'Why I Adopted My Husband' - True Story of a Gay Couple Seeking Marriage Equality

"Why I Adopted My Husband" by Yuta Yagi.

Yuta Yagi wanted to share his story of his and his partner's journey of seeking legal recognition in Japan, so he created "Why I Adopted My Husband."

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to manga and books in general?

For the readers, I believe that to read is to know that there is a world that you do not know (you do not have to understand about that world, but to know it first).

Therefore, I believe that the writer or mangaka must weave a story with sincerity about the morals, ethics, and rules that exist within him or her and the personal ideas derived from them.

An author's ideas are influenced by various places such as country, region, family, and friends, and so the reader can encounter ideas and events that they would never have expected.

I think it is important to express the diversity of human beings, and I believe that restricting freedom of expression is unacceptable.

What does the term Reading Rainbow mean to you?

Sorry, it’s the first time hearing this term. I’m not sure how to answer.

Tell us a little more about the manga and why you decided to create it.

"Why I Adopted My Husband"’s predecessor titled "Gay Ota Con" was a self-published title. It is short for “A couple of two gay nerds got married in a same-sex marriage through a form of adoption.”

I was originally drawing gay-oriented self-published work. People who knew about my relationship with my partner, Kyota, were from the same area, so started out creating and distributing manga about the circumstances of our adoption as a way to report to my friends. Any remaining books I had published were then sold at comic markets and other magazine sales for a fee to those who wanted to read them.

The book was thankfully well-received, with those involved commenting that it was interesting and “so there’s this option too!”, while those who were not involved commented that they were surprised that such a method existed and that there were difficulties without same-sex marriage laws.

After receiving this feedback, I thought that this work should be read by a wider audience, so I visited several publishers and this lead me to doing my connection with the publisher Bunkasha.

Was there any initial reluctance to tell such a personal story? What were the challenges you faced creating this work?

Since this was originally a marriage story, there was no resistance or difficulty in telling it — to us, it’s a happy story after all. We have a relationship that we can't openly talk about, but when we are together, we are very happy, and it is still the same today.

We intentionally don’t say things like, “Oh, in the current world, we’re so unhappy!” and draw sympathy. Also, rather than going overboard and tell the world how much in love we are with each other, I tried to keep my depiction flat and focused on conveying the actual events and information that I encountered.

Readers are not only the parties involved, but can be anyone in the world. I tried to draw in a way that would be interesting for everyone to read.

But, now that I look back on it, I feel like maybe I have gone a bit overboard about speaking fondly of our relationship.

How do you feel that your story can inspire other people?

I’d be happy if anything I wrote would be beneficial to anyone who resonates to this story. And for those who don’t necessarily resonate directly to the story, I hope they learned about the marriage restrictions.

Apart from that, I believe that this book will give an idea of the many non-illegal support and aids that can cut through the various laws in the world, and that readers can learn from them to have a happier life. I hope that the book I have drawn will help readers find a way to be happy for themselves without giving up on the current situation.

Japan is seen as a very progressive country. What do you see as some key differences between being an LGBTQ person in Japan versus in the West, or the United States specifically? Do you feel like many Japanese get their understanding of LGBTQ culture from entertainment media?

I cannot answer your question because I do not know the details of the LGBTQ situation overseas.

As for your subsequent question, I think that when I get knowledge about LGBTQ in Japan, it is from the media.

I don’t know many people who have come out to the public. I think many people don’t realize or know that they have met someone who is actually LGBTQ.

As for other sources, I have heard of LGBTQ people giving talks at companies and schools, but I cannot answer further because I do not know to what extent this is done and what effect it has.

Are you working on a new project currently?

I’d love to!

In terms for essay manga, my partner Kyota suffered power harassment and became depressed a few years ago, so I thought it might be a hint to many people if I could draw a work that tells about what actually happened, as calmly as possible, how he was cared for and what kind of government services he received, and I am still searching for ways to express this.

As for original manga, I'm thinking of a story about a gay couple who have adopted each other for various reasons and in a way form a “gay clan,” but I would rather read about it drawn by someone else. Someone, please draw it!


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