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Thomas no Shinzō (トーマの心臓 Tōma no shinzō?, "The Heart of Thomas" or "Thomas' Heart") is a shōjo manga by Moto Hagio published in 1974. It is an early example of shōnen-ai. It has been adapted into a film and a stage play.

Plot

Set in an early 20th century all boys boarding school in Germany. A boy named Thomas commits suicide, and he writes a letter to Juli, who Thomas has an unrequited love for. A transfer student named Eric, arrives, who looks just like Thomas. Eventually Juli comes to terms with his feelings and becomes a priest.

Characters

  • Thomas Werner (トーマ・ヴェルナー Tōma Verunā?) is a thirteen year old boy, he commits suicide at the beginning of the story, leaving a letter for Juli.
  • Julusmole Bayhan (ユリスモール・バイハン Yurisumōru Baihan?), nicknamed Juli (ユーリ Yūri?), is older than Thomas. He in fact loved Thomas, but as he had been sexually abused by his upperclassmen, he believed himself unworthy of love and pushed Thomas away.
  • Oscar Reiser (オスカー・ライザー Osukā Raizā?) is in the same grade as Juli. He acts like a delinquent, but deep down has a strong sense of responsibility for others. He is one of the few who knows about Juli's past.
  • Eric Fruehling (エーリク・フリューリンク Ēriku Furyūrinku?) is a transfer student to the school who looks like Thomas.

Development

Although Hagio had previously been exposed to the gay lifestyle magazine Barazoku, Hagio was inspired by Les amitiés particulières to begin The Heart of Thomas as a work for her own enjoyment, and soon afterwards wrote November Gymnasium as a work to be published. At one point, Hagio considered making the protagonists girls, and drew a few scenes in a sketchbook, but decided that the boys version was "smoother" and less "giggly".[1]

Themes

In an interview, Hagio said that she felt the theme might be "When does a person learn love? When does one awake to love?"[1]

Prequel

A prequel manga was written called The Visitor (訪問者).

Film

File:1999 Summer Vacation film.jpg

The film Summer Vacation 1999 (1999年の夏休み) (released in 1988) was based on The Heart of Thomas,[1] and the parts were played by girls as breeches roles, using male speech. The character in the film analogous to Thomas was renamed Yuu, and the analogue to Eric was renamed Kaoru, a gender-neutral name. The film was subsequently novelised.[2]

Song

In 1992, the musician Momus wrote the song "Summer Holiday 1999," which was inspired by Summer Vacation 1999.

Stage

Studio Life, a Japanese all-male theatre troupe suggested, in approximately 1995, that they stage a production of The Heart of Thomas. As of 2005, it had been staged twice.[1]

Reception

Matt Thorn considers The Heart of Thomas to be about a "spiritual or mental love",[1] and that Hagio's later work A Savage God Reigns is the "adult version" of The Heart of Thomas.[1] Bill Randall notes Hagio's creation of several shōjo manga conventions such as the use of angelic wings.[3] Midori Matsui interprets the manga in terms of Freudian theory and regards the relationships between the characters as indicating that they live in a "closed oedipal universe as fragmented personae of the narcissistic ego".[4] The film won the awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography at the 10th Yokohama Film Festival[5] and was named the 8th best film of the year.[6] It was also was nominated for the Best Editing Award at the 12th Japan Academy Prize.[7]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Thorn, Matt (2005) The Moto Hagio Interview The Comics Journal 269
  2. Welker, James (2006) "Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as Girls' Love in Shōjo Manga" Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31 (3): 851. doi:10.1086/498987
  3. http://www.tcj.com/252/e_hagio.html
  4. Matsui, Midori. (1993) "Little girls were little boys: Displaced Femininity in the representation of homosexuality in Japanese girls' comics," in Gunew, S. and Yeatman, A. (eds.) Feminism and The Politics of Difference, pp. 177–196. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
  5. "第10回ヨコハマ映画祭". Yokohama Film Festival. Retrieved 8 April 2009.  (Japanese)
  6. "1988年度 日本映画ベストテン". Yokohama Film Festival. Retrieved 8 April 2009.  (Japanese)
  7. "第12回 日本アカデミー賞". Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved 8 April 2009.  (Japanese)

External links

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