happiness of the home, but wheres the
meaning in that? Theres probably some meaning for the wife, who exists for the
sake of the children, but what about the husband? He has his wife taken from him
by his children and his children taken from him by his wife, so how can he avoid
being lonely? (7071). Tokio imagines that life with Yoshiko as his wife would
be much better, not realizing that the problem is the separate roles of men and
women within marriage and not the personality of his wife. As feminist novelist
Kat Midori put it in a 1912 short story, marriage was the graveyard of romantic
love (Bardsley 189).
Tokios attraction to Yoshiko is based on renai and the intellectual exchange
he enjoys as her teacher. The first rapturous physical description of Yoshiko
involves a scene in which Tokio has her read Turgenevs Faust:
There in the tiny little study, bright with the light of the lamp, her heart had
been filled with longing by that colorful love story, and her expressive eyes
had sparkled with a still deeper significance. The lamplight shone on the
upper part of her body, on her chic and fashionable hairstyle, her comb, her
ribbons, and when she had drawn her face close to the book that indescribable perfumed smell, that fleshy, female smell . . . (38, ellipsis in original)

Here Tokios love for Yoshiko is based on what he perceives to be an intellectual connection as he teaches her about literature and she is stimulated by
his teaching, but rather than a denial of the physical, the narrative shifts to a
detailed description of her appearance and scent. Although the Edo culture of
iro is gone, Tokio invests spiritual love with a physical dimension to serve his
own self-interests.
Although Tokio congratulates himself on teaching Yoshiko modern ideas
and expanding her intellect, his teachings are blatantly self-serving and contradictory. At first, Tokio encourages Yoshiko to be independent, telling her, The
modern woman in Japan must think for herself and act for herself (44). But as
soon as Yoshiko puts his teaching into practice by starting a relationship with
Tanaka, a student her own age, Tokio quickly recants: [Tokio] went on to lecture her with great earnestness and sincerity on spiritual love [rei no renai] and
physical love [niku no renai], and the relationship between love and human life,
and what an educated modern woman should properly preserve (70), that is, her
chastity, a point of obsessive concern for both Tokio and Yoshikos father. This
separation of physical and spiritual love is one of the basic tenets of renai, but

The Emergence of the Shjo 27

in this lecture Tokio changes his message considerably: instead of freedom he

encourages restraint and implies that Yoshiko has failed to understand his previous teachings, when in fact she has learned them perfectly well. By turning the
blame back on her, he conceals his own change of heart over her independent
Within the larger framework of the story, the societal insistence on Yoshikos
chastity is more important in the end than the ideals of renai. Once she admits
that she is, as she says, a fallen student [daraku jogakusei] (88), indicating that
she has in fact had sex with Tanaka, she loses both her status as an independent
girl student and as an appropriate recipient of Tokios love. Tokio vindictively
arranges for Yoshikos father to take her back home, while fantasizing about violating her himself: Such thoughts led him to look on Yoshiko, whom he had formerly worshiped as heavenly, as some sort of prostitute, whose beautiful attitude
and expressions, let alone her body, were nothing but contemptible (87). By
giving in to physical love, she has invalidated spiritual love. As Yoshiko is leaving,
Tokio tells her, At least, your having trusted me as your teacher is nothing to be
ashamed of as a new Meiji woman (89), never considering that his contradictory advice led to her undoing. Instead, he places the blame squarely on Yoshiko
herself. The term Yoshiko uses to define herself, daraku jogakusei, meaning fallen
or degenerate schoolgirl, was a catchphrase in late Meiji, as racy accounts of
schoolgirls flourished (Czarnecki 61), encapsulating the simultaneous allure and
threat of the shjo.
Girl Panic: The Persistence of the Threatening Shjo

The girl students of Ukigumo and Yabu no uguisu represent a transitional period
in which eros moved from the pleasure quarters to the domestic scene, and welleducated daughters of the middle and upper classes first appeared as love interests in fiction. In other words, what Saeki Junko terms the amateur woman (as
opposed to the geisha) emerged as the potential partner for the ideal Meiji man
(69), although reconciling Meiji intellectual ideals with social reality proved difficult. In these early works, the central dilemma was the conflict between new and
old systems of courtship, reflective of the larger social upheavals of early Meiji.
However, by the early twentieth century, as renai became the standard of behavior among the middle and upper classes, the problem shifted more explicitly
to maintaining the chastity of the shjo while praising her appeal. Thus, Futon
features an obsession with Yoshikos sexuality. Yoshiko is an early example of the
shjo figure: independent, stylish, sexually desirable, and prematurely sexually
active. Tokios reaction to her is typical of the way the shjo character is portrayed in literature: in his effort to escape from his stultifying marriage, Tokio


Passionate Friendship

finds Yoshiko irresistibly fascinating, but the sexuality he encourages in her is

also threatening, and he responds by bringing down on her the full weight of
patriarchal control. The characterization of Yoshiko and Tokios reaction to her
are emblematic of the anxieties surrounding the shjo, that she will destroy not
only the family but traditional values and perhaps even the nation itself.
The entrance of the daughters of the urban middle and upper classes into
public discourse as objects of desire was a major shift in both social reality and
the paradigmatic modes of fiction writing. It is not surprising, then, that the new
character of the shjo came to stand in for the anxieties of modernization. This
same power play, of sexualizing teenage girls then punishing them for acting on
their sexuality, of celebrating both their fascination and their threat, continues
throughout the twentieth century, rediscovered by each generation and hailed as
a new problem. Highbrow literature, cinema, and other mass media written and
consumed by adults, mostly male, reproduce this patriarchal discourse, creating
panic over each new iteration of the independent shjo, from the modern girls
(moga) of the 1920s to the gyaru (gals) of the 1990s.17 Each of these new girl panics represents the point of view of the adult male, viewing girls from the outside,
fearful of what they might be getting up to. At the same time, beginning in girls
schools in the early twentieth century, a separate girls culture was starting to
emerge, a culture in which the shjo was defined quite differently and one that
appropriated the discourse of spiritual love not for marriage or even heterosexual
romance, but for defining girls relationships with each other.

Chapter 2
Prewar Girls Culture (Shjo Bunka),

n the first decades of the twentieth century,

a distinct and separate girls culture (shjo bunka) arose within the homosocial
world of single-sex secondary schools and found its public expression in girls
magazines. Prewar girls culture coopted the discourse of spiritual love (renai)
not to describe heterosexual love, which was fraught with danger and difficulty,
but instead to describe the passionate friendships girls formed with each other.
This chapter will examine the development of a private, closed world of girls
that emerged in single-sex secondary schools and the discourse of that culture in
girls magazines, where friendship between girls was expressed in the language
of spiritual love.
Magazines directed specifically at teenage girls began to appear in Japan at
the beginning of the twentieth century, as publishers targeted school-aged children and teenagers as discrete marketing demographics. The first decades of the
twentieth century saw a proliferation of magazines targeting children, teenage
boys, and housewives in addition to those aimed at teenage girls.1 Girls magazines began to appear in the first decade of the twentieth century and reached a
peak in the late 1920s to early 1930s. Aimed primarily at girls attending singlesex secondary schools, these magazines contributed to the construction of girls
culture as a closed, homosocial world. As an expression of that private world,
girls magazines were not a product of the attraction/repulsion to the shjo seen
in characterizations in highbrow literature. Through the use of reader-submitted
content and girls language, these magazines attempted to speak directly to
girls, creating a private realm apart from the pressures of patriarchal society and
impending marriage.
Shjo no tomo (The Girls Friend) far more than any other girls magazine
fostered girls creativity and self-expression. The reader contribution sections
of this magazine in particular helped to create a reading community of girls in
the prewar years. All prewar girls magazines, however, are marked by the prevalence of passionate friendships and idealized renai relationships between girls


Passionate Friendship

that redirected girls sexual desire away from boys and kept them within the safe
confines of the girls school. The novel Otome no minato (The Girls Harbor)
is typical of fiction that depicts the common pattern of these relationships in
girls schools; the all-girl Takarazuka Revue is another example of the homosocial bonds of girls culture. Although these bonds may appear surprising today,
they were normative within girls culture in the 1920s and 1930s, and helped to
develop the dominant aesthetics of girls culture: purity, elegance, innocence,
and chastity.
Girls Schools and the Formation of Girls Culture

As discussed in the previous chapter, the image of the shjo in the Meiji period
was synonymous with the schoolgirl. As secondary schooling for girls became
more widely available in the Taish (19121926) and early Shwa (19261989)
periods, the culture of girls schools became the aspirational norm of girlhood.
Separated from boys, the girl students created their own private world, informed
with an aesthetic of sentimentalism and purity.
While girls schools in early to mid-Meiji were controversial and offered
piecemeal educational opportunities, by the early twentieth century, there was
widespread acceptance of secondary education as appropriate for daughters of
the middle and upper classes. The Girls High School Law in 1899 brought these
schools under government administration to ensure a standardized curriculum
with an emphasis on Confucian values and loyalty to the state (Inoue 46). As a
result, the number of girls secondary schools offering a five-year comprehensive
curriculum for girls aged thirteen to eighteen in topics such as history, math, literature, and foreign languages as well as domestic arts increased dramatically in
the first decades of the twentieth century, from 37 in 1899 to 143 in 1915 (ibid.).
The overall percentage of girls who graduated from secondary school rose
sharply in the decades after late Meiji and early Shwa, from less than 5 percent
in 1905 to 25 percent in 1945 (Inagaki 6). Although this may seem like a small
percentage of girls nationally, attendance tended to be concentrated in urban
areas and among the middle and upper classes. The number of graduates who
went on to pursue postsecondary education was less than 1 percent (Inagaki 7),
meaning that the urban middle-class girls adolescence was delineated by her
attendance at a girls secondary school. At the same time, the schoolgirl in her
distinctive sailor suit uniform became a visible, enviable figure, embodying privilege and urban sophistication.
By the 1920s, attendance at a girls school became a sign of good breeding
for middle-class girls, and the mission school in particular provided its graduates with the imprimatur of both elegance and purity. Many girls schools were

Prewar Girls Culture 31

founded by Christian missionaries, although most offered an education that was

largely secular. Attendance at chapel was mandatory, but theology was rarely
offered as a subject of study, and there was little outright proselytizing. Most of
the girls who attended these schools were not Christian and did not continue
religious practice after graduation.2 In spite of the lack of religious sentiment,
however, mission schools had a positive reputation not only for academic excellence, but also for fostering chastity, refinement, and sophistication. Girls mission schools were considered appealingly Westernized and modern, or haikara,
a Meiji neologism indicating a person or object both stylish and Western (Inagaki
160161).3 At the same time, the strict prohibition on any contact with boys
attempted to ensure students chastity and innocence.
It was within these schools, both religious and secular, that girls culture
took shape. The concept of spiritual love, derived from Christianity via literary
discourses in Japan, became an important part of girls culture. As discussed in
the previous chapter, spiritual love (renai) developed from the Christian idea
that love could have an intellectual or even divine status, as opposed to Buddhist beliefs that connected love only to carnality and lust. This powerful new
concept of love took hold in secular fiction, losing most of its religious connotation, except in the most general, ecumenical sense. An example of how the
concept of spiritual love lost its specifically Christian connotation to become a
key concept in a secular culture is the iconography of the white lily, one of the
more salient symbols of purity and innocence in girls culture. Watanabe Shko,
in her cultural history of Meiji schoolgirls, discusses how the white lily entered
the Japanese public consciousness in the 1890s via the importation of Western
art and literature, particularly Romanticism and the Pre-Raphaelites, as a symbol
of idealized love and female beauty (237255). As Japanese artists influenced by
these trends were aware of the Christian association of the white lily with the
Virgin Mary, the lily also took on a spiritual aspect, coinciding with the idealized
purity of spiritual love. It seems only natural, then, that many mission schools for
girls also used the white lily as their emblem in the first half of the twentieth century. However, secular girls schools, both private and public, also adopted the
white lily in their logos, in the names of school newsletters, and in school songs
(Watanabe 293300).4 Within girls culture, the white lily loses its specifically
Christian association, and what remains is a symbol of a pure, chaste girlhood.
While the image of the lily came from high-culture sources, girls seem
quickly to have made it their own. The white lily appeared frequently not only in
girls schools but in girls magazines as well. Watanabe finds far more references
to the white lily than to other flowers in fiction and essays in the very first issues
of the first girls magazines, including a special issue of Shjo sekai in 1908 called
White Lily and featuring a cover by artist Sugiura Hisui (272273). The lily


Passionate Friendship

also appears frequently in reader submissions to girls magazines beginning in

the early 1900s. Girls used the flower as a symbol of spirituality and purity, and
even spoke of themselves as white lilies (Watanabe 280283). Why was the lily so
appealing to girls? Watanabe argues that the lily connoted a sophisticated sensibility and a more discerning taste than a preference for the more widely popular
plum and cherry blossoms (278). However, it seems likely that the high-class
connotation of the lily came from its association with Western art. Watanabe
does not mention that cherry and plum blossoms both have strong connections
to classical Japanese poetry, which is by nature densely allusive. One could not
write a poem about cherry blossoms without conjuring lines from this poetic
tradition, which by late Meiji seemed old-fashioned and restrictive. The white
lily, like the concept of spiritual love, was a new, Western symbol, secularized and
adopted by girls to represent their emerging culture.5
In addition to adoption of appealing symbols such as the white lily and ideological concepts such as spiritual love, girls culture was also marked by the
creation of a private space. In real terms, this was the girls school, but in discursive terms, this private space was created through use of a secret girls language,
marked in part by slang terms, often derived from English words. Inagaki Kyko
writes that the secret language used among girl students is an indication of the
subculture they developed in opposition to the formal culture of the school, as
administered by teachers (32). By using these words, she continues, girls could
express their opinions and feelings to each other (ibid.). The use of girls language, incomprehensible to outsiders, created a sense of community and authenticity. With the rise of popular press media in the 1920s and the explosion in
the publication of magazines of all kinds, those targeted specifically at teen girls
catered specifically to this new school girl culture by using this secret language.
Just as the schoolgirl was a symbol of modernization, embodying all the
anxieties associated with the cultural shifts of the Meiji period, so too did her language become a symbol of modern femininity. Linguistic anthropologist Miyako
Inoue tracks the process by which schoolgirl speech became a normative mode
of expression for girls and women in the late Meiji period. Not only individual
words but also the grammatical structures, particularly sentence-ending particles
and honorific prefixes and suffixes, that arose in schoolgirl speech became standard feminine speech patterns for adult women as well, what Inoue calls the
voice of the modern gendered subject (98). One of the key sites where Inoue
sees this happening is in the letters sections of girls magazines, where girls from
around the Japanese empire wrote in the shared language of schoolgirl speech
rather than in regional dialect, creating what she terms a virtual community
and a counterpublic sphere (102). Inoue is critical of these practices, which
efface regional and class differences in order to create an imaginary category of

Prewar Girls Culture 33

Japanese femininity through government control and marketing practices. However, I would argue that the creation of this girls subculture, even if mediated
by state and parental interests, nonetheless was a powerful force in granting girls
a stake in the construction of their own identity.
Homosociality, S Relationships, and the Culture of Sameness

One prominent feature of this rising girls culture is the prevalence of femalefemale romantic relationships. Although commonplace within the pages of girls
magazines, these relationships seem to be the most surprising aspect of girls culture from a twenty-first-century, non-Japanese perspective. While some scholars
have attempted to read these relationships as lesbian, such a reading is anachronistic and does not reflect the ways in which these relationships were understood
at the time. Girls culture was premised on the privacy of a homosocial world, but
while the relationships between girls were often described using the language of
love, those relationships were part of the transitory adolescent state and did not
imply a lesbian persona.
One of the first studies in English of prewar girls culture is anthropologist
Jennifer Robertsons work on the Takarazuka Revue, an example of how reading girls culture as lesbian obscures the meaning of those relationships for girls
at the time. In examining the history of the Takarazuka, Robertson examines
prewar girls culture but reads both prewar and postwar Takarazuka in terms of
contemporary American gender politics, leading her to interpret homosociality
as lesbian. While her work was one of the first comprehensive studies of Japanese
girls culture in English, it was not well received by Japanese scholars of Takarazuka. Sandra Buckley sums up the controversy thus:
There has been a strong reaction from Japanese critics to some Western feminist research [meaning Robertson] that is seen in Japan to focus too much on
the issue of homosexuality and the erotic tensions of the Takarazuka. It could
be said that this amounts to an acceptance or even an intellectual investment
by these critics in the Takarazukas self-perpetuating myth of sexual innocence. The theatre has achieved such massive popularity that it has almost
become sacrosanct and beyond criticism, and yet there seems to be much still
to be gained from a critical engagement with the Takarazuka on terms other
than its own self-defined image. (497)

In defending Robertson, Buckley equates Japanese scholars of Takarazuka with

adoring fans unwilling to criticize a cherished institution and arrogates all of
the critical authority to those who read Takarazuka in terms of Western queer


Passionate Friendship

identities. I will discuss the Takarazuka in more detail later in this chapter, but
it is worth noting that this type of polarized debate in academic discourse indicates just how difficult it is for Japanese girls culture to be understood outside
the historic and cultural context in which it arose. Thus, before analyzing the
Takarazuka and other aspects of girls culture further, I will first consider a different approach.
Rather than a reading of girls culture in terms of the restrictive categories
of the American understanding of homosexuality, a Foucauldian approach is better suited to address cultural differences while also incorporating the views of
Japanese scholars in the academic discussion. As Michel Foucault argues in The
History of Sexuality, even in Europe, homosexual acts did not imply a homosexual
identity until the end of the nineteenth century, when Freudian psychoanalysis,
among other institutional forces, changed a loose set of behaviors into a single
pathology. Foucault writes, . . . the homosexual became a personage, a past,
a case history and a childhood, in addition to being a type of life, a life form, and
a morphology, with an indiscreet anatomy and possibly a mysterious physiology
(43). In other words, while today the term homosexual almost always connotes
a larger social identity that goes beyond specific sex acts or desires, this was not
always the case. The process of deriving a homosexual personality from specific
sex acts, which Foucault calls the implantation of perversions (48), did not take
place at the same time or in the same way in Japan as it did in the West. Through
the 1920s and 1930s, homosexual acts or desires did not necessarily indicate
a homosexual identity.
Similarly, Adrienne Rich calls for the recognition of a lesbian continuum:
As the term lesbian has been held to limiting, clinical associations in its
patriarchal definition, female friendship and comradeship have been set apart
from the erotic, thus limiting the erotic itself. But as we deepen and broaden
the range of what we define as lesbian experience, as we delineate a lesbian
continuum, we begin to discover the erotic in female terms: as that which is
unconfined to any single part of the body or solely to the body itself. (650)

It may be reading against the grain in Richs essay to insist on the difference
between contemporary American lesbian identity and the girl-girl relationships
of prewar Japan. However, my point is not to refute the emotional or possibly erotic bonds between girls, but to open the definition of those relationships
beyond their current parameters. Foucault and Rich both call for a more liberal
understanding of homosexuality than that prescribed by contemporary (Western) identity politics. Richs suggestion of a lesbian continuum that does not
hinge exclusively on sex acts points to the importance of female friendship in

Prewar Girls Culture 35

a broader sense. When Japanese scholars reject a lesbian reading of girls culture,
they are not necessarily displaying willful ignorance or silencing homosexual
relationships but indicating that analysis of those relationships has been cast in
terms that are foreign and that obscure the cultural context of the time.
Japanese-language scholarship on prewar girls culture tends to operate
on the assumption that homosexual desires were part of the transitory state
of adolescence and not indicative of a lesbian identity in the contemporary
sense of the word. Whereas American feminist scholars such as Robertson
equate female homosexuality with rebellion against the patriarchy, recent studies of girls culture by Imada Erika, Inagaki Kyko, and Watanabe Shko all
treat homosocial and homosexual elements of girls culture as normative, not
subversive. Although Western sexology and psychology were beginning to be
imported into Japan in the early twentieth century, there was no consensus about
the meaning of homosexuality in Japanese culture as a whole, and sexological
studies had little bearing on the discourse in girls magazines. The term dseiai
(literally, same-sex love) was invented at the beginning of the twentieth century by Japanese sexologists specifically to indicate the close bonds between
girls, but Imada argues that the term was a clinical one, used to pathologize
girls culture (194). The term that girls used themselves and that is still redolent of prewar girls culture is S relationships (esu kankei), or sometimes Class
S (kurasu esu). The term S first appeared in girls magazines around 1910,
although in the early years there were many other terms indicating this kind
of intimate relationship between two girls, such as ome (etymology unclear)6 or
shisu (from the English word sis or sister) (Inagaki 103104). By the 1920s,
S became the preferred term, taken from the first letter of the English word
sister (Imada 190; Inagaki 95).7 While the concept of a lesbian continuum,
as Rich argues, can be a powerful means of reimagining female relationships,
terms like lesbian, homosexual, or dseiai are fraught with political, social,
and clinical meanings that do not reflect how the girls themselves talked about
their relationships. For that reason, I will use the term S relationships when
discussing girls culture.
English-language scholarship on S relationships is beginning to take this
more Foucauldian approach. For instance, in his essay, S Is for Sister, Gregory Pflugfelder finds that even in the discourse of sexologists and journalists
in the 1910s and 1920s, relationships between girls were treated as a common
experience of adolescence. In spite of the influence of late-nineteenth-century
Western medical discourse about homosexual pathology, some Japanese sexologists argued that S relationships were healthy and normal as long as these relationships did not go too far (meaning sexual intimacy or refusal to give up the
relationship after graduation). Pflugfelder writes,


Passionate Friendship

The sexologist and social activist Yasuda Tokutar (18981983), for example,
regarded same-sex love among schoolgirls not as a sign of physiological
defect but as a normal (jtai) phase in the development of the female libido.
In Yasudas interpretation, same-sex love figured as a harmless form of adolescent love play (renai ygi), or a preliminary step to a future career
in cross-sex love. Similarly, the psychoanalyst tsuki Kenji (18911977)
described intense attachments between young females as a practice run
(yok ensh) for future male-female relations. (S Is for Sister 147)

S relationships were not necessarily pathologized, nor were they subversive,

but rather mimicked heterosexual courtship in a safe, socially acceptable way.
Pflugfelder also finds that newspaper accounts distinguished between S relationships and other instances of female homosexuality, such as between prostitutes,
factory workers, and Buddhist nuns, as well as distinguishing between female
and male homosexuality, particularly relationships between schoolboys (S Is
for Sister 152). In prewar Japan, differences of social class and of gender were
more salient than an overarching homosexual identity, which was, after all, only
a recent Western import.8
Even among educators, S relationships seem to have been an accepted
part of the girls school. Inagaki points out that most school prohibitions on
S relationships happened in late Meiji, in reaction to the double suicide of two
girls in Niigata in 1911 (105).9 Schools attempted to prevent girls from forming
S relationships by keeping the upperclassmen and underclassmen separated
(110). But as these relationships became more common and became a defining
feature of girls school culture in the 1920s and 1930s, most schools stopped
their attempts to control them (111). Even in 1916, Numata Ripp, educator
and editor of Shjo sekai, wrote that there was no reason for schools to prevent
girls from forming such friendships (Suzuki 26). As S relationships became more
widespread, tolerance for intimacy between girls seems to have increased among
sexologists and educators.
If it seems surprising that same-sex schoolgirl crushes were once considered
normal, it is important to note that American culture held similar values not so
very long ago. In Bachelor Girl, a study of single women in the United States,
Betsy Israel writes that schoolgirls in mid- to late-nineteenth-century America
were also encouraged to form close, passionate friendships with other girls, called
smashes (28). Israel points out that the smash was seen as a healthy way to
channel desire in a society that allowed same-sex touching but strictly curtailed
contact with the opposite sex. Israel writes, Studies made in 1900 of twenty
thousand Boston marriagestwo women who lived as sisters or loversand of
numerous smashes revealed episodes of mutual masturbation. Other couples give

Prewar Girls Culture 37

no hint of overt sexual activityor what wed consider overt sexual activitybut
were, rather, said to be playful and affectionate (29). Imada sees the Boston
marriage as similar to S relationships (193194). While some smashed girls
in nineteenth-century America formed lifetime partnerships with each other
and many engaged in homosexual acts, most girls did enter into heterosexual
marriage on reaching adulthood. The common wisdom held that rather than
perverting their heterosexual desire, the smash supposedly trained girls in the
interpersonal skills needed for marriage. Because sexual touching among girls
was not connected to a distinct lesbian persona, American and Japanese schoolgirl crushes, although arising in a different time and place, were not seen as
a threat or challenge to heterosexual society.
However, Class S was condoned only within the context of a larger homosocial group, usually an all-girls school, and only as long as both girls maintained feminine characteristics. Sexologists condemned and pathologized what
Robertson calls a heterogender relationship, meaning that one of the female
partners adopted masculine clothing, speech, or behavior (Takarazuka 68). While
cross-dressing posed a threat, loving relationships among girls who retained a
feminine appearance were encouraged. S relationships, therefore, were premised
on sameness (the d of dseiai), or what Robertson calls a homogender relationship, in that both girls displayed feminine traits. It was a coupling not merely
with someone of the same sex, but with one who exhibited the same modes of
dress, speech, and behavior as oneself. The uniforms girl students wore, usually some variation on the sailor suit with a blue pleated skirt, contributed to
this ideal of sameness in that it created a similar appearance among schoolgirls.
The S relationships celebrated in girls magazines were between two girls who
were not only feminine, but who dressed exactly alike. The ideal of S relationships encouraged sameness and loving one who looks just like the self, or, rather,
a better, idealized self.10
The discourse of S relationships that appears in girls magazines is quite
different from that of outsiders, sexologists, journalists, and even educators. The
pattern of S relationships that emerges in the novels serialized in girls magazines
usually involves an older girl and a younger girl who are classmates at a girls
school. The younger girl develops an idealized yearning (akogare) for her older
classmate, whom she refers to as oneesama (older sister). Although stories with
S relationships between girls of the same age also appeared, the longing (akogare)
for an idealized older girl (senpai) who could be addressed as a kind older sister
(oneesama) was strong. These relationships had to be exclusive; there could never
be a girl with more than one oneesama or an older girl who had two younger
sisters (Imada 207). In this regard, S relationships clearly follow the pattern
of heterosexual courtship and marriage rather than that of more casual female


Passionate Friendship

friendships that have emerged in postwar middle and high schools, wherein girls
tend to have two or three best friends (shiny) (White 144). There is also a
strong correlation between the idealized concept of spiritual love discussed in
the previous chapter and the S relationship. Imada analyzes the letters section of
Shjo gaho and concludes that the readers wrote of their friendships in terms of
love, that is, they used the terms love (ai) and affection (aij) interchangeably
(206). S relationships depend on the emotional rather than the physical connection between girls, a passionate friendship.
Otome no minato: Narrating the S Relationship

Because of both the prevalence of S relationships among girl students and the
prohibition on writing about male-female romance of any kind, the pages of prewar girls magazines are filled with novels and letters about the passionate friendship between girls. One of the most popular and emblematic novels depicting the
S relationship is Otome no minato (The Girls Harbor), which appeared in Shjo no
tomo from June 1937 to March 1938, nominally written by Kawabata Yasunari.
Kawabata is better known for his lyrical, surrealist novels and his experimental
prose style; however, he was also a fan of Shjo no tomo, and he approached editor
in chief Uchiyama Motoi about contributing to the magazine (Imada 198). However, it was revealed in 1989, long after Kawabatas death, that, in fact, this novel
was ghostwritten for him by a woman named Nakazato Tsuneko, drawing on her
own experiences in girls schools in Yokohama and Kanagawa (Imada 198; End
40). Although Kawabatas name lent highbrow literary cachet to the story, its
appeal for readers was the insiders view of life in a girls mission school. Kawa
bata would later write other stories for Shjo no tomo on his own, but without
Nakazatos voice they were not as popular. For instance, a much longer novel he
serialized in Shjo no tomo beginning in 1939, Utsukushii tabi (Beautiful Journey),
about a young man who attempts to educate a five-year-old girl who is blind and
deaf, proved too heavy a theme for readers. They did not hesitate to register their
dislike in letters columns (Imada 200). Otome no minato, however, became an
instant classic, with illustrations by Nakahara Junichi, as requested by Kawabata
(End and Uchida 76) (Fig. 2.1). Following the popularity of the novel, in June
1938 Shjo no tomo ran a pictorial spread with photographs of three girl readers
posed in scenes from the novel, art-directed by Nakahara (End and Uchida 50)
(Fig. 2.2). This unprecedented merging of media indicates how thoroughly the
novel evoked an idealized girls school setting.
Otome no minato is a primer on the dynamics of the S relationship told in
terms of a love triangle. The story is set in a girls missionary school in Yokohama, the harbor of the title. Yokohama is also historically one of the sites in

Prewar Girls Culture 39

Figure 2.1. Michiko and

Yko in Otome no minato.
Art by Nakahara Junichi.
(Shjo no tomo, June 1937.
Junichi Nakahara/

Japan associated with Western culture, and setting the novel there creates an air
of trendy sophistication and privilege. The main character is Michiko, a firstyear student admired by the other girls for her cuteness and sweet disposition.
At times she seems rather childish and self-centered, but this is coded as part of
her charm as a younger sister. The story begins on her first day at school. She
receives mash notes from two older students, Yko and Katsuko, although she
has yet to meet either one. Michiko is a bit taken aback by this unexpected attention until her friend Tsuneko tells her that they want to initiate an S relationship
with her:
Tsuneko explained, S is short for sister. Its the first letter of the word. When
an older student is good friends [nakayoshi] with a younger student, thats
what they call it. Its a really big deal.

Figure 2.2. Photographs of readers posed as the main characters in Otome no minato (The Girls
Harbor). From the top, Yko, Michiko, and Katsuko. Art direction by Nakahara Junichi. (Shjo
no tomo, June 1938. Jitsugy no Nihonsha)

Prewar Girls Culture 41

[Michiko replied] But shouldnt I try to be good friends with everyone?

Goodness, no! Its a special kind of love [tokubetsu suki], and you have
to exchange gifts.
Michiko at last began to understand what those two letters were about,
although she was still a bit puzzled.
But when she thought that there might be someone who would give her
that special kind of love, and there were two such people at this school, her
heart felt as warm as a spring day. (Kawabata 15)

As in heterosexual romance, Michiko must choose between Yko and Katsuko

before the S relationship can be formalized; she cannot have this special
love with both of them. The S relationship is a defining part of this private
world of the girls school. Michiko does not know about it until she enters the
school, yet it is an important marker of her status in the school to have such
a relationship with a sought-after older student.
Inagakis study of real letters exchanged by schoolgirls and her interviews
with women who had attended girls high schools in the 1930s and 1940s also
reflect this pattern of interaction; many girls did not know about S relationships before they started school (96).11 As in Otome no minato, first-year students
learned about Class S from older students, who were often depicted as aggressive
in pursuing them.12 The S relationship was usually initiated with a letter written
in poetic hyperbole. Inagaki gives this example of a first letter:
A bouquet of flowers for my beloved Shizue-sama
To my little sister,
Shizu-chan, the first time I saw you, how my eyes went wide in delight!
Please, you must somehow believe in this older sister and form an eternal
bond with me. I am waiting to see your smile, so when we meet in the hall,
please give me a smile that shows your white teeth, OK? This is my greatest
wish, so please believe me and dont take it the wrong way. And please send
me a letter in your beautiful, perfect handwriting, as soon as possible, OK?
Really, promise youll write to me.
With much love, your big sister.
(Inagaki 97)

The letters breathless, sentimental tone is typical of the representation of S relationships in girls magazines. The motif of love at first sight is also common.
The S relationship is typically described in terms of love and romantic
rivalry. In Otome no minato, after receiving similar love notes, Michiko quickly


Passionate Friendship

forms an S relationship with Yko, a fifth-year student, who becomes her older
sister. Michiko and Ykos relationship is described throughout the novel in
the language of lovers. For instance, in describing Michikos feelings for Yko,
Michikos mother uses the term much (Kawabata 65), a word that literally means
in a dream but that often is used in the context of heterosexual relationships to
mean a crush or infatuation. Michiko and Yko even carve their initials in a tree
together to symbolize their love for each other (127). They are lovers not in a
lesbian sense, which implies subversion or resistance to the patriarchy, but in the
idealized sense of spiritual love.
The motivating conflict throughout the novel is the attempt by Katsuko,
an athletic, brash fourth-year student, to lure Michiko away, a conflict that also
plays out using the language and conventions of heterosexual romance. Michiko
feels intensely guilty for spending time with Katsuko, knowing that she is
betraying her relationship with Yko, yet she feels that Katsuko has a mysterious power over her (Kawabata 99). Katsuko is very much aware of her role as
interloper, as in this exchange, after she and Michiko have spent the summer
vacation together:
[Katsuko said] Michiko-san, when the new term starts, I dont want this
to end.
You know. As soon as you see Ykos face, everything weve done
together this summer will disappear like smoke . . .
Michiko-san, please remember, Im not just the one who taught you to
ride a bicycle. Weve become friends.
But I want to be friendly with everyone. I want to be friends with you
and with Yko.
Michiko said this innocently, but Katsuko stared at her profile in surprise.
Well! Maybe if we all lived in a world of make-believe.
But were all at the same school. Shouldnt I think of all of us as sisters
That depends on the person. Yko is . . . well, I cant say Ive ever had a
fight with her, but, how shall I put it? Shes my rival [raibaru].
Katsukos unhappy face plainly said, And who made us rivals? It was you,
Michiko. (Kawabata 101, ellipses in original)

Although Michiko by this point is well aware of the significance of the S relationship, she childishly insists that she is just being friendly. But Katsuko understands that this is an exclusive relationship and reacts like a spurned lover.

Prewar Girls Culture 43

As in a Victorian melodrama, Michiko falls ill and calls out Ykos name repeatedly in her sleep: these fevered utterances reveal whom she loves best, much to
Katsukos chagrin (Kawabata 110111). Katsuko then begs Michiko to wear a
violet in her breast pocket when school starts as a token of their friendship and
love (yj to ai); she says Wont it be romantic? [romanchikku] (113). Michiko is
horrified, knowing this would be an affront to Yko, as well as causing a scandal
among their classmates. At this point, the other girls in Ykos class step in to
enforce the exclusive nature of the S relationship. They are angry with Katsuko
for being seen with Michiko around the school and comment that girls in S relationships should be more careful about whom they spend their time with (130).
Just as the other students explain the nature of the S relationship to Michiko
at the start of the novel, they also enforce compliance when there is a breach
of protocol. As in highbrow fiction, the spiritual love relationship, premised on
chastity, must be exclusive. As much as she likes both Yko and Katsuko, Michiko
must choose only one.
As in a heterosexual love triangle, the tension is primarily between the two
rivals. The happy ending comes not when Michiko makes her preference for
Yko known, but when Katsuko and Yko are able to reconcile their rivalry. This
occurs when Katsuko is injured during sports day at the school, and Yko takes
care of her. Ykos selfless act of kindness makes Katsuko realize how selfish her
own actions had been, and she at last apologizes to Michiko (Kawabata 160).
For her part, Michiko finally feels comfortable referring to Yko as big sister
(oneesama) in front of Katsuko, a significant sign that Katsuko acknowledges
their special relationship (161). Once this happens, both Michiko and Yko feel
a tremendous sense of relief and freedom. The narrator says, Michiko was overwhelmed by a feeling beyond happiness or sadness. The two of them felt as if
they had joined together, awash in fevered emotion . . . (163, ellipses in original). In the end, Michiko and Yko must part at the end of the school year, when
Yko graduates, but Yko places both their photos in a locket that Michiko gave
her as a gift, and they pledge to hold their love for each other in their hearts for
the rest of their lives (183).
Although the novel never uses language that implies a physical relationship
(which would have been censored at the time), Otome no minato is clearly a love
story, both in the diction and in the actions of the main characters. The emotional bond between Michiko and Yko rather than the presence or absence of
physical intimacy is the defining trait of their relationship. Novels like Otome
no minato are the heirs to the tradition of spiritual love discussed in the previous chapter. Because the S relationship is coded as chaste, the love between
girls can attain the ideal of purity, whereas heterosexual relationships are always
fraught with scandal, especially for the girl. Whereas the modern novel made the


Passionate Friendship

middle-class daughter the object of love in literature, rather than the geisha, in
a society in which arranged marriage was still the norm, such love stories rarely
had a happy ending, with the main characters married. As in Futon, the romance
between a schoolgirl and a boy usually ended in shame and ostracism for the
girl. However, the love between two girls, although destined to end, was safe
and allowed girls living otherwise highly controlled lives to exercise some small
measure of self-determination.
If it seems that these S relationships are heteronormative, with the older
sister always taking the more active, aggressive role and the younger sister in
a passive role, it is worth noting how different the discourse of S relationships
was from that of heterosexual courtship among teens at the time. While S relationships were often between an older and a younger girl, not girls of the same
age, the relationship was couched in a discourse of purity and innocence.13 There
is no mention of the girls feelings for each other being shameful or forbidden;
to the contrary, the language used and the poetic metaphors, usually flowers,
emphasize purity. In contrast, any contact with boys was by implication impure.
In Otome no minato, Michikos older brother refuses to be seen alone in public
with her (Kawabata 26); even though they are siblings, any male and female high
school students seen together could cause gossip, indicating just how strictly
boy-girl interactions were regulated. Inagaki notes that, in love letters to boys,
girls tended to debase themselves, hoping to incite the boys feelings for her as an
inferior (100). This is quite different from the excited confidence of girls letters
to each other. Inagaki also quotes letters to boys from girls who refer to themselves as bad (fury) and fallen (daraku) (54, 102), evoking a fallen student in
the mold of Yoshiko in Futon. She also argues that girls love letters to boys operate on a discourse of shame not only because of the inherent scandal involved,
but to keep the girl from seeming like the aggressor in the relationship (103). In
the S relationship, however, girls were allowed to pursue each other and to be
pursued in a way not possible in heterosexual relationships. The S relationship
was not only safe because it was considered innocent, but it also gave girls agency
in expressing their desires.
The prevalence of S relationships among girls and as a defining aspect of
social interactions at girls schools engendered a preference for sameness within
girls culture. The romantic ideal in girls culture was homogender, meaning
confrontation with the Other was avoided. Although S relationships arose in a
cultural context in which premarital sex was forbidden and all social intercourse
between teenage boys and girls was strictly regulated, preference for sameness
continues in girls culture to this day, even as restrictions on girls sexual activity
have lifted, and coeducation is now the norm. Social activities in Japan, especially
among teens, are still largely homosocial (White 155). As I will discuss in the

Prewar Girls Culture 45

last chapter, novels about S relationships were also the forerunner of boys love
manga and a preference for homosexual romance in girls comics. Although the
term S relationship has faded and the practice is not as formalized as in the
prewar period, the tendency toward homosocial relations and a culture of sameness remains a significant aspect of girls culture.
Takarazuka: Fantasies of Gender Neutrality

With the emergence of schoolgirls as a distinct culture, entertainment media also

emerged to take advantage of this new demographic. The two dominant forms of
entertainment aimed specifically at schoolgirls in the prewar period were girls
magazines and the Takarazuka Revue. Both appeared in the early twentieth century and reached a peak in the late 1920s to early 1930s, as girls culture flowered. Although girls literary magazines have been replaced with shjo manga
in the postwar period, the Takarazuka still exists today. In the prewar period
(and postwar as well), there was considerable overlap between these two loci of
girls culture. Girls magazines often featured articles about the Takarazuka, and
girls were generally consumers of both. Although a detailed examination of the
Takarazuka Revue is beyond the scope of this study, I will give an overview of its
salient features as it relates to the formation of a coherent girls culture before
moving on to girls magazines.
The Takarazuka Revue (Takarazuka Kagekidan) is a theater troupe in which
all the performers are female, some of whom play male roles. The Revue and its
attached training school are located in the city of Takarazuka in Hygo prefecture, although they have dedicated theaters in other major cities and tour around
the country regularly. Prospective performers enter the rigorous, highly competitive two-year training school between ages fifteen and nineteen, although in the
1910s some were as young as twelve. Part of their training involves being divided
into those who will play male roles (otokoyaku) and those who will play female
roles (musumeyaku). Performers, who refer to themselves as Takarasiennes, work
for a period of seven years following the two years in training school, although
some continue to perform after that time, and many remain as instructors or
technical crew. Some pursue acting or singing careers elsewhere; being a top star
in the Takarazuka can be a pathway to stardom in films, television, or on stage
with other companies. Performances historically were revue-style, that is, a collection of song and dance numbers, both solos and ensemble numbers, although
Broadway-style musicals have become more popular in the postwar years. Some
are adaptations of musicals such as West Side Story or the German musical
Elizabeth; films, such as Casablanca; or opera, such as Der Rosenkavalier, while
others are original works written for Takarazuka, sometimes based on classical


Passionate Friendship

literature, such as The Tale of Genji or, more commonly, on popular manga such
as The Rose of Versailles and Black Jack. Regardless of the performance, whether
revue or musical, the show always ends with a kick line of Rockette-style dancers
on a grand staircase, followed by appearances by all the players.
Like girls magazines, the Takarazuka Revue was founded and controlled
by men with commercial interests at heart, and both served to promote patriarchal structures and imperialist ideology. Kobayashi Ichiz, owner of the Hanky
railroad, founded the Revue in 1913 as one feature of a spa or amusement park
calculated to increase tourism at the terminus of the Osaka line. In addition to his
commercial enterprises and a successful political career (he served as minister of
commerce and industry, 19401941), Kobayashi took an active role in supervising the Revue itself. Kobayashi, a political and social conservative, promoted the
all-female Takarazuka as a form of wholesome family entertainment, a way for
girls to enjoy theater without becoming sexually aroused by the sight of a man
onstage. At the time, spas like Takarazuka were patronized primarily by men, and
female performers were associated with prostitution; in order to bring in a larger
demographic, Kobayashi went to considerable lengths to emphasize the respectability and wholesomeness of the Revue (Stickland 2223). In addition to strict
prohibitions against any sexual activity, Kobayashi also insisted that the girls
come from middle- or upper-class backgrounds and that they remain amateurs.
Over time, these ideas have solidified as the unwritten Violet Code, which is still
enforced, more or less. Takarasiennes are called students (seito) even while under
contract as performers and receiving a salary, which emphasizes their (imagined)
amateur status. In that they are in an all-girl environment, where heterosexual
relationships are proscribed, and cast as students, the Takarasiennes are ideal
shjo. Since their inception, although they were controlled by patriarchal interests, because girls magazines and Takarazuka were perceived as an all-girl space,
both provided girl readers/audiences with the sense that they were inhabiting
a private world, apart from adults.
As in girls culture generally, Takarazuka celebrates purity and innocence
in a homosocial setting that should not be confused with Western gay culture.
Perhaps because of her more recent vintage, the otokoyaku is far less understood
in the West than her counterpart in kabuki, the onnagata. The female impersonators of kabuki are generally understood to be of a different order from drag
queens and unrelated to the Western queer culture of camp and kitsch. Yet Western observers in the popular press often describe the otokoyaku as campy, or even
uncanny.14 One reason may be a cultural misunderstanding of the concept of
chsei, or gender neutrality. As Yamanashi Makiko points out in her study of
Takarazuka performance practices, chsei indicates someone sexless and genderless, which is different from the concept of androgyny or possessing qualities of

Prewar Girls Culture 47

both genders (128). As with S relationships, the assumption of sexual innocence

in girls culture allows same-sex desires to be coded as chaste and safe.
Jennifer Robertsons study of Takarazuka was criticized for mapping an
American lesbian identity onto both historic and contemporary performers; in
the quote cited above, Sandra Buckley attributes this criticism to consternation
even among scholars of breaking the Violet Code, that is, of attributing sexual
impulses to an institution that has always asserted its asexual nature. However, as
with girls culture in general, overemphasis on the elusive do they/dont they
question regarding homosexual acts or desires among both performers and fans
is not only a limited, narrow mode of inquiry, but obscures the wider scope of
female relationships. In a more recent study of Takarazuka, Leonie Stickland
critiques Robertson for mistranslating passages in fan magazines, specifically, for
giving a sexualized tone to writing that expresses romantic or spiritual love (157
158). Stickland is quick to acknowledge that, while homosexual relationships do
occur between performers or with fans, for the most part the women involved do
not think of themselves as lesbians (159), implying a disconnect between different types of same-sex relationships.
The appeal of the otokoyaku for female fans is neutrality: the creation of
an imaginary fantasy world in which the tensions and anxiety of heterosexual
relations have been erased. It is important to remember that the otokoyaku in
the prewar period were different from the stylized, James Deanindrag look of
today. Before 1930, performers played both roles interchangeably, and there was
much less distinction in their style of makeup (Kawasaki 160161). Until 1932,
otokoyaku did not cut their hair short or wear wigs, but pulled their long hair
back or hid it under hats (Kawasaki 174). The ideal was not the frisson of female
bodies sharply differentiated by gendered surfaces, but a safe, neutral midpoint
where gender differences were elided. The ideals of sameness, neutrality, purity,
and chastity that are the central aesthetics of girls culture allowed Takarazuka to
embody spiritual love in its purest form.
Fan culture was also an important part of the prewar Takarazuka, as in
prewar girls culture generally. The first official fan club was formed in 1934,
called Tomo no Kai (Friends Club), and fans were called tomodachi (friends)
(Yamanashi 194). As with girls magazines, these clubs helped to create a nationwide network of girls, a private space in which they could communicate with
each other. These friends formed strong bonds, often described as family
(Yamanashi 199). Being a fan of Takarazuka meant far more than simply attending shows and included participating in a nationwide fan club, with meetings,
activities, newsletters, and special events. These nationwide networks, connected
to either Takarazuka or girls magazines, were key to the formation of the counterpublic sphere of girls culture.


Passionate Friendship

A Reading Community of Girls:

A Short History of Girls Magazines

Prewar girls magazines were literary journals aimed at teenage girls, primarily
those attending secondary school. In addition to publishing high-quality fiction
and art, however, girls magazines helped to form an imagined community of girls
by encouraging reader-generated content and interactivity. The first magazine
aimed specifically at girls, Shjokai (Girls Circle, Kinkd Shoseki) appeared in
1902, followed by Shjo sekai (Girls World, Hakubunkan) in 1906, coinciding
with the rise in higher education for middle- and upper-class girls. Shjokai and
Shjo sekai, however, were aimed at a wide range of ages, from elementary to
secondary school girls, and the content emphasized childish themes, frequently
showing pictures and photos of very young children. Although they were the
first, both magazines had relatively short print runs: Shjokai ended serialization
in 1912, and Shjo sekai ended in 1931. The three magazines that would have
the greatest lasting influence on girls culture were Shjo no tomo (The Girls
Friend), which appeared in 1908, published by Jitsugy no Nihonsha; Shjo gah
(Girls Pictorial) in 1918, published by Tkysha; and Shjo club in 1923, published by Kdansha. These three magazines were aimed specifically at a teenage
girl demographic and coincided with a rise in popular press output generally and
fragmentation of the market into new demographics, including young children,
teenage boys, and housewives.15
In the prewar years, while Shjo club had the most subscribers, Shjo no tomo
had the larger cultural impact. Imada Erika explains that the reason for the large
number of subscriptions was that Shjo club was the magazine most clearly tied
to school curriculum and with the most conservative ideology (115). In practical
terms, this meant embracing the Meiji era dictum of rysai kenbo (good wives,
wise mothers, a term that implied womens obedience to their husbands and
families) and ignoring topics considered not educational, such as the Takarazuka
Revue. Circulation numbers do not accurately indicate readership, however;
a 1938 study of girls found that 42 percent borrowed magazines from friends
(Inagaki 66). A 1936 survey of secondary school girls found that half of all fifthyear students read Shjo no tomo on a regular basis (Inagaki 67). While Shjo club
was more likely to be purchased by parents worried about their daughters education, Shjo no tomo was the magazine most closely associated with fostering the
creation of girls culture and the one that inspired the most passionate devotion
on the part of its readers. It did so by encouraging readers from all parts of the
nation to identify as a community through letter columns, contests, and local
meetings. Readers of the magazine were not merely passive consumers but were
active participants in the creation of girls culture.

Prewar Girls Culture 49

Shjo no tomo in its heyday, from the mid 1920s to the mid 1930s, was the
most innovative and influential of girls magazines, in part owing to the influence
of Uchiyama Motoi, editor in chief from 1931 to 1945. Uchiyama was influenced
by the literary sophistication of the magazine Akai tori (Red Bird), which established fiction for children as a literary genre (End 129). Uchiyama sought to
bring the same intellectual depth to fiction for older girls by publishing stories
and poetry by established highbrow writers, including Kawabata Yasunari,
Kikuchi Kan, Nakahara Chya, and Sat Haru, as well as authors who specialized in writing for girls, such as Yoshiya Nobuko and Yuri Seiko. Shjo no
tomo also featured illustrations by artists Takehisa Yumeji, Takabatake Kash,
and Nakahara Junichi, all of whom contributed significantly to the development
of a recognizable shjo aesthetic, as I will discuss in the next chapter. Unlike the
manga or fashion magazines that proliferated after the war, through the prewar
period Shjo no tomo, like other girls magazines, was a literary magazine, featuring serialized, illustrated novels, poetry, and educational essays. There was
very little manga and less emphasis on fashion compared to postwar magazines.
Uchiyama was determined to provide content with what he considered artistic
merit for his readers.
In addition to promoting the artistic qualities of Shjo no tomo, Uchiyama
also encouraged interactivity among the readers. One of the distinctive features of Shjo no tomo was the significance of reader contributions, in the form
of essays, poetry, drawings, calligraphy, and letters. Reader contributions were
a feature of girls magazines from their inception. Even in the early issues,
Shjo sekai, Shjokai, and Shjo gah all featured a large number of pages dedicated to reader submissions and letters, usually about a quarter of the total page
count.16 The October 1923 issue of Shjo gah even published the photo of the
first-place winner of a fiction contest, along with her story, which at four pages
was nearly as long as the professionally written stories (159163). Shjo no tomo,
however, was by far the most interactive of prewar girls magazines. The number
of pages dedicated to reader contributions and activities rose steadily through
the 1920s, reaching a peak in the early 1930s under Uchiyamas editorship. This
period also saw a marked rise in the total number of pages in the magazine. For
instance, the June 1912 issue of Shjo no tomo had only 112 pages total, of which
28 pages were dedicated to reader contributions of various kinds, a substantial
percentage. While the August 1926 issue was more than twice as long, with
272 pages total, the number of pages dedicated to reader submissions was still the
same. But by the May 1936 issue, under Uchiyamas direction, the magazine had
grown to 340 pages, with 56 pages of reader contributions, double what it had
been. In Imadas comparative study of girls and boys magazines in the 1930s,
boys magazines averaged a much lower number of pages dedicated to reader


Passionate Friendship

contributions: 15 out of 264 pages for Nihon shnen (Japan Boys) as compared to
49 out of 344 pages for Shjo no tomo in the November 1935 issues of each (142
143). By contrast, Shjo club, the most closely tied to school- and state-sponsored
ideology, was the least interactive. For instance, the October 1935 issue had only
7 out of 320 pages dedicated to reader submissions, which was even less than the
boys magazines.
Reader interaction with Shjo no tomo took many forms. Girls could submit their artistic work to contests, with the winners work selected for publication. They could also write notes and letters not just to the editors, but to each
other. Most significant, they could attend regional meetings for readers, called
the Tomo-chan Meeting (Tomo-chan Kai). This type of meeting was not a new
idea; as early as 1910 the readers of Shjo sekai had formed a study group (Dollase,
Ribbons Undone, 82). Shjo no tomo, however, expanded reader participation
through the 1920s and 1930s, with each issue featuring multiple columns for
contest results, reader-submitted artistic work (including poetry, fiction, calligraphy, and painting), letters, conversation sections, and notes on the Tomo-chan
Meeting. Even those girls whose work was not selected to be published still had
their names and prefectures listed. In the early years, this list occupied two pages
at the back of every issue, but Uchiyama dramatically increased the number of
pages and moved them to the middle of the magazine, making the list more
prominent and allowing more girls names to be listed. In the May 1936 issue,
the list of contest entrants is seven pages long (141148) and includes approximately ten thousand names, mostly in tiny type. Uchiyama also altered the format of the awards announcement so that the names of the first-, second-, and
third-place winners were more prominent. There were various prizes for contributions as well, such as pens and jewelry. Girls who were frequent contributors
were selected on a monthly basis to be awarded a gold wristwatch, which at the
time was an item of no small value, and many readers treasured these watches
their entire lives. Former reader Hanada Miyo recalls that she wore the watch
even as an adult, as a sign of her status as a literary girl [bungaku shjo] (End
and Uchida 281).
Many of these reader contributions sections allowed girls to address their
letters not to the magazine or editors but to each other, strengthening the sense
that they were participating in a nationwide network of girls. Readers who
were awarded the wristwatch were invited to contribute to a monthly column
called Midori no heya (The Green Room), which also strengthened the bonds
between them (Imada 152). The letters to the Green Room were usually directed
at fellow readers and expressed the writers joy at being selected for the honor of
joining this exclusive club or recounted the fun they had at the Tomo-chan Meeting. Some letters were general comments or free verse on happy occasions, such

Prewar Girls Culture 51

as seeing a particular flower in bloom. Other letters, however, were addressed to

specific friends and seem more private, although they were printed in a public
forum. For instance, one letter, in the May 1936 issue, addressed to a little
sister describes the object of the authors Class S feelings in passionate, sensual
terms, praising her long, slender, delicately rounded legs, pale, pleasingly plump
body (279). In this way, the readers participated in a shared community and
engaged in a discourse of familiarity that included both real friends from school
and the Tomo-chan Meetings, and an imagined community of readers.
This kind of interactivity was present from the earliest issues of Shjo no
tomo, although Uchiyama expanded its scope and made the interaction between
himself and readers more intimate. In the late Meiji and early Taish issues, girls
engaged in a teasing, lighthearted relationship with the editors. For instance,
in two regular features on facing pages called Toppi mond (Crazy Q&A)
and Odoke mond (Amusing Q&A), editors and readers posed a silly question and gave nonsense answers (June 1912, 9899). Early issues also featured
a column called Danwa club (Conversation Club), usually three to four pages
long, in which girls addressed letters to the editors and each other in an intimate
tone. These were not letters to the editor commenting on the previous issue
of the magazine, but usually reports or reflections on the girls personal lives.
For instance, one girl contributes a list of things she imagines suit the taste of
each editor: Mizuura-sensei: fields of delicate red flowers, beautiful tiny little
birds, and beautiful girls [otome] (June 1912, 82). The next two letters in the
June 1912 issue are an exchange between two girls in an S relationship, sharing news about their everyday lives (8283). Toward the back, there is a longer
section called Tsshin (Correspondence) that begins with a greeting from the
editors, then lists the names of new subscribers, welcoming them to the imagined circle of friends. In the May 1912 issue, this section is ten pages long (101
111), again indicating the importance of reader communication. By the 1920s,
however, these Correspondence and Conversation Club columns gave way to
a new feature called Tomo-chan Club. At first this was also a column in which
girls addressed letters to each other, but with the inception of the Tomo-chan
Meetings, it became a forum for commenting on the previous months meetings. Under Uchiyamas editorship, this section grew to around twenty-five to
thirty pages per issue and included short notes from hundreds of girls. Uchiyama
made a point of answering every note personally. The section was divided by
region, including regions in the colonies, such as Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan,
indicating the wide spread of readership. Notes from girls who attended meetings at which Uchiyama was present (most often in the Tokyo area) were often
addressed directly to him. Uchiyama also included a personal note to readers
on the last page of each issue, above a box giving instructions for submissions.


Passionate Friendship

Under Uchiyamas editorship, the number of submissions increased, but, more

important, the contents of the letters changed from an exchange of jokes to more
emotional content, creating a sense of a shared community.
The significance of the Tomo-chan Club column is that it allowed readers
to address both Uchiyama and other readers directly. While their notes tended
to be brief, the idea of communication with friends was more important than
the actual content of the letters. This type of exchange seems strikingly similar to twenty-first-century communication between teens on the Internet and
mobile phones. Readers letters were written in the language of schoolgirls,
which included not only slang terms and frequent use of English words, but
playful mixing of hiragana and katakana. This secret code may have contributed
to creating a sense of community even among girls who might never have met
in person and may have deterred outsiders from intruding in this private world
(Imada 150; Kawamura, Otome no inori, 121). Readers also used this language in
letters to Uchiyama himself, addressing him as Uchiyama-sensei, Motoi-sensei,
Motoi-niisan (older brother), and even Papa, indicating a deep emotional bond
with him. For his part, Uchiyama responded in kind, using girls language, which
may have encouraged readers to think of him as one of them. I will discuss the
linguistic features and social significance of girls language in the next chapter,
but it is worth noting that editors of boys magazines did not write in teenage
slang but kept their distance as adults (Imada 147).
This warm tone in Shjo no tomo contrasts sharply with the more conservative Shjo club, which contained very few pages for letters and no artistic contributions at all. What letters did appear were guided by an authoritative editorial hand, rather than the spirit of open exchange that dominated Shjo no tomo.
For instance, consider the rather depressing column, Watashi no tetsudai (My
Chores), in which girls described how they helped around the house: feeding
younger siblings, helping to mend clothes, and the like (Oct. 1935, 238239).
Although the prizes Shjo club offered readers were more lavish, including various
models of desk clocks in addition to the standard wristwatch, the contests usually
involved answering a logic puzzle rather than creative work. Shjo club only ran
letters to the editor and did not include reader-submitted stories or artwork, or
any conversation columns. Not surprisingly, as a more conservative publication, Shjo club had less reader-submitted content and did not foster the same
kind of creativity and intimacy as Shjo no tomo.
Uchiyama encouraged girls to express themselves creatively in the pages of
Shjo no tomo not only for altruistic reasons, but in part to nurture new talent,
ensuring a continually growing pool of professional writers, artists, and editors.
As a result, Shjo no tomo became an important outlet for girls, both professional
and amateur, to get their work published. Many professional contributors began

Prewar Girls Culture 53

as readers, including artists Fukaya Mihoko and Murakami Michie, and some
readers became minor celebrities, such as the girls chosen to play Michiko, Yko,
and Katsuko in the photo spread based on Otome no minato. Through the 1930s,
Uchiyama published a yearly anthology of fiction by readers. According to End
Hiroko, Uchiyamas goal was not merely to increase circulation, but to create
a forum where girls could express themselves and share their experiences and
ideas with other girls (96). She quotes an unnamed former editor as saying, Girl
students really didnt receive that kind of training anywhere else back then. The
only other example might have been Hani Motokos Jiy Gakuen [Free Academy].17 Id like to think that I too contributed to empowering girls back then
(96). Many women who went on to become professional writers also credit Shjo
no tomo with inspiring them, including essayist Kikuchi Tomoe and childrens
book authors Iwasaki Kyko, Kanazawa Toshiko, and Shgenji Haruko (End
and Uchida 292303).
In conjunction with these reader contribution pages, perhaps the most significant feature of Shjo no tomo was the Tomo-chan Meeting (Fig. 2.3). Attendance ranged from a few dozen in smaller towns and in the colonies to several
hundred in Tokyo (End and Uchida 274). The girls listened to lectures and participated in discussions, which were subsequently printed in the magazine. The
purpose of these meetings was not only to boost circulation, but also to involve
the girls directly in the magazine and to assist in forming a real community of
girls that stretched across the home islands and abroad.18 For many girls, perhaps
the most memorable part of attending the Tomo-chan Meeting was the opportunity to meet Uchiyama Motoi in person, strengthening the personal connection
they felt with him (End and Uchida 306313). The meetings also gave them the
opportunity to meet favorite artists and writers such as Nakahara Junichi (Imada
151). These meetings gave girls an unprecedented chance to socialize in public
but away from school and family and to meet with professional artists and writers. These encounters in turn helped to inspire the readers to become artists and
writers themselves. After the meetings, girls could then post notes in the Tomochan Club section of the magazine, which offered the participants a concrete
sense of belonging to a community, a support network, a private world of girls.
Essayist Suga Atsuko, in a collection of her memoirs, recalls how important
Shjo no tomo was to her as a girl in the difficult war years of the early 1940s. She
writes that her parents bought her magazines for elementary school students, but
even when she was a child it was clear to her that these were mandated by adults
as a supplement to schoolwork, and she found them boring. Once she began
secondary school, she asked her mother to buy her Shjo club, which made her
feel very grown-up, but then she discovered Shjo no tomo, which she found much
more elegant, making even Shjo club look dull by comparison (68). She writes,

Passionate Friendship


Figure 2.3. Photos of

the Tomo-chan Meeting.
Among the participants
pictured are Uchiyama
Motoi (opposite, far right),
Nakahara Junichi (opposite,
center left), and Kawabata
Yasunari (top left) (Shjo
no tomo, December 1939.
Jitsugy no Nihonsha)

There were several reasons I wanted that magazine [Shjo no tomo]. One reason was that compared to Shjo club, [Shjo no] tomos covers were much more
sophisticated [tokaiteki]. But the other reason was that, in those days, when we
had nothing to wear and never enough to eat and it felt as if, whichever way
we turned, we would run up against grey walls, Shjo no tomo helped us get
past all that and invited us to a world of pleasures. (69)

Suga was writing of her experiences during the war years, when the magazine
was no longer at its peak owing to wartime censorship, but her comment that the
magazine was a portal to a more beautiful, refined world captures the feelings of
many of its fans.

Prewar Girls Culture 55

Even among girls who never met in person, attendance at the Tomo-chan
Meetings could provide a sense of participation in a nationwide community of
girls. As part of her study of Shjo no tomo in the prewar years, End Hiroko
contacted several women who had been devoted readers in the 1930s. End, who
herself had been a reader, writes that, although she had never met them before,
we are bonded to each other by Shjo no tomo (89). She also says that upon
meeting they immediately fell into a senpai/kohai type of relationship, referring
to the close bonds formed by senior and junior members of a group, such as in
a school or club (90). Not only was Shjo no tomo an expression of shjo culture,
but the magazine itself also fostered the types of close friendships and feeling of
community associated with girls schools.


Passionate Friendship

In the wake Japans invasion of China in 1937 and the increase in militarism,
however, the tenor of Shjo no tomo changed radically, and readership declined.
While End praises Uchiyama for maintaining the integrity of the magazine
during the Pacific War (2728), Imada argues that, by the late 1930s, Uchiyama
had bowed to government pressure and repudiated S relationships and other
markers of girls culture (165). S relationships had occupied a central place in
the discourse of girls magazines, both in the serialized novels and accompanying illustrations and in the readers messages to each other; even the more
conservative Shjo club published fiction featuring S relationships as a means of
eschewing depictions of heterosexual romance. But by the late 1930s, what had
once seemed an innocent way to prevent girls from becoming sexually active
prematurely now interfered with the wartime governments total war strategy.
The attack on girls culture was not a condemnation of homosexuality but of
sentimentality. The shjo was by her nature nonproductive and nonreproductive, but the total war effort could not afford to allow any citizen to be idle, even
the formerly protected girl students. The new wartime ideology of girlhood had
to include patriotism and working for the good of the nation; there would be
no more time for sentimentalism, poetic idylls, or silly girls language. In 1941,
when Uchiyama organized a round-table discussion attacking sentimentalism,
which he claimed clouded girls rational understanding of the real world, readers reacted with dismay (Imada 171176). This rift between Uchiyama and his
readers highlights the features of girls culture that readers considered authentic
(purity, innocence, spiritual love) in contrast to qualities enforced from above
(patriotism, self-sacrifice). Although the editors of girls magazines and later
girls comics were predominantly men, they could only connect with their readers if the girls felt the depiction of girlishness reflected their ideals. When the
wartime censors mandated a change, that sense of authenticity was lost.
What then are we to make of Shjo no tomo from a feminist point of view? On
the one hand, the magazine, under Uchiyama Motois editorship, helped develop
the professional careers of many women artists, writers, and editors. Even more
significant, Uchiyama encouraged all the girl readers to express themselves creatively and to form nationwide networks to support each other. On the other
hand, there is a conservative ideology at work in many of the stories and essays,
particularly during the war years. In this regard, however, the magazine was no
different from any other magazine or newspaper in the 1940s, an era when many
authors were imprisoned or forced to repudiate publicly writing the censors
found objectionable. Shjo no tomo and Shjo club were published continuously
through the war years, even during the paper shortages of 1945, which indicates
that the magazines had fallen in line with wartime ideology. Like many others in
the mass media during the war years, Uchiyamas legacy is compromised by his

Prewar Girls Culture 57

complicity with state censorship. The legacy of girls culture is likewise mixed,
both encouraging creativity and self-expression and limiting that expression, particularly in heterosexual relationships. The strategy of girls culture in the face of
sexism and unequal power dynamics in relationships was avoidance rather than
Girls culture, or, more properly, schoolgirl culture, developed in girls
schools, the Takarazuka Revue, and in girls magazines from the 1910s through
the 1930s as a distinct and cohesive subculture. Shjo no tomo in particular became
an organizing force for girls and young women not only as consumers, but also
as producers of their own culture. The shjo image that appears in prewar girls
culture, unlike the image seen in the novels and films discussed in previous chapters, is far more concerned with homosocial relationships than with heterosexual
romance or marriage. The emphasis on girl-girl bonds represented the apotheosis of spiritual love in its purest form, that is, the intellectual connection between
two unsullied souls. In the next chapter I will discuss the narrative and visual
aesthetics of the novels and illustrations in girls magazines, which became the
markers by which this imagined community identified itself. Those aesthetic
features include not just hugely exaggerated eyes and willowy limbs, but also
a tendency to make all characters look the same and a preference for sameness
and mirroring in romantic couples. When shjo manga artists looked back to
prewar novels and illustrations for models of girls culture and representations
of teenage desire, they would find that homosocial and homosexual relationships
continued to be appealing.

Chapter 3
Narrative and Visual Aesthetics
of Prewar Girls Magazines

n the 1920s and 1930s, readers accepted

magazines such as Shjo no tomo, Shjo club, and Shjo gah as the authentic representation of girls culture, a discrete discourse premised on a private, closed
world of girls. In demonstrating how those magazines promoted the perception
of authenticity, the previous chapter focused on reader-generated content. While
significant, reader contributions were only part of each issue, usually located at
the back. This chapter will examine the illustrations and serialized girls novels
(shjo shsetsu) that appeared at the front of each issue. The serialized novels and
the illustrations that accompanied them worked together to create a recognizable
aesthetic of girls culture.
Although their names have been largely forgotten today, Takehisa Yumeji,
Takabatake Kash, and Nakahara Junichi were the groundbreaking artists
responsible for creating the shjo aesthetic that dominated prewar girls magazines and that later formed the basis of shjo manga. All three artists dominated
the most popular magazines, turning out hundreds of full-color and black-andwhite illustrations. But more than that, they were the tastemakers for girls culture; they designed and sold kimono patterns, wallpaper, stationery, and other
commodities. With the passage of time and changing fashions, these artists have
fallen into relative obscurity even in Japan, but they hold a central place in the
development of girls culture.1 Although these artists worked primarily in the
realm of popular magazine publishing, their work was influenced by trends in
the larger art world, particularly the intersection between fine art and commercial art. At the same time, novelist Yoshiya Nobuko established the narrative
discourse of girls culture, through accounts of female friendship and the use of
elegant girls language, in two of her representative novels, Wasurenagusa (Forget-me-not, 1932) and Ban Sensei (Our Teacher, Miss Ban, 1938). These two
elements, narrative and visual aesthetics, form the basis of a recognizable shjo
aesthetic that would endure even after the war.

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 59

The Art World in Prewar Japan

Commercial artists such as Yumeji Takehisa, Takabatake Kash, and Nakahara Junichi have not received as much scholarly attention as academy artists.
When these artists are discussed in the context of girls magazines or shjo
manga, often the focus is on the subjects of their illustrations (Hartley 122) or
comparisons with postwar manga aesthetics (Takahashi Mizuki 118122), both
of which are important considerations. However, their distinctive styles, Kashs
in particular, were a key component of girls culture. As I will argue, Kashs
distinctive fusion of commercial and fine art as well as Western and Japanese
aesthetics created this new style. In order to understand the intersection of all
these influences, his work needs to be considered in the context of the larger art
world of the time.
One feature of Kashs style is the combination of the two dominant modes
of early-twentieth-century fine art: yga, or Western-style oil painting, and
nihonga, or Japanese-style painting.2 Although nihonga is a modern genre, it is
linked to pre-Meiji art in that paintings are usually done on silk screens or scrolls
rather than on canvas and usually in ink or with crushed mineral pigments affixed
with glue rather than in oil paint. Topics tend to favor classical motifs such as
flowers, landscapes, and portraits of beautiful women (bijinga). Artists usually
specialize in either yga or nihonga, although the exclusivity of the two genres
is debatable.3 Rather than representing an unbroken traditional art form, it is
more useful to think of nihonga as a genre that represents a recognizably native
Japanese style in a modern context.
Magazine illustrators such as Kash were influenced by both yga and
nihonga and worked at a time of mutual influence and exchange between the
worlds of fine art and commercial art. For instance, major department stores
began commissioning posters from well-known academy artists in the 1890s
(Sapin 318319). The rise in material wealth and literacy in the late Taish and
early Shwa periods allowed for a flourishing of print culture, particularly newspapers and magazines, which led to what art historian John Clark terms the creation of a new kind of decorated space through consumer advertisement (27).
Clark explains that many of these advertising posters and magazine illustrations
took the form of bijinga, or portraits of beautiful women (29). Bijinga, a genre
that dates to the Edo period, were usually woodblock prints of geisha or prostitutes in full or three-quarters figure, arranged so as to display their clothing
in great detail. This emphasis on rich, detailed garments translated well to the
commercial demands of magazine illustration, department store advertising, as
well as ads for cosmetics, beer, and other commodities. Clark quotes magazine
editor Yamano Ayao, who says, The powerful point in cosmetic advertising is


Passionate Friendship

to put into the advertisement an atmosphere which responds to womens desire

for beauty, to their yearnings and longings. Women do not read advertisements. Women sense their own beauty in them (32). The beautiful women of
commercial bijinga illustrations were aimed primarily at a female demographic
and reflected womens (and girls) aspirations for wealth and privilege as well as
depicting or even driving fashion trends. Thus a classical genre was repurposed
to suit the needs of modern publishing.
However, the boundaries between commercial and fine art remained relatively rigid, particularly in art criticism, which marginalized magazine illustrators
such as Kash. The creation of art schools in early Meiji fostered a rigid European-style hierarchy that favored academic pure art and despised commercial
or decorative art (Weisenfeld 79). Although some academy artists created commercial art, they tended to consider their commercial work as a sidelight (Sapin
317336). Artists who specialized in magazine illustration were never fully part
of the fine arts world, nor were they a part of the newly emerging field of shgy
bijutsu, or commercial art/industrial design. As Gennifer Weisenfeld explains in
her study of designer Hamada Masuji, shgy bijutsu developed in the 1920s in
response to the same trends of mass culture and consumerism that drove the
magazine industry (78). Hamada, whose writing was extremely influential in the
1920s and 1930s, emphasized utilitarianism and rationalism (82), which were
at odds with the lyrical aesthetic of shjo illustration. This emphasis perhaps
contributed to the marginalization of a purely decorative art style that primarily
held appeal for teenage girls, and, perhaps for this reason, the work of artists like
Kash has not been studied systematically either in Japan or abroad. While much
more work on these artists is needed, the next section will give a brief overview
of their careers and style.
Visual Aesthetics of Girls Magazines: Yumeji Takehisa,
Takabatake Kash, and Nakahara Junichi

Illustrations in prewar girls magazines, including the full-color covers, pull-out

or tear-out color inserts, and black-and-white drawings that accompanied the
serialized novels and articles were the primary means of attracting new readers.
Publishers featured the work of popular artists in order to increase circulation
and profits. Over time, in reaction to the preferences of the girl readers, the
illustrations began to take on a recognizable aesthetic, which readers associated
with an authentic expression of girls culture. I propose a genealogy of popular
and influential artists from Takehisa Yumeji to Takabatake Kash to Nakahara
Junichi, all of whom contributed to the development of a recognizable shjo
aesthetic, with particular emphasis on Kash as a stylistic innovator.

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 61

The first major illustrator associated with shjo magazines was Takehisa
Yumeji, who also illustrated a wide variety of other magazines for children and
adults as well as novels, posters, and advertisements. Although Yumeji was only
four years older than Kash, his work preceded Kashs in terms of publication
and popularity. Also, unlike Kash, Yumeji was a self-taught artist, who did not
attend any major art academy and was not involved in the ideological debates
between nihonga and yga, or between fine art and commercial art. This independence is reflected in the idiosyncratic style he developed, which, although it was
popular among girl readers, was not directly copied by later artists.
Yumejis illustrations of girls were the first in a genre that came to be called
jojga (lyrical pictures), which evoke a quiet, sentimental, sometimes mournful
mood. Yumejis style is loose and sketchy. His images of girls, unlike those of
his successors, do not emphasize the eyes. It was not so much his use of line or
composition that proved influential but the atmosphere his illustrations evoked.4
In his sketchy style, girls appear weak, barely held together by their heavy, loose
clothing; they also look wispy, ephemeral, and nearly disembodied, reflecting
the aesthetic of chsei, the imaginary neutral gender idealized in girls culture
(Fig. 3.1). Yumeji was not exclusively interested in the human form; many of
his contributions to girls magazines took the form of illustrations of flowers or
other abstract repeating designs, and instructions on the decoration of household
items with these designs (Ogura 13). Yumejis style is in many ways highly individual and was considered most suited to illustrating girls novels (shjo shsetsu);
he never illustrated adventure stories or historical fiction (jidaigeki), for instance
(Senzoku 16).
Yumeji was also the first girls magazine illustrator to become a celebrity in
his own right and to produce goods (gzu) such as stationery, letter sets, and
postcards. These were inexpensive items that girls could purchase and, by doing
so, bring a piece of the lyrical, sentimental tone of jojga into their own homes.
Stationery is by its nature a communal object; girls used letter sets designed by
Yumeji and other popular jojga artists to send sentimental notes to each other,
a crucial part of the S relationship and participation in the nationwide shjo
network. The magazines themselves also contained small items that could be
removed and used as decoration in the girls room, usually in the form of a folded
color insert under the front cover, designed to be used as a poster. Postwar shjo
manga have continued this practice, using posters, stickers, and trading cards to
extend the work of popular artists beyond the pages of the magazine.5
While Yumeji established the lyrical tone of jojga in the 1910s, it was Takabatake Kash who was primarily responsible for creating the chic modern look of
the 1920s (the late Taish and early Shwa periods). Although Kashs training
allowed him to create lush, carefully rendered illustrations that look like fine art,


Passionate Friendship

Figure 3.1. White Plum.

Illustration by Takehisa
Yumeji. (Shjo sekai, April

to interpret his magazine illustrations as the expression of personal beliefs is to

misunderstand the motivation and creation of commercial art. Barbara Hartley,
whose short article is one of the only English-language studies of Kash, places
his work in context of the development of the imperial state in the interwar years
(4), yet she ignores the role Kashs images play in advertising and magazine illustration. She cites the emphasis on stylized figures and detailed clothing as well as
the lack of images of illness and poverty as evidence of Kashs allegiance to an
imperial ideology (15), but commercial art, and in particular the bijinga genre, is
by its very nature concerned only with the ideal and with fantasies of wealth and
privilege. While Hartleys conclusion, that Kashs illustrations are complicit
with a nationalistic ideology, is true in broad terms, simply criticizing popular
magazines for reflecting the dominant trends of the times does not shed light
on how those magazines and Kashs work in particular spoke to girl readers.

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 63

In order to understand his work and his influence in creating a shjo aesthetic,
we must look first at the details of his career and the context of shjo magazines.
Kash was trained in both yga and nihonga by some of the most influential
artists of his time, and his work reflects his background in both styles. Kash
began his art education by studying nihonga at the Kyoto City School of Arts
and Crafts (Kyto-shi Bijutsu Kgei Gakk) in 1903. The Kyoto School, opened
in 1880, was the first government-sponsored art school to offer classes in both
nihonga and yga, although at the time Kash attended, the emphasis was on
nihonga (Conant, Owyoung, and Rimer 84). Kashs teachers included influential
bunten (academy) painters such as Takeuchi Seih, Kikuchi Keigetsu, and Yamamoto Shunky, and his classmates were, among others, Murakami Kagaku and
Sakabara Shih (Takabatake Asako 31), placing him at the center of the nihonga
movement at the time. Although Kash began his training in nihonga, two years
later, yga specialists Kobayashi Wasaku and Tanaka Kisaku had joined the faculty (ibid. 33), instilling in Kash a desire to learn more about Western painting
styles and techniques. Feeling that nihonga was not modern enough, in 1906
Kash transferred to the newly opened Kansai Academy of Art (Kansai Bijutsuin)
to study with Asai Ch (ibid. 51), one of the foremost yga painters of the early
twentieth century. While there, he was exposed to the latest trends in the European art world, including Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, and the Pre-Raphaelites. In
1909, he entered a private school run by Terasaki Kogy, a nihonga painter and
former professor at Tokyo School of Fine Art (Tky Bijutsu Gakk). During
that time, he perfected his technique as a nihonga genre painter, working in particular on bijinga. Although his career would be almost entirely in commercial
art, Kashs training was in fine art at its most elite.
Kash combined elements of Art Nouveau with nihonga to create a distinctive style that was chic and modern. His first break in the world of commercial
art came in 1911, when the Tsumura Pharmaceutical Company commissioned
him to create a new advertisement for their product Chjt, a tea made from
Chinese medicinal herbs (kanpyaku) and marketed to women to cure a variety
of female complaints from premenstrual problems to headache to hysteria.6
The image that he created, of a woman holding a cup of tea with steam rising
in elegant curlicues, was an instant hit, reflecting larger trends in advertising in
the newly emerging mass culture at the beginning of the Taish era. Kashs
use of the flowing lines of Art Nouveau made the Chjt campaign stand out
at a time when most print advertisements were densely crowded with text. Over
the next decade, he produced many variations on the same advertisement for
Chjt, introducing new techniques, such as dotted lines and halftones that
echo the work of Aubrey Beardsley (Senzoku 18). Kash continued to create
advertisements through the 1920s and 1930s for department stores as well as


Passionate Friendship

for other products marketed to women, such as makeup, perfume, and records
(Takabatake Asako 72). Like Yumeji, Kash also produced stationery and other
inexpensive goods for girls. Kashs stylish illustrations dovetailed with a booming print and consumer market and were particularly suited to selling glamorous
products to women and girls.7
Kashs mix of Art Nouveau/Art Deco/Jugendstil sensibilities with nihonga
encapsulates the hybrid nature of mass culture in Japan in the 1920s and 1930s.
Kash, unlike Yumeji, was not exclusively associated with girls magazines, but
created illustrations for womens and boys magazines as well. Following the success of the Chjt campaign, in 1913 Kash contracted with the publishing
house Kdansha to illustrate several of their magazines, beginning with Kdan
club, then in the next few years expanding to Shnen club (Boys Club), Omoshiro
club (Fun Club), Fujin club (Ladies Club), Gendai (Modern), and the girls magazine Shjo club. However, after a falling out with an editor at Kdansha in 1924
(Takabatake Asako 111), he was no longer under exclusive contract and began
to publish widely in most of the popular magazines of the time, including the
girls magazines Shjo no tomo and Shjo gah. By the late 1920s, he was producing
between eighty and one hundred illustrations each month (ibid. 143). Knowing
that a large color illustration by Kash would boost sales, magazines featured his
name prominently on the cover (ibid. 144).
Whether creating illustrations for boys and girls, or adult women, Kash
tended to depict his characters in the same recognizable, stylized mode. Both
boys and girls have small but carefully rendered mouths, often with dark red
lips half-open and slightly exaggerated eyes half-closed; the overall effect is of a
fleshy, indolent sensuality (Pls. 1 and 2). The careful rendering of clothing and
hairstyles is not surprising given the direct connection between the illustrations
in womens magazines and developments in womens and girls fashions. Many
critics have also commented on the androgyny of his characters (Miyauchi 10;
Tamaru 62; Ogura 14). In the case of illustrations for boys magazines, this is
apparent to even a casual observer. Kash is also associated with the formation of
the bishnen (beautiful boy) image in the 1920s and 1930s in boys magazines. His
illustrations of heroic boys are markedly feminine and homoerotic. His illustrations frequently show half-naked, lean but muscular boys undergoing physical
torture, often in identical pairs. Although it is beyond the scope of this study to
delve more deeply into the concurrent world of boys magazines, perhaps the
concept of sameness also functioned in relationships between boys.8
The androgynous nature of Kashs illustrations of girls is perhaps less evident to a contemporary Western observer. The girls have soft, rounded features,
voluptuous, sensual bodies, and carefully rendered clothing, all of which seem
quite feminine. Japanese scholars, however, point to the androgynous nature of

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 65

Kashs illustrations of girls as a hallmark of his aesthetic style (Miyauchi 10;

Tamaru 62). What makes these images of girls seem boyish is not the shape of
their bodies, which are decidedly feminine, but Kashs tendency to draw girls
with Western clothes and bobbed hair. And while he arranges the female figure in
stylized, static poses, many illustrations hint at cosmopolitanism and athleticism,
for instance, showing a girl holding a tennis racket or a pair of skis (Fig. 3.2).
However, with the rise of militarism in the late 1930s, Kashs illustrations
of boys fell out of favor and did not reappear after the war. Likewise, fashion magazines for adult women after the war used photographs rather than illustrations.
In spite of his widespread popularity in the prewar 1920s and 1930s, Kashs
distinctive aesthetic did not influence postwar images in magazines for boys and
adult women, especially as the androgyny accepted in the 1920s disappeared. It
was only his illustrations for girls magazines that would have a lasting influence.

Figure 3.2. Indian Summer. Kashs illustrations

of girls with bobbed hair
playing at various sports
seemed androgynous at the
time. (Cover for Shjo gah,
October 1930. Yayoi


Passionate Friendship

Kashs illustrations for girls magazines, including Shjo no tomo, Shjo

club, and Shjo gah, reflected the themes of homosociality expressed in those
magazines, particularly the S relationship (Pl. 1). Kash frequently depicts girls
in matched pairs, their faces nearly identical and in some cases their clothing
as well, although more commonly one girl is wearing a kimono and the other
is dressed in Western fashions (Pls. 2 and 3). The image of two girls together
evokes the S relationship, and such images often illustrated novels about girls
in S relationships (Fig. 3.3). But why the marked tendency to show one girl in
Japanese clothes and the other in Western clothes? Images of two identical or
nearly identical women were common in advertising art of the 1920s, perhaps to
encourage women and girls to project themselves into new roles by purchasing
new products. This tendency suggests an assimilation of difference through costuming not unlike the way actresses in the Takarazuka Revue assumed male roles.

Figure 3.3. Illustration for

Otome no minato by Nakahara
Junichi. Yko and Michiko
walk arm in arm, their
uniforms and similar faces
emphasizing the aesthetic
of sameness that typifies
the S relationship. (Shjo no
tomo, March 1938. Junichi

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 67

The pair of girls with similar faces, one wearing Japanese clothes and one wearing Western clothes, may reflect the assimilation of Western culture in Japan
and emphasizes the essential sameness of the Japanese girls inside the clothing.
The presence of two girls together also implies membership in a social group
or perhaps the projection of another self (mo hitori no watashi). This motif of
mirroring faces while dressing bodies in opposing Japanese and foreign outfits
is not unique to Kash but appears often through the 1920s and 1930s, as in the
illustration in figure 3.4 by Fukiya Kji for Shjo club.
Kashs fascination with the Japanese female assimilation of fashion can be
seen in his magnum opus, Utsuriyuku sugata (Changing Figures, 1921), two folding screen paintings in the nihonga style featuring sixty girls and women in various
costumes. This work encapsulates the common motifs of Kashs illustrations for
girls magazines. Nearly all of the figures are arranged in pairs. The costumes

Figure 3.4. A Stroll.

Illustration by Fukiya Kji.
The motif of a pair of girls
in Japanese and Western
clothes was common in girls
magazines in illustrations
by many different artists.
(Insert for Shjo club, July
1931. Hukiya Tatsuo)


Passionate Friendship

represent the various styles from the first year of Meiji (1868) up to the year he
created the work, 1921. Most of the figures wear kimonos appropriate for various seasons, ages, and social classes, but other costumes also make an appearance,
including the hoopskirt and bustle, various school uniforms, the modern girl
(moga) look, several Chinese dresses, the mink coat, the maid uniform, the bus
girl uniform, the ski outfit, and the bathing suit. In spite of this variety, because
the figures all have similar facial features and because of the relatively flat plane
typical of nihonga, the overall impression is of sameness and assimilation of difference. The modern girls in cloche hats or bathing suits are just as Japanese as
the ladies in formal court attire, or in striped kimonos, black silk collars, and high
Shimada chignons of the 1870s. Rather than anxiety over the loss or dilution of
traditional Japanese culture, the work celebrates the mastery of the foreign by
the Japanese female body.
At the height of his popularity in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Kash created a modern look for girls and women in Japan. His distinctive style, infusing
commercial art with the precision and sophistication of fine art, and combining
Western influences, particularly Art Nouveau, with nihonga was ideally suited to
appeal to the urban middle class looking for a reinterpretation of Japanese aesthetics in a global setting. For girls culture in particular, Kash brought to the
genre of jojga the exaggerated eye, elegantly stylized form, and detailed clothing as well as a tendency toward androgyny and sameness that would mark both
illustration in prewar girls magazines and postwar shjo manga.
Following Kash, the illustrator whose work would come to be most closely
associated with girls magazines, particularly Shjo no tomo, and who would have
a lasting impact on the look of postwar shjo manga was Nakahara Junichi.
Nakahara began his career in the 1920s and remained a popular and influential
artist through the 1960s. His work combines the sentimentalism and innocence
of Yumeji with the fleshy, starry-eyed style of Kash. Like Kash, his work made
visible the traits of sameness, assimilation, and sentimentalism associated with
shjo culture. Nakahara began working for Shjo no tomo in 1921, and by the
1930s, with the support of editor in chief Uchiyama Motoi, his illustrations had
become the signature look of the magazine.9
Nakaharas illustrations reflect the ideals of girls culture: innocence, purity,
longing, and the beauty of the S relationship, expressed through an aesthetic
of sameness. Nakaharas girls are all slender and arranged at angles to indicate
weakness. The faces are oval with pointed chins, small but very full lips, straight
hair, and hugely exaggerated eyes with very full lashes and many highlights (Fig.
3.5). In particular, this exaggeration of the eyes became emblematic of shjo
manga in the postwar period. The cover illustrations that Nakahara drew for
Shjo no tomo through the 1930s and into the early 1940s are almost all the same:

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 69

the girl is facing the viewer directly but with the head tilted and the eyes looking
to the side (Pl. 4). The emphasis is on purity and innocence, tinged slightly with
longing. Many of Nakaharas illustrations inside the magazine featured girls in
pairs, fitting for the stories of S relationships he was illustrating (see Fig. 3.3).
Girls with similar facial features and wearing identical uniforms strike poses that
reflect their close emotional bonds. Like Kashs work, Nakaharas illustrations
appealed to girls through depiction of emotion and an aesthetic of sameness.
The work of these three illustrators, Yumeji, Kash, and Nakahara, helped
to create a discrete and recognizable discourse within the pages of girls magazines. The features of their illustrations, specifically, the lyrical, wistful tone,
the tendency toward sameness and matched pairs of girls, and the exaggeration
of the eye all became standard motifs in girls magazines and were picked up

Figure 3.5. Cover by

Nakahara Junichi for
volume 1 of Yoshiya
Nobukos short story
collection Hana monogatari, 1939. The use of
flowers as a dominant
background motif as well
as the exaggerated eyes
and willowy limbs would
have a strong influence
on the look of postwar
shjo manga. ( Junichi


Passionate Friendship

later by postwar shjo manga. The dominant mode in these illustrations was not
only a tendency toward inner reflection, but, more important, an emphasis on
homogender relations within a private world of girls.
Narrative Aesthetics of Girls Magazines:
Yoshiya Nobuko

The illustrations in girls magazines were one half of the recognizable aesthetic
within girls culture; the other half was the narrative style in serialized novels
that the illustrations accompanied. The novelist credited with the formation of
girls novels as a genre (shjo shsetsu) is Yoshiya Nobuko. Within the private
world of girls magazines, which encouraged girls to express themselves and to
form close relationships with other girls, Yoshiyas novels celebrate female bonds
over heterosexual marriage, particularly (but not exclusively) the S relationship.
Although Yoshiya was the single most popular author published in prewar girls
magazines, as a writer of popular fiction (taish bungaku), she has been excluded
from the canon of modern Japanese literature (junbungaku). Recently, there has
been a resurgence of interest in her work among feminist scholars writing in both
English and Japanese. However, the attempt to resurrect Yoshiya as a feminist or
even as a lesbian author is deeply problematic, as such an approach ignores the
context of girls culture. Rather than interrogating her novels for hints of incipient feminism, lesbianism, or subversion to the heterosexual, patriarchal family
structure, I will analyze how Yoshiyas novels contributed to the formation of a
recognizable shjo aesthetic not so much in the plots of her novels, but in her
distinctive voice. The greater significance of Yoshiyas work is not in any ideology that may or may not appear in her fiction, but rather in the lyricism, emotion, and orality of her prose style.
Yoshiya led an unconventional life, seemingly at odds with the conservative tone of many of the magazines that published her work. She lived from
1923 until the end of her life with another woman, Monma Chiyo, which has
led postwar scholars to label her as a lesbian and to read her work in biographic
terms. Anthropologist Jennifer Robertson, for instance, in a short biographic
essay, gives a detailed account of Yoshiyas life with emphasis on the love letters
she exchanged with Monma, particularly those expressing frustration with their
inability to marry.10 Robertson does not analyze any of Yoshiyas novels in particular but assumes an inherent connection between Yoshiyas life and her writing. Robertson writes, Although I cannot elaborate here, I suspect that Yoshiyas
diary entries and letters to Monma were proving grounds for the gender-bending ideas that, rendered in tamer rhetoric, infuse her novels and commentaries alike (Yoshiya Nobuko 166). Moreover, as the subtitle of her essay, Out

Plate 1. December Wind. Cover illustration by Takabatake Kash. Kash combined

an Art Nouveau influence with the flat plane of nihonga and careful rendering of the latest
fashions. The exaggerated eyes, small mouths, and sensual lips are typical of his work,
as is the pairing of two girls with similar features. (Cover for Shjo gah, December 1928.
Yayoi Museum)

Plate 2. On the Grass.

Illustration by Takabatake Kash.
A typical pairing of two girls with
similar features, one in kimono and
one in Western clothes, suggesting
the S relationship. (Insert for Shjo
gah, April 1928. Yayoi Museum)

Plate 3. Title unknown.

Illustration by Takabatake Kash.
Another example of two girls in
Japanese and Western clothes.
(Insert for Shjo gah, November
1928. Yayoi Museum)

Plate 4. Cover illustration for Shjo no tomo by Nakahara Junichi, May 1940. The exaggerated
eyes and delicate body are typical of his work. ( Junichi Nakahara/Himawariya)

Plate 5. Illustration by Takahashi Makoto, 1973. Typical example of Takahashis mature work,
featuring highly decorated images of girls with starry, exaggerated eyes. ( MACOTO)

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 71

and Outspoken in Practice and Prose, implies, Robertson sees Yoshiya as not
only a lesbian, but a subversive, oppositional figure: she repeatedly uses the word
radical to describe her (Yoshiya Nobuko 167, 168). Yoshitake Teruko, in her
book-length study of Yoshiya, also takes a biographic approach, emphasizing not
only Yoshiyas relationship with Monma, but also the fact that Yoshiya supported
herself as a professional writer throughout her life, was one of the first women
to bob her hair, and in photographs always appears wearing masculine clothes.
Scholars such as Robertson and Yoshitake color their analysis of Yoshiyas
fiction with the details of her private life. For this reason, Yoshitake and similar
critics are most interested in those of Yoshiyas novels that clearly depict homoeroticism rather than merely depicting female friendships, regardless of which
were most popular among readers or typical of her oeuvre as a whole. Yoshitake
also affirms Yoshiyas literary importance by stressing her connections to other
canonical writers, including Tokuda Shsei, Kikuchi Kan, Uno Chiyo, Okamoto
Kanoko, and Hayashi Fumiko, and by tracing her career through the award of
literary prizes and publications in serious literary magazines such as Bungakukai (Literary World). Yoshitake rightly points out that Yoshiya was a respected
member of the literary elite in the 1930s in spite of her unconventional lifestyle. Yoshiyas exclusion from the literary canon is most likely due to bias against
popular literature in general and girls culture in particular, but her association
with the world of highbrow literature does not explain her appeal to girl readers.
A more literary understanding of Yoshiyas work as regards the development of
shjo culture must resist the temptation to map a contemporary lesbian ideology
onto her writing.
Other literary scholars have tried to resurrect Yoshiya as a feminist writer.
Komashaku Kimi traces Yoshiyas feminism to a lecture she attended by womens
educator Nitobe Inaz, who inspired her to think as an individual, beyond the
Meiji dictum of rysai kenbo (good wives, wise mothers) (8). Komashaku states
explicitly, To my thinking, there has never been a purer feminist than Yoshiya
Nobuko (15). Similarly, Sarah Frederick, writing on womens magazines, asks,
An obvious question would be whether Yoshiyas fiction is subversive in any
sense (134), but is forced to conclude, In the end, Yoshiyas writing presents
messages consistent with the magazines (135), in this case, Shufu no tomo (The
Housewifes Friend). Frederick qualifies her analysis by admitting that lesbian
and overtly feminist themes are not clearly present in the novel she analyzes
(Sora no kanata e [To the Yonder Edge of the Sky], 1928), although she suggests
that women may have inferred those themes (135). Michiko Suzuki, in contrast,
in her study of the discourse on love in the novels of various Japanese women
writers, places Yoshiyas work in the culture of schoolgirls and S relationships
and draws an interesting comparison with Terry Castles description of lesbian


Passionate Friendship

novels in the Western tradition (38). However, Suzuki is still invested in analyzing Yoshiyas work in terms of resistance to hegemonic, patriarchal culture
(39). Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase as well sees covert resistance in Yoshiyas work
(Magazine Stories 736). Why must analysis of Yoshiyas fiction always begin
with the hunt for subversive or radical ideology? Is it solely because of Yoshiyas
personal life? If so, we as literary critics do a disservice to her work by reading
only in biographical terms.
Putting aside the details of her life, the attempt to read Yoshiya as a feminist
writer is problematic. As Dollase herself points out, Yoshiyas contemporaries
saw her as a conservative writer; for instance, Dollase quotes mori Ikunosuke,
who criticizes Yoshiyas works for celebrating bourgeois values and depicting
poverty for sentimental reasons rather than encouraging political change (Magazine Stories 735). Dollase implies that moris remarks were motivated by
sexism; it is true that Yoshiya was criticized and trivialized by some male writers
and literary critics of her time. However, in another essay, Dollase also cites
similar criticism from women writers Yosano Akiko and Tsuboi Sakae (Ribbons
Undone 88). Dollase concludes that in comparison to Kitagawa Chiyo, another
woman writer of shjo stories in the 1920s and 1930s, Yoshiyas work lacks attention to social inequality (Ribbons Undone 88). Moreover, while Yoshiyas novels emphasize female-female rather than male-female bonds, as Sugiyama Naoko
points out, Yoshiyas reliance on surrogate motherhood as a plot device, that is,
reliance on fictive rather than biological family structures, undermines a possible
feminist position. Sugiyama writes, First, by creating an all-female haven, surrogate motherhood helps the characters to evade rather than confront the social
ills caused by sexism. . . . Second, Yoshiya excludes biological mothers from surrogate motherhood and avoids the issue of mother-daughter conflict rather than
confronting it (65). In other words, any reader looking to Yoshiyas novels for a
feminist criticism of the patriarchal family system will be disappointed; by creating imaginary families, she tends to avoid confronting sexist institutions head-on,
which hardly seems like pure feminism.
Scholars looking to celebrate Yoshiya as a subversive feminist also have
difficulty accounting for her complicity with wartime rhetoric. Sugiyama, for
instance, suggests that because Yoshiyas novels were so compromised by the
political demands of the militaristic government of the late 1930s, the feminist
critique she would have wanted to write had to be diluted with warm-hearted
messages on the beauty of motherhood (67). However, even when girls magazines in the late 1930s and early 1940s were under intense government scrutiny
and contributors such as Nakahara Junichi were fired from Shjo no tomo on the
barest of pretexts, Yoshiya was allowed to continue writing throughout the duration of the war, suggesting that her writing may not have been seen as radical or

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 73

threatening to the fascist state.11 Critics who seek to promote Yoshiya as a liberal
feminist are also forced to either ignore or explain away the imperialist, racist
ideology that pervades her books. Sugiyama acknowledges a colonial ideology in
the novels she analyzes, in which German women appear as models of sophistication and intelligence, while Korean women are portrayed as childish, brutish,
and in need of enlightenment. Sugiyama has difficulty fitting this wartime rhetoric into the liberal feminist framework she is searching for in Yoshiyas texts but
brackets this inconsistency as an unresolved problem alongside Yoshiyas prowoman message.12 Explaining away the conservative ideology in Yoshiyas novels
in an attempt to portray her as a feminist is not only problematic, but also fails to
address her contributions to girls culture.
The search for subversive, lesbian themes in Yoshiyas writing has also led
scholars to overemphasize the importance of the novel Yaneura no ni shojo (The
Two Girls in the Attic, 1920)13 at the expense of her other work. Many scholars,
such as Komashaku Kimi and Michiko Suzuki, devote critical attention to this
novel, although it is not representative of Yoshiyas work as a whole. Unlike most
of her other stories, Yaneura was published immediately as a book, not serialized
first in a magazine, and it received little attention from fans or critics at the time.
The primary reason this novel has received more scholarly attention than any of
Yoshiyas other novels is because the S relationship between the main characters,
Akiko and Akitsu, appears to be explicitly sexual. The basis for this conclusion
lies in one vague but titillating passage:
The flesh of her [Akitsus] two warm arms drew around Akikos back . . . The
wonderful, lithe arms quickly grew hot as she tightly embraced Akikos trembling shoulders . . . her urgent puffs of breath landed on Akikos cheek[. . . . ]
Akiko felt Akitsus burning gaze on her brow . . . her sweet-smelling hot lips
tremblingly planted on Akikos hair, pushing down on her forehead, wetting
her with her tears . . . (188, ellipses in original, except in brackets)

The scene ends there and is the only passage that indicates a physical relationship. The novel as a whole, like many other girls novels about
S relationships, emphasizes the girls emotional bonds with each other. As
discussed in the previous chapter, the presence or absence of sexual touching
is immaterial to S relationships. The importance of this one passage to the
novel as a whole should not be overinflated. Although the novel ends with
Akiko and Akitsu declaring their love for each other, this was a typical end
to a girls novel depicting an S relationship and does not necessarily imply
rejection of heterosexual marriage. Otome no minato, for instance, also ends
with the two main characters pledging their eternal love.


Passionate Friendship

Another reason the novel has been praised by critics in Japan is that Yaneura
is similar to an I-novel (shishsetsu) in that it has a demonstrably autobiographical
component (Komashaku 58). As in the I-novel, the third-person narration never
departs from Akikos point of view, and certain episodes in the plot correspond
to some events in Yoshiyas real life. Yoshiya modeled Akitsu on a girl with whom
she had an S relationship, although the relationship had already ended by the
time she wrote this novel. The fact that some scholars, such as Komashaku, have
labeled this novel Yoshiyas masterpiece says more about the importance of the
I-novel in Japanese literary history than it does about the relative merits of the
novel itself or its place in girls culture.
While Yaneura contains a single overt reference to same-sex sexual activity, this is not the distinguishing feature of the majority of Yoshiyas work, nor
was the novel particularly popular among girls when it was first published. Its
recent popularity with scholars is more reflective of current academic trends than
the interests of teenage girl readers in the 1920s and 1930s. A far more typical
novel by Yoshiya depicting S relationships is Wasurenagusa (Forget-me-not), first
serialized in Shjo no tomo from April to December of 1932, with illustrations
by Takabatake Kash. Like Otome no minato, the story takes the form of a love
triangle between three girls, with the main character torn between an aggressive
and a quiet partner. The novel was a favorite with readers for its depiction of
female friendship set against the backdrop of stylish, modern Tokyo and Yokohama. Yoshiya begins with a prologue in which a group of unidentified girl students talk excitedly about Takarazuka shows and sing Takarazuka songs (1317).
Although the action in the novel does not involve Takarazuka directly, this sets
the tone of shjo bunka chic, a homogender world in which innocence and purity
are highly valued. As in Shjo no tomo under Uchiyama Motois editorship and
typical of Yoshiyas work as a whole, Wasurenagusa features competing discourses
of empowerment and obedience that resist easy categorization as feminist or
chauvinist, supportive or subversive of patriarchal structures.
The girls in Wasurenagusa pursue exclusive relationships with the jealousy
of lovers, marking them as Class S, and, as in Otome no minato, conflict between
all three girls must be resolved before the novel can end happily. The main character, Makiko, is a serious, quiet student, who unexpectedly finds herself pursued by Yko, a wealthy, spoiled, impetuous girl. Makiko at first dislikes Yko
but finds herself falling under her spell, as the narrator repeatedly puts it.
Especially after Makikos mother dies, she finds herself increasingly attracted
to Ykos self-centered world of material excess, represented by lavish parties,
tailored Western clothes, and limousine trips to Yokohama. It is clear, however,
that the more appropriate partner for Makiko is the responsible, studious Kazue,
not only because she is more similar to Makiko, but because Kazue, like Makiko,

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 75

has lost a parent and is deeply in need of friendship herself. Kazues father, an
army surgeon, had died some years before, and her mother maintains strict
military discipline in their home that is, like Makikos home, bereft of human
compassion. Yko is jealous of Kazue and constantly thwarts any attempt by
the two girls to become friends, although inevitably fate brings them together.
By the end of the novel, Makiko realizes the shallowness of Ykos world and
sends a formal letter to her, ending their relationship. After Yko herself at last
experiences adversity, in the form of a long illness, she writes a letter of apology
to Kazue for her past jealousy. As in Otome no minato, the happy ending comes
not only when Makiko and Kazue form a bond with each other but when Yko,
the interloper, can also acknowledge their relationship. Although the S relationship resembles a love relationship, it still plays out within the world of spiritual
love; what is at stake is not a physical connection, but the friendship among
all three girls.
Wasurenagusa contains what might be termed an incipient feminist critique
of the patriarchal family, but the resolution of the novel enforces rather than
challenges patriarchal structures. Both Makiko and Kazue suffer under authoritarian fathers who only value sons and neglect their daughters. Kazue does not
complain, a sign of her virtuous moral character. Makiko, however, is far more
vocal in protesting her fate. A chance encounter at the Maruzen bookstore with
a book bearing the English title What Should We Do? inspires her to reflect on
how she ought to lead a meaningful life (83).14 When she attempts to discuss
the book with her parents, Makikos father, a science professor, cuts her short,
saying, I dont even have to read that book. I can tell you what it says, Makiko.
What should people do? Men must improve their minds through the study of
science and contribute to society through research. Women must get married,
care for the household, and raise children. Thats all. Do you understand? (85).
Although Makiko lacks the courage to disagree with her father, the narrator provides the criticism immediately following his remark: Her fathers cold voice
rang cruelly in Makikos ears. To a girl full of dreams for the future, her fathers
plain words were a terribly painful, unfeeling, miserable pronouncement (85).
Makiko is forced to take on this maternal role almost immediately, when her
mother dies of tuberculosis and her father orders her to care for her younger
brother, Wataru. At first Makiko resists, hoping for something more she can
do to lead a meaningful life besides raising children, but the narrative does not
bear this out; she never finds or even searches for a higher calling. The novel
ends with Makiko putting aside her selfish, materialistic friendship with Yko
in favor of spending time with Wataru. Furthermore, by becoming friends with
the self-sacrificing, obedient Kazue, Makiko accepts those values for herself. The
provocative idea that she might find fulfillment elsewhere is never brought up


Passionate Friendship

again. In this novel, the S relationship comforts Makiko and Kazue in difficult
circumstances, but it works in harmony with rather than in opposition to the
patriarchal family.
In addition to S relationships where two girls form a self-sufficient bond,
another common motif in Yoshiyas fiction is adoptive families, which subsumes
friendship between women into the family structure. One example of this kind
of story is Ban Sensei (Our Teacher, Miss Ban), which was serialized in Shjo no
tomo from January 1938 to March 1939, with illustrations by Nakahara Junichi.
The novel does not contain any S relationships, and the title character, Ban
Michiyo, is never romantically attached to anyone, male or female. A proper,
modest young woman just beginning her career as a teacher, her purpose in the
novel is to bring families together, not to find her own true love. Nor does the
novel portray only female characters; even though it is set in a girls school, a
benevolent patriarch appears at the center of events. Rather than a critique of
the heterosexual, patriarchal system, the novel features themes that are far more
common for Yoshiya: the beauty of the girls school, the tragedy of motherless
children, the importance of female friendship, and the deliberate construction of
familial bonds.
Ban Sensei portrays the girls school as a haven for the teachers as well as for
the students and establishes bonds of friendship that go beyond biological families or S relationships. Throughout the novel, the focus is not on the students
but on the young teacher Ban Michiyo and her need for a family. Orphaned by
the recent loss of her mother, Michiyo seeks to make the school her new home.
The headmaster encourages Michiyo to think of himself and his wife as her
mother and father and to think of the retired headmistress as her grandmother
(80). Michiyos adoption into her school allows her to devote herself entirely to
it. The girls school is established as a fictive family, one more satisfying than
Michiyos own family, which consists of nothing more than an alcoholic, usurious uncle. Indeed, the novel abounds in fictive adoptive families. Not only is
Michiyo herself an orphan, but within the first few chapters, she adopts an apparently abandoned girl of five whom she discovers on the train on the way to her
new school. Moved by the similarities between the girl and herself, she takes the
child to the school with her, where the headmasters wife and mother happily
care for her. Whereas Sugiyama claims that surrogate motherhood is a tool
for Yoshiya to promote a feminist ideology in a restrictive environment, I would
argue that adoptive families are simply a means of linking homosocial and heterosocial systems in a nonoppositional, complementary manner.
The valorization of adoptive motherhood, however, frequently comes
at the expense of biological motherhood, as Sugiyama notes: Yoshiya often
describes biological mothers as selfish, narrow-minded, and domineering, while

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 77

surrogate mothers are compassionate, nurturing, inclusive, and forgiving (66).

In Ban Sensei as well, there is one such hateful mother, Mrs. Majima, the wife of
a wealthy businessman, one of the schools main benefactors. She is a conceited,
conniving social climber. Her daughter Kayoko is equally unpleasant, a spoiled
girl who enrolls in Michiyos school in hopes that she will not have to study
very hard. She has underestimated Michiyos integrity as a teacher, however, and
the biological mother and daughter become Michiyos main antagonists. When
direct attempts to undermine Michiyos authority fail, Mrs. Majima manages to
get her wastrel nephew Sabur hired as a teacher. Sabur sets about sabotaging
any vestiges of order and dignity left at the school. In revenge for Michiyos
attempts to restore order, Sabur and Mrs. Majima arrange for a local newspaper
to run an article slandering Michiyo, claiming that the adopted girl is in fact
Michiyos own illegitimate child. In this story of virtue versus self-interest, the
battle lines are drawn not so much along gender lines as between the biological
and the adoptive family.
Ban Sensei ends not with the creation of a new matriarchal order, but with
the literal reinstatement of the patriarch, in the form of Mrs. Majimas husband,
Genshichi. On his return from a business trip, he immediately restores Michi
yos honor. Unbeknownst to the other characters, Genshichi has already sent
Michiyo money anonymously to help care for the girl she found on the train. He
is the ideal father figure, benevolent and generous. However, this in itself is not
enough. The story ends, like a Dickens novel, with the coincidental discovery of
lost family ties. First, the girl Michiyo adopted turns out to be Saburs daughter;
on Genshichis insistence, he returns to his family, chastened. Genshichi then
reveals that he also abandoned his first wife and child many years earlier. This
child, of course, is Michiyo. The novel ends with Michiyos reinstatement in
the school not merely as a teacher but as headmistress, and with her inclusion
in the Majima family. The ending provides a reconciliation of the adoptive and
biological families. The ideal world of the girls novel depends not only on the
strength of female bonds, but also on the willingness of men to take up their roles
as strong but kind authority figures and to acknowledge their duties as fathers.
The conflicting messages of Yoshiyas novels, which both celebrate female
bonds and lock girls in a restrictive family order, may seem dissatisfying to a contemporary reader, although this message is common in prewar girls magazines
as a whole. However, Yoshiyas greatest impact on girls culture is arguably not
the plots of her novels or the ideology she espouses, but her distinctive, flowery
prose style, called bibun (literally, beautiful writing). Bibun was the narrative
equivalent of jojga, and both were crucial to establishing a recognizable shjo
aesthetic. This style can be seen even in Yoshiyas earliest work, Hana monogatari
(Flower Tales), a collection of short stories originally published between 1916


Passionate Friendship

and 1926 in Shjo gah and Shjo club, then reprinted in three volumes with illustrations by Nakahara Junichi in 1939. Yoshiyas prose is filled with words such
as delicate, slender, lithe, and exquisite, echoing the refinement and lyricism of jojga. She tends to repeat certain phrases and words two or three times
to heighten the emotional impact. For example, one story in Hana monogatari,
Sazanka (Camellia), begins as follows:
The tale I am now going to relate is about an outstanding poetess named
The flower of memory that blooms in my breast is the camellia.
That modest flower possessed of a splendid simplicity. Oh, that thing
whose every petal appeared to me like the whisper of a beautifully refined
lyric poem
Many years ago, I had an elder sister with graceful eyebrows who tragically passed on while still quite young. (1:32)

Words such as refined (yukashii), lyrical (joj), tragic (itamashii), and graceful (uruwashii) that appear with great frequency in Yoshiyas prose mark it as
bibun, or beautiful and flowery.
Yoshiyas style consists of more than just word choice, however. Although
she primarily wrote prose fiction, Yoshiyas narration frequently approximates
poetry. She often employs a breathless, rushed tone, as if events are so emotionally charged the narrator can barely express herself. Many of the sentences are
fragments, held together with ellipses or dashes, and frequently include snippets
of poetry. In Hana monogatari in particular, the ellipses and dashes increase with
the use of first person or quoted dialog, which occurs frequently. For example,
the story Tsuriganes (Bellflower) begins:
A letter delivered, soaked by a light rainit was that forlorn, hushed time
of year when the first lanterns of autumn are lit. The white envelope, graced
with refined, modest calligraphy, radiated sophistication tempered by a certain gravity. On the reverse, an unknown nameit goes without saying, a
female nameto hazard a guessperhaps that of a young girl [shjo]since
the return address was that of a dormitory at a girls school in XX prefecture.
(2:84, dashes in original)

The use of dashes to break up the sentences gives a sense of urgency to the
opening and makes the prose seem more like the broken lines of poetry. Many
critics have identified this excessive, decorative use of punctuation as a marker of
femininity in Yoshiyas prose (Dollase, Magazine Stories, 731; Honda, Ibunka

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 79

to shite no kodomo, 190; Suzuki 40). Suzuki, borrowing Deleuzes concept of stuttering language, comments that the frequent use of ellipses, dashes, and sentence fragments reflects the transitory nature of girlhood and the S relationship,
and hints at emotions that cannot be fully articulated (41). In another example
from Hama nadeshiko (Dianthus) in the same collection, not only dashes but
spacing of the sentences also makes the prose seem like poetry:
The hand in the white glove gently traced the lines of text on the white page.
Miss Hosojimas eyes were drawn expectantly, idly to the top of the page.
The characters above the glove reflected in her eye
How like the flowers along the shore in my hometown!
The part of the parasol you decorated
Ma-chans songMiss Hosojima smiled. (2:222, dashes in original)

The use of poetic phrases, flowery vocabulary, and overt emotionalism was the
hallmark of Yoshiyas fiction and of girls culture. This decorative prose style, and
particularly the tendency to break sentences into poetic fragments, was picked
up by postwar shjo manga artists/writers as well in their attempt to portray the
inner monologue of their characters in a convincing, sympathetic way.
Yoshiyas influence on girls culture and particularly the creation of a discrete girls language was also related to her strategic use of orality in her writing. As discussed in the previous chapter, one way girls magazines were able to
create a reading community of girls was through the use of distinctive speech
patterns in the letters girls wrote to editors and to each other. Yoshiyas prose
style, like those conversational letters, has an important element of orality that
reflects the way girls used language to create a separation between themselves
and the outside world. In her study of female language, Miyako Inoue identifies
the linguistic markers of schoolgirl speech as the use of polite colloquial modern verb endings, such as -masu and gozaimasu (139) and particularly the use of
the final particles no, wa, and te (or variations, such as noyo, teyo, and dawa) (59).
These final particles, which are only used by women and girls, do not add lexical
meaning but express mood and reflect the personality, status, and gender of the
speaker. Given the importance placed on the representation of emotion and in
order to create a reading community of girls, it was crucial for Yoshiya also to
position her fiction as part of that spoken to community. As Inoue writes, girls
magazines attempted to display the real voice of real schoolgirls to be heard
in the written text (119). In order to create this sense of orality and hence immediacy and authenticity, Yoshiya relies heavily on direct quotation with feminine
final particles. In the following example from the short story Na mo naki hana
(Nameless Flower), also in Hana monogatari, the narrator and her younger sister


Passionate Friendship

care for a pet dove they name Piru, which then escapes its cage. I use Inoues
method of transcribing final particles in boldface:
My sister and I became keenly jealous of Piru. Seeing its face through
the window of the [Western-style] mansiondatte, we could not
I too want to become a bird-wa
my sister said innocently-no. (1:54)

Yoshiyas first-person narration and quoted narration invoke the standards of

elegant young feminine speech and increase the sense of immediacy and community for readers.
Orality is also a crucial part of Yoshiyas narrative voice, even in novels
written in the third person. In Wasurenagusa, for example, the narrator uses the
polite language of oral, not written, language. Highbrow literature, such as the
novels analyzed in Chapter 1, defined itself in part by the rejection of polite
language and the development of a neutral omniscient narrative voice devoid of
socially positioned verb endings, creating a new written grammar (genbun itchi)
that avoided marks of orality.15 Yoshiya, in contrast, embraces those endings. For
instance, in Wasurenagusa, the third-person narrator uses honorific forms when
discussing Makikos mother, such as Okaasama wa s oshatta (80), rather than
the neutral Haha wa s itta (Her mother said so). This type of honorific structure, which a girl at the time would have used to talk about the mother of a
friend, positions the narrator as a fellow shjo, a girl like the readers themselves,
rather than a neutral, disembodied voice.
Yoshiyas use of polite and honorific language, however, is far in excess of
social convention and becomes, in addition to a marker of orality, a poetic or
decorative flourish. In Wasurenagusa, Yoshiya uses polite language to evoke the
chic, sophisticated world of girls culture. In the scene where Makiko discovers
the English book at Maruzen, the moment she leaves the store is described as
go-hon ni kanashii wakare (a sad parting from the [hon.] book) (83). The sad
parting evokes sentimental love poetry, but even more striking is the honorific
prefixed to the word for book. The prefix go is usually used to indicate someone
elses property, but since the book does not belong to anyone, it seems more
likely that the narrator is honoring the noble book itself as a desired object. This
excessive use of polite language is another decorative aspect of girls language.
Yoshiyas use of girls spoken language, in all its flowery excess as well as
her tone of throbbing, palpitating excitement, readily flowing tears, and lushly
blooming flowers would provide a model for years to come of ways to express the
passions of teenage girlhood that were not only acceptable to authority figures,

Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines 81

but also aesthetically pleasing to the girls themselves. This decorative narrative
style became as recognizable a feature as the equally decorative style of Kashs
and Nakaharas illustrations in defining shjo manga.
As instrumental as Yoshiya was in defining the narrative style of girls novels
and shjo manga, it is important not to misread her works in terms of anachronistic constructions of same-sex desire. While Yoshiya did not write lesbian novels,
she did contribute to the construction of a private discourse on girlhood within
the pages of girls magazines. Her lyrical, sentimental style as well as her themes
of female friendship and surrogate motherhood became a common idiom within
shjo shsetsu. Together with the shjo illustration style, it formed a discrete genre
for addressing teenage girl readers in a way that connoted authenticity. Even
with the changes in the publishing world and the switch from illustrated novels
to manga in the postwar period, this style would remain more or less intact.

Chapter 4
The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga,

anga as it exists in Japan today is a postwar phenomenon, and this is true for shjo manga as well as for other genres.1
The distinctive format and look of what is now the shjo manga genre emerged
in the early 1970s. The key features of shjo manga are initial publication in
a monthly or weekly magazine devoted exclusively to comics for girls, a predominance of female artists and a close relationship between fans and artists, a
tendency toward homogender romance or an aesthetic of sameness in romantic
pairs, and a distinctive visual aesthetic marked not only by large eyes but also
emotive, decorative, and nonrepresentational layouts.2 Although shjo manga is
a postwar genre, its aesthetic and narrative features emerged from prewar girls
culture, taking shape slowly through the 1950s and 1960s. This chapter will look
at how shjo manga developed out of prewar girls culture and how the work of a
few important artists helped to define the genres subjects and visual style.
Prewar girls culture had largely developed in girls magazines, which in the
1950s and 1960s shifted to publishing shjo manga. Any discussion of the development of shjo manga as a genre must consider the history of publication of
those magazines. Manga of all genres in Japan today are generally published in
monthly or weekly installments in thick anthology magazines that carry ten to
twenty different stories per issue, along with a small amount of advertising and
short letters columns or articles. These magazines use cheap newsprint paper and
are intended to be read quickly, then thrown away or recycled. Popular manga
series are then reprinted in paperback volumes on higher-quality paper. For this
reason, most research and analysis of manga is done using these reprints; original
magazines can be very hard to find. However, just as in the previous chapters
I argued that girls culture is evident in all aspects of the magazines, including the letters and other reader-generated content, these types of content are
important considerations in postwar magazines as well. Thus, in this chapter
I examine how postwar shjo manga magazines developed directly out of prewar girls literary magazines, what changed and what remained in the transition

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 83

through the 1950s and 1960s, and how those changes shaped the emerging shjo
manga genre.
Another important aspect of both prewar girls magazines and postwar shjo
manga is interactivity. As discussed in the previous two chapters, girl readers had
a high level of interaction with prewar magazines, and thus they helped determine its style and focus, while at the same time the magazines content, perspectives, and themes helped shape how the girls saw themselves as girls (the
classic push and pull of popular culture objects with their consumers). With
prewar magazines, a quarter of the content was reader generated, in the form
of fiction, poetry, art, and letters columns, in which girls interacted with editors in a friendly, informal way and posted notes to each other. Although postwar girls magazines did not devote as much space to reader-generated content,
letters columns and fan feedback remained important. Like prewar magazines,
postwar shjo manga encouraged a close relationship between readers and artists. Most prewar girls magazines explicitly encouraged readers to submit their
work as a means of nurturing new talent, and this practice carried over to postwar publishing as well. As I will discuss in the following section, through the
1950s and 1960s, many of the innovative artists began their careers as teenagers by submitting work to manga magazines. As a result, girls felt that the artists were close in age to themselves and understood their concerns, an impression fostered by the magazines. This sense of intimacy between artists and fans
is still a part of shjo manga fan culture today, regardless of the artists actual
age. The second result of encouraging readers to become artists is that the
genre came to be dominated by female artists and can seem like a female-only
space. I will discuss how young female artists overtook shjo manga publishing
in the next chapter, but it is important to remember that this was not always
the case; in the 1950s and 1960s male artists were also instrumental in creating
the emerging genre.
Another consistent aspect of both pre- and postwar girls culture is the
importance of homosociality. In prewar girls culture, this took the form of the
S relationship. Because the S relationship was coded as innocent and asexual in
the pages of girls magazines, in some ways it became more than a substitute
for male-female romance; homosocial romance in girls novels became an ideal
expression of spiritual love. S relationships remained a part of shjo manga in
the 1950s. In the mature shjo manga genre, S relationships between girls were
replaced with romance between boys, but that change did not take place until the
1970s, as I will discuss in the next chapter.
The transitional period of the 1950s and 1960s might be termed the prehistory of shjo manga, when the generic markers outlined above had not yet fully
emerged. Although magazines aimed at girls were published in the early postwar


Passionate Friendship

period, the target age was preteen girls; for a time, teenage girls culture was
located more in cinema than in shjo manga. My analysis below is informed by
the following questions: How did the publication history of prewar and postwar
magazines shape the content of shjo manga? How did the younger demographic
of girls magazines and the increasing importance of cinema shape postwar girls
culture? How significant was the artist Tezuka Osamu in creating shjo manga?
And how did Takahashi Makoto combine prewar illustration (jojga) with postwar manga techniques to create a distinctive new aesthetic?
The Development of Postwar Shjo Manga Publishing

Many of the girls magazines that had been central to prewar girls culture continued to publish through the war years, but by the mid 1950s all were forced
by changing market demographics either to alter their content radically or to
shut down. Whereas prewar magazines like Shjo no tomo featured sophisticated
literary content aimed at middle and high school girls, by the early 1950s they
shifted to market to elementary school girls, reflected in the pictures of very
young girls on the covers and in the illustrations. As the age demographic shifted
sharply downward, the types of stories changed; rather than featuring S relationships, they often centered on parent-child relationships. Horie Akiko claims
that the reason for this shift in demographic was the desire to reclaim the innocence of childhood that was lost in the war and Occupation years (12). It seems
more likely, however, that it was reflective of larger changes in early postwar
Japan, including a baby boom and the subsequent targeting of young children
as a lucrative market for cheap entertainment and consumer goods. Accordingly,
the magazines became less literary and more consumer-oriented. Even with a
younger look, Shjo no tomo, the former bastion of girls culture, could not keep
up with the times, and in 1955 the magazine folded. Nakahara Junichi for a brief
time reclaimed some of his prewar popularity by publishing his own magazines,
starting in 1946 with Soleil, a fashion magazine targeted at young adult women
and followed the next year by Himawari (Sunflower), which attempted to restore
the sophisticated literary style of Shjo no tomo, including serialized novels with
illustrations. Himawari lasted only six years, from 1947 to 1952, however, and in
1954 Nakahara instead came out with Junior Soleil, which, like the version for
adults, was focused exclusively on fashion and style. The market for illustrated
fiction for teen girls seemed to dry up, at least temporarily, in part owing to the
emergence of teen films as a competing form of entertainment in the 1950s.
More significantly, however, these magazines did not encourage reader participation as effectively as the old Shjo no tomo had; the interactive girls culture of the
prewar years faded for a time.

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 85

Most of the shjo manga magazines put out by major publishers that would
come to define the genre and that are still published today first began publication in the 1950s and 1960s. Shjo club changed its name to Shjo friend in 1962,
then changed again in 1996 to Bessatsu friend (Special Edition Friend), published
by Kdansha. The other major shjo manga magazine put out by Kdansha,
Nakayoshi (Pals, 1954present), also appeared in this transitional period. Sheisha
began publishing Ribbon in 1955, followed by Margaret in 1963, aiming at a
slightly older teen audience. All of these titles are still popular today.
The publishing industry also diversified formats in the 1950s. Whereas in the
1920s and 1930s, a few magazines with a mixture of fiction, illustration, poetry,
and educational content dominated the teenage girl market and girls culture,
postwar magazines of all kinds found they had to compete with kashihon (rental
books). In the early postwar years, when few people could afford to buy magazines or books, private bookstores offered rental books for a very low fee. The
influence of kashihon on the development of boys manga is well documented.3
What is less known is that many kashihon specialized in manga for girls and were
also an important site for the development of shjo manga as a genre not only by
publishing work by young women, but also by encouraging interactivity between
readers and artists, similar to prewar girls magazines. Some kashihon aimed at
girls contained stand-alone stories, while others were anthologies published regularly under a single title. For instance, Gakuen (Schoolhouse) was published by
Daiichi Production as a hardcover book featuring three or four short stories in
each issue, starting in 1966. Daiichi Production was run by postwar manga pioneer Tatsumi Yoshihiro, who had begun his own career as an artist by sending
in contributions to manga magazines as a young teen and who understood the
importance of reader participation in recruiting new talent.4 Each issue of Gakuen
includes a request for readers to send in contributions. Volume 6 (1966) includes a
story by a new contributor, a recent high school graduate named Nishino Sakiko.
Following her story is an interview in which she discusses her desire to become
a professional manga artist (103). In this way, small publishers like Daiichi provided some measure of the interactivity that had existed in the prewar magazines.
Although shjo manga magazines began to appear in the 1950s, or, more
specifically, as postwar girls magazines gradually shifted to an all-manga format
through the 1950s and 1960s, the magazines in this transitional stage were not
the focus of girls culture as had been the case in the prewar period. By the 1970s,
girls manga magazines would once again become the driving force in girls culture, but during the transitional period of the 1950s and 1960s, teen films were
the locus of shjo bunka. Good-girl stars like Misora Hibari and Yoshinaga Sayuri
provided socially acceptable models of girlhood, and their films were consumed not only by girls but by viewers of both genders and all ages; this was not


Passionate Friendship

a private, closed world like the prewar girls magazines. By the nature of the film
industry, this was a top-down, star-driven medium, which put fans at much more
of a distance from the stars and also, unlike Takarazuka, offered fewer chances
for girls themselves to become stars. The Takarazuka training school is extremely
selective but still accepts fifty girls every year, whereas there can be only one
Misora Hibari or Yoshinaga Sayuri. While Takarazuka fans and readers of girls
magazines had at least the impression of a close, direct communication with their
idols, through both fan letters and meetings like the Tomo-chan Meeting, interaction with film stars was mediated by fan magazines.
The fact that shjo manga in the 1960s was still a nascent and not yet fully
developed part of shjo bunka can be seen in the way magazines subordinated
manga to other content, particularly articles and photo spreads about film stars
such as Yoshinaga Sayuri.5 The October 1963 issue of Nakayoshi, for instance,
is typical of the period. The front pages feature color photos of girls practicing
ballet, girl scouts, the newly renovated Haneda Airport, and Yoshinaga Sayuri
(119). While articles on film stars were a staple, the rest of the content varied
widely. For instance, the February 1963 issue of Shjo book contains an educational article on avoiding traffic accidents (155163) and a translated chapter
from Louisa May Alcotts Little Women, accompanied by illustrations (4350) but
very few manga stories. Through the 1960s, most of the magazines now associated with shjo manga, such as Ribbon and Nakayoshi, were not exclusively manga
magazines but carried a mix of fiction and nonfiction articles on a variety of topics, with an emphasis on fashion, television, and particularly film.
Although the shjo manga visual aesthetic began to appear in the mid1950s, magazines through the 1960s showed a variety of both drawing styles
and basic visual narrative arrangements. Several magazines featured a new form
called shashin shsetsu (photo novels), in which text is inserted above photographs
rather than hand-drawn illustrations. Some artists, such as Takahashi Makoto,
used a picture-book style, with one large illustration per page and a small amount
of text.6 Even when stories appear in manga format, with action divided into
panels and dialog in word balloons, often the panels are numbered, as if the artist
(or perhaps her editors) were unsure that readers could follow the progression of
the narrative.7 Through the 1960s, girls magazines offered a mix of manga and
illustrated stories, indicating a transitional stage between text-based narrative
forms and a fully realized comic book idiom.
The Genesis of Shjo Manga and the Role of Tezuka Osamu

Scholarly and popular writing in English on the history of shjo manga as a discrete genre often begins with Tezuka Osamus Ribbon no kishi (Princess Knight)

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 87

in the 1950s (Schodt 253; Natsume 192; Levi et al. 2). Ribbon no kishi was the first
so-called story manga, or long-form serialized fiction with a continuous narrative, published in a girls magazine.8 Tezuka himself maintained that he invented
shjo manga (Fujimoto, Bunshin, 119), a problematic claim for a number of
reasons, which I will detail below. While Tezuka is a giant in the history of manga,
he has become in retrospect too much of a giant, to quote It Gs provocative
study, Tezuka Is Dead (248). It argues for a reexamination of Tezukas legacy and
the ways in which manga has changed now that Tezuka, nicknamed the god of
manga, is dead. Using Its approach as a starting point, I argue that Tezuka was
not the sole inventor of shjo manga and that many of the features of Ribbon no
kishi cited as influencing later shjo manga derive from the Takarazuka Revue.
Tezuka did not invent manga for girls per se: short-form gag manga such as
Anmitsu-hime (Princess Bean-Jam) by Kurakane Shsuke and Kurumi-chan (Little Walnut) by Matsumoto Katsuji had long been popular in girls magazines; nor
did Tezuka discover girls as a reading demographic. More important, the visual
style of Ribbon no kishi is very different from what would become the dominant
aesthetic in shjo manga. In terms of composition, Tezukas panels are all small
and square rather than open and layered, and his backgrounds tend to be realistic
rather than emotive (Fig. 4.1). It cites Ishinomori Shtar, rather than Tezuka,
as an early innovator in layered, complex panel distribution (226). Another stylistic difference from the later aesthetic is that Tezukas characters eyes, while
large, are flat and black, without many highlights. As Takahashi Mizuki argues,
Ribbon no kishi is essentially an adventure story, without the psychological or
visual complexity that marks shjo manga since the 1970s. She writes, One sign
that Tezuka is an exceptional rather than a key figure in the world of shjo manga
is his disinterest in the expression of the inner feelings of his heroines (128).
This is indicated by the lack of emotive details in Tezukas art, particularly layered panels, decorative elements, and highlights in the eyes.
The visual style of shjo manga was not developed by Tezuka but by artists working in the tradition of Nakahara Junichi, many of them young women.
Through the 1950s, the artwork and aesthetic style in girls magazines underwent dramatic changes that would set the tone for successive generations of shjo
manga artists. Nakahara Junichi, popular through the 1950s, influenced many
younger artists, most clearly in their tendency to draw exaggerated eyes. While
magazines and kashihon aimed at girls in the 1950s showed a mlange of styles,
Nakaharas aesthetic, specifically an ornate, decorated style, use of flower motifs,
and exaggerated eyes, seems to have resounded with girl readers. By the early
1960s, a new generation of mostly female artists were using this stylized aesthetic, which has now become the distinctive mark of shjo manga. Although
in the 1950s and 1960s many male artists wrote manga for girls, notably Chiba

Figure 4.1. The first appearance of Sapphire in Ribbon no kishi, an homage to the Takarazuka
Revue (bottom panel). The hanging branches of the trees and the wall behind her evoke a stage
set, and she is singing Sumire no uta (The Violet Song), the theme song of the Takarazuka.
Also note the rigid square and rectangular panels and the flat black eyes, without highlights.
All manga read from right to left. (Tezuka Osamu, Ribbon no kishi [Kdansha, 2009], 25.
Tezuka Productions)

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 89

Tetsuya, Ishinomori Shtar, Yokoyama Mitsuteru, and Umezu Kazuo as well as

Tezuka Osamu and Takahashi Makoto, by the 1960s the field was already on its
way to becoming dominated by young women, far more than had been the case
in prewar girls magazines. Most of the Gakuen contributors, for instance, were
women; the most regular contributors were Minegishi Hiromi, Obara Sachiko,
and Oka Keiko. Other key female manga artists in this transitional period include
Mizuno Hideko (who started her professional career as Tezukas assistant), Nishitani Yoshiko, and Maki Miyako. These artists all helped to develop the emotive,
decorative aesthetic of shjo manga.
Although Tezuka did not create the aesthetic style of shjo manga, Ribbon no
kishi had some influence on later narrative tendencies toward gender ambiguity.
The main character, Sapphire, is a princess with two souls, male and female, who
alternately dresses as a girl when she needs to act the role of princess or as a boy
when she has to fight to defend her kingdom. This kind of adventure story with
a female lead was new and thrilling for readers of girls magazines. However, the
character of Sapphire was not a new invention by Tezuka, but a direct reference
to prewar girls culture, specifically the Takarazuka Revue. Tezuka, who was born
and raised near Takarazuka City, was a fan of the revue since childhood and said
that he wrote Ribbon no kishi as an homage to Takarazuka (Power 116). Although
much has been made of the influence of Walt Disney on Tezukas manga style
(Gravett 26; Kelts 42; Power 5), the Takarazuka was at least as important an
influence in his formative years. Tezuka claimed that his tendency to draw exaggerated eyes was inspired by the elaborate eye makeup of the Takarasiennes, not
from Disney (Nakano 189). Tezuka establishes the link between Takarazuka and
Ribbon no kishi in Sapphires first appearance, where she appears dressed as a girl
gathering flowers, in a frame that resembles a stage, while singing Sumire no
hana saku koro (When the Violets Bloom), the theme song of the Takarazuka
(Tezuka 25) (see Fig. 4.1).9 Although Tezuka is a postwar artist, his contribution to the development of shjo manga is directly tied to prewar girls culture
through the Takarazuka Revue.
Because of Tezukas towering presence in the history of postwar manga, the
link between prewar girls magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, and the emergence
of the shjo manga genre in the 1970s is not well known. One example of how
an emphasis on Tezuka overlooks the contribution of Nakahara and other prewar
artists is Oshiyama Michikos study of the development of shjo manga. Oshiyama describes a genealogy of shjo manga that begins with Tezuka, continues
with his assistant Mizuno Hideko, and then moves on to Ikeda Riyoko. While
this is a valid argument, her focus on instances of female characters wearing male
clothing directs her attention to thematic rather than visual elements. Without
disputing Oshiyamas claims, I posit a complementary genealogy of shjo manga,


Passionate Friendship

from prewar jojga (Takabatake Kash in the 1920s and Nakahara Junichi in the
1930s) to Takahashi Makoto in the 1950s, and to Hagio Moto and Ikeda Riyoko
in the 1970s. In the work of these artists, we can see the development of both
the salient visual storytelling features of shjo manga and the tendency toward
homogender pairings, the dual legacy of prewar girls magazines.
Takahashi Makoto and the Development
of the Shjo Manga Aesthetic

Takahashi Makoto began his career writing and illustrating manga in the 1950s
and 1960s, and it is his visual style, far more than Tezukas, that formed the recognizable aesthetic of shjo manga. Although Takahashi stopped writing manga
in the 1960s and is better known today as a picture-book illustrator than as a
shjo manga artist, his highly decorated style, modeled on prewar jojga, clearly
marks his work as belonging to girls culture. His images of girls with huge
round, starry eyes adorn notebooks, stationery, and other goods (gzu) still
popular with Japanese girls and women. Takahashis career and his early manga
are a mirror of the burgeoning manga industry and the emergence of teen films
as a new medium of girls culture.
Inspired by Nakahara Junichi, Takahashi began his career as a teen, writing and illustrating stories in picture-book format for the rental book market in
1953. Takahashis first work in manga (rather than picture-book) format, ParisTokyo (1956), published as a rental book, shows the transition from girls magazines to shjo manga.10 Paris-Tokyo is a remarkably self-reflexive story about the
creation of shjo manga. The main character is a teenage girl named Mayumi,
who is raised by a single mother, Mari, after her father disappears. Mari, whose
family name is Nakahara (a reference to Nakahara Junichi), finds work illustrating the novels of a distinguished older woman named Yoshiya Hanako
(a reference to Yoshiya Nobuko). Yoshiya tells Mari, Illustrators have not been
considered as highly as regular artists, but I disagree. . . . Unlike nihonga or yga
artists, whose work is only seen by a few people who go to their receptions or
exhibitions, an illustrators work is printed in newspapers and magazines to be
admired by everyone. I think its a very worthwhile profession (3132). In praising the illustrator or commercial artist over high art painters, Takahashi is likely
expressing his personal opinion. In an interview accompanying the reprint of
Paris-Tokyo, he says that he was inspired to become an illustrator rather than a
nihonga artist when, as a junior high school student, he saw Nakahara Junichis
jojga illustrations in the pages of Himawari (3).
Paris-Tokyo also demonstrates the importance of teen films to girls culture
in the 1950s and 1960s. By inserting real girl film stars in the fictional world of

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 91

the manga, Paris-Tokyo joins prewar shjo shsetsu and jojga with cinema to create
a new postwar narrative. Mayumi has three friends, who are thinly veiled references to the popular Three Girls (Sannin Musume) film stars, Misora Hibari, Eri
Chiemi, and Yukimura Izumi, who together made a series of teen films, beginning
with Janken musume (Toss-up Girls) in 1955. In the manga, the Misora Hibari
character, who is called Kazue (Hibaris real name), first appears singing one of
her well-known songs, Hibari no hanauri musume (Hibari, the Flower Girl).
She is soon joined by Tomoko (Yukimura Izumi) and Chiemi (Eri Chiemi), who
is nicknamed Boy for her tomboyish appearance. The Three Girls are Mayumis
classmates at a girls school, and the story follows their attempts to earn money
for a school trip to Kagamiko (Mirror Lake). Given the immense popularity of
the Three Girls, it is hardly surprising that they appear in this manga. All three
were popular singers/actresses with pure, chaste images, although Misora Hibari
would eventually overshadow her two co-stars.11 The Three Girls films were
lighthearted musical comedies that showcased their singing abilities; the films
were coproduced with the Takarazuka Revue, although the Three Girls were not
themselves Takarasiennes. These films also mark the first time that film studios
begin marketing specifically to a teenage girl demographic. For these reasons
and because Paris-Tokyo relies heavily on reader knowledge of Janken musume,
I will analyze the manga and the film together.
In Paris-Tokyo, the antics of the Three Girls are the comic relief to the main
plot, Mayumis search for her missing father, but their presence in the story
and the films they reference say much about the state of girls culture in the
1950s. The first Three Girls film, Janken musume is set, significantly, not at an
all girls school, but at a coeducational high school, reflecting real changes in
postwar Japan, as girls were no longer strictly segregated from boys. The film
shows the awkward joining of prewar homosocial conventions with a postwar
attempt at heterosexual romance. In one of two concurrent plots, on a class trip
to Kyoto, Hibari and Eri meet an apprentice geisha (maiko), played by Yukimura,
who has fallen in love with a young client. She goes to Tokyo to pursue him,
with the help of her new friends. Although the story does not include an S relationship, there are hints of it in the way that Hibari and Eri jealously vie for
Yukimuras attention as well as in a brief comic episode where Hibari tells her
mother that Yukimura is her lover. As the setting is not the closed, guarded
world of the prewar girls school, however, the rivalry for Yukimuras affection
is rerouted into a search for her lost love. But in order to maintain the friendship among all three girls equally, the plot does not resolve with any of the girls
finding romance. Although they find the boy, he does not become Yukimuras
boyfriend; at the same time, Eri also turns down his advances. After defusing
these two incipient relationships, the film ends with a musical number, with all


Passionate Friendship

three girls riding a rollercoaster together, rather than with a kiss between a newly
formed couple. Clearly the homosocial tendency in girls culture still dominates,
even in an environment where dating is allowed.12 In Paris-Tokyo as well, Mayumi
does not pursue a romantic relationship.
Typical of the fiction in girls magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, in both
Janken musume and Paris-Tokyo, the focus of the plot is less on dating than on
parent-child relationships. Stories of children whose parents are dead or missing were common in this period. In Paris-Tokyo, Mayumis father, Tomohiko, is
missing: just after her parents married, but before Mayumi was born, he left for
Paris to attend art school and never returned. At the end of the story, Mayumis
grandfather reveals that he had opposed the match and sent Tomohiko away, but
in the end they are all reconciled and the family is reunited. Paris-Tokyo is a love
story, but the romance is between Mari and Tomohiko, the parents of the main
character. Mayumis feelings of love are directed at her parents, particularly her
father, and not a boy her own age; the romantic relationship is displaced from
teenagers onto the adults. In Janken musume as well, Hibari has been raised by
a single mother, a geisha; her father is a former client with a wife and children.
He appears suddenly in their lives, saying that he wants to formally adopt Hibari,
and although she resists at first, the happy ending of the film comes when she
finally reconciles with him. Stories of orphaned or abandoned children were
extremely popular in girls culture of the 1950s and 1960s, allowing for exploration of love in a spiritual and melodramatic register, without the threat of sexual
activity among teenage girls.
As the film Janken musume shows, girls culture in the 1950s was a hybrid
of pre- and postwar tropes, and the tendency to avoid heterosexual romance
was still in place. As indicated by Hibari and Eris playful rivalry for Yukimuras affections, the S relationship did not disappear from girls culture in the
immediate postwar years. According to Pflugfelder, S relationships lingered
into the 1950s and 1960s, even in coeducational high schools (S Is for Sister 174). Another rental book manga that Takahashi published in 1957, Sakura
namiki (Cherry Row) portrays an S relationship in the mode of prewar girls
novels like Otome no minato and Wasurenagusa. Yukiko, a freshman at an all-girls
high school, has an established S relationship with Chiaki, a senior, but Ayumi,
a sophomore, tries to intrude. The nature of their relationship is clear when
Yukiko fantasizes about dancing with Chiaki at a ball, then sees her partner
stolen away by Ayumi (Takahashi 6667) (Fig. 4.2). The happy ending comes
when Yukiko and Chiaki are reconciled, and Yukiko again feels able to call Chiaki
oneesama (older sister) (126). As in Otome no minato, use of the word oneesama as
a term of endearment indicates to other classmates the exclusive nature of their

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 93

Figure 4.2. In the top right panel, Yukiko (foreground) imagines her older sister Chiaki
being stolen by Ayumi, then goes to her mother for comfort. The image of the girls dancing
together evokes the romantic aspect of S relationships, while the visualization of the main
characters thoughts is typical of shjo manga. Also note the signature at the top of the frame
and the star next to Yukikos eye. (Takahashi Makoto, Sakura namiki [Shgakukan, 2006
(1957)], 6869. MACOTO)

While thematic elements such as the S relationship tie Takahashis early

manga to prewar girls magazines, visually his art style was groundbreaking and
would help to create the signature style of shjo manga. Takahashi, inspired by
Nakahara, pioneered the use of emotive backgrounds, non-narrative images, and
layering, as well as the big eyes and slim bodies for which shjo manga is known.
The first several pages of both Paris-Tokyo and Sakura namiki are arranged in
picture-book style, with text appearing next to illustrations of the main characters (Fig. 4.3). After several pages, he then shifts to manga-style narration, with
dialog in word balloons and several frames depicting action on each page. Even
then, there is a marked tendency toward large frames, which Takahashi signs at
the bottom or the top, like an oil painting. Takahashi admits: Manga artists told
me, This isnt manga, and illustrators told me, This isnt illustration. Now
I think this was the result of my intention to create something that was neither
nihonga nor yga, different from both manga and illustration (Takahashi 9). This
new style, a hybrid of illustration and early comic book style, resulted in the
decorated, ornate shjo manga aesthetic.

Figure 4.3. One of the opening pages of Sakura namiki (Cherry Row) by Takahashi Makoto.
Note the picture-book-style arrangement, with the block of narration rather than word
balloons. The full-body portrait to the right both evokes prewar illustrators like Takabatake
Kash and Nakahara Junichi and foreshadows the use of layering by later shjo manga artists.
The use of cherry blossoms as a decorative motif is also typical of later shjo manga. (Takahashi Makoto, Sakura namiki [Shgakukan, 2006 (1957)], 4. MACOTO)

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 95

One example of the way Takahashi blended manga and illustration to create
a new narrative style is his use of decorative backgrounds to symbolize the emotional state of the characters. For instance, in Paris-Tokyo, when the Eri Chiemi
and Yukimura Izumi characters sing, there are several large panels that show
them frolicking against a background of French words, musical notes, and pictures of fruit, depicting not only the lyrics but the mood of their song visually
(4950) (Fig. 4.4). Later, when Mari reveals to Mayumi that she met Mayumis
father at Mirror Lake, the frames are filled with flowers (Fig. 4.5). These images
of flowers are nominally motivated by the actual setting of their conversation, a
flower garden, but in many of the frames, disproportionately large flowers appear
to be floating around them. These flowers are meant as a decorative rather than
representational feature, symbolic of the love between Mayumis parents. While
in this frame Takahashi provides a link to the physical world by setting the characters in a flower garden, later shjo manga artists would make liberal use of
flowers, clouds, stars, and other symbolic motifs as backgrounds without regard
to mimetic realism. These symbolic backgrounds provide visual interest in a narrative that otherwise would be a series of talking heads. But, more significantly,
they direct the focus of the story onto the emotions of the main characters, rather
than the action.
The shape and arrangement of Takahashis panels also had an important
impact on later shjo manga artists. In Sakura namiki, Takahashi uses the frames
to arrange the characters symbolically rather than realistically, for instance, putting Chiaki, the idolized older sister, in the center of a heart-shaped frame
(22). He also makes frequent use of diagonal frames in action scenes, creating a
dynamic look. According to shjo manga scholar Fujimoto Yukari, Takahashi is
responsible for creating the most distinctive narrative feature of shjo manga, a
technique she calls sandan buchinuki no sutairu-ga, or literally three-row overlay
style pictures (Shjo manga no genry 65). Takahashi Mizuki, writing on the
history of shjo manga, calls the same technique the full-body portrait (125
126). This refers to a full-length drawing of the main character laid alongside the
panels depicting action, which are usually arranged in three or four tiers, hence
the name three-row overlay. According to Fujimoto, this practice evolved from
the use of so-called style pictures (sutairu-ga), which were full-length images
of the main character enclosed in a frame, independent of the narrative, used
mainly in the 1950s (Fig. 4.6). The purpose of style pictures in 1950s shjo
manga was not to add to the narrative but to serve as a model for aspiring artists;
a note alongside the style picture encouraged readers to copy it onto a postcard
and send it in, as a means of attracting new talent (Fujimoto, Shjo manga no
genry, 6671). Often the style picture did not match the action in the rest
of the frames, and sometimes it even took the form of detachable stickers that


Passionate Friendship

Figure 4.4.
Eri Chiemi and
Yukimura Izumi sing
in Paris-Tokyo by
Takahashi Makoto.
The lyrics and mood
of their song are
represented symbolically. (Takahashi
Makoto, Paris-Tokyo
[Shgakukan, 2006
(1957)], 49.

readers could remove from the magazine (ibid. 68, 71). According to Fujimoto,
Takahashi Makoto was the first to incorporate the style picture into the narrative,
overlapping the image of the main character onto the other frames, in his serialized manga story Arashi o koete (Beyond the Storm, 1958) (ibid. 67). Immediately
afterward, other artists, including Umezu Kazuo, Watanabe Masako, and Maki
Miyako, imitated this use of the style picture (ibid. 7281). Yonezawa Yoshihiro
also credits Takahashi Makoto with innovating this incorporation of the style
picture into the narrative (51).
Why was this innovation of the full-body portrait so important for the
development of visual narrative in shjo manga? The use of style pictures and
full-body portraits is one point on which critics have disparaged shjo manga, by

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 97

Figure 4.5. Mari reveals to Mayumi that she first met Mayumis father at Mirror Lake.
The middle panel set in a flower garden provides the motivation for the background motif
of the bottom panel. The flowers in this panel are realistic but become a symbolic element
in later shjo manga. (Takahashi Makoto, Paris-Tokyo [Shgakukan, 2006 (1957)], 7677.

claiming that they are nothing more than an empty display of fashion (Yonezawa
52). However, as Takahashi Mizuki points out, the use of the full-body portrait
was part of the way artists could encourage reader identification with the main
character and vary narrative flow (125126). More important, it was a short step
from layering the style picture over the frames to creating more complex layered images that depict the characters emotions and private thoughts (Takahashi
Mizuki 127; Yomota 55). Fujimoto argues that because Takahashi developed his
narrative style based on illustration, he was accustomed to a format in which the
plot is explicated by the narration, freeing the pictures to be non-narrative; since
the story is explained in the text, there is no need to show all the action in the
pictures, which can instead be more decorative and emotive (Shjo manga no
genry 83). The reliance on non-narrative, lyrical elements reflects the influence of jojga illustration from prewar magazines. With this decorative style a new
dimension opened in shjo manga that allowed for the psychological complexity
that came later, in the 1970s, as artists experimented with the arrangement of text
and pictures to depict emotions that could not be expressed in words.

Figure 4.6. Example of sutairu-ga (style picture) in Maki no kuchibue (Makis Whistle) by Maki
Miyako, first serialized in Ribbon from 1960 to 1963. In this example, the style picture is not
incorporated into the action; the character Maki appears in different clothing in the panels.
The text on the far left reads, Makis kimono style (Maki no kimono sutairu). (Maki Miyako,
Maki no kuchibue [Shgakukan, 2006], 133. Maki Miyako, Shgakukan Creative)

The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga 99

Takahashi is also associated with what is for casual observers the most salient
trait of shjo manga, the use of hugely exaggerated eyes, which are not only
large but feature many highlights, often shaped like stars. Writing on manga in
English tends to repeat the misconception that large eyes in manga of all genres
derives from Tezukas fascination with Disney (Kinsella, Adult Manga, 28; Avella
111; Acosta and Kilpatrick 3; Allison 63), although, as I argued above, Tezukas
use of the exaggerated eye comes from Takarazuka. Takahashi, in contrast, inherited the exaggerated eye from Nakahara and the tradition of jojga, as evidenced
by his use of highlights, which Tezuka did not use. Many Western observers
mistake the exaggerated eye as representing Caucasian features, but this says
more about the stereotypical portrayal of Asian features in the West; Japanese
readers do not necessarily see the large eyes as a marker of race. The shape and
size of the eye in shjo manga distinguishes male and female characters, with the
larger eye as a marker of femininity. The largest eye serves to identify the main
character (Yomota 168) and encourages the reader to identify with him or her. As
the exploration of emotion is the dominant mode in shjo manga, the large eyes
are a key expressive feature (Takahashi Mizuki 124; Berndt, Manga no kuni, 143).
However, from the standpoint of the informed reader, that is, the shjo manga
fan, the shape and arrangement of highlights is as important as the size of the eye.
According to Fujimoto, it was Takahashi who first drew star-shaped highlights in
the eye (Shjo manga no genry 84), although for a time he put the star next to
the eye, as in Sakura namiki (see Fig. 4.2). Takahashis method of drawing stars in
the eye to express emotion was quickly picked up by other artists in the 1960s and
developed into a complex code, reflecting the inner state of the character (Pl. 5).
Takahashi and other artists in the 1950s and 1960s were able to develop this
distinctive style in part because their chosen medium and genre were so far out
of the mainstream. Even by the late 1960s, manga was only starting to emerge
as a major part of popular culture and as a medium capable of serious artistic potential, shedding its associations with cheap entertainment for very young
children. And, even then, manga for boys received more attention since it was
more profitable; manga for girls was allowed to develop in relative obscurity.
Reflecting back on the distinctive shjo manga style that took shape in the 1960s
and 1970s, manga artist Takemiya Keiko says, The attitude was that whatever
the readers liked was ok, and I think that kind of rule-breaking started with the
three-row overlay. I suppose you could say that [technique] was really meaningful. Boys manga couldnt break the rules like that, and they still cant even
now. But in shjo manga, we just went ahead and broke the rules. If its what
girls want to read, then anything goes. Shjo manga is still pretty lawless territory (Takemiya Keiko no manga kyshitsu 122). The rules Takemiya refers to are
the regular arrangement of panels, and by lawless she means the tendency to


Passionate Friendship

draw odd-shaped, open, or shattered panels and to create layered effects through
accretion of panels or by allowing subjects to exceed the frame. In a larger sense,
however, she also means the tendency for shjo manga artists to break the rules
of linear storytelling in order to emphasize the emotions of the main characters;
it was this emphasis on emotion over action that girls responded to strongly. The
attitude of the publishers, as Takemiya indicates, was that as long as they made
money, shjo manga artists were free to draw however they pleased. Although
this atmosphere of benign neglect was somewhat different from the careful
enclosure of girls culture in the prewar years, the effect was the same: shjo
manga became a private world, with aesthetic conventions understood only by
informed readers.
By the end of the 1960s, many of the features of what is now the shjo manga
genre were in place. Girls magazines had shifted their content to feature manga
almost exclusively. Significantly, even articles and photo spreads of popular film
stars were abandoned in favor of manga, reflecting reader preference. The layout
of manga was more or less regularized into integrated text and images, and alternative formats like the photo story disappeared. The dominant aesthetic in shjo
manga, marked by the use of large, starry eyes, emotive backgrounds, and rulebreaking panel arrangements, was a translation into manga format of the prewar
jojga, or lyrical picture, intended to emphasize emotion over action or realism.
At the same time, the distinctive look of shjo manga also kept uninformed readers away, bringing back the sense of a private world of girls that had allowed for a
sense of freedom and creativity in prewar girls magazines. Yet most of the stories
in shjo manga of the 1950s and 1960s, like Paris-Tokyo, were rather childish and
simplistic. One reason shjo manga of the 1970s seems like a radical break with
the past is the introduction of psychological complexity and themes important
to teen readers, particularly themes of identity formation and sexual maturation.
As I will discuss in the next chapter, the young women artists of the early 1970s
brought about this revolutionary change by relying on homosociality and ideas
about spiritual love derived from prewar girls culture.

Chapter 5
The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga

hjo manga today is not only the primary

locus of girls culture, but because of its mainstream, widespread popularity, it has
become an important site of cultural production, as popular series inspire animation, films, TV shows, music, stage plays, and novels. Manga in general comprise
about 40 percent of the total books and magazines sold in Japan (Schodt 82), and
circulation of manga magazines for girls is nearly three million per month.1 The
genre-defining elements of shjo manga that developed in the early 1970s, specifically the prevalence of homoeroticism and the densely layered, decorative art,
both attract girls and puzzle outsiders, perhaps intentionally so. In this chapter,
I will examine the development of shjo manga as a coherent genre in the 1970s
through detailed analysis of two representative texts, Tma no shinz (The Heart
of Thomas, 1974) by Hagio Moto and Berusaiyu no bara (The Rose of Versailles,
19721973) by Ikeda Riyoko. In doing so, I will chart the transition of shjo
manga from a genre for children in the 1950s and 1960s to one for teenage girls
in the 1970s.
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of shjo manga to outside observers, particularly Western observers, is the dominance of homosexual and homosocial
pairings. What is the appeal for girls of romance and even explicit sex between
two boys? What are we to make of the violent sexuality that sometimes appears
in these stories? And why, even in stories of heterosexual romance, do the boys
look like girls? Some critics have attempted to answer these questions by reading shjo manga in terms of repressed homosexual desire. But just as contemporary queer theory is not a historically grounded means to approach prewar
girls culture, it also obscures the meaning and context of postwar shjo manga.
In this chapter, I will instead offer a reading of shjo manga as the narrative and
aesthetic heirs to prewar girls magazines, both of which rely on an aesthetic of
sameness and homogender pairings.



Passionate Friendship

The Year 24 Group in the 1970s

Although Takahashi Makoto, along with other artists in the 1950s and 1960s,
innovated some of the aesthetic conventions of shjo manga, the genre as it exists
today emerged in the early 1970s, when a group of young women who became
known as the Year 24 Group (nijyo nen gumi), began to write psychologically
complex stories for older teenage readers.2 Although the genre-defining work of
these artists is often characterized as revolutionary, their entrance in the world
of professional manga publishing was less a counterculture takeover and more
a recognition by (male) editors that stories penned by female artists were and
still are more popular with girl readers than works by male artists and hence
more profitable (Prough 100101). Manga by the Year 24 Group dealt openly
with politics and sexuality, leaving behind the parent-child stories of the 1950s
and 1960s for stories of teenage psychological development. As manga scholar
Takeuchi Osamu notes, shjo manga in the 1970s changed from simple entertainment to a vehicle of self-expression for the author (139). tsuka Eiji describes
this change as analogous in importance and scope to the discovery of interiority
in early Meiji fiction (Sengo manga 65), while film scholar Yomota Inuhiko likens
the Year 24 Group to the New Wave in cinema (40). As these analogies indicate,
the early 1970s was a time of significant, profound changes in shjo manga that
marked the emergence of the genre.3
Chapter 4 outlined the changes that took place in girls magazines through
the 1950s and 1960s. By the early 1970s, the manga publishing industry had
established many of the features that still exist today. Rental books gradually
disappeared, along with hybrid formats like the photo story. Most manga of
all genres now are printed in large anthology magazines that appear weekly or
monthly, intended to be read and discarded, and popular titles are reprinted as
smaller paperback books for those who want a more permanent version. Most of
the manga magazines for girls, such as Nakayoshi, Ribbon, and Margaret, shifted
their content by the early 1970s to manga exclusively, dropping text-only fiction,
as well as articles on lifestyle or film stars.4 Manga in general had already become
a cultural force, particularly in the student movement of the late 1960s, and new
avant-garde works appealed to older teens and college students.5 However, this
shift toward an older audience in the 1960s occurred primarily with manga for
boys; shjo manga did not appeal to older teen readers until the early 1970s, and
manga aimed at young women in their twenties and thirties did not appear until
the 1990s.
Interactivity, so much a part of prewar girls magazines, returned with the
surge in popularity of shjo manga in the 1970s, although in slightly different
form. While shjo manga magazines never devoted as much of their content

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 103

to reader submissions as prewar girls magazines had, they retained an interactive quality. All the magazines still had prizes, contests, and surveys meant not
only to stimulate sales, but also to locate new talent. Some magazines, such as
Ribbon, began to feature a regular column in which readers could send in their
own work to be critiqued. The column in Ribbon, called Ribbon Manga School,
also offered monthly cash prizes for top contributions, starting with twenty thousand yen in 1972 and up to one hundred thousand yen in 1976, a substantial
amount of money at the time.6 Although the letters sections tended to be only
two to four pages long, as in prewar magazines, the letters did not always comment directly on the content of the magazine but acted as a forum for girls to talk
about their problems, such as a girl who admits she ran away from home for three
days because she was fighting with her mother (Shjo comic, 30 March 1975, 261).
Some magazines such as Nakayoshi had special inserts printed on colored paper at
one-half or one-quarter size dedicated to reader submissions in the form of letters and drawings. Most shjo manga magazines featured marginalia encouraging
readers to send fan mail to the magazines and to artists they liked. Text arranged
both vertically and horizontally around the margins also contained requests from
girls for pen pals, usually for other girls in the same grade at school. Although
the form of communication was different, postwar shjo manga magazines also
worked to form a nationwide reading community of girls.
Further evidence of mangas growing importance is that by the mid 1970s
articles about movie stars were almost entirely replaced with articles about popular manga artists, treating the artists as celebrities and relating the details of their
personal lives to eager fans.7 These kinds of articles, along with marginalia by
artists addressing readers directly, fostered the impression of a close relationship
between readers and artists. Although magazines only published a few fan letters
in each issue, many more readers wrote fan mail directly to their favorite authors,
who often responded to their fans in the pages of their stories. Most manga artists began to publish their work in their late teens, encouraged by magazines
eager for new talent, and readers responded enthusiastically to artists who were
close to them in age. Like prewar magazines, while most of the editors were (and
still are) men, shjo manga developed an impression of being a closed world of
girls, where girls could communicate directly with each other. Rather than creating a nationwide network of girls based on the shared experience of the girls
school, these magazines contributed to the formation of a manga culture for
girls, where fandom became a means of connecting with other girl readers and
with young women artists. The Year 24 Group, because of their youth and their
willingness to connect with fans, were the first to create this girls manga culture.
Compared with prewar girls magazines, shjo manga artists in the 1970s
had far more freedom to depict heterosexual romance, but they found social


Passionate Friendship

reality as well as generic conventions stood in the way of granting agency to girl
characters in heterosexual couples. Fujimoto Yukari points out that many shjo
manga stories in the 1970s center on a girl who finds her identity and self-worth
through a close emotional bond with a boy (Watashi no ibasho 112). The girl, who
sees herself as unpopular, clumsy, and unattractive, eventually achieves happiness
by completely subsuming her desires into her relationship with the one boy who
loves her in spite of her defects. Having made passivity a virtue, the only way a
girl can find true love is by sacrificing herself to her boy. Deprived of agency, the
girl must rely solely on the power of love to achieve her goal. Fujimoto calls
this the love trap (Watashi no ibasho 114). Although this type of Cinderella/
Prince Charming story is not unique to Japan, it was the dominant narrative of
heterosexual romance in shjo manga and one that has not entirely disappeared
even today.
Although heterosexual romance still accounts for a large percentage of the
shjo manga genre, one of the revolutionary changes of the 1970s was the introduction of homosexual romance, usually between two boys. These stories of the
love between boys allowed artists to explore adolescent sexuality in a way that was
safe for readers because they relied on homogender pairings that had developed
in prewar magazines. Although stories of S relationships like Takahashi Makotos
Sakura namiki continued to appear in the 1950s, by the early 1970s, portrayals of
male homosexual romance, or boys love, had become more popular.8
Boys love stories allowed shjo manga artists to portray sexuality and eroticism in a safe, nonthreatening way. Because the characters are boys, they are not
only distanced from the girl readers own bodies, but also from the possibilities of marriage and childbirth. Moreover, in the 1970s, it was easier for readers to imagine sexually active boys than girls. Midori Matsui argues that boys
love stages the repressed desires of the female readers: It was apparent that the
boys were the girls displaced selves; despite the feminine looks that belied their
identity, however, the fictitious boys were endowed with reason, eloquence and
aggressive desire for the other, compensating for the lack of logos and sexuality
in the conventional portraits of girls (178). As Matsui suggests, the boy characters in these manga invite the girl readers to identify with them because of their
feminine appearance, marked with ectomorphic bodies, long flowing hair, and
huge eyes.
Boys love as a subgenre of shjo manga was largely created by two innovative artists, Hagio Moto and Takemiya Keiko, whose work had both an intellectual and an erotic dimension. The first boys love story was Sanrmu nite (In
the Sunroom), by Takemiya Keiko, which appeared in Shjo comic in December
1970 (Ishida 21). Masuyama Norie, who was a manager and collaborator of both
Takemiya and Hagio early in their careers, encouraged them to depict boys love

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 105

in their work and also introduced them to the novels of Herman Hesse, which
had a profound impact on both of them (Ishida 5157). Ishida Minori claims,
If Masuyama had never met Takemiya and Hagio, there might never have been
this thing called boys love [shnen ai] or stories of the love between boys in
shjo manga (51). Takemiya and Hagio were particularly impressed by Hesses
bildungsroman Demian, and Masuyama challenged them both to create a shjo
manga version of the novel. The results were Hagios Jichigatsu no gimunajiumu (November Gymnasium, 1971) and Tma no shinz (The Heart of Thomas,
1974), and Takemiyas Kaze to ki no uta (The Song of the Wind and the Tree,
1976), all three of which were seminal works in the shjo manga revolution of
the 1970s in terms of both theme and visual storytelling.
Tma no shinz and the Triumph of Spiritual Love

Tma no shinz, which first appeared in Shjo comic in 1974, shows the influence of
Herman Hesse in its emphasis on spiritual awakening and in the setting, a Gymnasium, or boys boarding school, in early-twentieth-century Germany. Although
Hagio was inspired by Hesse, she also relied on the conventions of girls novels,
S relationships, and spiritual love. Like the girls in prewar girls novels, the boys
in Tma no shinz inhabit a private, homosocial world, and their primary concern
is love, both spiritual and familial. The story is suffused with the sensibility of
longing and nostalgia, with repeated emphasis on the purity and spiritual quality
of the boys love for each other. Tma no shinz is an early classic of the genre,
joining the emergent aesthetic idiom of shjo manga with a psychologically complex story. Like the novel Demian that Hagio used as a model, Tma no shinz is
a bildungsroman in that it centers on the identity formation of the adolescent
characters and their difficulties in transitioning from childhood to adulthood.
Unlike many other boys love stories, even in the 1970s, there is little explicit
sexual activity among the boys. Moreover, the emphasis on familial love marks
this as a transitional work, away from the childish narratives of the 1950s and
1960s such as Paris-Tokyo, which displaced the romantic plotline from the girl
onto her parents and toward teen characters who could seek love as individuals outside the family. While using male characters, as Matsui suggests, allowed
Hagio to invest the characters with sexual agency, the homosocial world of boys
love manga relies on the aesthetic of sameness and the ideals of spiritual love that
informed prewar girls magazines.
The narrative in Tma no shinz operates on a discourse of spiritual love.
Although the Gymnasium setting is rendered more or less realistically, there is
a strong Gothic undercurrent, with references to ghosts, angels, biblical stories, and psychic visions, all symbolic of the characters psychological turmoil


Passionate Friendship

and indicative of the overriding importance and nearly supernatural power of

spiritual love. The story begins during the Easter break, when thirteen-year-old
Thomas Werner dies from a fall off a pedestrian bridge over a railroad. The students and teachers at Schlotterbetz Gymnasium, where Thomas was a student,
assume it was an accident, but head prefect Julismole (Juli, age fourteen) and his
roommate, Oskar (age fifteen), know it was suicide because Thomas left a note
addressed to Juli, with whom he had been in love.9 The note reads in part,
I have been thinking for the past six months about my life and death, and also
about my one friend. I am well aware that I am still a child, just beginning to
mature, and that he will toss aside this asexual, half-formed, boyish love. . . .
Right now, he is as good as dead. I think nothing of destroying my own body
in order to bring him to life. They say that everyone dies twice: first ones
own death, then when you are forgotten by your friends. If that is so, I will
never die that second death. . . . I will live forever in his eyes. (Hagio 6)

Thomas describes his suicide not so much as an act of despair over his unrequited love for Juli, but as a sacrifice in order to free Julis repressed emotions.
Although Juli feels intense guilt for his role in Thomas death, he claims to feel
nothing for him and does not understand this message until the arrival of Erich,
a fourteen-year-old transfer student, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the
deceased Thomas. Though at first Erich and Juli are antagonistic, eventually
Erich gains sympathy for the repressed, unhappy Juli, as he falls in love with
Juli himself. Erich also discovers that Oskar is in love with Juli as well, but the
romantic rivalry between Erich and Oskar is not developed. On the contrary, the
two of them work together to uncover the secrets of Julis past, the revelation of
which finally frees his repressed emotions. In the end, however, Juli chooses neither Erich nor Oskar, but confirms his love for the angelic, ethereal Thomas by
leaving Schlotterbetz to enter a seminary. In other words, Juli chooses spiritual
love (renai) at its most pure. Spiritual love in this story, as described by Kitamura
Tkoku, is a transcendent, divine experience, separated from physical desires.
Because of its status as a classic of shjo manga, Tma no shinz has received
more critical attention in English than other manga by the Year 24 Group. Like
other aspects of girls culture, however, such as Takarazuka and the novels of
Yoshiya Nobuko, Tma no shinz is often discussed in a Western context in terms
of contemporary gay and lesbian identity. For instance, James Welker reads
Tma no shinz and other boys love manga as instances of lesbian panic, that is,
partially suppressed same-sex desire on the part of both the artist and the readers. His approach demonstrates the problem with trying to map a lesbian identity
onto the homosociality in girls culture. Welker dismisses the Japanese point of

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 107

view, expressed by feminist scholars such as Ueno Chizuko and Fujimoto Yukari,
that homosociality and androgyny in girls culture represent chsei, a genderneutral approach, and likewise also dismisses Hagios own reflections on chsei.
He reads Julis initial denial of Thomas love as a panicked response to the threat
of same-sex desire, and he asserts that Hagio herself suffers from unresolved,
repressed lesbian desires because she admitted that she initially considered setting the story in a girls school. Welker writes,
Hagio has explained in interviews that she abandoned the lesbian version
because she found her girl-girl romance plot disgusting (iyarashi) and the
idea of a kiss scene between girls to be as gooey as fermented soy beans
(Hagio and Yoshimoto 90; see also Aoyama 18889). For Hagio, drawing
the world of the girls school is too restrictive, as if she were bound by a
witches spell (quoted in Fujimoto 205), whereas drawing the unknown
world of the boys school is far more interesting (204) and offers a different sense of liberation (205). . . . [T]he lesbian narrative was graphically
silenced because of Hagios and perhaps her readers inability to confront or
admit their own lesbian desire directly. And, either way, the fact remains that
Hagio had lesbian desire in mind when she created the narrative. (858, references in original)

It is interesting that Hagio first considered setting her adaptation of Demian in

a girls school before reverting to a location closer to the original, but Welkers
conclusion is not the only possible interpretation of these quotes from Hagio.
If her comments are considered in the historical context of girls culture, it seems
likely that Hagio was not attempting to silence or suppress a lesbian narrative,
but rather that she was reacting to the long tradition of girls novels featuring
S relationships. The stickiness she refers to might better be translated as
sappy and suggests frustration with a genre that by the 1970s seemed hopelessly old-fashioned. Stories of love between girls, far from being unimaginable or
shocking, had been the norm through the 1950s, for example, in Sakura namiki.
It seems more likely that Hagio was inspired by the discourse on spirituality she
found in Hesses work, which led her to the German boys school setting and also
provided an exciting variation on an old generic convention.
Portraying Hagio and Takemiya as unaware of the eroticism and meaning
in their own work also diminishes the sophistication they brought to the emergent shjo manga genre. Although they were in their early twenties, or perhaps
precisely because they were young, they were part of the trend in the late 1960s
and early 1970s to understand sexuality in new ways.10 Ishida Minori discusses
how the Year 24 Group artists (particularly Takemiya and Hagio), like other


Passionate Friendship

artists and writers at the time, including literary giants such as Mishima Yukio,
were involved in a project of rediscovering discourses of desire from the 1920s,
such as the writing of Inagaki Taruho on male homoeroticism (107). Hagio and
Takemiya were not unaware of homosexual identities in the West or Japan; rather
they used homosexuality, via the filter of girls culture, to tackle adult themes in
shjo manga. Tma no shinz represents a leap forward in the creation of the new
shjo manga genre not only because Hagio shifted the story of passionate friendship and idealized love from a girls school to a boys school, but because she
helped shift the target audience back up toward high school age by moving away
from stories of familial love toward romantic love.
While searching for repressed lesbian desire is not a productive mode of
analysis, the discourse of spiritual love provides a different analytic paradigm, one
that illuminates the larger meaning of Tma no shinz for shjo manga and girls
culture. Although Tma no shinz is a more mature narrative than Paris-Tokyo, it
is still a transitional work in that familial love and romantic love are intertwined.
Erich, the doppelganger of the dead Thomas, has no father but develops an
overtly oedipal attachment to his mother. He calls her by her first name, Marie
(echoing the idealized, archetypical mother Eva in Demian), and thinks of her as
his lover. The sight of her kissing other men sends him into a state of shock. In
another instance of doubling in the narrative, Erich is sent to Schlotterbetz by
his mothers latest boyfriend, who is also named Juli. Erich dreams of displacing this interloper, quitting school, and returning to his mother. However, after
Marie dies in a car accident, Erich is reconciled with the older Juli, who offers
to adopt him, and they vow to keep Maries memory alive between the two of
them. Once Erich has resolved his oedipal issues by finding a surrogate father
and letting go of his mother, he is at last able to help the younger Juli free his
repressed emotions and learn how to love. In other words, he can only give and
receive spiritual love once he has resolved his issues with familial love, the classic
resolution of the oedipal complex.11
Oskar, who is also in love with Juli, has a similar character arc involving the
difficulties of familial love. He is the inverse of Erich in that the tension is with
his father rather than his mother. Oskars father is missing and presumed dead,
but the reader discovers early in the narrative that in fact the Schlotterbetz headmaster, Mueller, is Oskars biological father, a fact his mother, now deceased, had
kept secret. Oskars story resolves when he acknowledges this truth and allows
Mueller to adopt him. Like Erichs storyline, Oskars story ends with his recovery of a father and acceptance of familial love. This moment also becomes a
turning point for Juli in freeing his emotions. When Juli hears Oskars confession about his true parentage, he wonders why Oskar is not angry at Mueller for
keeping this secret from him, but Oskar replies that he forgives him. Oskar says

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 109

to Juli, All I ever wanted, from you and from him, was to notice that I love you
(Hagio 427). As Juli begins to weep, he realizes that he too can be forgiven and
loved. The resolution of family crises for the two supporting characters, Erich
and Oskar, serve as a model for the main character, Juli, whose difficulties with
both familial and romantic love are much less easily solved.
If the emphasis on familial love and parental attachment seems unusual,
it is important to remember that the imbrication of familial love and romantic
love is a common trope in shjo manga, especially in the 1970s, as the genre
was transitioning away from narratives aimed at younger readers. A comparison
with a contemporary shjo manga series Candy Candy shows how much more
mature Hagios work was for its time. Candy Candy, a heterosexual romance by
Igarashi Yumiko (serialized in the magazine Nakayoshi, 19751979, and based
on the novels by Mizuki Kyko), features an even more thorough conflation of
parents and lovers. The heroine, Candice Candy White, an orphan in turn-ofthe-century America, falls in love as a young girl with an older boy whom she
calls her Prince of the Hill. Throughout the hundreds of pages of the story
(seven volumes in reprints), as Candy grows from a child to a young woman,
she continues to dream of this mysterious Prince of the Hill, whose real name
and identity she does not know. Candy is adopted by the wealthy Ardley family,
which is presided over by an unseen patriarch named Uncle William. Although
Candy falls in love twice with boys her own age, at the end of the series she
chooses to live with an ailing older man, who turns out to be both the mysterious
Uncle William, that is, her adoptive father, and the Prince of the Hill, her one
true love. The final scene is deeply ambiguous: Candy goes to live with him, but
is it as wife, daughter, or nurse? This ending suggests the difficulty of presenting
idealized romantic love in a heterosexual framework. As in Paris-Tokyo, in order
to maintain her purity, the girls desires are continually routed back to familial
love. Compared to Candy Candy, the narrative of Tma no shinz seems far more
adult in that the characters eventually grow out of their childhood fixations on
their parents and concentrate on forming new love attachments, even if those
relationships are not fully realized within the plot.
In Tma no shinz, the story arc of the main character, Juli, represents the
triumph of spiritual love over the traumas of adolescence and specifically the
threat of sexual violence. When the story begins, Juli is unable to reciprocate
Thomas love because, unlike Erich and Oskar, Juli does not have loving parents
or parent surrogates to mentor him in human affection. Even worse, he reveals
at the climax of the story that he was the victim of sexualized abuse by an upperclassman, Seifreit, which leaves him physically scarred and fearful of emotional
attachments. Throughout the story there are hints of a traumatic event that Juli
says clipped his wings, that is, that cut him off from his properly spiritual side.


Passionate Friendship

The scars on his back and chest are the physical reminder of the loss of his angelic
wings. Juli keeps Seifreits attack secret out of shame and guilt: he repeatedly
refers to himself as a devil because he thinks of himself as a willing accomplice
to Seifreits abuse. He says, I was attracted to him . . . I knew what kind of person he was, but even so . . . a part of me said not to approach him . . . but . . . in my
heart, there are the seeds of good and evil, and the good was drawn to Thomas,
and the bad was drawn to him [Seifreit] (Hagio 441, ellipses in original). The
bifurcation of Julis attraction to the angelic Thomas and the demonic Seifreit
indicates the threat of romantic attachments for young teens. Through Erich and
Oskar, who love him unconditionally, Juli learns to forgive himself and accept
love from others. Erichs and Oskars resolution of their conflicts with familial
love allows them to serve as positive models of spiritual love for Juli.
Julis total embrace of spiritual love at the end of the story is marked symbolically by his acceptance of the angelic Thomas and literally by his decision
to enter the priesthood. While this conclusion could be interpreted, as Welker
reads it, as a denial of physical desire, such an interpretation of Juli as increasingly repressed is at odds with the liberatory, cathartic tone of the manga. As
discussed in Chapter 2, Christianity, particularly in the world of girls mission
schools in Japan, does not have the same puritanical connotations as in the
United States but instead conjures a world of sophisticated elegance and purity
as well as homosocial relationships and valorization of spiritual love. It is no
accident that this story of the triumph of spiritual love takes place at a Christian
school and that Julis embrace of spiritual love is tied to his return to a belief in
God. At the end, Juli regains his wings, indicating his recovery of a spiritual,
hopeful part of himself.
It is also important to realize that Hagios decision to focus on spiritual
rather than physical love was an artistic one, not a choice necessarily mandated
by publishers or editors. Sex scenes in shjo manga began appearing early in the
1970s, at the same time Tma no shinz was published (1974). Unlike prewar girls
magazines, in which the threat of censorship prevented even the hint of sexual
desire, by the early 1970s shjo manga were becoming quite racy. According to
Fujimoto Yukari, the first heterosexual bed scene in shjo manga appeared in
1972 in Love Game (Raabu geemu) by Ichij Yukari (Watashi no ibasho 46). Moreover, Kaze to ki no uta (1976), Takemiyas response to the challenge of remaking Demian as shjo manga, while thematically similar to Tma no shinz, contains numerous explicit sex scenes. Takemiya set her story in a boys boarding
school in France, rather than Germany, but the story also features a beautiful
boy (bishnen), Gilbert, who, like Juli, is desired by the other boys and has been
the victim of sexual abuse by upperclassmen.12 Unlike Juli, however, Gilbert
responds by becoming sexually promiscuous and seductive. As in Tma no shinz,

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 111

the story revolves around the efforts of a newcomer, Serge, to save Gilbert and
teach him the importance of spiritual love. After the success of Kaze to ki no
uta, in 1978 Takemiya helped to found June magazine, dedicated exclusively to
boys love, with the goal of carving out a public space for girls to express their
sexual desires (Takemiya, Takemiya Keiko no manga kyshitsu, 210). One of the
revolutionary aspects of Year 24 Group and 1970s shjo manga was the ability to
portray sexual desire in fiction for teen girls.
Although Hagio and Takemiya modeled their early work on Hesses novels,
they also drew on Japanese generic conventions. Tma no shinz is essentially
a girls novel about S relationships, with boys substituted for girls. It contains
many of the same elements, such as the exchange of letters, the Christian school
setting, and the emphasis on purity, innocence, and spiritual love. What Hagio
adds, however, is a serious meditation on adolescent development and a transition from familial to romantic love, aspects that resonated with teenage girl readers and have become the central theme for many shjo manga stories.
Boys Love and Girls Desires

Why the shift from S relationships between two girls to boys love? In part this
was a way to invigorate an old genre and also a move away from the restrictions
of prewar mores while still connecting with the aesthetics and emotions that girls
associated with girls culture. The substitution of boys for girls also allowed for
more sexually explicit stories, which could still be coded as safe or innocent. To
quote Takemiya Keiko, If there is a sex scene between a boy and a girl, they [the
readers] dont like it because it seems too real. It leads to topics like getting pregnant or getting married, and thats too real. But if its two boys, they can avoid
that and concentrate on the love aspect (Takemiya Keiko no manga kyshitsu 210).
As Takemiya implies, the discourse among fans of shjo manga and particularly
boys love, like the discourse on the Takarazuka, focuses on fantasy and chsei,
the imaginary neutral gender. Mark McLelland quotes from a fan: [Boy-love]
comics are an imaginary playground in which I can flee the realities of everyday life (Why Are Japanese Girls Comics Full of Boys Bonking? 7). Midori
Matsui writes, The Japanese boy-love comic, in its most imaginatively ambitious
mode, is a remarkable amalgam of the feminine and the adolescent imagination
(194). The transference of the girl readers identity onto the boy character can be
a powerful means for girls to access eroticism and contemplate their own desires
for boys or men. While Western critics concentrate on the homosexual aspect of
boys love, these are not stories about real homosexual relationships.13
Boys love manga is a strategy for heterosexual teenage girls to negotiate
their feelings about relationships with boys, just as slash fiction in the United


Passionate Friendship

States stages homoerotic scenes between male characters in popular TV shows

for the enjoyment of heterosexual women. The similarity between boys love and
slash demonstrates how both speak to the concerns and anxieties of heterosexual
girls and women. Writing on the oldest and largest slash fandom, dedicated to
the characters Kirk and Spock of Star Trek, Constance Penley calls this a project of retooling masculinity itself to conform with womens desire for equality
and emotional openness in heterosexual relationships (127). The beautiful boys
(bishnen) of shjo manga, like the idealized Kirk/Spock of slash fandom, allow
girls to imagine a romantic and sexual relationship outside the sexist expectations
imposed on them in real life. This strategy of altering existing texts is what Penley,
citing Michel de Certeau, calls Brownian Motion or the tactical maneuvers
of the relatively powerless when attempting to resist, negotiate, or transform
the system and products of the relatively powerful (104).14 Boys love is a way
for girls to access mature sexual and even pornographic texts in a manner that is
socially tolerated. In a comparison of boys love and slash, Marni Stanley states
that the pleasures of both genres lie in giving females a chance to play with boys
and the male body in ways that male authors/artists have traditionally assumed to
be their right to manipulate and play with the female body (107). To expand on
Stanleys point, it is worth remembering that pornography featuring two women
produced for a male audience is widely understood in the United States as a male
fantasy, removed from the realities of lesbian desires, and the men who consume
it are not presumed to identify with the female characters. Boys love, as a form
of erotica for girls, can be understood in the same way.
Boys love has branched out from professional manga to other media, mainly
self-published manga (djinshi) and illustrated novels as well as drama CDs, which
feature dramatic readings of popular boys love manga and novels by professional
voice actors. The emphasis in these CDs on the sex scenes, complete with deep
breathing and sound effects, suggests that these are low-budget substitutes for
the kind of pornographic anime or adult video widely available for men. While
some shjo manga are made into animated TV series or movies, as yet there
is no boys love equivalent of the hentai (animated pornography) genre for the
male demographic, perhaps for economic reasons. In the low-budget amateur
markets, that is, in self-published manga and on the Internet, however, boys love
has flourished, both in original stories and in parodies and revisions of popular
manga, anime, film, and television.15 As with slash fiction in the United States,
boys love gives girls permission to direct a libidinous gaze on the male body and
fantasize about sexual fulfillment in response to male-directed fictions that do
not grant them agency or acknowledge their desires.16
As the boys love genre has evolved since the 1970s, it has become more rigidly codified than in Tma no shinz and Kaze to ki no uta. In contemporary boys

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 113

love, the two partners are usually designated as the seme and the uke, indicating
the penetrative and receptive roles in anal sex. The seme (literally, attacker)
is usually older, taller, more masculine and aggressive, while the uke (literally,
receiver) is the weaker partner, often drawn with an exaggeratedly feminine
appearance. As Penley says of slash fiction, however, it is important to the readers
that both characters are in fact male (126).17
While the heteronormative gender roles and sexual violence of some boys
love manga raises fears that girls may be receiving and internalizing negative
gender stereotypes, it should not be assumed that readers necessarily identify
only with the uke. In an online survey of English-speaking boys love fans, Dru
Pagliassotti found overwhelming evidence of shifting or multiple identifications;
as one respondent wrote, I can choose to relate to the seme, or the uke, or both
(71). Another reported, In hetero manga, I automatically relate to the female
because I am a woman. In yaoi or boys love I can relate to either character more
easily (71). While Pagliassottis respondents were presumably not Japanese,
there is no reason to assume Japanese readers might respond differently. While
the gender signifiers of the uke and seme are often heteronormative, even excessively so, fixating solely on the question of reader identification misses the more
subtle ways that readers may be using these texts to access a female-centered
As with the S-relationship, heteronormativity in boys love is precisely the
point, in that both genres allow heterosexual girls a safe space to think through
problems of romantic and sexual relationships. Like the S relationship, as a fantasy space, boys love is coded as innocent and pure, even when depicting sexual
activity. While queer readings of boys love are possible, the majority of readers
are heterosexual, as were the readers of prewar girls novels. The boys in boys
love manga behave differently from boys in manga genres aimed at male readers, reflecting female readers desires. The seme, for all his macho posturing, will
usually at some point express his feelings of love for the uke, confirming his emotional side in a way that is appealing to girls and that is not usually seen in manga
for boys or adult men. In this regard, the uke/seme relationship is remarkably
similar to the older sister/younger sister bonds of the S relationship. As sexual
mores have changed for teens in the postwar years, the content of the fiction girls
read has also shifted, but homosocial tropes and spiritual love remain dominant
in girls culture.
The Visual Grammar of Shjo Manga

Hagio Motos work also shows the development of shjo mangas discrete visual
grammar, using elements taken from illustration in prewar girls magazines


Passionate Friendship

(particularly jojga, or lyrical pictures) to create a new dynamic storytelling style.

The significant features of this new style, seen in Tma no shinz, are interior
monologue, open frames, layering, symbolic imagery, and emotive backgrounds,
which taken together form the visual grammar of shjo manga. Hagio is not solely
responsible for creating the distinctive shjo manga aesthetic, which developed
gradually over the course of the 1950s and 1960s in the works of many artists,
including Takahashi Makoto. As with jojga in prewar girls magazines, the distinctive style of postwar shjo manga serves to draw in the reader by establishing
an appeal to emotion and a shared girls culture, while at the same time reflecting
the emotional depth of the story in a three-dimensional effect on the page.
Casual observers tend to fixate on the exaggerated eye, but for scholars of
manga writing in Japanese, the use of interior monologue outside word balloons
is far more significant in the development of the shjo manga genre. tsuka Eiji
argues that extensive use of interior monologue is the fundamental difference
between shjo manga and manga for boys, in which action drives the narrative
(Sengo manga 60). As shjo manga usually do not feature third-person narration, the interior monologue of the main character outside word or thought balloons approximates voice-over in film or first-person narration in the novel. The
result, according to tsuka, is that in shjo manga, the feelings of the characters
become as important as the dialog, and the reader is drawn into the inner world
of the characters (Sengo manga 61). As in girls magazines, the emotional lives
of teenage girls are given weight and significance. In shjo manga, as in Yoshiya
Nobukos novels, fragmented narration expressing the emotions of the main
character is a means of exploring the characters interiority.
This aspect of shjo mangas visual grammar can be seen in Tma no shinz,
where the interior monologue of the three main characters, Erich, Juli, and Oskar,
appears outside word or thought balloons, accompanied by symbolic images that
add weight and immediacy to the psychology of the characters, which otherwise
would have no material or visual presence. As in Yoshiyas novels, this interior
monologue often takes the form of sentence fragments scattered across the page,
approximating poetry. The thoughts expressed in the interior monologue are
expressed symbolically in images that exceed the boundaries of each frame or
that are layered together in a montage. For instance, when Erich thinks back to
the moment he saw his mother kissing another man, she appears in the top half
of the page, holding a bunch of white lilies (Hagio 125) (Fig. 5.1). The panels at
the bottom of the page depict her kissing the man, that is, literally representing
Erichs memories, but the large image of Marie at the top of the page is symbolic, showing his idealized memory of her, with additional close-up images of
white lilies surrounding her in the middle of the page. The white lilies here, as
in prewar magazines, symbolize spiritual love. As the characters use the imagery

Figure 5.1. As Erich thinks about his mother, his interior monologue appears outside word
balloons, and images of his mother are layered through the irregular frames, showing his
thoughts graphically. (Hagio Moto, Tma no shinz [Shgakukan, 1996], 125. Hagio Moto,


Passionate Friendship

of angels and wings to represent their capacity for love, the motif of wings also
appears frequently. As Juli begins to reveal to Erich the history of his abuse by
Seifreit, he says, I have no wings (Hagio 407). At the same time, his thoughts
are repeated outside word balloons, and an image of the angel Gabriel blowing a
trumpet appears at the bottom half of the page, layered over the frames of Erich
and Juli conversing (Fig. 5.2). Similar images of angels appear throughout the
story, as the thoughts of the characters are rendered through symbolic motifs.
This use of symbolic motifs contributes to a layered, three-dimensional
effect, another key aspect of shjo mangas visual grammar. In addition to overt
symbols, such as the angels, Hagio makes use of the full-body portrait, first used
by Takahashi Makoto, to mark the main characters. Hagio also superimposes
multiple close-ups of the main characters, which again marks them and encourages identification (Fig. 5.3). She also uses emotive backgrounds to reflect the
emotions of the characters. This often takes the form of flowers, as in Takahashis
work, but by this time the flowers have become symbolic and are understood to
be purely emotive, not representational, and hence there is no need to place the
characters in an actual flower garden, as in Paris-Tokyo. The symbolism of flowers
has deep roots in girls culture, as in the use of the white lily with Erichs mother,
and relates directly to the jojga style and in an indirect way to the decorative
quality of Art Nouveau that influenced jojga artists. The emotive backgrounds
are often abstract, with clouds, starbursts, or screentone used to reflect emotion.
Since all of these symbolic and emotive elements (full bodies, repeated closeups, flowers, abstract shapes) must be frontally arranged on the two-dimensional
surface of the page, the accretion of these elements creates a layered or threedimensional effect.
This three-dimensional effect not only creates visual interest but lends both
literal and symbolic depth to the story. For instance, when Erich hears a rumor
that Juli is responsible for Thomas death, Hagio layers a full-body portrait of
Erich on top of panels that depict the faces of Thomas and Juli, surrounded
by drifting flowers that suggest the angelic Thomas and his fatal plunge from
the pedestrian bridge. At the bottom of the page, Erichs face appears again in
close-up, with a small starburst symbolizing his sudden fear that Juli might try
to kill him as well. This layered effect represents Erichs thoughts dynamically,
adding drama to a scene that would otherwise lack action. In a larger sense, the
layered, three-dimensional effect is analogous to Hagios attempt to bring narrative depth to shjo manga by dealing with psychologically complex themes. This
use of layering and open panels is what Takemiya refers to as the lawlessness of
shjo manga, that is, a world in which emotion is given free range.
The densely layered, montagelike arrangements serve as moments of melodramatic stasis, especially when accompanied by interior monologue. This kind

Figure 5.2. Juli tells Erich he has no wings (i.e., capacity for love), while the lower half
of the page depicts his thoughts outside word balloons and a symbolic image of the angel
Gabriel, who strongly resembles Juli. (Hagio Moto, Tma no shinz [Shgakukan, 1996], 407.
Hagio Moto, Shgakukan)

Figure 5.3. Layering, diagonal lines, full-body portrait, repeated close-ups, and emotive backgrounds add drama to what would otherwise be a static scene of Erichs thoughts. Here Erich
(full body and again in profile at the bottom of the page) thinks about the deceased Thomas,
whose face appears twice upside-down; Juli appears in the third panel. (Hagio Moto, Tma no
shinz [Shgakukan, 1996], 130. Hagio Moto, Shgakukan)

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 119

of effect is not limited to shjo manga but appears across media in genres that
dramatically stage extreme emotions. Film scholar Linda Williams, writing on
American cinema, describes melodramatic stasis as ephemeral spectacle, showmanship, and moments of artistic motivation in which audiences admire the
show rather than get caught up in the cause-effect linear progress towards narrative resolution (57). In other words, there are frequent moments where the
action halts to allow a static staging of pathos, as in the examples above from
Tma no shinz. To criticize these scenes for being overdetermined, unmotivated,
and excessive is, according to Williams, to miss the point of the melodramatic
imagination, which is about regeneration and a reaffirmation of innocence (42).
In this regard as well, the static moments in shjo manga are similar to jojgas
tone of wistful innocence.
The use of the full-body portrait and other arrangements that create a layered effect as well as irregular and open frames are all techniques for investing
shjo manga with emotional depth. These techniques can include layering panels
on top of each other, laying dialog, narration, close-ups, or sound effects over
two or more panels. Hagio and other shjo manga artists also make liberal use
of white space and diagonal lines, with the result that the panels are splintered
or exploded, while characters and scenes appear to float in space. Because the
stories emphasize emotion and are not action-oriented, the composition of the
panels is intended to create a mood rather than to guide the readers eye from
one moment of action to the next. The effect is dreamy and nonlinear, which is
appropriate to the tone of the stories and illustrates the inner psychology of the
characters. Although artistic styles in shjo manga have changed over the past
thirty years, most shjo manga artists still use these conventions of layering and
interior monologue in order to emphasize affect.
Homogender Romance in The Rose of Versailles

Like Tma no shinz, The Rose of Versailles (serialized in Margaret, 19721973) is

another of the early classics in the emergent genre, a story that Yokomori Rika
calls the shining masterpiece of shjo manga (32). Fan response to The Rose
of Versailles was immediate and unprecedented, sparking a craze among teenage
girls in the early 1970s for anything related to the manga, or indeed for anything
French. When the main character, Oscar, died well before the end of the series,
teachers reportedly were forced to suspend classes because all the girl students
were in tears, and one distraught fan mailed a letter containing a razor to artist
Ikeda Riyoko (Berusaiyu no bara daijiten 126). How did this narrative-heavy
account of the events leading to the French Revolution evoke such an impassioned response among Japanese girls? The storys focus on political issues and


Passionate Friendship

adult romantic love mark it as part of the trend toward more serious content.
The story features an epic scale, a lush, rococo setting, and an active female main
character, which appealed to girls sensibilities. However, what distinguishes The
Rose of Versailles from other shjo manga of the time is the depiction of adult
heterosexual romance between equals. The continued popularity of The Rose of
Versailles suggests that girls long for romance stories featuring a powerful female
character, but the narrative compromises that Ikeda used to depict that romance
suggests the extent to which equality in heterosexual romance remains a fantasy
in shjo manga. Although The Rose of Versailles depicts heterosexual romance, the
narrative still operates within the genre of shjo manga, which tends to favor
homosocial and homosexual relationships, and points to the difficulties in portraying realistic heterosexual romance narratives without sacrificing the social
and sexual agency of the female character.
Ikeda Riyoko, like Hagio Moto and other shjo manga artists in the early
1970s, was experimenting with ways to expand the genre to address more mature
themes. Ikeda, who was just twenty-four years old when she began writing The
Rose of Versailles, encountered strong opposition when she first proposed the idea
of a biography of Marie Antoinette to her editors. As a result of this opposition,
Ikeda was dependent on fan feedback to ensure continued publication of her story
(Berusaiyu no bara daijiten 123). The story changes significantly over the course
of its serialization, as the young and inexperienced Ikeda developed as a writer
and artist but also in response to readers feedback. The development of the plot
over the course of its serialization provides a unique opportunity to see how readers reacted to Ikedas innovations. Chief among these was to make the main character a woman who dresses and behaves as a man. Readers responded positively
to this story because Ikeda wrote in the idiom of earlier shjo manga and girls
novels. At the same time, however, she attempted a compromise between the
adolescent world of S relationships and the adult world of heterosexual romance.
In its early chapters, The Rose of Versailles begins as a straightforward biography of Marie Antoinette. Ikeda drew most of her historic details from Stefan
Zweigs 1933 book Marie Antoinette: Portrait of an Average Woman, which she had
read in high school (Berusaiyu no bara daijiten 122). The first several chapters of
The Rose of Versailles detail many real aspects of Marie Antoinettes life, including
her close relationship with her mother, Maria Theresa of Austria, her loveless
marriage at the age of fourteen to Louis XVI, her early rivalry with Madame du
Barry, her friendship with the comtesse de Polignac, the Affair of the Necklace,
and her lifelong romance with the Swedish count Hans Axel von Fersen. Ikeda
casts this historical story in terms of shjo manga: the teenage Marie Antoinette
is not much different from the lively, silly girls of shjo manga looking to be
redeemed by love, in this case, her love for von Fersen. Marie Antoinettes fights

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 121

with du Barry also take on the tone of schoolgirl rivalries. The exotic setting,
elaborate costumes, and polite language appealed to girl readers who had long
enjoyed this sort of fantasy in girls magazines. Ikeda addressed her readers in an
idiom that was familiar to them.
Readers who were expecting a romantic comedy and light tone typical of
girls magazines in the 1960s, however, were no doubt shocked by the social and
gender critiques that emerge as the story becomes increasingly serious. As the
characters enter adulthood, Marie Antoinette is eclipsed by the fictional Oscar
Franois de Jarjayes, a cross-dressed woman and the captain of the Queens
Royal Guard.18 Oscar begins the story as a supporting character, invented, Ikeda
later revealed in interviews, because she felt unable to convincingly portray a
male soldier (Nimiya 228). Oscar is born the youngest daughter of General de
Jarjayes, who, despairing of a male heir, raises her as a boy and a soldier. She
proves to be an accomplished officer and a natural leader. Although she dresses
and behaves as a man, however, Oscars sex is never a secret; the other characters
all know that she is in fact a woman. In spite of her masculine dress and bearing,
she retains feminine features, specifically long hair and large eyes (Fig. 5.4), as
well as compassion and empathy. She is far more charismatic and complex than
Marie Antoinette, and it is easy to see why she takes over the narrative.
Through Oscar, the text radically questions the assumptions of heterosexual
romance and gender roles. As her narrative trajectory gains momentum, Oscar
has two basic conflicts, the first in her career and politics, and the second in her
romantic life. To summarize the first briefly, Oscar gradually begins to realize
that in spite of her personal friendship with Marie Antoinette, as captain of the
Royal Guard, she is supporting a corrupt regime. She learns to sympathize with
the revolutionaries, renounces her aristocratic status, and takes on a new commission as captain of a regiment of commoners. She and her men eventually join
with the revolutionaries in a series of events also loosely based on real incidents.
Oscar herself is killed while leading her regiment in the storming of the Bastille.
In her political career, Oscar moves from a position of privilege to learning to
embrace the ideals of the French Revolution.
The political content of The Rose of Versailles was one part of the revolution
in shjo manga, as writers like Ikeda, Hagio, and Takemiya brought complexity
and seriousness to the genre. While in prewar girls magazines political content, along with sexual content, had been forbidden, in the liberal atmosphere
of the 1970s, authors had the freedom to address these topics. Oscars search for
personal meaning through political action and her gradual awakening to social
injustice echo the student movements of the New Left that galvanized Japanese
youth through the 1960s. The shjo manga artists of the Year 24 Group had
grown up in the midst of these protests and were empowered by the sense of

Figure 5.4. Oscar Franois de Jarjayes, the cross-dressed heroine of The Rose of Versailles.
Despite her masculine clothing, her hair and eyes indicate her feminine qualities. This page is
also an example of the full-body portrait, with the middle panel showing a repeated close-up
of Oscar and her interior monologue outside word balloons. (Ikeda Riyoko, Berusaiyu no bara
[Sheisha Bunk, 2004], 3:25. Ikeda Riyoko Production)

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 123

youthful rebellion and iconoclasm at the time. Anne McKnight, in her analysis
of the political dimensions of The Rose of Versailles, demonstrates how Ikeda, who
was a member of the Japanese Communist Party, picked up on themes of revolution and populist uprising at a moment when the New Left, also partly inspired
by the French Revolution, was seemingly exhausted (2930). There is a natural
affinity between the decorative aesthetics of shjo manga and the baroque or
rococo art of prerevolutionary France, which McKnight writes offers tropes
for examining how a feminine subject becomes self-sufficient and free (30).
While the connection between boys manga and the student movement has been
well documented (Kinsella, Adult Manga, 32), readers of shjo manga were also
politically engaged. The letters columns in shjo manga magazines aimed at high
school girls in the early 1970s ran many letters from readers protesting the war in
Vietnam.19 Takemiya also says that the student movement influenced her to open
her mind to different points of view and got her to think past absolutes (Takemiya
Keiko no manga kyshitsu 212213). The Rose of Versailles linked the personal and
the political in a way that was appealing to girl readers.
Oscars romantic conflicts, however, were as significant as her politics in
terms of fan response and influence on subsequent shjo manga. The narrative
first pairs Oscar in an S relationship with Rosalie Lamorlire.20 Rosalie is a stereotypical good girl, sweet, obedient, and timid, who falls in love with Oscar after
Oscar rescues her from various perils. Rosalies adoring admiration for Oscar is
reminiscent of the S relationship (Fig. 5.5), but Oscar does not reciprocate her
love. Oscar makes it clear that she desires a relationship with a man; that is, she
desires an adult, rather than an adolescent, relationship. It would seem that readers too could not accept Oscar in a schoolgirl relationship. Ikeda has stated that
she originally intended Rosalie to serve as a point of identification for girls, but
the character proved unpopular (Berusaiyu no bara daijiten 30). Ever dependent
on fan feedback, Ikeda decreased Rosalies significance in the plot.
Having rejected Rosalie and S relationships, Oscars first attempt at a heterosexual relationship is with Marie Antoinettes lover, Hans Axel von Fersen.
Fearing that he does not see her as a woman, Oscar attempts to seduce him by
donning a dress for the first (and only) time in her life and attending a ball in
disguise as a foreign princess. Even this, however, is not enough to convince
Fersen to see Oscar as anything more than a comrade. Oscars second foray into
romance comes when her father arranges her marriage to the comte de Girodelle. Whereas Fersen only saw her as a man, Girodelle only sees Oscar as a
woman, which infuriates her. To spite both Girodelle and her father, she appears
at her engagement party in her military dress uniform and dances with women.
This ends her engagement and also highlights her inability to accept either a
clearly masculine or a feminine role.

Figure 5.5. The bottom right panel suggests the start of an S relationship between Rosalie
and Oscar, but Ikeda later wrote Rosalie out of the story in favor of Andr. (Ikeda Riyoko.
Berusaiyu no bara [Sheisha Bunk, 2004], 1:376. Ikeda Riyoko Production)

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 125

At this point, Oscar finally realizes what the reader has already known for
some time: her one true love is in fact Andr Grandier, who has been her faithful
companion and sidekick since childhood.21 Andr first appears in the narrative
as a background character (Fig. 5.6), and Ikeda later admitted that she did not
initially create him as a love interest (Berusaiyu no bara daijiten 29). But as Ikeda,
in response to feedback from fans, made Oscar the main character over Marie
Antoinette, she also developed Andr more fully as a partner to Oscar. Significantly, however, Andr only begins to emerge as a love interest after Oscar cuts
his hair, which alters his appearance to more closely resemble her own. As the
story progresses, they increasingly resemble each other, in the shape of the hair
and eyes, and in the clothes they wear, usually military uniforms (Fig. 5.7). When
Oscar finally acknowledges her own feelings and returns his love, she describes
Andr as her shadow and compares the two of them to the mythological twins
Castor and Pollux (Fig. 5.8). This increasing physical resemblance does not
occur with other characters; specifically, it does not occur between Marie Antoinette and Fersen, both of whom retain clearly gender differentiated appearances
(Fig. 5.9).
Andr becomes Oscars ideal love interest not only because he physically
resembles her, but also because his own masculine identity is compromised. First,
he is of a lower social class, little more than a servant in the de Jarjayes household. For much of the story Oscar either gives him orders or ignores him. Second, and even more significant, their romance only begins to develop after Andr
loses an eye in the line of duty; in the latter half of the story, he gradually loses his
sight in the other eye as well. His disability enforces his subordinate, dependent
position. By the time they finally consummate their relationship and pledge to
marry, Andr has become completely blind, symbolizing his loss of masculinity.
Andrs suffering, both from Oscars inattention to him and from the gradual loss of his sight, is highlighted in moments of melodramatic stasis, which
further feminizes him. For instance, in one such moment of melodramatic stasis,
Andr decides to find out more about the republican politics that have so preoccupied Oscar by reading Rousseau. But rather than one of Rousseaus philosophical works, he reads the romance La Nouvelle Hlose and sees himself in the
story of forbidden love between a noble lady and a commoner. He reacts emotionally to the story (like a female reader of romance novels or shjo manga), and
his emotions and thoughts are portrayed visually (Fig. 5.10). Extended interior
monologues and pauses in the action to represent emotional anguish visually are
usually reserved for the lead female character (or the uke), but in the second half
of The Rose of Versailles, as Oscar wrestles with political issues, it is Andr who suffers the stereotypically female pain of unrequited love. In visually representing
his inner thoughts, the narrative invites readers to identify with him. As Midori

Figure 5.6. One of the first appearances of Andr, in the upper left panel, behind a much
larger image of Oscar. Note how different their faces and hairstyles are. (Ikeda Riyoko.
Berusaiyu no bara [Sheisha Bunk, 2004], 1:143. Ikeda Riyoko Production)

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 127

Matsui suggests, reader identification in shjo manga does not necessarily follow
gender lines; however, it is interesting that readers rejected Rosalie, the image of
female suffering, as a point of identification, in favor of Andr.
Although Oscar and Andrs relationship is in a biological sense heterosexual, it is still configured within the story as homogender. As a masculine woman
and an emasculated man, Oscar and Andr physically and symbolically resemble each other, indicating that the story is still operating within the aesthetic
of sameness that pervades both prewar girls magazines and postwar boys love
shjo manga. Oscar is able to give herself completely to Andr because he never
asks her to compromise either her masculine or feminine identity. Oscar remains
popular among girl readers even thirty years after the storys initial publication
not only because she displays masculine strength and agency without sacrificing
her feminine beauty and empathy, but also because she finds true love without
losing her identity to her partner.
Although Oscar emerges as the main character, her death (preceded by
Andr) occurs well before the end of the story. Ikeda has said in interviews that
after Andrs and Oscars deaths, readership declined sharply and her editors
pressured her to finish the story quickly, although she had wanted to continue
through the entire revolution (Berusaiyu no bara sono nazo to shinjitsu 114115).
In the 4 November 1973 issue of Margaret, two weeks after Oscars dramatic
death, a note from the editors in the margin of the letters column indicates that
the magazine was flooded with letters from distraught fans and requests to bring
Oscar and Andr back to life. They printed one example, written in typical girls
language: Boo hooOscar-sama diedI knew she would die at some point,
but I didnt think it would be so soon! Ikeda-sensei! P-please!! Its not too late:
please bring Oscar and Andr back to life! (265). This letter indicates that the
reader perhaps expected a more safe, reassuring kind of narrative, where beloved
main characters only seem to die but are resurrected quickly in order to continue
the story. Ikedas insistence on a more serious register is all the more remarkable
given the intense pressure from both readers and editors to change back to a
more childish mode.22
The final chapters of The Rose of Versailles rush through many details of
the revolution, with a focus on Fersen and Marie Antoinettes doomed love.
The story ends, as it must, with Marie Antoinettes execution. Her character
has evolved from a silly, flighty teen, not unlike many girl characters in shjo
manga of the previous decade, to a mature woman who recognizes her failures
as a head of state and faces her death bravely. As a strong female character, however, she still pales in comparison to the more complex Oscar. The final page
of the story recounts Fersens own fate: in 1810, he was trampled to death by a
mob in Stockholm, the victim of political rivalry among Swedish royal families.

Figure 5.7. Oscar and Andr much later in the narrative, after Ikeda has developed him as
Oscars ideal man and altered Andrs appearance to more closely resemble Oscars. (Ikeda
Riyoko, Berusaiyu no bara [Sheisha Bunk, 2004], 4:220221. Ikeda Riyoko Production)

Figure 5.8. An emotive page during the scene in which Oscar and Andr consummate their
love, depicting them as twins. She says: You are always with me. We are like Castor and Pollux.
(Ikeda Riyoko, Berusaiyu no bara [Sheisha Bunk, 2004], 4:292. Ikeda Riyoko Production)

The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga 131

The final panel shows Fersens broken corpse lying in the street, a far cry from
the light, cheery tone that characterized the opening chapters. Over the course of
the series, in moving from these early, childish illustrations to the final gruesome
image, we can see in Oscars increasing importance as a character and, in the
relative decline of Rosalie and Marie Antoinette, the evolution of shjo manga
from a genre for children to one for older readers. These brutal images and the
deaths of the main characters shocked readers at the time but also led them to
embrace more serious stories and stories with adult characters as well as with
political and social criticism.
Although Ikeda did not bring Oscar and Andr back to life in the manga, the
characters have enjoyed continued popularity on the Takarazuka stage, beginning in 1974, with revivals appearing every few years ever since. The Takarazuka
Revue, with its all-female cast, and its roots in prewar girls culture, seems ideally suited to stage the gender ambiguities of The Rose of Versailles. Although the
Takarazuka version changes the plot somewhat, it remains true to the homogender nature of the romance between Oscar and Andr. While Ikeda claims she did
not originally write the story with the Takarazuka in mind (Nimiya 228), shjo
manga and the Takarazuka both share an aesthetic of chsei. Takayama Hideo
asserts that only a Takarazuka actress trained in playing male roles and schooled
in the seventy-year history of girls culture can play the role of Oscar appropriately (301). By using female actresses to assume the roles of both men and
women, the Takarazuka is uniquely compatible with shjo manga, which stages
the desires of girls in a closed, private world of girls culture. While Oscar seems
to challenge traditional gender roles, she is still firmly embedded in a discourse
of girls culture.23
Tma no shinz and The Rose of Versailles helped to transform shjo manga
into a genre that could encompass complex psychological portraits, political
commentary, and adult romance. The bed scene featuring Oscar and Andr
on the eve of the revolution had a profound impact on girl readers. Fujimoto
Yukari writes, From that scene, we all decided I want to have sex like Oscar
and Andr. For junior and senior high school girls at the time, our conception
of sex was fixed by that manga (Watashi no ibasho 4748). Although theirs is a
heterosexual union, Oscar and Andr still operate within the realm of chsei,
neutrality, which allows for spiritual love. As one reader put it in a fan letter,
The sex scene was a bit shocking to me, but Oscar and Andrs love is pure,
so it didnt seem dirty [iyarashii] (Margaret, 7 Oct. 1973, 266). Significantly,
it is not only the cross-dressing Oscar who is gender neutral, but also Andr.
Ueda Shinji, the scriptwriter and director of the Takarazuka adaptation, realized that part of Andrs appeal for fans was his willingness to say I love you
to Oscar, something that Ueda feels real Japanese men are hesitant to do

Figure 5.9. Marie Antoinette meets her lover, Hans Axel von Fersen, in secret toward the end
of The Rose of Versailles. Note how both characters are more clearly gender differentiated than
Oscar and Andr. (Ikeda Riyoko, Berusaiyu no bara [Sheisha Bunk, 2004], 5:4445. Ikeda
Riyoko Production)

Figure 5.10. Andr in a scene of melodramatic stasis, as he projects himself into

Rousseaus La Nouvelle Hlose and contemplates his (as yet) unrequited love for Oscar.
Reads from right to left. (Ikeda Riyoko, Berusaiyu no bara [Sheisha Bunk, 2004],
3:306307. Ikeda Riyoko Production)


Passionate Friendship

(Yamanashi 223). For this reason, in the stage version, when they admit their love
for each other, Oscar and Andr sing a duet about their pure love, repeating the
refrain love (ai).
The perfect union between Oscar and Andr that Fujimoto recalls as so
appealing is only possible because both characters have defied gender roles.
Oscar can give herself to Andr without fear of losing her independence to
him because he not only admires her masculine qualities, he is emotionally and
socially dependent on her. Ikeda avoids the love trap by inverting it. While
the tough but compassionate Oscar and her heterosexual, homogender romance
with Andr have proved enduringly popular with teenage girls, she is still the
product of a narrative compromise. The persistence of gender switching and
homogender romance tropes in shjo manga suggests that equality in heterosexual relationships remains a problem for both female writers and readers.
Shjo manga is everywhere in Japan today. Shjo manga magazines are
widely read by the majority of junior high school and high school age girls.
As with girls magazines in the prewar period, shjo manga magazines create
a private discourse about girlhood and teenage identity formation. The shjo
manga discourse on love and sex, however, is limited by the genre from which it
developed. Shjo manga in the 1970s developed as a safe place for girls to fantasize about their own sexuality and sexual and social agency through the use of
same-sex romance, but that same rhetorical device made the portrayal of heterosexual, adult sexuality difficult. Whether future shjo manga artists will continue
to push the genre in new directions or abandon it entirely in favor of genres
that are not gender-divided remains to be seen. Regardless, comics as a medium
of self-expression for girls would not exist today in any form without the precedent of prewar girls magazines and the genre-defining explosion of creativity
in the 1970s.


When I first began to research shjo manga over a

decade ago, there was little scholarship on manga of any kind written in English,
and manga translations had not yet found a foothold in the US marketplace.
While translations of shjo manga have at last become popular with North American girls, scholarship is only beginning to catch up to this trend. The concept
of manga by and for girls, and featuring homosexual themes, is a tempting one
for feminist scholars, but the heady promise of girl power is undermined by the
heteronormative, gender-stereotyped characters and storylines in much of the
genre. Feminist critics longing for radical, subversive themes or subtext in shjo
manga may find themselves lamenting along with Yokomori Rika, among others,
that shjo manga promote bad ideology or present false, unachievable fantasies.1
However, it is possible for a more nuanced, but still feminist, approach to move
beyond the dichotomies of good (subversive) versus bad (oppressive) ideology
or harm versus empowerment to readers. Assuming that the readers, although
young and female, are not simply dupes to their own oppression, the massive
popularity of shjo manga demands that we consider the positive pleasures of the
genre. What is it about shjo manga that speaks so powerfully to girls?
The answer to that question lies not in any one text or even in the postwar
genre alone. Shjo manga is a part of a larger girls culture, which developed
in all-girls schools in the prewar years, formed in large part around readership
of literary magazines that created a nationwide dialog among schoolgirls and
provided a protected space for girls to develop their own culture. Postwar shjo
manga drew on the literary and aesthetic conventions developed in those earlier
magazines to create a discourse on love and adolescent identity formation in a
language girls recognized as belonging exclusively to them. While the feminist
ideology in these stories may be compromised, conditional on the circumstances
in which the magazines and manga are producedthat is, young women artists
and writers working under the supervision of male editors in a mass medium
the creation of a private, interactive, creative space was nonetheless empowering for girls, both before and after World War II. Similarly, in her study of



nineteenth-century girls literature in Britain, Sally Mitchell writes, Fiction that

moves readers forwardthat can perhaps even move an entire cultural group of
readers forwardcreates new emotional satisfactions by giving shape to formless
longings or providing new images to satisfy inner drives. Truly effective images
and narrative work on the unconscious and absorb intense affective changes
(188). While the outward shape of those effective images varies across time and
culture, girls magazines and comics in Japan likewise provided readers a different image of girlhood from the one vaunted in the mainstream media.
In her playful afterword to the anthology Bad Girls of Japan, Miriam Silverberg writes, We all know the good girl. . . . I am not interested in engaging
with the good girl (Miller and Bardsley 191192), meaning that only bad girls
are interesting subjects for academic study. The bad girl, rebellious, subversive,
independent, challenging, offers obvious appeal to feminist critics, especially
those looking to overturn conventional stereotypes about Japanese women.
Study of so-called bad girls and women, such as the work that appears in that
anthology, has its place. However, I would argue that we do not know the good
girl. Studies of the normative aspects of girls culture in Japan have been lacking, or they misinterpret homosocial or homosexual content. At the same time,
studies of normative girls culture are subject to accusations of reinforcing sexist
or homophobic ideology.2 Moreover, scholarship of the bad girl requires detailed
understanding of what norms those girls rebel against; generalizations are not
enough. Study of girls culture reveals a far more nuanced picture than simply
polarizing good and bad identities. That is why figures such as Yoshiya Nobuko
can be claimed by both sides, as a writer who led an unconventional personal life
but whose work reveals a fairly conservative ethos. Likewise The Rose of Versailles
offers the promise of female empowerment and equality in romance, but only
within the context of an exotic fantasy world. Study of the good girl, or of normative girls culture, does not negate the accomplishments of the bad girl, but
rather reveals the competing forces acting on the ordinary girl, who finds herself
somewhere in between good and bad. One example of the ordinary girl is the
character Makiko in Wasurenagusa, who is tempted to rebel out of frustration
with her fathers restrictions but who in the end finds that friendship can help
make the demands of her familial obligations bearable.
As I began my research in shjo manga, it became clear that the roots of
the genre stretched back much farther than the 1970s, to prewar magazines
and girls culture (shjo bunka). Images of teenage girls run throughout Japanese
modern history, from Meiji schoolgirls to Taish modern girls to Heisei kogals.
Although arising in very different eras, the differences between these types seem
limited to the superficial markers of fashion and hairstyle; all of them seemed to
inspire the same panicked hyperbole and to signal immanent disaster for both

Afterword 139

the Japanese family and the Japanese nation.3 It is only in looking back to the
very first modern novels in the late nineteenth century that it becomes clear
how deeply imbricated the shjo is with Japanese modernity and how pervasive
this anxiety-ridden, male-directed image of the shjo is. Shjo bunka, for all that
it is the realm of good girls, provides an alternative to the threatening shjo: an
identity premised on beauty, innocence, and purity, separated and protected from
the world of adults.
This study of shjo manga ends with the formation of the genre in the 1970s.
While many of the generic features persist, there have been many changes since
that time. Since the 1980s, shjo manga has diversified, including more genrecrossing, and increasing subgenres to address a wider range of ages, from children to adult women. As discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, shjo manga emerged
as a genre when artists developed complex stories to appeal to teens, in contrast
to the simpler stories for elementary school age girls of the 1950s and 1960s.
While shjo manga for elementary school and junior and senior high school
age girls still exists, the genre has also grown since the 1990s to include young
women. Magazines such as You and Be-Love serialize stories in the shjo manga
style aimed at college-age and post-college-age young women. This subgenre
is often called josei (womens) manga to distinguish it from stories for younger
readers. Because of the older demographic, many of these stories tend to be more
realistic compared to the fantasies in foreign settings discussed in Chapter 5. Josei
manga also tends to address sexism and inequality in both work and heterosexual
relationships more boldly. Some breakout artists in the josei genre include Anno
Moyoko, Yazawa Ai, and Sakurazawa Erika. The art style in shjo manga has also
shifted to accommodate changing fashions; instead of the lush, densely layered
pages of Hagio Moto and Takemiya Keiko, some artists, especially in josei manga,
favor a sparer style that makes more use of empty space. However, the exaggerated eye, use of open frames, emotive backgrounds, and interior monologue
Another feature of shjo manga since the 1980s is genre-crossing: shjo
manga has both imported features of other genres and influenced the aesthetics
of other manga genres as well as other pop culture media. While love stories, particularly boys love, are still a mainstay of shjo manga, artists have added variety
to the genre by incorporating elements of shnen (boys) manga. For instance,
Takeuchi Naoko had tremendous success both domestically and internationally
with Sailor Moon (Bishjo senshi seeraa mn, 19921997), in which an action genre
for boys (the Five Rangers or Super Sentai model, known in the United States
as Power Rangers) was redesigned with girl characters. Other shjo manga artists
have had hits using genre-crossing elements, such as the four women who publish
collectively under the name CLAMP, who incorporate science fiction, detective,



and action manga generic conventions with a shjo manga aesthetic. The members of the Year 24 Group have also continued to publish actively through the
1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and many have not yet retired. Hagio Moto and Takemiya Keiko in particular have produced a large body of science fiction works.5
At the same time, shjo manga aesthetics have appeared in comics for boys
and young men (shnen and seinen manga), not only the exaggerated eyes, but
also the use of innovative panel arrangements, open frames, and layering. Shjo
manga have also become more visible in the mainstream media, as popular titles
have been adapted not only into anime TV shows, but also live-action dramas
and films, all of which are viewed by a more diverse audience. As girls and young
women emerged in the 1990s and 2000s as the largest demographic with disposable income and a desire to spend, consumer goods of all kinds have appeared
catering to their tastes, which share an aesthetic with shjo manga. Takarazuka
productions are still regularly sold out, and The Rose of Versailles (or variations of
the original story focusing on different characters) is a staple of the repertoire.
Shjo manga has also reached a wider audience through export. Translations
of shjo manga have also at last overcome the boys club gender bias of comic
books in the United States and have reached girl readers through marketing
in chain bookstores rather than specialty comic book shops. As with manga of
all genres, shjo titles selected for translation tend to be limited to what is currently popular in Japan; most of the classic shjo manga of the 1970s have not
been translated. As translations of shjo manga as well as other shjo-inflected
media and goods are exported, the signs of Japanese girls culture are opened to
a more diverse audience and read in different cultural contexts. But while parents
and teachers may puzzle over the appeal of the iconic, stylized drawings or the
meaning of boys love, the fact that shjo manga has found a core fan base even
in the United States, where norms of dating, sexual activity, and gender identity
are different from those in Japan, suggests that the genre speaks to the desires of
girls beyond national boundaries. It also suggests that American girls are eager
for narratives that reflect their point of view. There is little in American popular
culture that approximates shjo manga in terms of interactivity, the close relationship between fans and artists, and the sense of a nationwide reading community. The popularity of the Twilight novels and films, for instance, indicates how
desperate girls are for this kind of group experiencethere are few Hollywood
films that hew so consistently and earnestly to the teenage girls point of view.
As shjo manga and other related elements of girls culture reach a wider
audience both in Japan and abroad, possibilities for misunderstandings increase.
More problematically, scholarly analyses of those texts are too often separated
from the discourse of girls culture that gives them meaning. One example
of this disconnect is the response to the work of Yoshimoto Banana, whose

Afterword 141

shjo-themed novels experienced a brief boom of popularity in the late 1980s

in Japan, followed by more modest but still notable success in English translations. Banana, whose playful pen name is similar to those of other shjo manga
artists and girls novelists, used her privileged position as the daughter of the
highly respected intellectual Yoshimoto Takaaki to bring a shjo sensibility to the
world of highbrow literature, a cause for either celebration or dismay, depending on ones point of view. However, in comparing the critical reception of her
work and that of novelist Murakami Haruki, who also experienced a boom of
popularity around the same time, feminist literary critic Sait Minako finds that,
while Murakamis work was treated as highbrow literature, Banana was treated
as either a commercial commodity or a strange, unknowable alien. According to
Sait, the mass appeal of Bananas novels was often conflated with Hello Kitty
and other commercial products aimed at girls rather than being analyzed as literature. Those critics who did attempt a more literary analysis were hampered by
lack of knowledge about shjo bunka. Sait writes, If one-tenth of the effort these
critics devoted to their serious study of intertextuality in Murakami Harukis
works had been dedicated to the study of Bananas intertextual context, they
would have detected a history of girl culture that has been running as an undercurrent throughout modern history. Without this context, readers of Banana
repeat absurdly painful misreadings and overreadings (183). As Sait points out,
while critics were aware that Banana referenced girls culture, they were content
to relegate that world to an unknowable Other. Saits passionate call for critical
awareness of intertexuality and cultural context holds true not only for Banana,
but for other texts arising from girls culture, which as she states is not solely a
product of the recent consumer economy in which girls are so visible but a persistent feature of Japans modern history.
This study of girls magazines and shjo manga aims not only to explain the
narrative and aesthetic features of those texts, but also to place them in the larger
context of Japanese girls culture. My aim is to address the appeal of those texts
to readers and how girls culture helped create a reading community of girls. As
in other genre fiction, the meaning in shjo-themed stories is not found in atomistic readings alone, but in how the genre functions as a whole. I hope this type
of reading will open new interpretive directions for the study not only of shjo
manga but of representations of girls and girlhood in Japan in general.



1. The use of the word shjo in a prewar setting may be slightly anachronistic, as
the terms otome and shojo (with a short o) seem to have been more common than shjo.
Postwar, the meaning of the terms otome and shojo shifted, coming to mean virgin,
although otome now seems archaic, similar to the English word maiden. In order to
avoid confusion, I will use the term shjo exclusively. For further discussion of these
terms, see Takemoto Novalas commentary in Yoshiya Nobukos novel Yaneura no ni shojo
(327 n. 29).
2. The Japanized English term gyaru (and its many variations, such as kogal)
has been used to identify a range of trends and subcultures among girls since the
1990s, discussion of which is beyond the scope of this study. For analysis of various
transgressive fashion trends among Japanese girls, see Miller, 2939. For analysis of
Japanese high school girls and teen prostitution in the 1990s, see Leheny, 4984.
3. Translation in Aoyama and Hartley, Girl Reading Girl. Originally published in a journal of childhood studies in 1980, then reprinted in Ibunka to shite no
kodomo. Honda continued to publish on girls and girls culture through the 1980s and
1990s. For more discussion of her work, see Aoyama and Hartley, 9, 3940; Imada
4. Both Treat and Kinsella analyze girls culture in terms of cuteness/childishness, nostalgia, and narcissism. These are salient features of girls culture and
legitimate tropes for academic study of that culture. However, I have not found
them productive in my own work. Claims that girls culture and by extension the
girls themselves are willfully immature, incapable of meaningful emotion, and
obsessed with themselves have been used to dismiss girls culture since the 1920s.
I have found that writing about girls culture in terms of cuteness, nostalgia, and
narcissism tends to foreclose the possibility of agency among readers (and writers).
In this volume, I examine a different unifying trope in girls culture, the valorization of spiritual or romantic love, which I have found more useful. Treat and Kinsella base their analysis on consumerism, another important trope. In this volume


Notes to Pages 817

I am more concerned with girls print culture as narrative fiction rather than as a
consumer product.
5. For more on Tezukas designation as God of Comics (manga no kamisama),
see Power, 1314.
6. As with any emerging field, Girl Studies is subject to debate and disagreement. For a detailed discussion of whether Girl Studies should be a separate field or
a subsection of Womens Studies, see the WMST-L archive of 2001: http://userpages
7. Daughters of the aristocratic class did appear in fiction and poetry as the
romantic partners to aristocratic men in Japanese literature of the ninth and tenth
centuries, most notably in Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji), but the culture and
marriage system were so radically different that it is problematic to claim any kind
of genealogical continuity. Moreover, the twentieth-century texts I consider in this
study do not reference that earlier culture.
Chapter 1: The Emergence of the Shjo and the Discourse
of Spiritual Love in Meiji Literature

1. In accordance with Ukigumos status as the first novel in the modern canon,
there is a wealth of critical writing on the novel in English as well as in Japanese. Marleigh Grayer Ryan gives detailed biographical information about Futabatei as well as
commentary on his creative process (3190). For detailed discussion of genbun itchi in
Ukigumo, see Washburn 94108; Karatani 4575; and Levy 4991.
2. Rebecca Copeland writes, [Jogaku zasshi] meant to encourage women to
strive for an education appropriate to their role in society. But just as important, the
journal meant to awaken men to the injustices women had long endured . . . the purpose of the journal was not only to educate women but to educate the men who were
charged with their protection and direction (Lost Leaves 16).
3. Iwamoto was never in favor of complete equality for women. Michael
Brownstein writes, In redefining the role of women, Iwamoto still held that biological and psychological differences between men and women justified distinctions in
their social, political and economic status. Women had a metaphysical equality with
men as creatures of God, but they were still the weaker vessel and their place would
always be the home (321). Jogaku zasshi was a progressive voice for womens rights in
its time, although it was not what might today be termed a feminist journal.
4. Copeland writes, Generally the object of a heros romantic impulses in
fiction had been . . . the geisha or courtesan. Romance [ninj] was colored by licentiousness and was therefore strictly off limits to good girls. What took place in a marital union, or a socially sanctioned relationship, could hardly be considered romance
and was therefore of little interest to writers (Lost Leaves 93).

Notes to Pages 1728


5. For more on male homosexuality in Edo, see Pflugfelder, Cartographies

of Desire. The citation by Takahara is from his introduction to a study of what he
terms shjo consciousness in various twentieth-century Japanese novels (Takahara
6. For historical discussion of early Meiji novels, see Kornicki, The Reform of
Fiction in Meiji Japan.
7. Other reforms Tsubouchi Shy promoted were professionalism among
writers (whereas gesaku writers portrayed themselves as idle dilettantes), the use of
contemporary settings, and realism of place and character (Tsubouchi 4042).
8. Iwamoto was himself a Christian, and religious ideas played an important
role in Jogaku zasshi. Kitamura Tkokus wife was a Christian, and he frequently
wrote on Christian ideas.
9. For more on how dress reform in Meiji was tied to the sartorial choices of
girl students, see Copeland, Fashioning the Feminine, 1335.
10. Ryan translates Oseis reply as Must you talk like that? Except for that
phrase, all quotes from Ukigumo are from the Ryan translation.
11. Saeki writes, Although they [geisha] engaged in physical relationships,
they did not entrust their entire selves to their partners, but valued the tension created by maintaining a certain fixed distance. That is, because the men they encountered were customers, the women of the pleasure quarters had no choice but to avoid
falling completely in love (73).
12. All quotes from Yabu no uguisu are from the Copeland translation, Warbler
in the Grove.
13. For more on schoolgirl fashions and images of girls in Meiji, see Copeland,
Fashioning the Feminine, 1335. For analysis of Makaze koikaze, see Czarnecki
14. Fascination with the shjo was a frequent theme in Katais fiction. Shortly
before Futon, he published a short story about a man tormented by infatuation with a
girl he sees on a train. The story, Shjoby (literally, Girl Sickness), was translated
by Henshall as The Girl Watcher in the same anthology as Futon (Tayama, The
Quilt and Other Stories, 167182). For analysis of this story, see Levy 147162.
15. For detailed explanation of how this novel informed the Naturalist movement, see Levy 147193.
16. All quotes from Futon are from the Henshall translation.
17. The modern girl has been written about extensively in English (see Silverberg, Weinbaum). Like the schoolgirl, the idea of the modern girl encompassed both
shockingly masculine fashions and outrageous public behavior by real girls as well as
fictional representations. The same is also true of the kogal: the spectacle of unruly girls
spawns a flurry of praise and condemnation in print, and another fictional type is born
(see Leheny 5051 for description of the kogal in the 1990s). While each iteration of the


Notes to Pages 2935

shjo is worthy of study, looking at each in an atomistic way obscures the larger patriarchal discourse on the girl, which has been remarkably consistent through the twentieth
Chapter 2: Prewar Girls Culture (Shjo Bunka), 19101937

1. For more on the development of magazines for adult women in earlytwentieth-century Japan, see Frederick 125; Sato 78112.
2. Following a surge of interest in Christianity in the Meiji period, in 1900
about 35 percent of girls attending mission schools were Christian, but that rate
dropped sharply through early Shwa; by the 1930s, less than 10 percent of girls
either entered as believers or converted during their school years (Inagaki 190).
3. The word haikara is derived from the English term high collar, perhaps
related to the fashion for high collars in Western clothing adopted by Japanese in the
late nineteenth century. For more discussion of the meaning of haikara, see Inoue
100; Levy 7.
4. Watanabe quotes tsuma Kotaka, one of the pioneers of girls education,
from a 1929 article in the tsuma School newsletter, named White Lily. tsuma
writes about the spiritual aspects of the white lily, which she says makes her feel as if
she is seeing God (or a god). Since tsuma was not a Christian and hers was a secular
school, it is unlikely she means this in a strictly Christian sense. Watanabe writes,
Consequently, Kotakas impression that the white lily has a holy quality seems likely
to have reached her through common knowledge passed down by the mass media.
From the Meiji 20s [1880s], the discourse on the white lily seems to have lost its
religious connotations and to have eventually reached even secular educators like
tsuma Kotaka (297).
5. Watanabe also does not mention that the lily (yuri) in the postwar years
became a symbol of lesbian subculture. It seems natural that if the lily symbolized
the private world of the girls school, it would also symbolize the S relationships that
were so much a part of girls school culture. By the 1960s, as lesbian and gay identities modeled on Western culture, particularly the gay subculture in the United States,
began to take shape in Japan, the lily came to symbolize a lesbian identity. Since the
1970s, the term yuri indicates manga or anime with lesbian characters, for instance,
Yuri shimai (Lily Sisters), a manga magazine anthology published by Sun Shuppan
from June 2003 to November 2004; and Comic yuri hime (Comic Lily Princess), a
manga magazine published by Ichijinsha, from 2005 to the present.
6. For detailed comparison of many various theories on the etymology of ome,
see Suzuki 162163 n. 5.
7. For discussion of possible distinctions in meaning between ome and S, see
Pflugfelder, S Is for Sister, 135137.

Notes to Pages 3646


8. For analysis of same-sex relationships in the Edo period and the import of
Western concepts of homosexuality, see Pflugfelder, Cartographies of Desire: MaleMale Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 16001950, and Gary Leupp, Male Colors: The
Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan.
9. For a detailed description of this case and other cases of love suicides
between girls, see Inagaki 105; Pflugfelder, S Is for Sister, 153160; and Robertson, Takarazuka, 191197.
10. This affinity for sameness and the desire to erase or reject difference also
relates to Japans imperial expansion of the 1920s and 1930s. Robertson argues
that masculinization of the cross-dressed Takarazuka star was similar to the way in
which the colonial subject was supposed to become Japanese (Takarazuka 91). Just
as the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was based on ideas of the sameness
of all Asians within the Japanese empire, so too was the assimilation of the threatening Other carried out at home. Robertson writes, This vision of co-prosperity
was premised on a doctrine of assimilation (dka, lit. same-ization), or Japanization
(Nipponka), which, by the 1930s, was a central issue in Japanese colonial affairs
(Takarazuka 92). In other words, dseiai and dka, or assimilation of colonial subjects,
are homologous and complementary systems. This may have been true not only in
the Takarazuka Revue but in girls magazines as well. While a thorough investigation
of colonial ideology in relation to girls magazines is beyond the scope of this book,
I hypothesize that girls magazines promoted an ideal of sameness not only of gender
but of national identity as well and that this ideology of sameness continues to haunt
shjo manga and girls culture in general.
11. The S relationship was part of the public discourse about girls in the prewar
period, but it seems likely that parents would attempt to shield their daughters from
this (and any other sexual) knowledge before entering secondary school. The trope of
the freshman girl not knowing what S means is a common one in this kind of fiction.
12. Pflugfelder finds in his interviews with former students that the inverse was
just as likely; in real life, younger girls may have taken more initiative in forming the
relationship (S Is for Sister 149). Within the idealized world of fiction, however,
it was important for the older sister to initiate the relationship as the more active
and experienced partner.
13. The S relationship between schoolgirls also follows the implied unequal but
mutually dependent power structure of the senpai/khai (senior/junior) relationship
that still informs much of Japanese school life. In addition, Pflugfelder points out
that there is no singular neutral word for sister in Japanese, only words that mean
older sister (ane) and younger sister (imto); all sibling relationships have an implied
hierarchy based on age (S Is for Sister, 139).
14. Coco Masters compares Takarazuka costumes to those of Liberace (Time,
29 June 2009). Anna Kisselgoff calls Takarazuka an uncanny and paradoxical mix of


Notes to Pages 4861

slickness and innocence (New York Times, 6 Nov. 1992, C3). A recent travel guide
describes Takarazuka as campy (Phillips 247). Pico Iyer writes, Sobbing middleaged women devote their lives to following a single actress from the campy, all-female
Takarazuka troupe, which puts on Vegas-worthy productions of Gone with the Wind
and other classics (Colors 61).
15. Of these three girls magazines, Shjo no tomo and Shjo club had the longest
run, continuing publication through the Pacific War. In 1942, Shjo gah merged with
Shjo no tomo, which continued publication until 1955. Shjo club underwent a name
change in 1946, altering the spelling of the word club (kurabu) in the title from
kanji to the more modern katakana, and then in 1962 was renamed Shjo friend and
the content switched to manga.
16. Shjokai, Feb. 1907, 23 out of 112 pages; Shjo sekai, Oct. 1910, 37 out of
128 pages; Shjo gah, Oct. 1923, 49 out of 208 pages.
17. Hani Motoko (18731957), who attended Meiji Girls School in the 1880s,
became Japans first woman reporter and founded the magazine Fujin no tomo (The
Ladys Friend) in 1903. In 1921, she founded the Jiy Gakuen (Free Academy) to
promote experienced-based rather than rote learning. For more on her life, see Sait
Michikos biography, Hani Motoko.
18. Shjo no tomo, like other magazines, was also distributed widely in the
Japanese colonies. The creation of reading communities by girls magazines in the
Japanese colonies is a topic deserving future study. It seems that Shjo no tomo was
complicit with colonialism even as it served to create a girl culture apart from the
adult world; the magazine promoted both assertiveness and obedience, individualism
and homogeneity.
Chapter 3: Narrative and Visual Aesthetics of Prewar Girls Magazines

1. Takehisa Yumeji recently has enjoyed a slight resurgence in popularity because the copyright on his work has expired, allowing it to enter the public
domain in the form of ubiquitous goods (gzu), once more bringing his designs to
the masses. Girls now have the chance to buy, for instance, a Yumeji-designed yukata
(lightweight kimono) from the discount clothing chain Uniqlo. Nakahara and Kash,
whose works are still under copyright, are significantly less known today, even in
2. For more on the development of nihonga and yga, see Conant, Owyoung,
and Rimer 101105.
3. For debate on the distinction between nihonga and yga, see Furuta 216229.
4. Art critic Ogura Tadao attributes the melancholy tone of Yumejis work to
his disillusionment with politics in the wake of the Russo-Japanese War and his pacifist philosophy as a convert to Christianity (Ogura 13).

Notes to Pages 6182


5. In a larger sense, Yumejis letter sets and postcards also foreshadow the flood
of goods associated with celebrities (tarento) marketed to teens in the postwar years.
6. Chjt was first marketed in 1893 and is still sold today.
7. For further discussion on the use of nihonga in the 1920s to depict fashionable girls and women, see Brown and Minichiello 18.
8. In his personal life, Kash surrounded himself with attractive young male
apprentices and never married, suggesting a personal tendency toward homoeroticism.
9. Nakahara also married a Takarazuka star, another indication of the level of
his participation in the world of shjo culture.
10. In a not uncommon circumvention of the same-sex marriage prohibition,
in 1957 Yoshiya adopted Monma Chiyo as her daughter, even though Monma was
only three years her junior, and entered her into her family register as Yoshiya Chiyo
(Yoshitake 131).
11. In 1940, government censors deemed Nakaharas art too individualistic and
banned him from publishing in Shjo no tomo, despite protests from readers (End
12. Sugiyama writes, Yoshiyas probably unconscious use of colonialist hierarchy, her non-critical acceptance of the status quo, and her depiction of non-Japanese
women according to the political hierarchical order, demonstrate the limits of the
concept of an all-inclusive motherhood (6667).
13. Although the word shojo in the title is written with kanji that now mean
virgin, at the time it was simply another word for girl, implying a general sense
of innocence rather than specifically referring to sexual experience. See Takemoto
Novalas note in the 2003 edition (327 n. 29).
14. Makikos mother suggests that this is an English translation of a nonfiction
work by Tolstoy (84), although the more common English title is What Is to Be Done?
15. For a discussion of how highbrow literature (junbungaku) in the Meiji
period gave up polite verb endings in order to create a neutral omniscient narrator,
see Karatani 7375.
Chapter 4: The Formation of Postwar Shjo Manga, 19501969

1. Although there were various kinds of cartoons or juxtapositions of text

and image in the popular press from the 1890s onward (Kinsella, Adult Manga, 19),
patterns of publishing and distribution as well as the aesthetic style and generic features that mark manga as a distinctive medium only began to appear in the 1950s.
Some scholars cite a pre-Meiji genealogy of manga; see Berndt, Considering Manga
Discourse, 305307, for why this is a problematic claim.
2. It is difficult to translate the Japanese term mangaka into satisfactory English. In the United States, because many comics are written and drawn by at least


Notes to Pages 8592

two different contributors, the term comics artist usually refers specifically to the
person who draws the art, implying that the text is written by someone else. In Japan,
especially in the world of shjo manga, usually a single creator draws the art and
writes the scripts (often with the aid of uncredited assistants). To avoid cumbersome
phrasing, I will henceforth use the term manga artist, with the understanding that
this indicates one who writes the script as well.
3. For more on kashihon and the manga business in the 1950s and 1960s, see
Kinsella, Adult Manga, 2425.
4. Tatsumi later changed the name of his company to Hir Shob. Tatsumi
describes this early history of manga publishing in his autobiography, Gekiga hry
(A Drifting Life).
5. See Shjo book, Feb. 1963; Nakayoshi, Oct. 1963; Margaret, 23 Jan. 1966.
6. See Takahashi Makoto, Tulip, Nakayoshi, Oct. 1963, 147153.
7. For instance, Maki Miyako, Hitori bocchi (All Alone), Nakayoshi, Oct.
1963, 1942; Mizuno Hideko, Gin no hanabira (Silver Petals), Shjo club, Oct.
1958, 4165; Takahashi Makoto, Princess Ann, Shjo, Nov. 1960, 6790.
8. Ribbon no kishi has a long and complex publication history. The original story
ran from 1953 to 1956 in Shjo club. A sequel featuring Sapphires children, called
Futago no kishi (Twin Knights), ran in Nakayoshi from 1958 to 1959. Tezuka then published a revision of Ribbon no kishi in Nakayoshi from 1963 to 1966, to coincide with
the release of the TV anime version. Tezuka also wrote a science fiction version of
the story, which ran in Shjo friend from 1967 to 1968, although the illustrations were
done by Kitano Hideaki. For a comparison of these versions, see Oshiyama 1166.
9. For more on the relationship between Takarazuka and Ribbon no kishi, see
Yamanashi 216221. She writes, The influence of Takarazuka can be observed both
in graphical treatment and narrative content. Settings are gorgeous and exotic and
rapid scene developments are full of dynamic movements where the players motions
and speeches are often characteristically exaggerated. There are many musical scenes
with singing and dancing in the revues and group arrangements as if on stage. In
Tezukas manga, none of the individuals are trivialised. Even support players with
small parts are valued, akin to the Takarazuka practice of valuing every student. Artless innocent Sapphire in impersonating a prince may immediately evoke the charm
of otokoyaku. Heroes such as the prince are also represented as slender and feminine
as if to be played by otokoyaku (217).
10. Not to be confused with a different manga Takahashi wrote later called
Tokyo-Paris, an unrelated story serialized in Shjo from 1958 to 1959.
11. For a more on Misora Hibaris early career as an iconic teenage girl star, see
Shamoon, Misora Hibari and the Girl Star in Postwar Japanese Cinema, 131155.
12. The film also references the homosocial, interactive world of girls culture in a long musical interlude in the middle of the film, when the girls go to see

Notes to Pages 101103


a Takarazuka show starring the real Misora Hibari, Eri Chiemi, and Yukimura
Izumi. As they wait for the curtain to rise, Eri says that when she watches a show on
stage, she feels like one of the stars. Each of the girls then imagines herself onstage,
creating the opportunity for each to perform a song as herself, rather than as her
fictional character. The scene ends with the characteristic descent down the grand
staircase, in a nod to the Takarazuka sponsorship of the film, although none of the
Three Girls own performances are in the Takarazuka style. This kind of interactivity,
blurring the lines between audience and star, is a fantasy. Unlike the real interactivity
of Shjo no tomo in the prewar years, however, the Three Girls are only surrogates for
the girls in the audience, who of course would not appear onstage. Likewise, in the
manga, Mayumi acts as a surrogate for the reader, who can imagine herself palling
around with her favorite movie stars.
Chapter 5: The Revolution in 1970s Shjo Manga

Some of the material in this chapter was previously published as Revolutionary

Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shjo Manga in Mechademia
2, Networks of Desire (Fall 2007), 317.
1. According to the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association (Nihon Zasshi
Kykai) data for October 2007 to September 2008. This figure only includes top
manga magazines classified as shjo, aimed at a young teen demographic, and does
not include manga magazines aimed at older teens and young women, classified as
josei. Magazine Data 2009, http://www.j-magazine.or.jp/data_001/index.html.
2. The name Year 24 Group refers to the fact that many of the women were
born in or around Shwa 24, or 1949. They are sometimes also called the Flower Year
24 Group (hana no nijyo nen gumi).
3. Singling out the shjo manga artists of the 1970s as a distinct group can
present some historical and ideological pitfalls. Rather than considering the manga
of the 1970s as belonging to an isolated moment in time, it is more useful to think of
these classic manga as part of a continuing process of generic experimentation and
innovation. For more discussion on the problems with the Year 24 Group label, see
Takahashi Mizuki 130.
4. Light novels for girls reminiscent of shjo shosetsu also reappeared at this
time under the imprint Cobalt Library, published by Sheisha beginning in 1976.
For more on the significance of Cobalt to girls culture, see Sait Minako 173176.
5. For more on the role of manga in the student movement and on avantgarde manga in the 1960s and 1970s, see Kinsella, Adult Manga, 3037.
6. See Ribbon, Dec. 1972, 374376; March 1976, 262265. A note in the March
1976 issue warns, Lately we have been seeing a lot of submissions that are all mood
[mdo]. Dont forget to build suspense and have a dramatic story (262). Even today


Notes to Pages 103108

self-published amateur shjo manga (djinshi) are often all mood, indicating the
importance of emotion, even at the expense of plot development.
7. The column Kochira manga jh (Heres Manga News) in the December
1972 issue of Ribbon features articles about two different manga artists who recently
had children, with a chart of how the artists all know each other (438).
8. Shjo manga subgenres featuring romance between males have been given
various names. The term shnen ai (boys love) was used in the 1970s primarily to
indicate stories by Year 24 Group artists, such as Hagio Moto and Takemiya Keiko,
which have a homosexual theme, although as the genre has evolved, this term is now
considered out of date. The title of the magazine June (pronounced Ju-neh), founded
in 1978 by Takemiya Keiko and Kurimoto Kaoru as the first magazine dedicated
specifically to shnen ai stories, became a synonym for such stories. Around the same
time, the term tanbi (aesthetics) was also used as a synonym for june, indicating the
importance of a decorative art style as well as emphasis on emotion rather than plot.
Both june and tanbi are now also considered dated terms, associated with manga from
the 1970s. Since the 1980s, the terms yaoi and boys love (boizu rabu) or BL have
become more common. Yaoi, an acronym for the phrase yamanashi, ochinashi, iminashi
(no plot development, no resolution, no meaning), as the name implies, usually indicates hardcore pornographic manga and is associated with the amateur manga market
(djinshi). The acronym BL has been adopted by the commercial manga industry and
has become a blanket term. There are also BL light novels (raito noberu), or illustrated
prose fiction. At the risk of eliding some of the differences between these subgenres,
for the sake of simplicity, I will use the term boys love as a general term indicating
shjo manga with a male homosexual theme.
9. Tma no shinz has not been translated into English yet. I have attempted to
approximate the German spellings of the names rather than mirroring the katakana
spellings in the Japanese, hence Juli rather than Yuri.
10. Ishida Minori sees a connection between the theme of boys love in shjo
manga and images of beautiful boys in exotic European settings that were prevalent
in the 1970s in Japan, citing Takemiyas fascination with the Vienna Boys Choir, the
film version of Death in Venice, and the films of Visconti (140). Ishida also argues that
the fascination of shjo manga artists with Western concepts of idealized masculinity
is analogous to Mishima Yukios writing on male beauty (106).
11. Erichs ability to love is tied to the love he received from his mother, Marie.
In an inner monologue, he says, From the time I was small, I never had any resistance to the emotion of love [suki]. I loved Marie and everything else in the world.
. . . I thought it was completely naturalbut why cant Juli understand such a simple
thing? (Hagio 344). Marie is like an angel or goddess of spiritual love and, significantly, frequently appears surrounded by white lilies (Hagio 125), the archetypical
symbol of purity and romanticism as discussed in Chapter 2.

Notes to Pages 110113


12. In addition to Demian, another important influence on Takemiya at the

time was the French film Les amitis particulires (This Special Friendship, dir. Jean
Delannoy, 1964), about love between boys at a Catholic boarding school in 1920s
France (McHarry 177). This film may have contributed to Takemiyas decision to set
her story in France rather than Germany.
13. Mark McLelland writes, The love between boys in Japanese womens
comics has more to say about the limitations of heterosexual relations and the negative constraints on female sexuality in contemporary Japanese society than about the
real situation of same-sex desiring men (Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan 88).
In other words, boys love begins and ends with female desires; it does not address
gay male readers. However, the genre is a contentious issue in the gay community
in Japan, with some activists arguing that it promulgates false and even homophobic
images of gay men. For detail on this debate, see Isola 8691.
14. While in the United States slash fandom is strictly an amateur, underground enterprise, in Japan this same strategy of using homosexual sex to negotiate
heterosexual desire exists in both amateur and commercially produced texts. Boys
love manga are a major part of both the professional shjo manga market and the selfpublished manga (djinshi) market. While slash-like parodies of shnen manga are
popular (beginning in the 1980s with boys love revisions of Captain Tsubasa and Saint
Seiya, both action comics for boys), original stories like Tma no shinz appeared first.
15. For a history of djinshi and the Comic Market (or Comiket), the massive
biannual convention for amateur artists and fans, see Kinsella, Adult Manga, 102138.
For analysis of recent djinshi and comparison with slash, see Orbaugh 174186.
16. Fans of boys love, especially those active in the djinshi scene, have recently
begun to refer to themselves as fujoshi, or rotten girls. The term is a pun on the
word for lady, substituting the character fu (lady) for a homophone meaning rotten.
As with the term otaku (an obsessive fan of manga or anime, often male fans of science
fiction, although not exclusively), the term fujoshi is in some instances considered
pejorative, while at other times it is used by the girls themselves as a form of defiant
self-identification. A popular press example of fujoshi self-description is Fujoshi no
hinkaku (Qualities of Rotten Girls), by a woman who identifies herself only under the
pseudonym Kusame (an alternate reading of fujo, or rotten girl), with additional text
contributed by a Tokyo-based fujoshi collective. They describe themselves as lovely
girls (urawashiki otome-tachi), using intentionally archaic language that implies a connection to the ideal shjo of prewar girls magazines and novels (Kusame 2).
17. For instance, when a boys love novel included a scene in which the seme
imagines the uke as a woman, then ends with the seme marrying a woman, readers
were outraged. In an online review published on 27 October 2005, one blogger wrote
in large font, I refuse to tolerate a plot twist where the uke is a woman (http://
blove.livedoor.biz/archives/50081956.html). Other bloggers also found the ending


Notes to Pages 121138

disappointing, even shocking (http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ryksp611/13066577.html,

http://cherrymt.blog65.fc2.com/blog-entry-133.html). Pagliassotti, in her survey of
English-speaking BL fans, also found that readers did not want the uke to be female;
one respondent states that a satisfying story must include acknowledgment that he
[the uke] isnt a girl with a penis (73).
18. Oscars family name is derived from that of Franois-Augustin Reynier
de Jarjayes (17451822), a chevalier who served Louis XVI, was an associate of von
Fersen, and married one of Marie Antoinettes ladies-in-waiting.
19. For example, Gekkan betsuma seventeen (Monthly Extra Seventeen), Sept.
1970, 332333.
20. Rosalie Lamorlire was also a real person, the maid who attended Marie
Antoinette in prison before her execution. Ikeda invents for her an elaborate backstory and inserts her into the narrative from the beginning.
21. For the spelling of the names of fictional characters, I follow the French
translation, La Rose de Versailles, rather than that of fan web sites or the Japanese
katakana spelling.
22. Although Ikeda did not bring Oscar and Andr back to life at the end of the
story, she found an alternative way of resurrecting her two most popular characters,
in Berusaiyu no bara gaiden, a series of extra stories that depict Oscar, Andr, and
Marie Antoinette having adventures as teens, thus revisiting and expanding the more
childish, safe part of the narrative. These stories, as well as versions of the main
story that reorient the focus to Marie Antoinette, Andr, and other characters, have
also been made into Takarazuka musicals.
23. For a different interpretation of the Takarazuka version of The Rose of
Versailles, see Robertson, Takarazuka, 7477. Robertson views Oscar as emblematic of
the otokoyaku, or actress assigned to male roles, in that she highlights the performative
nature of gender.

1. Although Yokomori clearly loves shjo manga, she seems frustrated with
the gap she sees in them between fantasy and reality. For instance, she reads Oscar
in The Rose of Versailles as a career woman, saying that even when Oscar abandons the
possibility of marriage and a stereotypical feminine persona to advance her career, she
becomes more popular with both men and women, while in real life Yokomori feels
the opposite is true; women who put career ahead of marriage are stigmatized (41).
2. For example, in her study of girls media in the United States, Mary Celeste
Kearney writes, . . . the majority of scholars within the burgeoning field of cultureoriented Girls Studies unconsciously reproduce stereotypes of girlhood and girls
culture as consumer oriented by focusing primarily on texts created for female youth

Notes to Pages 139140


by the commercial media industries and ignoring girls productive cultural practices
(4). Study of commercial media, however, does not necessarily reproduce the stereotypes found in those texts; a critical distance is possible.
3. For scholarship citing public criticism against Meiji schoolgirls, see Copeland, Fashioning the Feminine, 16; against modern girls see Silverberg 239266;
against kogals see Leheny 5051; Miller 2931; and Kinsella, Black Faces, Witches,
and Racism against Girls, 144157.
4. For more on changes in shjo manga from a three-dimensional to a flat
style, see Shamoon, Situating the Shjo in Shjo Manga, 146153.
5. For analysis of Hagios science fiction manga Marginal, see Ebihara,
Japans Feminist Fabulation. For analysis of Takemiyas science fiction manga
To Terra (Tera e), see Shamoon, Humanity Grows Up, 149159.


Unless otherwise noted, all Japanese-language books are published in Tokyo.


Be-love. Kdansha, 1980present.

Bessatsu friend. Kdansha, 1965present.
Gekkan betsuma seventeen. Sheisha, 19681986.
Himawari. Himawarisha, 19471952.
June. Sun Shuppan, 1978present.
Margaret. Sheisha, 1963present.
Nakayoshi. Kdansha, 1966present.
Ribbon. Sheisha, 1955present.
Shjo. Kbunsha, 19491963.
Shjo book. Sheisha, 19511963.
Shjo club. Kdansha, 19231962.
Shjo comic. Shgakukan. 1968present.
Shjo friend. Kdansha, 19621966.
Shjo gah. Tkysha, 19181942.
Shjokai. Kinkd Shoseki, 19021912.
Shjo no tomo. Jitsugy no Nihonsha, 19081955.
Shjo sekai. Hakubunkan, 19061931.
You. Sheisha, 1980present.
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Bold page numbers refer to illustrations.

adolescents. See teenagers
advertising, 5, 5960, 6364
aesthetics: bibun (beautiful writing),
7778; narrative, 7081; of
1960s magazines, 86; of prewar
magazines, 12, 58, 6070; shjo,
49, 7778. See also shjo manga,
style of
Akai tori (Red Bird), 49
androgynous images, 6465, 68
angel images, 114116, 152n11
artists: celebrities, 61, 103;
commercial, 5960, 62, 90; fan
letters to, 103; goods designed
by, 58, 61, 64, 90; influences on,
5960; of josei (womens) manga,
139; magazine illustrations, 12,
49, 58, 6070; in prewar period,
58, 5970; relationships with
readers, 83, 103; training, 63;
women, 1, 12, 53, 87, 89, 103;
young, 12, 103, 107108. See also
Year 24 Group; and individual
Art Nouveau and Art Deco, 63, 64,
68, 116
art schools, 63
Asai Ch, 63

bad girls, 138. See also fujoshi

Ban Sensei (Our Teacher, Miss Ban;
Yoshiya Nobuko), 12, 76, 77
Bardsley, Jan, 7
beautiful boys (bishnen), 112,
Berusaiyu no bara. See Rose of Versailles
bibun (beautiful writing), 7778
bijinga (portraits of beautiful women),
59, 62
Bishjo senshi seeraa mn. See Sailor
bishnen. See beautiful boys
BL. See boys love
books. See novels; rental books
Boston marriages, 37
boys: beautiful, 112, 152n10;
homosocial relationships, 1213,
83, 101, 104107, 108109,
111113; images in magazine
illustrations, 64; schools, 16,
105107, 110111; in shjo
manga, 104, 112
boys love, 104105, 111113, 152n8,
153nn1617. See also Tma no
Britain: girls novels, 138; Girl
Studies, 89


Brownian Motion, 112

Buckley, Sandra, 33, 47
Candy Candy (Igarashi Yumiko), 109
Castle, Terry, 7172
Chiba Tetsuya, 8789
children: baby boom, 84; magazines
for, 84; orphaned, 92, 109;
relationships with parents, 92,
108109. See also boys; education;
families; girls
Christianity: in girls education, 22;
love and courtship, 15; mission
schools, 16, 18, 3031, 38, 146n2;
priesthood, 110; spiritual love
concept, 31, 110
Chjt, 63, 149n6
chsei (gender neutrality), 4647, 61,
107, 111, 131
cinema. See films
CLAMP, 139140
Clark, John, 5960
clothing: in illustrations of girls, 65,
6668; male, 16, 37; Meiji styles,
6768; school uniforms, 37;
Western styles, 15, 65, 6667, 68.
See also cross-dressing
Cobalt Library, 151n4
colonial ideology. See imperialism
commercial artists, 5960, 62, 90. See
also artists
Communist Party, Japanese, 123
Copeland, Rebecca L., 2223, 144n2,
cross-dressing and gender bending, 6,
37, 120, 121
cuteness, 6, 143n4
Daiichi Production, 85
Disney, Walt, 89, 99


djinshi. See self-published manga

Dollase, Hiromi Tsuchiya, 72
drama CDs, 112
Driscoll, Catherine, 910
Edo period: art, 59; female fictional
characters, 17, 23
education: boys schools, 16, 105107,
110111; coeducational schools,
91; criticism of, 16; marriage and,
24; in Meiji period, 2, 1516,
30; modernization and, 1516;
in postwar period, 91; reforms,
30; secondary, 1516, 30;
standardized curriculum, 16, 30.
See also girls schools
emotions: emphasis on in shjo
manga, 100, 114, 116, 119;
shown by eye highlights, 99;
in S relationships, 38. See also
empowerment, 53, 74, 137138
End Hiroko, 53, 55, 56
English language, 19
Eri Chiemi, 91, 150151n12
eroticism, 1011, 17, 107108. See also
esu kankei. See S relationships
eyes: characters distinguished by, 99;
exaggerated, 68, 90, 99, 139;
stars in, 99
families: adoptive, 76, 77, 109; love,
108109; middle-class, 2, 17, 24,
30; parent-child relationships, 92,
108109; patriarchal structures,
7576. See also children;
marriages; mothers
fan culture: fujoshi (rotten girls),
153n16; of shjo manga, 83, 103;

Index 169

Takarazuka Revue and, 47. See

also letters; Tomo-chan Meetings
feminists, 1, 4, 6, 71, 137
Fersen, Hans Axel von, 120, 121, 125,
127, 131
films: melodramatic stasis, 119; New
Wave, 102; role in girls culture,
9091; stars, 8586, 9091; for
teenagers, 84, 8586, 9091
fine art, 59, 60, 63
flowers: lilies, 146n5; in manga
backgrounds, 95, 116; symbolism,
116; white lilies, 3132, 114,
146n4, 152n11
Foucault, Michel, 34
Frederick, Sarah, 71
French Revolution, 119120, 121,
127. See also Rose of Versailles
friendships: best friends, 38; female,
3435; idealized, 11, 2930. See
also homosocial relationships
Fujimoto Yukari, 6, 9596, 97, 99,
104, 107, 110, 131
fujoshi (rotten girls), 153n16
Fukaya Mihoko, 53
Fukiya Kji, 67, 67
full-body portraits. See style pictures
Futabatei Shimei, Ukigumo (Drifting
Clouds), 11, 1415, 1821
Futon (The Quilt; Tayama Katai), 11,
Gakuen (Schoolhouse), 85, 89
gals (gyaru), 3, 28, 143n2
Garber, Jenny, 8
gays. See homosexuality
geisha, 17, 18, 24, 59
gender: ambiguity, 89, 131; crossdressing and, 6, 37, 120, 121.
See also androgynous images;

homogender relationships; men;

gender neutrality (chsei), 4647, 61,
107, 111, 131
gender roles: heteronormative,
112, 113, 137; in heterosexual
relationships, 2324, 125, 136;
in Meiji period, 2324, 48, 71
Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji),
23, 144n7
girls. See shjo
girls culture, Western, 810
girls culture (shjo bunka): cuteness,
6, 143n4; fear of, 4; films, 9091;
formation in girls schools, 2, 29,
3033; ideals, 23, 139; influence
on shjo manga, 82, 89, 111;
language, 12, 3233, 52, 7980;
legacy, 57; magazines and, 29,
56, 58; networks, 47, 50, 53,
55, 103; normative, 13, 138;
in postwar period, 23, 5, 92;
in prewar period, 2, 45, 11,
57; as private space, 32, 100;
role of shjo manga, 1, 137;
sameness, 4445; scholarship
on, 38, 35, 138, 143n3;
sentimentality, 56; spiritual love,
31; in twenty-first century, 3, 44;
in wartime, 56
girls magazines. See magazines
girls novels (shjo shsetsu): of Cobalt
Library, 151n4; illustrations,
61; serialized in magazines, 12,
7081; S relationships, 7376;
of Yoshiya, 70, 7476
girls schools: in fiction, 76, 77; films
set in, 91; girls culture and,
2, 29, 3033; in Meiji period,
1516; mission schools, 16, 18,


3031, 38, 146n2; secondary,

30; teachers, 76, 77. See also
education; schoolgirls
girl students. See schoolgirls
Girl Studies, 810, 154155n2
good girls, 8586, 123, 138, 139
gyaru. See gals
Hagio Moto: boys love stories, 104
105; Jichigatsu no gimunajiumu
(November Gymnasium), 105;
science fiction works, 140;
sexuality in stories, 107108; in
shjo manga genealogy, 90; style,
113116, 119; Tma no shinz
(The Heart of Thomas), 12,
105107, 108110, 111, 114116,
115, 117118
Hakubunkan, 31
Hamada Masuji, 60
Hanada Miyo, 50
Hana monogatari (Flower Tales;
Yoshiya Nobuko), 69, 7778,
Hani Motoko, 53, 148n17
Hartley, Barbara, 62
Hayashi Fumiko, 71
Hello Kitty, 141
Hesse, Herman, Demian, 105, 107,
heteronormativity, 112, 113, 137
heterosexual relationships: adult
romances, 120, 123125,
127, 131, 136; gender roles,
2324, 125, 136; homosocial
relationships as replacements
for, 1112; in Japanese culture,
17; sex scenes, 110, 131; in shjo
manga, 103104, 109, 110,
120, 123125, 131, 136; similar


appearances, 125; of teenagers,

44. See also marriages
Himawari (Sunflower), 84
homogender relationships, 37, 44,
127, 136
homosexuality: behavior and
identities, 3435; in Japanese
culture, 35. See also lesbians
homosexual male relationships:
behavior and identities, 36; in
Edo fiction, 17; seme and uke
roles, 113, 153154n17; in shjo
manga, 101, 104105, 111113;
in slash fiction, 111112
homosocial relationships: in American
culture, 3637; best friends,
38; of boys, 1213, 83, 101,
104107, 108109, 111113;
in contemporary Japan, 44; in
films, 9192; in girls culture,
57; idealized friendships, 2930;
illustrations of, 66; in magazines,
11, 2930; as replacement for
heterosexual relationships,
1112; romantic, 33; safety, 44,
104; in shjo manga, 101; in
Takarazuka Revue, 4647. See also
S relationships
Honda Masuko, 45, 143n3
Horie Akiko, 84
Ichij Yukari, Love Game (Raabu
geemu), 110
identity formation, 13
Igarashi Yumiko, Candy Candy, 109
Ihara Saikaku, Koshoku gonin onna
(Five Women Who Loved Love),
Ikeda Riyoko: Berusaiyu no bara gaiden,
154n22; political views, 123; Rose

Index 171

of Versailles (Berusaiyu no bara),

12, 119127, 122, 124, 126,
128130, 131, 132135, 136,
138; in shjo manga genealogy,
89, 90
illustrators. See artists
Imada Erika, 5, 35, 37, 38, 48, 56
imperialism: Co-Prosperity Sphere,
147n10; ideology, 73, 149n12;
Japanese magazines in colonies,
Inagaki Kyko, 35, 36, 41, 44
Inagaki Taruho, 108
Inoue, Miyako, 11, 1516, 3233, 79
I-novels (shishsetsu), 74
interior monologues, 114116, 125
Internet, boys love stories, 112
iro. See lust
Ishida Minori, 105, 107108
Ishinomori Shtar, 87, 89
Israel, Betsy, 3637
It G, 87
Iwamoto Yoshiharu, 15, 16, 23, 144n3
Iwasaki Kyko, 53
Janken musume (Toss-up Girls),
9192, 150151n12
Japanese Communist Party, 123
Japanese-style painting (nihonga), 59,
63, 6768
Jitsugy no Nihonsha, 48
jogakusei. See schoolgirls
Jogaku zasshi (Womens Education
Magazine), 15, 16, 17, 22, 23
jojga (lyrical pictures), 61, 68, 77, 90,
97, 99, 114, 116
josei (womens) manga, 139
joshi gakusei. See schoolgirls
Jugendstil, 63, 64
Jichigatsu no gimunajiumu

(November Gymnasium;
Hagio Moto), 105
jun bungaku. See literature
June magazine, 111, 152n8
Junior Soleil, 84
kabuki, 46
Kanazawa Toshiko, 53
Kansai Academy of Art (Kansai
Bijutsuin), 63
kashihon. See rental books
Kat Midori, 26
Kawabata Yasunari: stories published
in girls magazines, 49; at
Tomo-chan Meeting, 54;
Utsukushii tabi (Beautiful
Journey), 38. See also Otome
no minato
Kawamura Kunimitsu, 23, 5
Kikuchi Kan, 49, 71
Kikuchi Tomoe, 53
Kinkd Shoseki, 48
Kinsella, Sharon, 6, 143n4
Kitagawa Chiyo, 72
Kitamura Tkoku, 15, 1718, 24, 106
Kobayashi Ichiz, 46
Kdansha, 48, 64, 85
Komashaku Kimi, 71, 73, 74
Koshoku gonin onna (Five Women Who
Loved Love; Ihara Saikaku), 17
Kosugi Tengai, Makaze koikaze
(Demon Winds, Love Winds), 25
Kurakane Shsuke, 87
Kyoto City School of Arts and Crafts
(Kyto-shi Bijutsu Kgei Gakk),
Lamorlire, Rosalie, 123, 127, 131,
language: of girls culture, 12, 3233,


52, 7980; girls speech markers,

7980; orality, 7980; in shjo
manga, 79; in S relationships, 38,
42, 44
lesbians: continuum, 3435; identities,
3435, 106107; male fantasies
about, 112; subculture in postwar
period, 146n5; Yoshiya seen as,
7072, 73. See also homosexuality
letters: to artists, 103; in prewar
magazines, 5, 32, 38, 5052, 56;
in shjo manga magazines, 83,
103, 123, 127; in S relationships,
41; stationery, 61, 64, 90
Levy, Indra, 17, 19, 21
lilies (yuri): as symbol of lesbian
culture, 146n5; white, 3132,
114, 146n4, 152n11. See also
literature (jun bungaku), 7, 10, 70. See
also novels; writers
love: familial, 108109; heterosexual,
104, 131, 136; pure, 131, 136;
in S relationships, 42, 4344;
Western ideas, 15, 1617. See also
boys love; spiritual love
Love Game (Raabu geemu; Ichij
Yukari), 110
lust (iro), 1617, 1819, 2122
magazines: for boys, 4950, 64; for
children, 48; fashion, 84; girls
culture reflected in, 56, 58;
idealized friendships, 11, 2930;
illustrations, 12, 6070; influence
on shjo manga, 8, 12, 6970,
137; letters, 5, 32, 38, 5052,
56, 103, 123; manga, 82, 102;
in Meiji period, 15; narrative
aesthetics, 7081; popularity, 13;


in postwar period, 6566, 8385,

86, 100, 148n15; for preteen
girls, 8384; in prewar period,
2, 5, 11, 4853, 55, 56; reader
contributions and interactions,
11, 29, 48, 4953, 83, 102103;
readers, 13, 29, 48, 51, 52;
removable items, 61; scholarship
on, 5, 7; serialized novels, 7081;
shjo image, 11; S relationships
depicted, 3738; for teenage girls,
29, 48, 84; visual aesthetics, 12,
58, 6070; in wartime, 5354,
5657, 72, 149n11. See also
individual titles
Makaze koikaze (Demon Winds, Love
Winds; Kosugi Tengai), 25
Maki Miyako: career, 89; Maki no
kuchibue (Makis Whistle), 98;
style pictures, 96
manga: for boys, 99, 102, 114, 139; in
contemporary Japan, 101; gag,
87; influence of kashihon, 85; josei
(womens), 139; in 1960s, 86,
99; in 1970s, 102; pornographic,
152n8; publication, 82; selfpublished, 112, 151152n6; for
teenagers, 102. See also shjo
mangaka, 149150n2. See also artists
Margaret, 85, 102, 119, 127
Marie Antoinette, 120121, 123, 125,
127. See also Rose of Versailles
marriages: ages at, 2; arranged, 18;
loveless, 25; spiritual love in,
23, 24. See also heterosexual
relationships; wives
Masuyama Norie, 104105
Matsui, Midori, 104, 105, 111,

Index 173

Matsumoto Katsuji, 87
McKnight, Anne, 123
McLelland, Mark, 111
McRobbie, Angela, 8
Meiji period: clothing styles, 6768;
education, 2, 1516, 30;
magazines, 15; novels, 1011,
14, 25; schoolgirls, 18; womens
roles, 2324, 48, 71
melodramatic stasis, 116, 119, 125
men: father figures, 77, 108; in
heterosexual relationships,
125; intellectuals, 15; magazine
editors, 11; pornography
consumers, 112; sexual fantasies,
112; shjo as object of desire and
gaze, 14; shjo manga artists,
8789; suitors (tsu), 18, 19. See
also boys; homosexual male
relationships; patriarchy
Miller, Laura, 7
Minegishi Hiromi, 89
Mishima Yukio, 108, 152n10
Misora Hibari, 8586, 91,
mission schools, 16, 18, 3031, 38,
Mitchell, Sally, 9, 137138
Miyake Kaho, Yabu no uguisu (A
Warbler in the Grove), 11, 2124
Mizuki Kyko, 109
Mizuno Hideko, 89
modern girls (moga), 28, 68, 145n17
modernity: anxieties, 28; education,
1516; shjo associated with, 2, 9,
1011, 28, 139
Monma Chiyo, 70, 149n10
mothers, 72, 75, 7677, 108. See also
parent-child relationships
movies. See films

Murakami Haruki, 141

Murakami Michie, 53
musicals. See Takarazuka Revue
Nakahara Chya, 49
Nakahara Junichi: aesthetic, 12;
career, 68, 72, 84, 149n11; goods
designed by, 58; illustrations,
49, 6869, 69, 76, 78, Plate 4;
illustrations of Otome no minato,
38, 39, 66; influence, 58, 87,
90; life of, 149n9; magazines
published, 84; style, 6869, 87; at
Tomo-chan Meetings, 53, 55
Nakayoshi (Pals), 85, 86, 102, 103, 109
Nakazato Tsuneko, 38. See also Otome
no minato
Naturalism (Shizenshugi), 24, 25
New Left, 121123
nihonga. See Japanese-style painting
nijyo nen gumi. See Year 24 Group
Nishino Sakiko, 85
Nishitani Yoshiko, 89
Nitobe Inaz, 71
novels: autobiographical, 25, 74; in
Edo period, 17, 23; influence of
girls culture, 140141; I-novels,
74; in Meiji period, 1011, 14,
25; Western, 17. See also girls
novels; and individual titles
Numata Ripp, 36
Obara Sachiko, 89
Oka Keiko, 89
Okamoto Kanoko, 71
mori Ikunosuke, 72
orality, 7980
Oshiyama Michiko, 6, 89
Other, 14, 44
otome, use of term, 143n1


Otome no minato (The Girls Harbor):

author, 38; ending, 73; girls
posing as characters, 38, 40, 53;
illustrations, 38, 39, 66; plot,
3843, 44; spiritual love theme,
tsuka Eiji, 4, 6, 13, 102, 114
tsuki Kenji, 36
tsuma Kotaka, 146n4
Pagliassotti, Dru, 113
painting styles, 59, 60, 63, 6768
parent-child relationships, 92,
108109. See also families;
patriarchy: discourse, 13, 28; families,
7576; image of shjo, 10, 11, 14,
28, 139; resistance to, 7, 35, 42,
72, 75
Penley, Constance, 112, 113
Pflugfelder, Gregory, 3536, 92
photo novels (shashin shsetsu), 86
poetry, 18, 7879, 80
political issues, 119120, 121123
pornography, 112, 152n8
print culture, 59. See also magazines;
prostitutes, 17, 24, 59
Prough, Jennifer, 102
purity: ideal, 47; in illustrations of
girls, 69; of love, 131, 136; of
shjo, 3; in S relationships, 44;
in Takarazuka Revue, 46; white
lily symbol, 3132
realism, 24
renai. See spiritual love
rental books (kashihon), 85, 92, 102
Ribbon, 85, 86, 102, 103


Ribbon no kishi (Princess Knight;

Tezuka Osamu), 78, 8687, 88,
89, 150nn89
Rich, Adrienne, 3435
Robertson, Jennifer, 7, 10, 33, 37, 47,
romances: adult, 120, 123125, 127,
131, 136; courtship, 18, 27;
heterosexual, 104. See also boys
love; love
Rose of Versailles, The (Berusaiyu no
bara; Ikeda Riyoko), 12, 119127,
122, 124, 126, 128130, 131,
132135, 136, 138
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 125
Ryan, Marleigh Grayer, 2021
rysai kenbo (good wives, wise
mothers), 5, 48, 71
Saeki Junko, 19, 27, 145n11
Sailor Moon (Bishjo senshi seeraa mn;
Takeuchi Naoko), 139
Sait Minako, 141
Sakura namiki (Cherry Row;
Takahashi Makoto), 12, 92, 93,
93, 94, 95, 99
sameness: androgynous images,
6465, 68; of Asians, 147n10;
in girls culture, 4445; in
heterosexual relationships,
125, 127; in illustrations of
girl pairs, 12, 6667, 69; in
Nakahara illustrations, 6869; in
relationships among boys, 64; in
S relationships, 37; in Takarazuka
Revue, 47
same-sex relationships. See
homosexuality; homosocial

Index 175

Sannin Musume. See Three Girls

Sat Haru, 49
schoolgirls (joshi gakusei or jogakusei):
accomplishments, 18; fictional
images, 11, 1415, 2124, 2528;
language, 3233, 52; in Meiji
period, 18; modernization and,
1516; restrictions, 16; sexuality,
2728; spiritual love and, 18,
2527; uniforms, 37. See also
girls culture; girls schools;
shjo; S relationships
schools. See education; girls schools
science fiction, 139140
self-published manga (djinshi), 112,
sexologists, 3536, 37
sexual abuse, 109110
sexuality: chastity, 3, 2627; of
shjo, 10, 24, 2728; in shjo
manga, 101, 102, 104, 107108,
110, 111112; of teenagers,
104, 111. See also heterosexual
relationships; homosexuality
sex workers. See prostitutes
shashin shsetsu (photo novels), 86
Shimazaki Tosn, 15
shishsetsu. See I-novels
Shizenshugi. See Naturalism
Shgenji Haruko, 53
shgy bijutsu (commercial art/
industrial design), 60
shjo: agency, 10, 104; association
with modernity, 2, 9, 1011, 28,
139; categories, 1013; cultural
influence, 13; fictional characters,
3, 1011, 14; meaning, 23;
media representations, 3; as
object of male desire and gaze,

14; patriarchal image, 10, 11, 14,

28, 139; sexuality, 10, 24, 2728;
threat posed by, 2728; use of
term, 143n1
Shjo book, 86
shjo bunka. See girls culture
Shjo club: conservative ideology, 48;
history, 48, 148n15; illustrations,
64, 67, 67; name change, 85;
reader contributions, 50, 52;
readers, 48, 5354; short stories,
7778; in wartime, 56
Shjo comic, 104, 105
Shjo friend, 85
Shjo gaho (Girls Pictorial): history,
48, 148n15; illustrations, 64, 65,
Plates 13; letters, 38; reader
contributions, 49; short stories,
Shjokai (Girls Circle), 48, 49
shjo manga: adaptations, 140;
amateur, 83, 85, 95, 103,
151152n6; audiences, 140;
boys love stories, 104105,
111113, 152n8, 153nn1617;
changes in 1970s, 12, 100, 101,
102, 104, 111, 121123, 131; in
contemporary Japan, 101, 136;
critiques of, 9697, 137; crossdressing and gender bending,
6, 120, 121; cultural role, 1,
103, 137138; development
out of prewar girls culture, 82,
89, 111; evolution since 1970s,
139140; features, 82; genealogy,
8990; influence of kashihon,
85; language, 79; link to prewar
girls magazines, 8, 12, 6970,
85, 101, 137; in 1950s and 1960s,


78, 12, 8384, 85, 86100; in

1970s, 1, 82; popularity, 1, 136,
137; psychological complexity,
97, 116, 131; reader identification
with characters, 97, 99, 104,
111, 113, 125127; readers, 83,
113, 125127; removable items,
61, 9596; scholarship on, 56,
78, 106108, 137; as separate
world, 100; Tezukas role in
development, 87, 89; translations,
1, 137, 140; for young women,
102, 139
shjo manga, style of: backgrounds,
95, 114, 116; development, 87,
93, 99100; emotional emphasis,
100, 114, 116, 119; evolution
since 1970s, 139; eyes, 68, 90, 99,
139; frames, 95, 114; influence of
jojga, 97, 99, 114, 116; influence
on other manga genres, 140;
interior monologues, 114116,
125; layering, 97, 114, 116,
119, 140; rule-breaking panel
arrangements, 99100, 116, 119;
sandan buchinuki no sutairu-ga
(three-row overlay style pictures),
95, 99; style pictures (sutairu-ga),
9597, 98, 116; symbolic images,
114116; three-dimensional
effects, 116; visual grammar,
Shjo no tomo (The Girls Friend):
colonial distribution, 148n18;
contests, 50; editors, 49, 5152,
5354; fiction published by,
49; history, 48, 84, 148n15;
illustrations, 49, 64, 66, 6869,
Plate 4; influence, 4849, 56;
in postwar period, 84; reader


contributions, 29, 48, 4953;

readers, 11, 48, 50, 51, 5355;
serialized novels, 1112, 38, 49,
7476; size of issues, 49; Tomochan Meetings, 50, 5152, 53,
5455, 5556; in wartime, 5354,
Shjo sekai (Girls World), 31, 48, 49,
shjo shsetsu. See girls novels
Shjo studies (shjo-ron), 38
shnen ai, 152n8
Shwa period: girls schools, 3031;
print culture, 59
Sheisha, 85
Silverberg, Miriam, 138
sisters. See S relationships
slash fiction, 111112
smashes, 3637
Soleil, 84
spiritual love (renai): familial love and,
108109; in girls culture, 31;
in homosocial relationships, 57,
105, 108110; as ideal, 1718, 21;
introduction of concept in Japan,
1618; marriage and, 23, 24; of
schoolgirls, 18, 2527; separation
from physical love, 1617, 18,
2627; theme in fiction, 1112,
15, 1823, 2528
S relationships (esu kankei): adult
attitudes toward, 11, 36, 37;
compared to heterosexual
relationships, 4344; emotions in,
38; exclusivity, 3738, 42, 43; in
fiction, 1112, 3738, 3943, 56,
70, 7376, 107; in girls schools,
36, 37, 3944; heterogender, 37;
illustrations of, 12, 39, 66, 66,
Plate 1; influence, 45; initiation,

Index 177

41, 147n12; lack of awareness

by new students, 41, 147n11;
language describing, 38, 42, 44;
letters published in magazines,
51, 56; magazine depictions,
3738; in postwar period, 92;
as practice for heterosexual
relationships, 36; roles in, 44,
147n13; safety, 44; sameness in,
37; scholarship on, 3536; in
shjo manga, 83, 92, 123; use of
term, 35
Stanley, Marni, 112
Star Trek, 112
stationery, 61, 64, 90
Stickland, Leonie R., 47
student movement, 121, 123
students. See education; schoolgirls
style pictures (sutairu-ga), 9597, 98,
Suga Atsuko, 5354
Sugiura Hisui, 31
Sugiyama Naoko, 72, 73, 7677
suicides, 36, 106
surrogate motherhood, 72, 76
Suzuki, Michiko, 24, 7172, 73, 79
Taish period: advertising images,
63; girls schools, 3031; mass
culture, 64; print culture, 59
Takabatake Kash: aesthetic, 12;
androgynous images, 6465, 68;
career, 6364; goods designed by,
58, 64; illustrations, 49, 6467,
65, 74, Plates 13; Indian
Summer, 65; influence, 58,
59, 65, 90; life of, 149n8; style,
6162, 63, 6465, 68; training,
63; Utsuriyuku sugata (Changing
Figures), 6768

Takahara Eiri, 17, 145n5

Takahashi Makoto: aesthetic, 12, 90,
9399; Arashi o koete (Beyond
the Storm), 96; career, 90; goods
designed by, 90; illustrations,
Plate 5; influence, 90, 93, 9596;
Paris-Tokyo, 12, 9092, 93, 95, 96,
97; picture-book style stories, 86,
90, 93; Sakura namiki (Cherry
Row), 12, 92, 93, 93, 94, 95, 99;
in shjo manga genealogy, 8, 90
Takahashi Mizuki, 87, 95, 97
Takarazuka Revue (Takarazuka
Kagekidan): as all-girl space,
46; audiences, 47, 86; in
contemporary Japan, 2; fan clubs,
47; female roles (musumeyaku),
45; fictional references to, 74;
film portrayals, 150151n12;
films produced by, 9192;
founders, 46; homosocial
relationships, 3334; link to
Ribbon no kishi, 88, 89, 150n9;
male roles (otokoyaku), 45, 4647,
131, 154n23; performances,
4546, 140, 150151n12;
performers, 45, 4647, 149n9;
in prewar period, 4547; Rose of
Versailles production, 131, 136,
140, 154n23; scholarship on, 7,
3334, 47; training school, 45,
86; Violet Code, 46, 47
Takayama Hideo, 131
Takehisa Yumeji: aesthetic, 12; goods
designed by, 58, 61, 148n1,
149n5; illustrations, 49, 61, 62
Takemiya Keiko: boys love stories,
104105, 107108; Kaze to ki no
uta (The Song of the Wind and
the Tree), 105, 110111; political



views, 123; Sanrmu nite (In

the Sunroom), 104; science fiction
works, 140; on sex scenes, 111;
style, 99100
Takeuchi Naoko, Sailor Moon (Bishjo
senshi seeraa mn), 139
Takeuchi Osamu, 102
Tale of Genji, The. See Genji monogatari
Tanaka Hiko, 7
Tatsumi Yoshihiro, 85
Tayama Katai: Futon (The Quilt), 11,
2528; life of, 25; short stories,
teenagers: films for, 84, 8586, 9091;
girls magazines for, 29, 48, 84;
heterosexual relationships, 44;
identity formation, 13; in Japanese
culture, 2; manga for, 102;
sexuality, 104, 111; in Western
culture, 810
Terasaki Kogy, 63
Tezuka Osamu: aesthetic, 87, 89, 99;
assistants, 89; legacy, 87; Ribbon no
kishi (Princess Knight), 78, 8687,
88, 89, 150nn89; role in shjo
manga development, 78, 87, 89
theater. See kabuki; Takarazuka Revue
Three Girls (Sannin Musume) film
stars, 91, 150151n12
Tokuda Shsei, 71
Tkysha, 48
Tma no shinz (The Heart of Thomas;
Hagio Moto), 12, 105107, 108
110, 111, 114116, 115, 117118
Tomo-chan Meetings, 50, 5152, 53,
5455, 5556
Treat, John Whittier, 6, 1011
Tsuboi Sakae, 72
Tsubouchi Shy, 17, 145n7
Tsumura Pharmaceutical Company, 63

Uchiyama Motoi, 38, 49, 50, 5152, 53,

55, 5657, 68
Ueda Shinji, 131
Ueno Chizuko, 107
Ukigumo (Drifting Clouds; Futabatei
Shimei): ending, 2021; language,
14, 19; as modern novel, 14, 21;
plot, 1415; shjo image, 11;
spiritual love theme, 15, 1821
Umezu Kazuo, 89, 96
United States: homosocial relationships,
3637; shjo manga readers, 140.
See also Western culture
Uno Chiyo, 71
Utsukushii tabi (Beautiful Journey;
Kawabata Yasunari), 38
Vietnam War, 123
Wasurenagusa (Forget-me-not; Yoshiya
Nobuko), 12, 7476, 80
Watanabe Masako, 96
Watanabe Shko, 5, 3132, 35
Weisenfeld, Gennifer, 60
Welker, James, 106107, 110
Western culture: art, 32, 63, 64, 68,
116; assimilation in Japan, 31,
67; clothing, 15, 65, 6667, 68;
girls culture, 810; homosocial
relationships, 3637; love, 15,
1617; novels, 17; teenagers, 810;
in Yokohama, 3839
white lily symbol, 3132, 114, 146n4,
Williams, Linda, 119
wives: fictional images, 17, 2526; ideal
in Meiji period, 2324, 48, 71. See
also marriages
women: advertising images, 5960;
artists, 1, 12, 53, 87, 89, 103;

Index 179

manga for, 102, 139; mothers,

72, 75, 7677, 108; roles, 2324,
48, 71, 75; writers, 15, 53. See also
lesbians; wives
woodblock prints, 59
writers: of fiction, 49; literary elite, 71;
women, 15, 53. See also novels
Yabu no uguisu (A Warbler in the
Grove; Miyake Kaho), 11, 2124
Yamanashi Makiko, 4647
Yamano Ayao, 5960
Yaneura no ni shojo (The Two Girls
in the Attic; Yoshiya Nobuko),
Yasuda Tokutar, 36
Year 24 Group (nijyo nen gumi), 102,
103, 107108, 140, 151n2. See
also Hagio Moto; Takemiya Keiko
yga. See fine art
Yokohama, 3839
Yokomori Rika, 6, 119, 137
Yokoyama Mitsuteru, 89
Yomota Inuhiko, 102
Yonemitsu Kazunari, 7
Yonezawa Yoshihiro, 6, 7, 96

Yosano Akiko, 72
Yoshimoto Banana, 6, 140141
Yoshimoto Takaaki, 141
Yoshinaga Sayuri, 8586
Yoshitake Teruko, 71
Yoshiya Nobuko: Ban Sensei (Our
Teacher, Miss Ban), 12, 76, 77;
career, 49, 71; conservative
ethos, 72, 73, 138; critiques of,
72; Hana monogatari (Flower
Tales), 69, 7778, 7980;
imperialist ideology, 73,
149n12; influence, 58, 70, 79,
81, 90; life of, 7071, 7273,
74, 149n10; prose style, 7781;
scholarly views of, 7073, 74; S
relationships in novels, 7376;
voice, 70; wartime writing,
7273; Wasurenagusa (Forgetme-not), 12, 7476, 80; Yaneura
no ni shojo (The Two Girls in
the Attic), 7374
Yukimura Izumi, 91, 150151n12
Yuri Seiko, 49
Zweig, Stefan, 120

About the Author

Deborah Shamoon received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in Japanese literature. Her research specialization is modern Japanese literature,
film, and popular culture. Among her publications are Misora Hibari and the Girl
Star in Postwar Japanese Cinema (Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society,
2009); Humanity Grows Up: Lacan and the Science Fiction Manga To Terra
(Manga and Philosophy, ed. Adam Barkman and Josef Steiff, 2010); Films on Paper:
Cinematic Narrative in Gekiga (Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the
Modern World, ed. Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog, 2011); and The Modern
Girl and the Vamp: Hollywood Film in Tanizaki Junichirs Early Novels (positions:
east asia cultures critique, forthcoming). She is currently an assistant professor in the
Department of Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore. Passionate
Friendship is her first book.

Production Notes for Shamoon / Passionate Friendship:

The A esthetics of Girls Culture in Japan
Interior design and composition by Mardee Melton, in 9.5-point
Janson Text Hawaiian, with display type in Hiroshige Hawaiian.
Printing and binding by Sheridan Books, Inc.
Printed on 60# House White, 444ppi