In spring 2013, Higashi Koyuki and Masahara Hiroko made waves all around the world with the first ever same-sex wedding ceremony at Tokyo Disneyland Resort (TDR). The two are both activists and writers, and their story was widely shared around the Internet and in print publications.
Lesbian-teki Kekkon Seikatsu (レズビアン的結婚生活 ) is the manga retelling of their story. Beginning with their decision to do a wedding ceremony at Disneyland and their experiences convincing TDR to accommodate them, the story is a very honest, very real, touching and sometimes painful discussion of their lives, their lives together and their love for one another.
Koyuki-san, a former Takarisienne, is the more high-strung of the two. She has also written a book about familial abuse she suffered as a child. After flashbacks to her first love in school, we hear very little about her life, except to mention briefly how difficult life at Takarazuka is.
Hiroko-san is, of the two, the way more mellow personality. We get a fair amount of detail about her life, and her relationship to her parents, all of which is actually relevant to the narrative at hand, as her parents help pay for the extravaganza. Her father’s speech at their wedding is illustrated with guests bawling happily and I was no different. Hiroko-san’s parents were, in some ways, the real heroes of the book.
My favorite chapter tells of Koyuki-san asking Hiroko-san to propose to her romantically, then grading her half-hearted attempts. My favorite was the moment Hiroko-san came home. “I’m in the bathroom,” Koyuki-san says. “Let’s get married,” Hiroko-san says. “Negative 5 points,” is the reply. ^_^
Many of these flashbacks are related as answering questions from the wedding guests. When did you come out? Where did you meet? Who proposed? All told with humor and honesty, interspersed with educational essays about LGBTQ terminology, coming out and other LGBTQ life issues.
The artwork by Sugiyama Eriko is appealing and cute, rather than realistic. It balances out the heavier moments well and allows readers to focus on the story and the people, rather than getting lost in detail.
If you can read even a little Japanese, I’d recommend this book with all my recommends. The story it tells is a moment of history that may well be the moment a tide turned. This is as real as real gets.
Art – 9
Story – 10
LGBTQ – 10
Overall – 10
Koyuki-san and Hiroko-san have written a second book, about becoming mothers, titled Futari no Mama kara, Kimi-tachi he, so you can follow their continuing story. ^_^