Welcome to the Josei Alphabet! For this installment, I’ve decided to focus on a small number of unlicensed titles, then try to list all of the titles that are available in English, along with Japanese magazines that start with that letter. As always, I hope you’ll mention your favorites that I’ve omitted, either licensed or not.
Some sites include yaoi titles in their josei listings. I’ve decided to exclude these for the simple reason that I may someday want to do a yaoi/boys’-love alphabet. So, while they’re often demographically targeted at adult women, I’ve decided to exclude them from this exercise. Now, without further ado…
“A” is for…
Abunazaka Hotel, written and illustrated by Moto Hagio, serialized in Shueisha’s You: A mysterious hotelier seems to specialize in guests in the midst of romantic transition or turmoil, challenging their current state of affairs. It’s by Hagio, so it’s instantly desirable, and it only ran for three volumes, so it seems within the realm of reasonable risk.
Ai wa Kassai ni Tsutsumarete, based on a novel by Metsy Hingle, adapted by Shin Kurokawa, published by Oozora Shuppan: It would be remiss of me to ignore the romance-novel end of the josei equation, particularly adaptations of popular Harlequin properties. This one is about a man trying to protect his brother from a fiancé he believes to be a gold-digger. My choices from this subcategory will probably be based on how much I like the covers, which I fully admit is lazy.
Akatsuki no Aria, written and illustrated by Michiyo Akaishi, serialized in Shogakukan’s flowers: This one’s about a beautiful young student pianist who may have supernatural connections. It’s ongoing and up to around the 11 volume point. Another of Akaishi’s josei titles, Amakusa 1637, ran for 12 volumes in Shogakukan’s flowers, and it’s about a high-school kendo champion who’s thrown back in time and uses her skills to protect persecuted Christians in Japan in the 1600s. No, seriously. It was published in French by Akiko.
Applause, written and illustrated by Kyoko Arisohi, serialized variously in Akita Shoten’s Princess, Margaret, and Elegance Eve. This classic yuri tale from the creator of Swan follows a Japanese transfer student from a Belgian boarding school to a career as an actress in New York City. Erica (Okazu) Friedman is on the case. The series ran for a total of seven volumes.
Aisuru Hito, written and illustrated by Yuki Yoshihara, serialized in Shogakukan’s Petit Comic. This smutty, four-volume comedy follows the dubious attempts of a broke college student to stay close to the professor she adores. This kind of story seems to be a specialty for Yoshihara, who also created Butterflies, Flowers (Viz).
- All My Darling Daughters, written and illustrated by Fumi Yoshinaga, published by Viz, one volume, originally serialized in Hakusensha’s Melody.
- Angel, written and illustrated by Erica Sakurazawa, published by Tokyopop, one volume, originally serialized by Shodensha. (I’m sure I’ll have occasion to mention this again, but Johanna Draper Carlson wrote a piece on Sakurazawa’s translated manga for The Comics Journal that she’s made available at Manga Worth Reading.)
- Angel Nest, written and illustrated by Erica Sakurazawa, published by Tokyopop, one volume, originally serialized by Shodensha.
- The Aromatic Bitters, written and illustrated by Erica Sakurazawa, published by Tokyopop, one volume, originally serialized by Shodensha.
- Awabi, written and illustrated by Kan Takahama, is licensed for publication in English by Fanfare/Ponent Mon, but it’s on hold. These short stories originally ran in Yukagu Shorin’s Junkudo.
What starts with “A” in your Josei Alphabet?
Reader recommendations and reminders:
- Anywhere But Here, written and illustrated by Moto Hagio, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s flowers, two volumes.
- Ashita no Ousama, written and illustrated by Emiko Yachi, originally serialized in Shueisha’s Young You, 10 volumes.
- Amatsuki, written and illustrated by Shinobu Takayama, currently serialized in Ichijinsha’s Comic Zero-Sum, 12 volumes at the time of this writing. due for publication in French by Kaze.
- Amazoness no Matsue
- Aru You de Nai Otoko, written and illustrated by Miho Obana, originally serialized in Shueisha’s Chorus, 1 volume.