In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Tezuka, Shōjo Manga, and Hagio Moto
  • Hori Hikari (bio)

I am completely certain that my Princess Knight, which was serialized in [the magazine] Shōjo kurabu (Girl's club), was the first shōjo manga in Japan. Until then girls' comics had merely presented stories of daily life filled with comedy and humor, as in Anmitsu-hime (Princess Anmitsu).

—Osamu, "Afterword" to Ribon no kishi, 1979

The commonly held notion that Tezuka Osamu is the creator of shōjo manga is repeated, even today, in various Tezuka-related publications.1 Further reinforcement is provided by Tezuka's own statement, quoted above, which may be the origin of this belief.2 A pioneering article on shōjo manga by Fujimoto Yukari (b. 1959) has done even more to cement the tie between Tezuka and the history of the genre, in particular by situating him as the founder of the motif of sexual deviance, which Fujimoto characterizes as one of the defining themes of shōjo manga:

It should be emphasized that the history of shōjo manga began with hermaphroditism. Of course, Tezuka Osamu's work Princess Knight [End Page 299] [1953-56, Ribon no kishi] is so well known as to need no mention. It was serialized from 1953 in Shōjo kurabu (Girls' club) as the first "story manga" in the history of Japanese shōjo manga . . . Since then, shōjo manga have charted this strange evolution in which experiments that transgress sex-identity or gender roles are continually repeated in the "genderless worlds" of girls' inner lives.3

Fujimoto argues that the character Sapphire's shifting between female and male roles in Princess Knight—that is, the theme of the protagonist's "changing gender identities" (seibetsu ekkyō)—became the prototype for transgressive presentations of gender and sexuality in shōjo manga. Fujimoto's work was pioneering in that it provided a comprehensive analysis of shōjo manga from perspectives informed by gender and sexuality studies. However, her claims should be reexamined and further complicated. In particular, I would argue that the worlds of the works of the "Forty-Niners" ("Nijūyonen-gumi "), emphasized by Fujimoto as representative of shōjo manga, provide far more ambiguous, subversive, and provocative representations of gender and sexuality than those found in Tezuka's work.

Although my analysis and argument will be limited in this short paper, I attempt to address how the representations of gender and sexuality separate Tezuka's works from those of the Forty-Niners, especially Hagio Moto (b. 1949). I will first discuss the representation of gender roles in Princess Knight in relation to the Takarazuka Revue. Then, I will provide a textual analysis of The Heart of Thomas (1975, Tōma no shinzō) by Hagio Moto in comparison with Tezuka's Shinsengumi (1963).4 The discussion of Hagio in this connection is crucial, because in interviews she has repeatedly stressed that it was her encounter with Tezuka's Shinsengumi that made her decide to become a manga artist. She even names it as a manga she has reread many times.5 This analysis of the commonality and differences between the two artists' works will serve as a case study that illuminates their different approaches in representing gender and the body.

Princess Knight: Tezuka and the Takarazuka Revue

The Takarazuka Revue, founded in 1913 by Kobayashi Ichizō (1873-1957), has long been popular for its many Western-style musicals. All the actors are female, and although the producers and directors are predominantly male, [End Page 300] their productions are generally understood to be entertainment aimed at women and children. It is noteworthy that Tezuka's connection with the Takarazuka Revue is often mobilized to support claims that, despite being an adult male, he understood the world of women and children and their sensibilities. Tezuka himself stated:

I grew up in Takarazuka, home of Japan's famous all-female musical theater troupe, so naturally in my youth I imbibed the romantic and flamboyant atmosphere of this world. My characters' costumes as well as the scenery that surrounds them owe much to the theater. More importantly, the spirit of nostalgia toward Takarazuka pervades and infuses my work.6

Because the...


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