Makimura Asako is a woman who, for the last few years, has been working very hard to make a name for herself in Japan as a LGBTQ advocate and activist with books like Yuri no Real and her essay on being a “Yuri” otaku in the Eureka “Current State of Yuri Culture” issue. In Doukyonin no Bishoujo ga Lesbian Datta Ken (同居人の美少女がレズビアンだった件), she and her erstwhile roomate, artist Koike Miki, create an autobiographical comic essay about her life.
The principle concept is that in expensive Tokyo, there are “share houses” which function much like a dormitory – as many as 16 people in a room with bunk beds, sharing a kitchen and bath facilities. Koike, having come to Tokyo for a job, finds herself renting space in a share house and meeting Makimura. Makimura Asako, former Miss Japan finalist and TV personality, comes out to her housemates and they just sort of all get over themselves.
The middle of the book is more autobiography about Makimura’s life and experiences coming out and building a career post-coming out. And then…she falls in love. Her girlfriend, known here as “Mori-girl” or “Moriga” for short, is a French woman who was into anime that ran on French TV, learned Japanese and came to the land of miruku and hachimitsu. She and “Makimuuu~” meet at a club and fall in love. Now the housemates have to not only deal with the idea of a lesbian, but the actuality of a lesbian couple.
Ultimately, Koike and Makimura move out together, while Makimura travels the world, Koike stays behind to work on this book, which was, in part, motivated by Higashi Koyuki and Masahara Hiroko’s own bio comic essay Lesbian-teki Kekkon Seikatsu. We get a little side trip into Koike’s interest in having a romantic partner, but not much. There is quite a lot about Makimura meeting and being accepted by her French in-laws, and a bit about Same-Sex Marriage becoming legal in France. These are paralleled by Koike’s struggle to make the book work, and her editor’s coming out as Trans*.
Art – 9
Story – 10
LGBTQ – 10
Overall – 10
Overall, this is a pleasant read, with an emphasis on the cute and silly moments, and nods to the struggles of LGBTQ folks, without wallowing. If I were teaching a class in Japan on LGBTQ issues, this seems like it would make a nice addition to the curriculum.