Kyoko Okazaki (b. 1963)
Japan, 1989
Paperback book (manga); ink and color on paper
Copyright: Kyoko Okazaki–All rights reserved
Anonymous gift

Social critic Sharon Kinsella sees Kyoko Okazaki’s work as an example of ‘fashionable girl’ manga (gyaru manga), an emerging subgenre of manga that deals with gyaru culture (contemporary street culture as experienced by young women). Much like the modern girl (moga) movement, discussed nearby in relation to the prints of Hashiguchi Goyō (1880–1921), contemporary gyaru culture can be characterized as an ‘assertive, brazenly sexual’ rebellion against ‘the trappings of traditional Japanese femininity, ethnicity, and idealized female Japanese looks.’ [Kinsella, ‘Blackfaces, Witches and Racism Against Girls,’ in Bad Girls of Japan, p. 144.]

Kyoko Okazaki’s manga Pink describes the daily life of two young adults who supplement their income through sex work. In the scene displayed here, Yumi visits a hotel to work as a model for an amateur kinbaku (bondage) photographer, while unbeknownst to her, her stepmother makes love to a gigolo in the room next door. Okazaki’s simplified linework, the innocent facial expressions of her characters, and the text’s overall jovial mood defy the reproachful ways in which prostitution is typically discussed in the mainstream media.

The first three chapters of Pink can be read on the iPad in the gallery.