At ConFABulous, I was asked if yaoi ever deal with issues of coming out. I said that I didn’t think so, since yaoi is usually a straight woman’s fantasy about being a gay man. Well, I did at least find a category on Baka-Updates labeled: “coming out of the closet.” So, I thought I should try some of them. First up is: Bokura wo Hedateru Ao to Shiro / The Blue and White that Separate Us.
The story is a romance between Hozumi–an outgoing, energetic young man–and Mishima, a shy, reserved guy, who happens to be the grandson of the lighthouse manager. They both grew up on a small island and, yet, managed to find each other in high school. At graduation, Hozumi told Mishima that he’d been lying, he didn’t really love Mishima. This left Mishima heartbroken. Hozumi left the island, thinking he’d never return.
But, four years later, after college, his father fell ill and Hozumi was called back to the island to help with the family store.
The only thing Hozumi wants to do now that he’s back, however, is talk to Mishima… and apologize. He hasn’t been able to forget Mishima.
At a high school reunion, Hozumi finds out that Mishima has become a shut-in, a hikkomori. He’s locked himself in the lighthouse and won’t come out.
Cue: Hozumi’s dogged attempts to get through to Mishima that, it should be no surprise, end in a HEA (a Happily Ever After.)
I tend to like romances that extol the virtues of extroverted persistence. That’s one of the ways I ended up with my shy and reserved wife, after all. There is some sex in this six chapter manga, but it is all relatively sweet. It’s not censored, but that’s also because it’s not explicit.
The coming out is… easy.
Hozumi ends up coming out to his older brother. Nii-san has shown up back on the island with good news: he’s getting married. This prompts a private conversation with Hozumi, in which Hozumi comes out to him.
Big brother not only immediately accepts the news, he promises to have his brother’s back…. because Hozumi drops the second bomb that he wants to move-in with Mishima.
After big brother leaves, Hozumi works up the courage to try to talk to his parents. Only his mom is around and when he clumsily starts, Mom instantly cuts him off with a “we know.” Turns out big brother kept his promise. He told the folks that not only did they need to respect Hozumi’s choices, but he also dropped the hint that this was someone that Hozumi could never marry.
And, apparently, that was all that needed to be said. Mom and Dad even loan Hozumi the truck to haul his stuff out of the house.
I mean… I hate to say this isn’t realistic. This was written in 2018, so times have changed SIGNIFICANTLY in the 30-odd years since I came out. My mom cried. The grief was that “there would be no grandchildren.” (But, turns out, we gave her one, anyway.) Also, there were a lot of tears over how hard my life might be. In a lot of ways, mine was a good coming out, because I wasn’t disowned or threatened or any of the zillions of other horror stories I’ve heard from people over the years. My parents fears were mostly for my safety; my parents sadness was not about who I was, but what they assumed I couldn’t give them.
It seems to me that even an easy coming out… has a little period of adjustment?
Like I say, I hate to complain when the result is so positive.
It may be, too, that this story would be different, if it were the eldest son who announced he was gay. I don’t know if it’s still a Thing that the eldest son has a certain expectation/duty in Japanese families or not.
But, there is at least one yaoi with a coming out scene (two, actually.) Now, whether or not this is the sort of story that the person who asked the question of me at con is looking for is another issue. I think he was specifically wondering, too, how much “coming out” to one’s self was built into the narrative.
There was very little introspection in this romance, beyond the worry of having destroyed someone’s life. Neither boy has even a moment of “does that mean I’m gay?” (which could be a blessing, since often that’s handled badly, too.)
Would I recommend it in general? Only if you’re in the mood for more romance than smut.