A Master Piece of Shojo Manga!! Enjoy ”Haikara San Ga Tooru” by Knowing the Historical Background! (Including some spoilers)

On November 11th, the animation movie “Haikara San Ga Tooru (はいからさんが通る lit. Here Comes Miss Modern) was released!!

To be honest, I cannot help thinking ” What is the hell this drawing! (Because the drawing is far from the original work)”, but I recalled I knew the name “Haikara San Ga Tooru”, but I’ve never read the comic.  I only know the girl protagonist wears Hakama (it is kind of Japanese traditional pants) on Kimono. Maybe she is a kind of tomboy because the title is “Haikara San”…

So, I read the comics!!

Haikara San Ga Tooru Comic Books
Haikara San Ga Tooru Comic Books

It was very interesting.

 “Haikara San Ga Tooru” is kind of human drama including some comedy by a tomboy girl Benio. She is very charming. She is a mischievous but energetic and earnest girl. 

“Haikara San Ga Tooru” is enough to enjoy, you only seeing the human relationship. However, it must be more enjoyable if you know Japanese historical background.  I will write such things in this article.

What is “Haikara San Ga Tooru”

“Haikara San Ga Tooru” is Shojo Manga series written by Waki Yamato. It was serialized from 1975 to 1977. Apparently It is also known as Smart-san or Mademoiselle Anne in Europe.  It became a live action drama in Japan, so most of Japanese knows the comic name at least.

What is “Haikara San” 

Ordinarily, what is “Haikara san” in the title?

“San” is kind of honorific. So what is “Haikara”?

According to Kojien which is a famous and popular Japanese dictionary, “Haikara” is from “High collar” in English. It has plural meanings but apparently, it means”westernized and fashionable”  and ” westernized ladies hair style” in this case.

Taisho Period

“Haikara San Ga Tooru” is set in Taisho period (It is from July 30, 1912, to December 25, 1926).

Taisho Period is only for 15 years, it is shorter than other Japanese modern periods like Meiji Period (45 years) and Showa Period (64 years), but the civilian culture was blooming such as democratic movement and westernization. Japanese women’s suffrage movement brisked up too. You can see it in the “Haikara San Ga Tooru”.

Tamaki VS Her Teacher Who Sympathize with Old Style
Tamaki and Her Teacher Who Sympathize with Old Style

Benio and her friend Tamaki are drawn as feminists, and the conflicts against predominance of men over women sometimes occur in the story.

I would not survive in such society… How lucky I am!!

Kangun (官軍) and Choteki (朝敵)

”Kangun” is Goverment forces, and “Choteki” is Emperor’s enemy in Japanese. The reason that Benio and Sublieutenant Ijuin became finances is their grand mother and grand father were not able to get married.   But why they weren’t?

They lived in the end of Edo Period (Bakumatsu 幕末). Edo Shogunate returned their authority to Emperor, and finished the long history. In other words, Japan was separated “Emperor Side VS Shogunate Side” in the end of Edo Period.  In the story, Benio’s grandpa was Edo Shogunate’s vassal, while the sublieutenant’s grandma was an aristocrat of Emperor’s side. That is why, they were not able to get married. 

瀬を早み 岩にせかるる 滝川の われても末に 逢はむとぞ思ふ
( Sewo Hayami Iwani Sekaruru Takigawa No Waretemo Sueni Awantozo Omou)

A Japanes poem which frequently appears in the work.  The poem belongs to Japanese famous card game, Hyakunin Isshu which contains 100 Japanese classic poem. 

The meaning is 

Even if a rock divide the rapid flow of a river, it joins back on the same flow. I will see my lover again like the flow. (Translated by Nao)

Old days people are very elegant since they naturally use classic poems. 

 

1923 Great Kantō earthquake

I could say this earthquake is almost all common sense of Japanese people. It is known as “Kanto Dai Shin San (関東大震災) in Japan.
It is a great disaster that struck Kanto Area (Eastern Japan Area) including Tokyo in Septemver 1st ,1923. It killed about 142,800 people, including about 40,000 who went missing and were presumed dead.  At the time, there were many wooden buildings in Tokyo, so many large fire broke out.  Some people died from the fire even though they saved their lives from the earthquake.  It is a very important historical background for “Haikara San Ga Tooru” too.

 

Roughly, something like that.

The cultures in Taisho Period is sometimes called “Taisho Roman(大正ロマン Roman is from “Romanticism” ).

As a Japanese, I imagine nicely mixed culture of Japan and Western when I hear “Taisho Roman”, but I knew there had been many conflicts from “Haikara San Ga Tooru”. 

Oh well, I wrote some trivia, but what I want to say is…

“Please enjoy it because it is entertainment!!”

I believe “Haikara San Ga Tooru” is very enjoyable work even if you don’t know such trivia.

Let’s take a look the comics or movie!!

Reference 

 Animation Movie ”Haikara San Ga Tooru” Official WebSite (Japanese)

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