Manga Lovers Unite! LQBTQIA Titles / マンガラバーズ団結せよ!LQBTQIA編

Yoko Hata, Young Adult Librarian, Little Tokyo Branch Library,
10 manga titles with their book covers

LGBTQ themes are not foreign to the manga universe, and in fact, have been around for decades. The most widely read genres of LGBTQ manga are “Boy’s Love” (BL) and “Girl’s Love” (GL). The Japanese express these words in floral terms: “Bara” (Roses) for BL, and “Yuri” (Lilies) for GL. You can find a dedicated section to these genres in any Japanese bookstore.

I’d like to introduce you to some BL manga. If you are talking about BL manga, you cannot ignore “What Did You Eat Yesterday?” by Fumi Yoshinaga. The story is about a gay couple’s daily life and the many recipes they cook together. Currently, there are 11 volumes that are translated into English. The manga shows the interesting scope of what life is like for a gay couple living in Japan. Through this, you can also learn some pretty delicious recipes which are found at the end of each chapter. Fumi Yoshinaga initially built her career with BL manga but has recently expanded to other genres. You might also find other works by her such as Antiques Bakery, Ooku, and Gerard & Jacques enjoyable as well.

The next manga I’d like to share with you is Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband. This manga follows the stories of Yaichi, his daughter Kana, and Mike Flannagan, a Canadian man who was married to Yaichi’s brother. Kana’s thoughtful optimism will move readers.

As for the GL genre, there are many interesting stories as well. The first one I’d like to introduce you to is Kase-San by Hiromi Takashima. The manga is split into four series in English; Kase-san and Morning Glories, Kase-San and Bento, Kase-San and Shortcake, and Kase-San and Apron. Any reader will enjoy the sweet love story between shy Yamada, and confident Kase-san.

Another GL manga is Sweet Blue Flowers by Takako Shimura. We follow the stories of several characters who mature as they experience the joyous beginnings and the painful endings of relationships. Readers will seriously be looking for love after reading this manga.

Lastly, I’d like to introduce two more manga which hasn't been translated into English yet. [The Japanese titles can be found at the Little Tokyo Branch Library]. The first one is Backstreet Girls by Jasmin Gyuh. The manga is about a Yakuza boss who decides to enter into the idol business by sending three of his male goons to Thailand to transition into women. At first, they hate their lives as idols. However, they slowly realize they enjoy being idols and being women. Even if you don’t know how to read Japanese, you will enjoy the aesthetic value of Jasmin Gyuh’s artwork. The last manga I would like to introduce is Engawa no Metamorphose by Kaori Tsurutani. The manga is about a live-alone grandmother and her discovery of BL manga at a local bookstore. There, she meets a high school girl who works at the shop, and they form a heart-warming relationship through their shared interest in the BL genre.

Let’s enjoy reading manga!