Picks of the Month – My Brother’s Husband

This is genuinely one of the most heart-warming things I’ve read in awhile.  My Brother’s Husband is a multiple award-winning story about a single father, Yaichi, living in Japan.  His twin brother Ryoji, had moved to Canada and there found love and legally married his fiancé. However, after ten years living abroad, Ryoji suddenly died.  Now, a month has passed and suddenly, Ryoji’s husband, Mike, has decided to come to visit Japan to learn more about his husband and his family that he never got a chance to meet.  While living with them, Mike helps to change the lives of our main character Yaichi and his daughter, helping them to not only come to terms with his brother’s passing, but also his own biases that didn’t allow Yaichi to fully accept his brother.

This story is masterfully done when it comes to approaching the topic of the issues homosexual individuals deal with from the perspective of a heterosexual individual.  Multiple times in the story, it’s noted that Yaichi never openly hated gay people or even his brother, but he never realized how much he was predetermined by his society to think specific highly negative things about homosexual individuals, and Mike’s sudden visit has him realize and come to terms with it all.

The story also does a fantastic job of talking about this as well as the subjects of death and grief without ever becoming heavy-handed, which is definitely a massive accomplishment. The series is able to approach these heavier topics honestly and openly, but with care and with enough time in-between punches to allow us to also laugh and enjoy the pleasant day-to-day of these characters.  Each chapter explores different aspects of these people’s lives and allows them to grow closer as a family, accepting each other and accepting the pain they feel with Ryoji’s passing. The added perspectives of Yaichi’s daughter, Kana, and her innocent but wise takes on the prejudice around her as well as the very accepting and supportive divorced wife of Yaichi, Natsuki, do a lot to flesh out our cast and add interesting perspectives on this story.

This is a beautiful story and I absolutely will not do it justice in these short 600 or so words.  I highly, highly recommend this one to everyone. I could not put it down when I found it and immediately bought the first two volumes on Amazon.  You may be able to find it locally as well, particularly if you live in an area (like I do) that has local shops that specifically support LGBT media and authors.

I feel as a cishet male myself, it was wonderful to have a story that can show biases I may not think about and allow me to better understand the struggles of LGBT individuals through Mike.  While I’m sure that the more overall positive outlook of many of this manga’s main characters may not speak to everyone’s experiences, I think it’s good to have stories where there can be a positive outlook for gay characters and a hope for the future. I’m sure author Gengoroh Tagame, an openly gay mangaka, was interested in this as well for Mike and his newfound family.

Also, can we just appreciate how much of an adorable cuddle bear Mike is?!

Come on!  I’m straight and I wanna Little Spoon with that man!  What a sweet and incredibly loving guy!

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