One of the better manga I’ve really gotten into this year is Okachimachi Hato’s Horii-shimai no Gogatsu (Eng: The Horii Sisters in May). I discovered its first chapter in a copy of the now-defunct Manga Erotics F I picked up for Awashima Hyakkei a year ago, got interested, bought the first collected volume a few months ago, and fell in love. Among other things, it prominently features a gender role-flipping adult relationship with great emotional complexity that’s right down the middle of my strike zone. So I got interested and tried to dig up some stuff on it. I found out on Okachimachi’s twitter feed that she had done an interview for women’s magazine An-An with some thoughts on gender, and I decided to translate it.
There’s plenty of literature out there pointing out the importance of examining the role gender plays in Japan, but I think it’s worth noting that a survey in the same magazine asks “Can a man and a woman have a stable friendship?” and gets a very wide spread of responses.