In honor of International Women's Day, March 8th, we would like to introduce Hinatsuba, by Koichi Masahara, an exciting new manga recently announced by publisher Leed Co., Ltd. Although the publisher has no current plans, we hope it will be translated into English soon. In the meantime, we can recommend it to learners of Japanese and we hope you'll enjoy the few pages we have translated for you here. Perhaps if there is enough international demand, an official translation will come sooner rather than later.


The final years of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the capital of Edo (present-day Tokyo). Uncomfortable with society's expectations of her gender, Suzu Kanchiku becomes the only woman in a sword training school and devotes herself tirelessly to her art until she can even defeat men. Outside the confines of the dojo, she faces other challenges such as samurai who seek to woo her, and she carves out her own path as she realizes what it means to "live as a woman" in her day and age.

Through the lives of female martial arts masters, prostitutes, shop clerks, Buddhist nuns and swords-for-hire, Hinatsuba conveys the strength, resilience and kindness of the various women who lived in Edo at the end of the mid 19th century.

Hinatsuba brings together the episodes of "Edo Zukanfu Hinatsuba 江戸女図譜ひなつば serialized in Monthly Comic Ran magazine.

About the Author

Born in Kyoto, Koichi Masahara first developed his skills as assistant to Kenichiro Takai on his representative work "General Affairs Division Rokuheita Yamaguchi" 総務部総務課 山口六平太 and other manga. He went on to win the New Talent Prize for the Manga Category in the 15th (2011) Ministry of Culture Media Festival for his manga "Magemon" まげもん。(Leed Co., Ltd.)

With the publisher's permission, we've translated a few pages (which were included in their press release):

(Right) Ever since I was born,
(Left) I've lived my life with a sense of discomfort.

[Right Panel]
(Right) The pain of joining the circle of girls...
(Left) Culture lessons only girls participate in,
the things others have decided are "only for girls."

[Left Panel]
(Top) This accessory is cute, this boy is handsome...
(Bottom) I just couldn't keep up with their silly talk

(Right) Inside of me,
(Left) There is no woman

Trying so un-femininely to master the sword
It's really odd when you look at it from the outside

[Left Panel]
(Top) Is it odd for a woman to master the sword?
(Bottom) I said "when you look at it from the outside."

[Left Panel]
(Top) I should have suspected you when you invited me to the shiruko shop
(Bottom) My first taste of shiruko wasn't too bad
(Note: Shiruko is a sweet hot porridge of azuki beans boiled and crushed, served in a bowl with mochi rice cakes, often enjoyed in winter.)

//At the end of the preceding page, Suzu says:
"There may not be a woman inside of me"//
(Left) Even if there isn't,
(Right) I still love you.
[Right Panel]
(Right) Was everything according to your plan, father?
(Left) Foolish idea. Are you saying you heart was not the slightest bit stirred by Iba's passion for you?

[Left Panel]
(Top) W..Well... I may have felt the slightest s..stir in my heart...
(Bottom) And the heart that was stirred, was it a man's heart or a woman's?

Publication Details

  • Name: Hinatsuba ひなつば
  • Author: Koichi Masahara
  • Publisher: Leed Co., Ltd.
  • Pages: 280
  • Format: B6
  • Publication Date: Feb. 27, 2018
  • Price: 980 JPY (exc. tax)

You can purchase Hinatsuba at all normal booksellers and through in both print and Kindle versions.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.