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Art Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

New Halves, Old Selves: Reincarnation and Transgender Identification in Ōshima Yumiko’s Tsurubara-tsurubara

By Emily Somers, 2012

This chapter presents a reading of Ōshima Yumiko’s Tsurubara-tsurubara (TS). This manga examines the internal and external conflicts and tensions that a gender-variant child, Tsugio, undergoes through the self-affirmation that occurs in the process of transition. Instead of evolving as a pathological discourse of gender identity disorder—of hormones and orchiectomies—TS explores Tsugio’s intuitive insistence on his/her multisubjectivity as both male and female at the level of consciousness. Ōshima emphasizes the metaphysical nature of gender diversity by situating Tsugio’s gender variation within a vocabulary based on reincarnation. Through a metaphysic in which past-life regressions intervene within the normative trajectory of gender acquisition, TS investigates how multiple subjectivities enable cross-gender identification. Keywords: manga, transgender, Japanese animation, reincarnation, gender identification, gender identity, Ōshima Yumiko

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