Takeuchi Sachiko is a lesbian comic artist in Japan. She has detailed some of her life as a lesbian and her experiences in the LGBT Tokyo community for DaVinci, a mainstream women’s magazine. These experiences were gathered in the two volumes Honey x Honey and Honey x Honey Deluxe. After she and her lover split, Sachiko started seeing a transgendered friend Kai, who ultimately underwent surgery to full transition to being a man in Otoko ni Naritai! Sachiko and Kai are still together, and now she’s explaining her other secret life to the utterly “normal” women who read DaVinci magazine. Because, you see, Sachiko is a fujoshi (腐女子.)
Fujoshi are, commonly speaking, female otaku. As Sachiko points out in Kusare Fujoshi! In Deep (くされ女子! In Deep) there’s more to it than just being a a fan of Boy’s Love, although that seems to be the major commonality. She also explains to her audience – by way of two fellow fujoshi Mai and Shiori-sempai – that there are lesbians who are fujoshi and even men, gay and straight, who are fujoshi.
At some point Mai hits on what I think may be one of the key factors of being fujoshi vs being otaku. Fujoshi, Mai says, love men. Not that they necessarily have to love them in the flesh, but that they love the idea of men and, by extension, love romance and sex between these idealized images. On the other side of the aisle, you can pretty much say the same for otaku – they may or may might not love real women, but love their idealized idea of women. I personally have always considered myself otaku as opposed to fujoshi, so that kind of fits.
Kusare Joshi explores some of the various facets of being a fujoshi. Host bars; cosplay; sexual titillation when reading BL and how it can be a shared sexual experience between women; what moe means to a fujoshi and even the differences between real gay men and Boy’s Love stories. This section contained what is perhaps my favorite scene. When her gay guy friends learn of her interest, they hound her asking if she is moeru over them – and insist she “Say it! Say it!” That bit had me laughing out loud.
As I said in my review of Honey x Honey, Takeuchi’s art is simplistic but it fits her message well. Her story is meant to be an introduction to a “lifestyle” that her audience thinks they know nothing about and considers alien, perhaps gross. Her straightforward autographical style takes the sting out of even the most pointed commentary (she points, for instance,out the unfairness of the fact that women who get all hot and bothered over guys having sex are “fujoshi”….but the guys who do the same over women having sex are considered perverted.) Or when she briefly touches a few times on Yuri and finds that most (especially straight) fujoshi reject it as being disgusting.
Also, because her book is an autobiography it carries the weight of versimilitude – these are real people, doing things for real. And, she assures us once more in the Afterword – having a hell of a fun time doing them!
This book is an insight on the side of the store I almost never find myself on, including the secret of what, exactly, is kept inside those suitcases that fujoshi drag behind themselves.
Art – 6
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0 Lesbian -5
Loser Fangirl – 10
Overall – 8
Many, many thanks to George R. for offering up this book for review! George, you can shop for me in Tokyo anytime! :-)