Manga are further ahead of the curve than other pop-culture forms when it comes to vanguard social issues. The new TV Tokyo drama “IS” (Mon., 10 p.m.) is based on a manga. IS stands for “inter-sex,” which describes a person who is born with “ambiguous” genitalia. Formerly, obstetricians and families decided which gender the child would be, but recently there has been pressure to let the ambiguity stand and let the child decide later.

Haru (Saki Fukuda) is such a child. Haru attends junior high school as a boy, but since the designation on Haru’s family register is “girl” Haru has to attend high school as a female, and though Haru’s parents are supportive of their child’s choices, the choices are becoming more difficult, especially after Haru befriends Miwako.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.