‘Marriage Requires Three Skills’…
The adultery manga “Kyokugen Boufu” (Extreme Married Couple), which is now available exclusively on the manga app Piccoma, is very popular. The manga resonates with many women because of the struggles of a married couple and its unexpectedly exciting plotline. The manga unit is created by Akira Kizuki, the wife, and Nanki Sato, the husband. Why do married couples continue to draw works on immoral themes such as adultery? What have they come to see as they continue to draw manga about adultery?
It all started with a manga on the theme of sexlessness drawn in a different medium.
–What was the impetus behind the creation of “Extreme Couple”?
Nanki Satow (Satow): It was originally a piece I drew for another magazine called “Less: Married Couples at the Limit,” in which the theme was sexlessness. After that, I decided to draw an omnibus work in three parts, a first, middle, and second part, that was more pointed and refreshing after reading it, for Futabasha’s “Monthly Action,” and “Married Couple at the Limit” was born.
–What are some of the things that you use as inspiration when creating your works?
Akira Kizuki (Kizuki): I watch the news and weekly magazines, but to begin with, I am a “tweener. There are many so-called “salaried wives” who are cheating on their husbands, and they tweet about their husbands’ bad words and problems on a daily basis. Some of them have even become fans. I get hints from them as I deepen my understanding of the social issues in the news and the voices of those who are actually suffering.
–What is the division of roles and flow when drawing a manga?
Sato: First, the three of us have a meeting with the editor in charge. I check the draft, and then I add the lines that were held back or make revisions to complete the work. The editor in charge of the project reviews it, and once the corrections are made, we start the drawing process. She draws the line drawings, and we work together to apply the tones and solids, and complete the work.
— “Extreme Couple” is developing fast, and I often feel terrible about what the husband says. ……
Kizuki: When I draw the story, I think of most of the lines and put them in, but men’s lines are difficult. I often write down lines like, “Here’s a cunning line,” or something like that, and then hand it to him (laughs). (Laughs.) Then I’ll think, “How could you come up with such a terrible line? (laughs). Then I get back a line that is so bad that I think, “How could you come up with such a thing?
Sato: (Chuckles). We have known each other since our high school days, but back then, the so-called Showa-era values that a woman should stay at home after marriage were the norm, and I was like that too. When I see comments on Twitter saying, “I’m so disgusted by my husband’s old Showa-era thinking,” I’m happy to know that I’m doing a good job of writing about it. I am happy to know that I am doing a good job.
Three skills” of married couples that I noticed while drawing manga about infidelity
–Kizuki: Actually, just the other day I was asked to write a manga about an affair, “What are the three skills I’ve noticed when drawing a manga about married couples?
Kizuki: Actually, just the other day, we were talking about how there are three types of skills that men and women need to have in order to be in a relationship: the skills of falling in love, the skills of being a couple, and the skills of raising children. I think the difficulty of marriage lies in the fact that all of these skills are required, even though they are completely different. You can fall in love and get married and then go sexless, or find out after the child is born that they don’t cooperate in raising the child. ……
Sato: But it is difficult to meet someone who has all three skills from the beginning. That said, if you get married and don’t like it, it is also hard to break up. It would be nice if we could discuss and grow our skills, but women tend to be placed in an environment where it is difficult to be financially independent, so it is often difficult to discuss things on an equal footing.
–In terms of -growth, maybe the two of you are good role models.
Kizuki: It’s not that good (laughs).
Sato: We usually struggle (laughs). When we first started drawing manga together, we would often end up fighting over the bad ideas (laughs). But we had no choice but to say that it was our job and that we were working together to create the basis for our work, or we would try to find a way to say it in a different way. We are a married couple, but we are also business partners, so perhaps it was good that we were able to discuss our opinions with each other and make concessions where we had to.
Kizuki：We overcame arguments and fights to get to where we are today, so I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes if I get involved with someone new in the future.
Extremely Married Couples” is a good example of a bad marriage.
–Is there a secret to the growth of a couple who are not business partners?
Kizuki: In the manga, I try to give every husband a chance at least once.
Sato: But they don’t realize it and act selfishly, so they all get their revenge (laughs). I think a husband and wife are, in a sense, business partners in life. We may need to devise ways to build a relationship in which we can express our opinions and make concessions to each other, even in the house.
–What should a wife who is dissatisfied with her saree wife or husband do?
Kizuki: In the manga, it ends with confronting them with divorce, but the arrangements for that are always difficult… Like the Salehwives on Twitter, even if they want to divorce, it’s not that easy because women tend to be at a disadvantage, such as not being financially independent or fighting for custody. It is not so easy to get divorced. I would be happy if women who are dissatisfied with various things but have no choice but to put up with them could read “Extreme Couple” and feel a little refreshed.
Sato: I also think it would be good if they can find lines, methods, or ideas to argue with their husbands in the manga. Of course, I would like the husbands to read “Extreme Couple” as well. And I would like them to use it as a bad example and an opportunity to reflect on themselves.
Limited time only! The first and second parts of "Extreme Couple" are now on view! (The middle part will be available until September 23)
Interview and text： Motoko Abekawa
Motoko Abegawa is a freelance writer mainly for the Web. She is also involved in the production of books and corporate PR magazines. She does not specialize in any particular field, but covers a wide range of topics that intrigue her, including history, comedy, health, beauty, travel, gourmet food, and nursing care.