Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

East Asian Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



This thesis discusses The Heart of Thomas (1974), the representative shōjo manga (girl’s comic) of Moto Hagio, who is often called “The Magnificent Mother of shōjo manga” or “The Goddess of shōjo manga” and was the first shōjo manga creator to win a Meadal of Honor for artistic achievement from the Japanese government. Although The Heart is highly regarded, even worshiped, by fans of manga, scholars have been slow to give it due consideration as an important document of social history, especially of women’s social history. The following study takes a personal approach, attempting to analyze The Heart in the context of the author herself, both in terms of her biographical circumstances and inner psychology. The first section takes up Hagio’s “outer world” and describes the formidable challenges she faced in composing The Heart, both from the world and from her own family. The second turns inwards and explores the ways in which the plot and characters of The Heart have a special, psychological resonance for Hagio, especially in the context of the psychoanalytic theories of Ronald Fairbairn. The third and final section pushes these theories even further and suggests that Hagio’s characters are “split egos” of Hagio herself, redressing traumas in her real life. The conclusion ventures a few explanations for the massive popularity of The Heart and its full significance as a document of social history in a nationalist context.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Rebecca Copeland

Committee Members

Marvin Marcus, Jamie Newhard


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/b9mm-7080