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Although LINE Japan has had a set of BeruBara stickers (スタンプ ["stamp"] in Japanese) for a year now, LINE has released a global set with brand new stamps.

The stamps are $1.99 in the US store and are listed as “La Rose de Versailles.” The global set includes a lot more stickers than the original Japanese set. However, the Japanese set has a few that aren’t in the global set, including the 挟撃!one of Oscar riding into battle, which I use a lot. According to the press release, there will be other stamps for the app “Kakao Talk” (カカオトーク).

Image of Oscar from The Rose of Versailles holding up a scroll that reads "NO" and a second image of Andre Grandier getting his butt kicked by Granny

Copyright Ikeda Riyoko Productions.

There’s a lot less text than in the Japanese version. I think my new favorite is Oscar holding up the “NO” scroll.

Image of Oscar from The Rose of Versailles laughing in English and Japanese text.

Copyright Ikeda Riyoko Productions.

With the upcoming release of the new BeruBara manga and last year’s release of the English-subtitled anime, more press is being drummed up. Now, when is the manga finally going to get a full translation into English? (And can I be hired to help?)

Via Japan.Internet.com.

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Utagawa Kunimasa, “Young Woman and a Cat at a Kotatsu” Tokyo National Museum. Ukiyo-e, Nihon bijutsu zenshū, Tokugawa, (Comprehensive Collection of Japanese Art) vol. 20 (Kōdansha, 1991), p. 34. Via Japan Focus.

Utagawa Kunimasa, “Young Woman and a Cat at a Kotatsu”
Tokyo National Museum. Ukiyo-e, Nihon bijutsu zenshū, Tokugawa, (Comprehensive Collection of Japanese Art) vol. 20 (Kōdansha, 1991), p. 34. Via Japan Focus.

I ended up skipping the May reader since I was busy with the edits for the cross-dressing in anime and manga series. However, the gender issue rightfully on everyone’s mind in May was Elliot Rodger and #YesAllWomen. I don’t have much to contribute that conversation other than a link to a list of well written articles below, but I do have some more articles to share about gender in Japan.

In this gender reader: the history of beauty in Japan and China, gendered pronouns in Japanese and English, a survey of LGBT students in Japan, a collection of essential articles about Isla Vista, and more.

Continue Reading »

Part Three: Humor(?)

In Part 3 of this series, Kathryn and I will be examining cross-dressing in comedies and comedic tropes about cross-dressing. Can cross-dressing be treated as more than the butt of a joke? Yes!

Part 1 and content warnings here. All images safe for work.

Via Gagging on Sexism.

Haruhi Fujioka has no time for your gender nonsense. Via Gagging on Sexism.

Continue Reading »

Part Two: The Theatre

A novel by Rosalie Lamorlière. (Joyce Farmer discovers Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc in No Straight Lines, p. 25.

How can she be a girl if I love her so much?: A novel by Rosalie Lamorlière.
(Joyce Farmer discovers Ingrid Bergman’s Joan of Arc in No Straight Lines, p. 25.)

In this section, my co-author and I explore cross-dressing in the theatre, specifically all-male kabuki and all-female Takarazuka Revue, how these productions queer our views of the gender binary, and how the main character of The Rose of Versailles disrupts tropes about women cross-dressing as men.

Continue Reading »

Speaking of cross-dressing, Ikeda-sensei is publishing new BeruBara stories and no one told me?! Excuse me while I go swim to Japan. I should get there by August, right?

Contains some major spoilers for BeruBara. But it’s been 40 years, right?

Via Crank-In. Copyright Ikeda Riyoko Productions.

Via Crank-In. Copyright Ikeda Riyoko Productions.


Original:『ベルばら』新作読み切りで仏革命後のアラン描く!40年ぶりに新刊発売も決定 on Ameba News. Translation by me.

Drawing Alain after the French Revolution: New One-Shot BeruBara Story! First New Volume in 40 Years! 

Continue Reading »

Today I’m pleased to bring you an essay version of the panel I gave with Dr. Kathryn Hemmann of Contemporary Japanese Literature on cross-dressing in anime and manga at Sakura-Con in Seattle on April 19, 2014. Because we’re no longer limited to 70 minutes and a projector, we’re able to include more notes, resources, and a proper discussion of Ôoku, which we unfortunately had to cut short at the panel. Enjoy!

Oscar Françoise de Jarjeyes: cross-dressing BAMF. Ikeda Riyoko, The Rose of Versailles, vol. 3, p. 296.

Oscar Françoise de Jarjeyes: hero, soldier, noble, woman of the people. Ikeda Riyoko, The Rose of Versailles, vol. 3, p. 296.


Gender bending is often cited as one of the defining themes of contemporary anime and manga, which are filled with examples of handsome women and beautiful men, not to mention cross-dressing characters who never fail to steal the spotlight. What is cross-dressing? How does it challenge and reinforce gender roles? What role has cross-dressing historically played in popular entertainment in Japan? Does a female character cross-dressing as a man mean something different than a male character cross-dressing as a woman? In this essay, we’re going to discuss ideas about gender, provide some terminology, and examine a few examples of how cross-dressing is used by characters in anime and manga as a means of exploring gender issues in contemporary Japanese society.

This essay is divided into four parts. In the first part, we’re going to outline several terms and issues related to gender fluidity. In the second part, we’ll discuss Japanese theatrical traditions, specifically those of kabuki and Takarazuka, which continue to inform contemporary popular culture in Japan. In the third part, we’ll talk about cross-dressing as it appears in comedies, romantic or otherwise, to demonstrate how laughter can both undermine and bolster personal agency in choices relating to gender identity. In the final part, we’ll move on to cross-dressing in anime and manga that are more serious in tone and content in order to explore the more transgressive and more potentially transformative aspects of gender fluidity.

Content note: This essay contains minor spoilers for the anime and manga series we discuss. Although we’ll be focusing on stories and characters we love, our discussion will include issues relating to transphobia, misogyny, sexism, and bullying.

The Superpositionality of Gender

We’d like to start off our discussion with a serious topic: cats. And by “cats,” I obviously mean “quantum physics” by way of the famous thought experiment often referred to as Schrödinger’s cat. Continue Reading »

New to Ôoku? Start here. Introduction to this arc here.

Major spoilers for the Iemitsu (vol 2-4) and Tsunayoshi arcs (vol. 4-6), including the drama and the Ôoku: Eien film. Warnings: the plot of this story arc contains sexual assault and abuse, dubious consent, murder, the death of a child, and back-stabbing, and is generally NSFW.

Vol. 5, p. 16.

Tsunayoshi plays a game with her daughter Matsu-hime. Vol. 5, p. 16.

Hideous Beauty

One aspect of Tsunayoshi’s character that I found fascinating was her relationship to beauty ideals. Continue Reading »


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