Japan

Japan To Produce TV Miniseries of Popular Gay/Family Comic "My Brother's Husband"

Japan’s national public broadcaster (or NHK) has bought the rights to a tv adaption of the popular gay themed comic/manga My Brother’s Husband.

The story, by esteemed mangaka (manga artist) Gengoroh Tagame, will be made into a three-episode miniseries.

The story follows single father Yaichi, a man who struggled with his twin brother Ryoji coming out as gay, moving to Canada, and then dying while overseas.

Yaichi and his daughter Kana live their days peacefully until one day a Canadian man named Mike Flanagan shows up at their door saying he is the husband of Yaichi’s late brother.

The story follows the three as Mike and Yaichi deal with the loss of Ryoji, Yaichi and Kana deal with the existence of gay people, and they all deal with a new sense of family.

The broadcasting company has also announced that actor Ryuta Sato will play as Yaichi and ex-sumo wrestler Baruto Kaito will play as Mike Flanagan.

The show will premiere in March of next year on NHK’s BS Premium.

In the meantime, us living abroad can read the official English translation of the manga that was published abroad earlier this year.

If you are interested in reading the manga that both Anderson Cooper and Alison Bechdel have praised, you can buy it on most sites that sell books like Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

And if you need more convincing, you can check out my review of the manga here.

As for Gengoru Tagame, who’s usually known for making homoerotic manga, he shared his thoughts on the miniseries:

“When I was drawing My Brother’s Husband, I wanted as many people as possible to experience this story."

“Over the past few years, same-sex marriage has been legalized in many countries across of the world. One day it may be discussed in Japan.”

“Before that point, people should [be educated] about gay relationships. I wanted everyone to understand different types of people.”

“So this adaptation is welcome. I hope this story will be shared with many more people through the medium of television.”

“For me, it’s the first time my manga has been adapted into live-action.”

“I am excited to experience the story as a fan, rather than as a creator.”

Actor Ryuta Sato also shared his thoughts on the miniseries:

“Having read the original story, it was so emotional, and I was nearly in tears from the beginning to the end."

“I look forward to adapting it for the drama version.”

An Offensive Gay Character Caused A Stir In Japan

A resurrected “gay” tv character caused a stir in Japan.

Homoo Homooda was created by the comedy duo Tunnels in the 1980s. Tunnels decided to bring back the character, who’d disappeared from TV screens for 28 years, as a part of their TV special celebrating their 30-year career together. It didn’t go over well.

Fuji TV, the station that broadcasted the special, later received 104 complaints about the character.

What Tunnels may not have realized is that this homophobic caricature is no longer acceptable in Japan’s social climate.

While Japan is still struggling with accepting the existence and rights of LGBTQ people, a character like Homoo Homooda, with a derogatory term as a name, stereotypical black lace fan, exaggerated blue beard and pink cheeks, and being referred to as a homo and a pedophile, is too much even for the everyday citizens of the country.

In addition to the individual complaints, a great number of LGBTQ organizations complained about the inclusion of the character.

One such group was Good Aging Yells

“I can’t believe they’re still showing this sort of thing,” said Gon Matsunaka, the head of the LGBTQ group Good Aging Yells, to The Mainichi.

“When the character first appeared (in the 1980s), it was common for children to use the word ‘homo’ as an insult to boys who were quiet and gentle.”

“I remember feeling uncomfortable at the time, especially as I was of a susceptible age. I wonder how children who are unsure about their gender or sexual orientation felt when they saw this one-off program.”

All the complaints led to Fuji TV apologizing.

“If there are any aspects that have caused discomfort then it is necessary for me to apologize,” said Fuji TV CEO Masayoshi Miyauchi.

h/t: GayStarNews