From a Romantic Shōjo to an Independent Otaku: The Transformations of the Female Protagonist in the Sarashina nikki Manga

Pana Barova-Özcan

Abstract


This paper examines the three manga adaptations of Sarashina nikki (The Sarashina Diary, ca. 1058) written by Sugawara no Takasue no musume (Sugawara no Takasue's daughter) (1008-1059). The three manga adaptations were created in the early 1990s and in 2014, and belong to the genre of shōjo manga. Focusing on key episodes and scenes in the three manga rewritings, I examine how each recreates the heroine and why specific images of the eleventh-century woman emerged at the time they did. I argue that the shifting representations of the female protagonist in Sarashina nikki reflect social developments in Japan since the 1970s, including the decreasing importance of patriarchal norms and traditional roles assigned to women as wives and mothers. These adaptations show how the stereotypical view of young girls and women as cute (kawaii), which implies obedience, passivity, and dependence, has shifted towards a new, modern image of Japanese women who make independent choices regarding their social roles and careers.   


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jll.2021.156



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