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Campus Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Transgender, Japan, Manga, School, Gender, Wandering Son


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the representations of transgender in Takako Shimura’s manga Wandering Son (Hōrō Musuko). Wandering Son (2002 to present) is a manga that focuses on their group of middle school friends with two transgender characters, a boy that wants to be a girl and a girl that wans to be a boy, at its center. The story follows the friends’ lives and their struggles with their transgender status in their everyday lives. I explore this work in two ways. First, I look at the transgendered characters’ navigation of gender and their gender roles within the realm of school. The characters’ subversion of school uniforms and their transgendered activities during school festivals serve to show difference in acceptance of transgender by who performs it and where it is performed in the manga. Second, I look at the way that characters, both transgendered and gender-normative, negotiate their gender identities through the use of language. I look at linguistic features such as final particle and personal pronoun to explore how these features are used to define and display the characters’ actual and desired gender identities. Shimura uses gendered languages to explore characters’ creation of their gender identity, resulting in clear gender identities for those who use gendered language and unclear gender identities for those who do not.


First Advisor

Amanda C Seaman

Second Advisor

Stephen D. Miller