Author: Travis Hayward
Manga possesses the unique ability to address intricate social issues and human emotions, and Why I Adopted My Husband by Yuta Yagi exemplifies this. This autobiographical “essay manga” chronicles Yuta Yagi’s relationship with his partner, Kyoto, offering insights into the challenges LGBTQ couples face in Japan. With same-sex marriage not legally recognized, the couple takes an unconventional route: Yuta legally adopts Kyoto, ensuring their bond is acknowledged by the law.
Yagi’s storytelling is poignant and heartwarming, drawing readers into the lives of these two characters. The manga doesn’t shy away from depicting the hardships and societal discrimination same-sex couples often face in Japan. It gracefully handles these issues, shining a light on the struggles of Yuta and Kyoto while highlighting their unwavering love for each other. Interestingly, Yuta and Kyoto, both otakus, challenge the stereotype that otakus are unkempt or socially awkward. Their love story began at Comiket, Japan’s largest comic convention, adding a unique twist to their narrative.
The manga serves as an autobiography and a guide for other gay couples seeking legal rights in Japan. Despite the serious topics, Yagi maintains a light tone, celebrating the small victories in their relationship. The story provides a deep dive into the challenges faced by gay couples in Japan, especially in the absence of legal marriage options. The memoir serves as a form of activism for LGBTQ+ rights in Japan, sending a message of solidarity to those globally who cannot legally marry their partners.
The artwork in Why I Adopted My Husband is a visual treat. Yagi’s skill in capturing profound emotions through detailed illustrations creates an engaging visual narrative, contrasting Tokyo’s lively backdrop with the couple’s tender moments.
Beyond the central love story, Yagi delves into the significance of family in Japanese culture and the challenges of adult adoption. He adeptly addresses the societal and legal hurdles faced by same-sex couples, emphasizing the couple’s unwavering love.
From an American perspective, where individualism is celebrated and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community has made significant strides, the choice of staying closeted might seem perplexing. However, in collectivist cultures like Japan, the group’s needs are emphasized over the individual’s. A deep-rooted respect for family and societal harmony leads individuals to forgo personal desires to avoid causing discomfort to the larger group. This mindset, while fostering unity, can sometimes lead to individuals making significant sacrifices, just like Yuta and Kyoto.
Approaching this manga, readers from individualist cultures need to understand these cultural differences, recognizing the challenges and decisions faced by the characters within their societal context.
Why I Adopted My Husband is a profound exploration of love, societal expectations, and individuals’ lengths to solidify their bonds. Yagi’s storytelling prowess and the manga’s impactful message position it as a must-read, shedding light on the challenges LGBTQ couples navigate in Japan.
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