Masami Tsuda (July 9th, 1970-) is a japanese manga artist who’s main genre of choice is shojo. Shojo is manga specifically drawn and written for females in particular. Usually it involves romance or drama of some sort between a girl and a guy, or simply just family. The manga she created that I fell in love with was Kare Kano.
Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances) was a manga about two high ranking students both attending the same highschool in Kanagawa, the same area where Masami Tsuda grew up. The two high ranking students realize they’ve never bothered to get to know each other and then their ‘love’ or relationship begins by them realizing that there’s more to each other than their grade point average. Although I speak lightly of this manga, and the synopsis is very thin, the amount of depth, art, and emotion put into this series always astounds me no matter how many times I read it. Ever since I’ve laid eyes on the first few pages of the first volume, I was captured by the hilarity and enthusiasm of the characters and the wit held in the small japanese jokes and phrases. It introduced me to japanese culture in Kanagawa, and I felt as close to home as I’m sure Masami Tsuda did when creating this despite me NOT growing up or living anywhere in Japan. It wasn’t too over sentimental. It didn’t drip with phony compassion. It wasn’t at all inappropriate or unsuited for me to be reading and I didn’t find it too girly either. In fact, reading it gave me a sense of what a relationship could possibly look like while still holding on to core values and taking things a step at a time. When it was over, and I had finished the final volume, that’s why I picked up from the beginning again. I couldn’t help but relive the pain and abuse, the love and forgiveness, and the honor and tradition. I’m not japanese (clearly. . . .) But I got a sense of their values, morality, and teaching through this. Being trapped in Masami Tsuda’s Kanagawa has always been a nice trip away from everything else.