Interview with Sachiko Takeuchi

By Yuki Keiser 2007.March

honey&honey deluxe

2. Coming out is now easier

Profile: Sachiko Takeuchi
Native of Tokyo, Japan. Winner of the DaVinci (Literary Review Magazine) Petit-Grand Prize for Comic Essays. Her work was carried as a serial in the Media Factory's 'Comic Essay Gekijo'. Takeuchi's two published collections - Honey & Honey and Honey & Honey Deluxe are now available on the market.

★For an off-the-record chat with Sachiko Takeuchi, follow the link here.

★For more on Sachiko Takeuchi's latest manga, see here.

―Your book contains a line that says, "Coming out is now easier." Do young people today actually feel that this is the case?

Yes, that's really how it feels. I have only just graduated college, but already nearly all of my friends have come out. I myself have come out to tens of people, and not once have I ever been faced with someone who was disgusted or refused to accept me for it. To the contrary, pretty much everybody has shown a lot of interest, and they ask questions about what it's like.

―What questions?

It's hard to say. I came out on the opportunity of the book being published, and so people ask how I managed to publish a book, or how things are since I've broken up with my girlfriend, or where I go to hang out. As a matter of fact, I came out to my teacher. He's in his 50's and he said, "Fine - There's nothing wrong with that," but he also added, "I just don't know what I'd do if my daughter was like that." Also, sometimes I've also had people come out to me before I could come out to them! When talking to one guy friend, right when I was about to come out to him, he went and told me, "I'm gay" before I had a chance to say my part! (laughs) I just said, "No way! I am too!" (laughs) Also, I've had friends that told me,"I'm bi - I used to have a girlfriend." So many times I've been surprised by how many people really are willing to understand, and by how many LGBT people are really out there.

―You haven't come out to your parents yet, have you? Do you plan to?

Yes, certainly. I haven't told them yet. The truth is I want to tell my parents that my work is in print, but in order to do that I'd have to come out. At the time that the book was published I had my mind set on coming out to them, but then that all got a little convoluted because of matters at home. I'm thinking now that I'll go for it when things settle down a bit more. I'm pretty sure that in the end my parents will understand. But I think it will come as a shock to them at first, and probably be confusing. I don't know how long it would take for them to get their heads around it. There are a lot of things I feel unsure of. But I really do want to tell them soon.

―So your parents know nothing about your work right now?

I've told them that I'm making money from writing and illustrating manga. But I've stalled on letting them know what it's about by saying I'm too embarrassed to show them. Therefore, my parents haven't read any of my work, and they don't know that I have a book out.

―That's a shame considering how well your work is going. Let me know when you have come out to them!

Sure, of course!

―I have only one more question. Do you have a message for your readers - in particular, for those who may be struggling with the fact that they are gay?

I often get emails from people who are worrying about their sexuality, saying that they don't know what to do. I personally think it's extremely important that we allow ourselves to worry about who we are. But being a lesbian is not a distressful truth - rather it's only one small part of who you are and so I think we'd all be fine to just accept it and move on to live the rest of our lives more freely. Every time I get such emails, I always think to myself, "Aww, don't take it so pessimistically." (laughs)

I think they should understand that, though they may not believe this, a lot of people are out there with the exact same worries and concerns.

Yes, as a matter of fact, there are a great number of lesbians out there. And I hear some people say that, "As a result of this inclination of mine, people think I'm disgusting - I'll never find anyone." But I don't think that's the fault of their being a lesbian. There are plenty of straight people who remain single because they can't find anyone, and when it comes down to it, it's entirely possible to enjoy love, even as a lesbian. Why not take the opportunity that our anxieties give us every time we fall in love - the chance to enjoy the process and let yourself grow by it. But, even as I say this, I know that I myself get bogged down by anxiety at times, so it's fine if you don't have everything perfectly settled and solved (laughs). Just don't give yourself too much of a hard time, and remember that positive thinking can be a great advantage.

Matching Set
translated by rayna