3 Select Manga on Child-Rearing; We Can Learn While Being Soothed
Along with maturation of the manga culture in Japan, readers’ ages have also increased. There are many who have given birth to children and became parents. Perhaps reflecting such a background, manga on child-rearing theme has been on the rise since around the year 2000.
We are introducing 3 works this time from such manga on child-rearing.
1. “Mama Loves the Poyopoyo Saurus”
This manga written by the mangaka “Takako Aonuma” and is based on real life experience.
It humorously depicts everyday words and actions of Ryu and Anne Aonuma, the writer’s first son and his little sister.
The expression of “poyopoyo saurus” in the title is referring to the children, expressing the feeling that they are cute but naughty dinosaurs that ransack the room.
Takako Aonuma is a mangaka and mother, while Gendai Aonuma is a building surveyor and father. The manga depicts an ordinary family life in Japan involving two parents and two children.
The story follows the children from the birth of the first son, Ryu Aonuma, until his early years in elementary school.
Later a sequel depicting Ryu and Anne Aonuma as adults has been published, too.
This work spells out events and happenings that take place in a quite ordinary family in Japan. Yet it entertains readers with its insightful depiction of how children think and act and how parents struggle and try hard in dealing with them.
2. “Pro Chichi (Professional Father)”
The main character of this child-rearing manga is a house-husband, which is rare in Japan.
His wife, Kaho Tokuda, returned to her work as a magazine editor after giving birth to her child.
He, Nao Tokuda, is currently unemployed; thus he needs to take care of the newborn, Taro Tokuda.
Nao Tokuda, however, happens to be afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome, and he feels he cannot do anything unless he carries out actions orderly according to his plan.
But of course, Taro Tokuda being not even a year old derails his serious dad’s meticulous plans one after another.
Dad has to feed the baby, change diapers, and even socialize with other mothers in the neighborhood. Nao Tokuda starts developing awareness as a father and sensing fulfillment of child-rearing, as he goes through days that are filled with happenings he has never experienced in his life before.
The story describes tremendous effort of Nao Tokuda, as he must be precise and accurate to a fault by nature, including volume and temperature management of milk, just to take an example of feeding a baby.
Nao Tokouda’s seriousness is bordering on abnormality, but he grows up through various unexpected experience by facing the baby squarely and the story warms the readers’ hearts.
The title “Pro Chichi” reflects Nao Tokuda, the main character’s voluntary decision in the story to try becoming a professional father.
3. “Mama wa Temparist (Mama Cannot Help it)”
This manga is child-rearing annals by mangaka Akiko Higashimura.
Her first son is known as “Gocchan”, and the story introduces his slapstick actions and funny episodes.
The author gets often cornered by her child Gocchan’s unexpected actions, and this condition is expressed by the word “temparist” in the title.
*temparu: a Japanese slang. An expression that refers to one’s psychological condition reached by having lost composure and filled with impatience and anxiety.
Gocchan’s weaning has been delayed and no end is in sight. The mother Akiko in one episode draws the face of “Golgo 13” on her breast, a famous sniper-assassin that appears in another mangaka’s work, in her desperate effort to wean him. Other episodes humorously depict Gocchan wielding his newly-acquired words and actions against his mother.
Gocchan is a boy, but he likes chatting, and he goes into bizarre actions by making full use of words and actions he has learned.
His behaviors are not something one might expect from babies or infants; they are funny as they are like the actions of an old man.
The work unfolds a merry life without dark shadows.
However, the author expressed in her later works including “Kakukaku Shikajika” that she had been struggling very hard at the time due to paucity of manga work, poverty, separation and divorce with her husband.
In the world of play it is often said that even famous and great actors are no match for animals and children.
All three works we have introduced this time do not contain special or unexpected dramatic events. But once you start reading them, you will be charmed by the lives of the children in the stories which make these works enjoyable for everyone to read.