Sachiko Takeuchi: Off the Record

Honey & Honey x Tokyo Wrestling March 2007


Sachiko Takeuchi

1. What does it matter when you’re in love!

Profile: Sachiko Takeuchi
Born November 15 in Tokyo, Japan; Winner of the DaVinci Petit-Grand Prize for Comic Essays. Her work was also carried as a serial comic in "Comic Essay Gekijo," published by Media Factory (www.comic-essay.com). Her collections - "Honey & Honey" and "Honey & Honey Deluxe" are available at bookstores everywhere. The author's homepage (Japanese) can be found at: sachinock.gooside.com.

After our last interview, two Tokyo Wrestling writers stayed to chat with Sachiko Takeuchi and her editor for what turned out to be a frank and highly interesting conversation about sexual attraction. The conversation centered on personal taste and experiences but also played with ideas about crossing the (gender and sexuality) lines that keep gay and transgender men and women locked in "exclusive" identities within the LGBT community. In Japan, LGBT sexuality existing outside of the box is rarely discussed-even among ourselves. Do we really think about what attracts us? Are we ready to let our hearts lead us anywhere in the romance game?

In the discussion below, three lesbians (Takeuchi, Keiser, and Kanai) and one straight woman (Takeuchi’s editor) explore attraction and personal demarcation zones. The light-hearted conversation explores questions such as, "Where does your lesbianism start and end?", "Would that make me bi?" and "Would you date a man if he was gay?" A fledgling attempt to separate the queer forest from the LGBT trees.

Takeuchi (T):
Hey, Yuki , I know you identify as a lesbian, but would you date a transgender man?

Keiser (K):
I don't really know. I think I would prefer him to a male-born man in a sense, but I basically go for boyish lesbians. Then again, if I really liked a certain FtM, it may be possible - if he liked me. But the question is, would it last? Everyone I've ever dated has been lesbian.

Editor (H):
How do other lesbians feel about this?

K:
Everybody has their own taste. Our editor Kanai, for one, is into girly girls, so I don’t imagine she’d go for it.

H:
So there's some variety in who goes for what then?

K:
I've heard that "neko" lesbians who like boyish girls find transgender men hot, too.

T:
I feel better then (laughs). I-is it OK to say? My partner is FtM.

K:
Actually, I thought so (laughs). I got that impression from your manga.

T:
Was it that obvious?

K:
Yes (laughs).

T:
Actually, I struggled with it a lot. Until now, I'd only ever dated women. He came to me one day and told me he liked me but, even though I didn't see him as a woman, I didn't see him as a man either. I liked him too, but I figured that he wouldn't want anyone to see him as anything but a man. So I thought, "What if I said to him, 'I don't see you as a man or a woman' or 'You know, you seem more like a woman to me.' That would be insulting." And so I had no idea what to do. I was going over the situation again and again until someone said, "If you like him, isn't that enough?" and we started dating shortly thereafter. But, you know, sometimes I think to myself, "If only he was a woman..." (laughs)

H:
She actually complains quite often (laughs).

K:
Personally I've never had the chance to date an FtM, but I do see some when I go out to bars and events in Nichome. I think a lot of them are hot! Once I went to an onabe bar and all the staff there were FtM. They were tall and had flat chests...VERY hot!

T:
I know what you mean.

K:
I'd definitely prefer a transgender man to a male-born man. I understand that this may not go over well with some FtMs, but I think personally I don't see transgender men as men or women as much as I see them as transgendered.

T:
That makes sense.

K:
And since I like very boyish women too, on the surface FtMs are very much my type. (laughs)

T:
Yes, I know what you mean! Cool (laughs).

K:
Even if he was taking hormones and had a male body, or identified more as a man, the fact that he had been raised as a girl - if nothing else - makes me think he would understand women more than a male-born man. And he would understand things like the agony of menstruation (laughs). Even though I wouldn't know since I've never dated one, I have this idea that FtMs are more sensitive, sweet and sincere.

T:
That's how I see it.

H:
I've met Takeuchi's boyfriend. And from the time we met, he's only ever seemed like a man to me. He belongs in the "very masculine" category. And I think it's that gap that causes Takeuchi, someone who's only ever dated women, to get upset like she does with him (laughs). She'll complain about things like, "He hasn't called me!"

T:
There's so much about him that makes me see he's a man. Nothing to the extent that I'd ever stop liking him, but it's just like I can't understand how he thinks (laughs). I think things would be much easier if he was a girl.

H:
Once the three of us went out drinking together in a bar in Nichome. At first he was sitting next to Takeuchi, but gradually she began to start complaining. And then, he switched seats and before I knew it, I was sitting in the middle (laughs).


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