My Brother’s Husband (2014)


Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

From: Penguin Random House

Notes on This Title

There is non-sexual male nudity.

This series was published in a four-volume Japanese language set before being published in a two-volume English language set.


2015 Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Prize
2016 Angoulême International Comics Arts Festival Nominee for Best Comic
2018 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
2018 Lambda Literary Award Finalist - LGBTQ Graphic Novel
2018 YALSA Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens
2018 Harvey Award for Best Manga - Nominee


My Brother’s Husband is the work of Gengoroh Tagame, the award-winning manga artist whose cartoons have been translated into several languages, and it arrives in the UK garlanded with praise from, among others, Alison Bechdel. It’s not hard to see why. Not only is it very touching; it’s also, for the non-Japanese reader, unexpectedly fascinating. Gay life remains largely closeted in Japan, and Tagame’s complex but deftly told story – this is volume one; a sequel is forthcoming – seeks to examine the effect such secrecy has not only those who must live it, but also on their wider family relationships. The pain, he suggests, cuts both ways, for while Ryoji found the freedom to express his feelings in another country, all that was left to his brother was shyness, silence and stoicism. If Yaichi envies anything about Mike, it’s his unnerving openness, the sound of his thoughts filling up every room like dazzling sunlight through suddenly opened blinds.” (Source: The Guardian)

“While we often think of Japan as being a place with relatively progressive politics with regards to queer sexualities, My Brother’s Husband gently alludes to the sort of small, everyday aspects of homophobia that ultimately drove Yaichi’s brother to leave. Yaichi never explicitly took issue with his brother’s being gay but, in his conversations with Mike, he begins to realize that maybe, on some level, he wasn’t as comfortable as he originally thought.

“There’s something beautiful in the careful way that My Brother’s Husband handles Yaichi’s coming to terms with his feelings about his brother that’s rarely seen in mainstream comics. Rather than treating the tension between Mike and Yaichi as a massively dramatic point on conflict, the book instead treats it like the complicated and messy holding pattern that it is.” (Source: io9)

“Sweet-natured but powerful, the first volume of Tagame’s new manga series is a family-based and issue-oriented melodrama that wears its heart lightly but proudly on its sleeve. Stay-at-home divorced dad Yaichi is raising Natsuki, his sparkplug of a daughter, and dealing with the trauma of estrangement from his twin Ryoji, when a surprise appears on his doorstep: Mike, a muscled Canadian teddy bear, tells Yaichi that he is Ryoji’s widowed husband. This bombshell knocks the stoic Yaichi for a loop. But though Yaichi is uncomfortable with Mike’s presence and what it represents in a still-quite-homophobic society, the adorably domineering Natsuki is thrilled to have a gay Canadian uncle. Tagame’s narrative is modestly paced, giving space to the granular emotional subtext of Yaichi’s acceptance of both his dead brother’s orientation and his new brother-in-law, with some tongue-in-cheek visual flourishes. In this firmly PG story, Tagame’s career in erotica (Massive) is evident only in some of the more luxuriantly detailed close-ups of Mike’s and Yaichi’s physiques.” (Source: Publishers Weekly, April 3, 2017, Vol.264(14), p.61(1))


Barnes and Noble: “Openly Gay Manga Creator Gengoroh Tagame Talks Breaking Barriers with My Brother’s Husband

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