Hanayome wa Motodanshi./ The Bride Was a Boy by Chii

I haven’t come across a whole lot of autobiographical manga, but Hanayome wa Motodanshi./The Bride was a Boy is one.

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The description goes like this: “Chii and her husband are like any other happily married couple, except for one thing: Chii was assigned male at birth. Chii details her autobiographical account of growing up with gender dysphoria and ultimately deciding to transition in her early adult years.”

I suspect that Hanayome wa Motodanshi/The Bride was a Boy was a much needed educational manga in Japan (it came out in 2016,) but it’s heavier on the information than it is on the drama.

Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

SPOILERS

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I suspect that Chii-sensei quite intentionally focused on the positive stories of her life.

There are plenty of hints that everything was not always sunshine and roses for her, but the story of Hanayome wa Motodanshi/The Bride was a Boy is overwhelmingly happy.  Chii’s family all take the news that she’s trans very calmly and acceptingly. Her then-boyfriend/future husband has only a momentary pause when she comes out to him and his only concerns seem to be barriers her status might cause to their matrimony.

Obviously, this is Chii’s story to tell. If she wants to focus on the happy bits, she should.  A couple of them made me cry.

When they go to meet Chii’s family for the first time and Chii’s boyfriend asks for permission to marry her, this happens:

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The text reads: Dad “Please take care of our daughter.” Chi (thinking): “‘Our daughter.’ So even Mom and Dad see me as their daughter now.”

Is it dusty in here?

Likewise, there’s a scene near the end, when Chii is getting married and she’s waiting backstage with her father, who is about to walk her down the aisle, and she says to him, “I bet you never thought you’d be doing this again with me.” (Chi has an older sister). Dad looks really confused and says something that makes it very clear that he totally forgot that she was born any other way than as his second daughter.

This interaction may seem the most unrealistic, but it reminds me of how my parents are about my son.  They totally forget that he’s technically not mine by blood and say things like, “Oh, yeah, that’s a Morehouse trait,” etc.  Parents can have their moments, you know?

So, I thought this was a cute story and well worth a read.  The art style is very cutesy, but I thought it fit the tone fairly well.

Like in Otouto no Otto/My Brother’s Husband, there are mini-sections at the end of each chapter with information about Japanese (and international) GLBTQ+ issues.  Some of those bits in Hanayome wa Motodanshi/The Bride was a Boy are Trans 101 (which some people might appreciate and need!), but there’s a whole section in the later chapters about Japanese law and how it relates to trans folks, particularly where the law intersects with gay marriage (which is still illegal in Japan) which I found particularly fascinating.

If you’re interested in a more in-depth take on growing up trans in Japan, I would recommend checking out Hourou Musako/Wandering Son.

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