I have written about this manga series by Shimura Takako on a previous occasion but my recent thoughts on identity brought me back to it.
‘Wandering Son’ is the story of the sweet boy Shuichi who wants to be a girl. In the first volume he starts a new school where he meets Yoshino, a girl who wants to be a boy. A bond forms between them based on their desire to be the person each thinks they are inside.
In the second volume, the friends are in Japanese sixth grade. Shuichi buys a gift for himself using the money he was given by his grandmother. The gift is one that reveals his true identity. His sister discovers his inner desire and, by accident, he catches the attention of the boy his sister is keen on. Throughout the story, Shuichi finds it complicated trying to be two people.
In this volume we see a woman, who befriended Yoshino in volume one, act as mentor to the two friends and we hear the first homophobic abuse aimed at the young boy. His sister comments on the frequency with which he cries but throughout this story we see his inner strength and courage increase. His future will be complicated, that we know, but we get the sense that he will not back down from trying to be his real self.
‘Wandering Son’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?