Ikebukero, Otome Road, home of fujoshi

To answer the my question about mother-daughter boys love, last Sunday, in the midst of Golden Week, I made a solo pilgrimage to Ikebukero. I was looking for Otome Road (おとめどり、Maiden Road), the epicenter for fujoshi (腐女子、or female otaku who are boys love fans). Despite an abundance of maps, Otome Road is not listed as such, so I had to find my way with the help of Wikipedia’s directions.

Getting closer, I ran into this costumed character promoting a manga and game store. Note that she’s standing next to a “love” motel; the tell-tale sign is the “rest” vs “stay” prices. Am I too old to be a maiden? Fortunately, Elfin Leid made no judgments.
Elfin Leid

Passing under a towering highway overpass, I was on the western side of Sunshine 60, once the tallest building in East Asia, when I saw the huge Animate manga/anime store. I recognized it from the Canadian geek’s web post.

Soon I braved the narrow staircase and explored five of the eight levels. I learned that “adult” meant girlie erotic art, while “girl” meant boys love. Of course! The store was mobbed with teen and pre-teen girls. Yes, there were a few mothers my age with their pre-teen daughters. Lovely.

Animate, Ikebukero

Feeling overwhelmed, I went to the mall below Sunshine 60 for some lunch. I learned that bad tonkatsu (とんかつ)is almost as bad as cheap sushi. Leaving the restaurant, I noticed the atrium was packed with people watching a 30 something “school girl” with a deep voice. Turns out it was famous Maeda Ken. A stranger helpfully confirmed that he’s “sort of” famous and a guy; he then explained he was “gay,” which he then “softened” to “maybe bisexual.”

Maeda Ken

Back on Otome Road, I ran into this strange couple. My poor Japanese made me stumble but I finally learned that they are not interpreting famous manga characters (cosplay) but rather creating original characters.

Original characters, Ikebukero

I toured K-Books (several shops on the same street) and a costume shop. Since you’re not supposed to snap photos in the bookstores (oops, I guess I violated that policy once), I calmly took this Boys Love poster photo outdoors. It always amazes me how much Japan celebrates reading!

Boy Love

Finally I ran across this poster for a new super-tranny band, called SuG. Rock on, fujoshi!
Heavy Positive Rock

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  1. Ah!! SuG (pronounced sagu)! I love them. ^^ They used to be oshare-kei (which is a style of men’s crossdressing that is kinda girly and happy) but now they’re more visual kei (a style of men’s crossdressing that is more dark and brooding). It makes me sad. Takeru, the singer, used to really inspire me to be happy b/c he was so cute but now he’s weird looking. Oh well, I still love their music. Love Scream Party is my fave song if you’re interested in looking up their music.

    1. Wow, Marius! You are super-informed about Japan and fujoshi culture. I am impressed at your knowledge of sub-genres and Japanese language. You must visit Japan when you are in Taiwan. And, thank you, for being this blog’s #1 fan. I appreciate all your comments and enthusiasm!

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