The world’s first hermaphrodite manga artist?

Yes, you read that right. Not a manga about hermaphrodites, but BY a hermaphrodite.

I was browsing through the comics section of my local bookshop and found this:

Arai Shou manga

It was the catchline on the cover that caught my eye. “Japan’s first hermaphrodite manga artist (intersex)”. Underneath that: “Manga artist Arai Sho takes a scalpel to sex taboos. CONTROVERSIAL MANGA!”

Now, I’ve read a lot of manga, some of it pretty weird stuff. But I think this one takes the biscuit – particularly as its non-fiction.

Here’s Arai’s profile from inside.

Arai Sho lived as a female until the age of 30 when he was diagnosed as a hermaphrodite (inter-sex) following a chromosomal test. This solved the mystery of why his body shifted periodically between female and male. He undertook breast reduction surgery and has since pursued his manga career as a man.

Wikipedia explains exactly what having an intersex-disorder means.

Here’s a link to Arai’s web-page. (all in Japanese I’m afraid). He’s posted some photos of himself too, although who knows what he looks like now. One of the things he relates in his manga is how he keeps changing his appearance – and sometimes his gender.

The interesting thing about the manga – apart from Arai’s own amazing story – is his friends. Arai’s circle pretty much represents the whole rainbow of gender designations: straight, gay, lesbian, transvestite, transsexual – you name it, and a few you probably can’t name too.

There are all sorts of crazy anecdotes, like the time he went to San Francisco to buy a fake penis, or when he met a porn actress. And lots of stuff about his, erm, cute pet dog.

Anyone else read his manga? Let us know what you think in the comments. I enjoyed his first book. Just bought another called “Welcome to the gender neutral bathhouse!”.

He’s obviously getting known in Japan and there are five books of his autobiographical manga. Nothing about Arai on google in English as far as I can see though.

Any editors reading this who want me to interview him, just say the word.

8 Responses to “The world’s first hermaphrodite manga artist?”

  1. […] Original post: The world’s first hermaphrodite manga artist? | Photos and … […]

  2. cetetic says:

    Thanks for the review! It’s hard to find anything in English about this manga; an interview or anything else would be awesome.

  3. tony says:

    hi cetetic . . . I am going to meet up with Arai next time he comes to Tokyo

    more anon.

  4. cetetic says:

    That’s great to hear. :) I wonder if he has any plans for an English release of the manga…

  5. jellyhol says:

    I actually find it rather difficult to believe the physical concept of hermaphrodites!

  6. Dana Dicocco says:

    Well , i m amazed by this ladyboy post , can you write more ? Thank you anyway!

  7. Each sub culture and individual have their own ways of thinking of what is considered attractive, as far as physical beauty is concerned, and many people will go to great lengths to change their figure to reflect that perception of ideal natural beauty.

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