“Confessions of a Shy Baker” is an ongoing Boys Love manga by Itou, Masaomi, serialized by Flat Hero’s. With its first volume released on July 16, 2021, this charming story really delves deep into what someone in the LGBTQ+ community in Japan could feel like!
The manga cleverly integrates modern themes of acceptance and visibility in the LGBT community — both externalized and internalized — and blending them with the comfort and satisfaction that comes from the art of baking.
The protagonist of “Confessions of a Shy Baker” is Toshimitsu Yamamura, a successful real estate company owner with a penchant for baking delightful, healthy snacks. His quiet life takes a transformative turn when a coworker suggests that they advertise their real estate agency as LGBT-friendly. While Toshi understands the potential impact such a move could have on combating discrimination in his industry (which is a real issue in Japanese society), he is terrified that this could inadvertently reveal his own sexual orientation.
Alongside Gonta “Gon”, his boyfriend who first sparked his love for baking, Toshi begins to navigate this evolving landscape that is slowly but surely becoming more accepting. As he confronts his fears and discomfort, he also continues to charm readers with his exquisite baking, creating a unique and heartwarming narrative that’s as enticing as the treats he whips up.
This manga is very casual about discussing pretty deep concepts about the LGBTQ+ community! Our protagonist definitely has some internalized homophobia inside of him, and thus this discord inside of himself keeps us interested in his opinions about what’s going on around him!
Here are some of my favorites:
Chapter 8 and 9 arguably have the most interesting plot out of the whole manga. In chapter 8, we see the aftermath of Toshimitsu’s plan in sending his straight coworker to the City Hall seminar. Up until now, he’s felt she’s a little “too into” LGBTQ+ stuff, and quite ignorant about a lot of things (such as not knowing the difference between a crossdresser’s and a transgender person). He asks her how it went, and so she excitedly explains what happens.
But what irks me, is that Toshimitsu asked her about what she learned, and then when she explains it to him, he gets annoyed because it’s stuff he already knew. Like… why ask her, then? And then when he offers an opinion up that isn’t well-spoken and sounds almost a little teetering on homophobic (it’s likely that’s not what he meant), and the straight coworker shoots him down, he internally gets defensive because she’s not immediately accepting his opinion.
But… you send her to a gay seminar, ask her about what she learned, says something a bit homophobic by accident, and then gets upset when she comes in to defend the LGBTQ+. Am I missing something here?
She thinks you’re gay, right? In fact, you want her to assume that you’re straight, you’re desperately hiding your homosexuality. So then why are you mad when she assumes you’re straight, the exact thing you’ve been leading her on to believe?
In Chapter 9, we see something interesting. Toshimitsu meets Gon’s friend and his boyfriend, Shingo. He sees how different the divorced life is for Shingo, and how he figured out himself and ‘came out’ (although not exactly the best way — he admits to having affairs on his ex wife) and admits that perhaps there’s more he doesn’t know about or understand.
I really like this part in the manga because up until now, Toshimitsu has been internally talking down to his straight co-worker about her ignorance towards LGBT people. But, what if people like Shingo were internally talking down to Toshimitsu for his ignorance? There’s a whole side of LGBTQ+ that even Toshimitsu doesn’t fully understand, because it’s impossible for everybody to understand the lives of people they’ve never met.
That’s why his straight coworker doesn’t understand. That’s why Toshimitsu doesn’t understand. It’s a good thing he sent his straight coworker, because she obviously needed the training more than he did — but that doesn’t mean there’s no more training for Toshimitsu, either!
It felt like Chapter 8 was a great setup to Chapter 9. I really enjoyed it!
Check out our coverage of other manga here on LAN:
I Dance For You – The Flower That Seems to Truly Dance Review
Cops in Love – Boku no Omawari-san Review
Playing Cupid – Cupid Is Struck By Lightning Review