|Abstract||The aim of my paper is to explore analytical psychological notions of androgyny in order to analyze the female individuation process in Japan. In analytical psychology, the idea of androgyny has been considered as a psychic personification which holds male and female in conscious balance, because in the androgyne, the Masculine and the Feminine energies are combined. In the life of the individual, androgyny would be a goal of the person’s individuation. However, my suggestion is that androgyny acts as a key figure as well as in the process of individuation. The female individuation process in Japan provides appropriate example of this.
My approach is to discuss Japanese comic books for girls in terms of the connection between androgyny and the female individuation process. Certainly, comic books are one of the most popular Japanese modern mass cultures spreading and circulating in the society. In Japan, approximately one third of all the printed materials published each year are comic books. It is more than two billion in amount. They are very cheap, usually less than three pounds, and gain popularity as a major form of handy entertainment for everyone from children to adults. The comic books cover a wide range of subjects, for example, daily life, social and political issues, philosophy, myths, religion, and history. Some of them have reached the depths of the human psyche, and can truly be compared to literature. The comic books are so influential in Japan that occasionally, in therapeutic practice, the comic characters appear in the clients’ dreams or are used as figures in Sandplay.
It is characteristic that Japanese comic books are classified into categories by readers’ gender. My research would focus attention on the Japanese comic books for girls, which show a clear image of shared fantasies among girls. The comic books for girls in Japan are unique in that they are the narratives of girls, for girls, by girls. The story commonly portrays a girl’s romantic love with a boy. Surprisingly but almost without exception, the boy is depicted androgynously in these comic books. It can be argued that this boy is a fantasized feature of the girl herself, as they never have signs of masculinity. The heroine seems to develop a homosexual relationship with the male-dressed girl, the androgyne. My aim is to illustrate that at least in Japan, the female individuation process cannot be explained without considering females’ relationship to the androgyne.