Manga, diversity and inclusion


Five outstanding works that tackle diversity and inclusion issues.

Bredo garu – Kataashi no ranna (Blade Girl – One-Legged Runner)

23rd Japan Media Arts Festival Manga Division Jury Selections
Publisher: Kodansha Ltd.
Publication year: 2019
Volume: 3 (finished)
Copyright: © Narumi Shigematsu/Kodansha

Director’s comment

Bredo garu – Kataashi no ranna (Blade Girl – One-Legged Runner)” tells the story of Rin, a 16-year old girl that lost her right leg to osteosarcoma. Her life changes from that very moment. Awkwardly adapting to her prosthetic leg, a poor substitute for the limb she lost to the tumor, Rin loses hope. She feels not only different, but excluded and lonely. Rin’s hope is rekindled when she discovers a sports club for Paralympic running. She meets Kazami, a specialist on prosthetics, who agrees to make her a “blade” leg. According to Kazami, blade legs are an evolution of human running techniques! Thanks to Kazami and other “blade runners” in the club, she rediscovers the ability to feel the wind while running.

Japanese manga demonstrates that heart-touching comics can be created for any kind of reader. They can feature non-normative characters, such as people with physical disabilities, and show readers their challenges and aspirations. Such works not only entertain, but also raise awareness among the general public on the difficulties faced by people with special circumstances and needs.

Bredo garu – Kataashi no ranna (Blade Girl – One-Legged Runner)” (3 volumes, finished) is unpublished in English.

About the author

© Narumi Shigematsu

After studying traditional handicrafts in France, SHIGEMATSU Narumi debuted as a manga artist with “Shiroi Hon no Monogatari (The White Book: Le papier Les pages Le livre)” (Shogakukan IKKI COMIX) in 2011. She is also known for manga such as “BABEL” (Shogakukan IKKI COMIX) and “Hana Koi Shounen” (Kodansha).

Kodansha Ltd. (Japanese)
SHIGEMATSU Narumi Twitter

Exhibition of selected artworks

A color page from the magazine Be Love Vol.18, published in 2018.
This inspiring story starts off when young Rin meets engineer Kazami and other Paralympic athletes. This encounter will change her life.
Volume 1 Page 8 (right) and 9 (left)
The story starts with a quick flash-forward where we see Rin spring to action with a blade leg. Immediately, the story jumps to “a few years ago.”

1. It was all for just this one moment. 2. A few years ago. 3. I want you to challenge yourself. 4. Walk to me without your cane.
Volume 1 Page 32
Rin feels absolutely devastated after losing her right leg to a tumor. To her, it is as if life has ended.

1. Short skirts are out. 2. No heels. Not even mules. 3. All my regular clothes, before my leg was amputated. 4. Never again…
Volume 1 Page 62
But everything changes when she discovers blade leg running: the F1 of prosthetic legs!!

1. The Formula 1 racer of prosthetic limbs!!!
Volume 1 Page 90
Getting used to a blade leg takes time, but Rin will try her hardest to be able to “feel the wind” again.

1. This is not easy!!!
Volume 1 Page 152 (right) and 153 (left)
Rin is amazed to learn that many people with physical and intellectual disabilities can not only enjoy, but excel at sports.

1.The Paralympics has several categories besides limb deficiency, there’s visual impairment, athetosis, hypertonia, and ataxia, intellectual disability, 2. In addition, the functional classification system divides competitions by level of impairment. 3. There are many different athletes, 4. Each participating in their own way, 5. But every one of them are giving their all!!!