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Top 20 Best Josei Manga You Need To Read In 2023

Josei manga, in particular, is a genre aimed at women who are in their late teens or older. Josei manga covers a range of topics, including romance, slice of life, drama, and more. With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to know the best Josei manga to read in 2023.

Cecilia Jones
Jun 20, 20233525 Shares176240 Views
Manga is a type of Japanese comic that has gained worldwide popularity. Josei manga, in particular, is a genre aimed at women who are in their late teens or older. Josei manga covers a range of topics, including romance, slice of life, drama, and more.
With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to know the best Josei mangato read in 2023. In this article, we'll list the top 20 best Josei manga that you need to read this year.

A Silent Voice

A scene showing the main characters in the Josei manga A Silent Voice
A scene showing the main characters in the Josei manga A Silent Voice
"A Silent Voice," or "Koe no Katachi," is a poignant and thought-provoking Josei manga that explores complex themes of redemption, forgiveness, and personal growth. Created by Yoshitoki Ōima, the story revolves around Shoya Ishida, a young man haunted by his past actions of bullying a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya during their elementary school days.
As a Josei manga, "A Silent Voice" caters to a female adult audience, focusing on the emotional journey and introspection of its characters. The story delves into the deep psychological and emotional struggles faced by Shoya as he grapples with guilt and strives to make amends for the pain he caused.

Banana Fish

The text Banana Fish written in black on a yellow background
The text Banana Fish written in black on a yellow background
"Banana Fish," originally a manga written by Akimi Yoshida, is a gripping and intense Josei manga series that explores themes of trauma, power, and the dark underbelly of society. Set in the 1980s, the story follows Ash Lynx, a charismatic and troubled young gang leader in New York City's criminal underworld.
As a Josei manga, "Banana Fish" targets a mature female audience, delving into the complexities of relationships and the emotional struggles faced by its characters. The manga touches upon various societal issues, including violence, abuse, and corruption, while also exploring the bonds of friendship and the pursuit of justice.

Honey And Clover

Three characters from the Honey and Clover manga
Three characters from the Honey and Clover manga
"Honey and Clover" is a heartwarming and introspective Josei manga created by Chica Umino. Targeting a mature female audience, it explores the complexities of relationships, self-discovery, and the pursuit of artistic passion.
The story revolves around a group of college students at an art school in Tokyo. The protagonist, Yuta Takemoto, finds himself drawn to the talented Hagumi Hanamoto, while his close friend, Shinobu Morita, struggles with his own eccentricities. Meanwhile, Takumi Mayama develops feelings for an older woman named Ayumi Yamada, and the introverted art prodigy, Ayumi Takemoto, navigates her own artistic journey.

Nana

Two characters from the Nana manga
Two characters from the Nana manga
"Nana" is a captivating and emotionally charged Josei manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. It explores the lives of two young women, both named Nana, as they navigate the complexities of love, friendship, and the pursuit of their dreams in modern-day Tokyo.
The story follows Nana Komatsu, a naive and innocent girl searching for love and stability, and Nana Osaki, a charismatic and independent punk rocker striving for success in the music industry. Through their intertwined lives and contrasting personalities, the manga delves into the highs and lows of their relationships, careers, and personal growth.

Paradise Kiss

The two main characters from the Paradise Kiss manga
The two main characters from the Paradise Kiss manga
"Paradise Kiss" is a captivating Josei manga written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga delves into the world of fashion and explores themes of self-discovery, identity, and the pursuit of one's dreams.
The story revolves around Yukari Hayasaka, a high school student burdened by the pressures of academic success and societal expectations. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she encounters a group of aspiring fashion designers known as Paradise Kiss. Drawn into their unconventional and artistic world, Yukari embarks on a journey of self-exploration and finds herself questioning her own desires and aspirations.

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku

The four main characters of the Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku manga
The four main characters of the Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku manga
"Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku" is a delightful and relatable Josei manga created by Fujita. Targeting an adult female audience, the manga explores the challenges and joys of romance among otaku (people with obsessive interests in pop culture, particularly anime and manga).
The story follows the lives of Narumi Momose and Hirotaka Nifuji, two working professionals who also happen to be hardcore otaku. As they navigate the ups and downs of adulthood, they find solace in each other's company and embark on a unique relationship that embraces their shared interests.

Otoyomegatari (A Bride's Story)

The cover of the manga Otoyomegatari (A Bride's Story)
The cover of the manga Otoyomegatari (A Bride's Story)
"Otoyomegatari," also known as "A Bride's Story," is a captivating Josei manga written and illustrated by Kaoru Mori. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga transports readers to 19th-century Central Asia and explores the intricacies of love, marriage, and cultural traditions.
Set along the Silk Road, the story follows various characters, but primarily focuses on the lives of young brides and their experiences in arranged marriages. The manga beautifully depicts the different cultures and ethnicities present in the region, showcasing the diversity and richness of their traditions.

Chihayafuru

The main character of the Josei manga Chihayafuru holding a card
The main character of the Josei manga Chihayafuru holding a card
"Chihayafuru" is an engrossing Josei manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga explores the world of competitive karuta - a traditional Japanese card game - and delves into themes of passion, friendship, and self-discovery.
The story follows Chihaya Ayase, a spirited and determined high school student who becomes enamored with karuta after meeting Arata Wataya, a talented player. Inspired by her newfound love for the game, Chihaya forms a competitive karuta club with her childhood friend Taichi Mashima and other fellow enthusiasts.

March Comes In Like A Lion

The main character of the manga March Comes In Like A Lion
The main character of the manga March Comes In Like A Lion
"March Comes In Like A Lion," or "Sangatsu no Lion," is a compelling Josei manga series created by Chika Umino. With a mature female audience in mind, the manga delves into the life of Rei Kiriyama, a 17-year-old professional shogi player, and explores themes of loneliness, resilience, and the power of human connection.
The story follows Rei as he navigates the complexities of the shogi world while facing personal challenges and emotional struggles. Plagued by a sense of isolation, Rei finds solace in the support and friendship of the Kawamoto sisters - Akari, Hinata, and Momo - become his surrogate family.

Orange

The three main characters in the manga Orange sitting on a bench
The three main characters in the manga Orange sitting on a bench
"Orange" is a touching Josei manga written by Ichigo Takano. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga delves into themes of friendship, second chances, and the power of time travel to change the course of fate.
The story follows Naho Takamiya, a high school student who receives a letter from her future self. The letter instructs her to prevent the regrets and tragedy that lie ahead by making certain choices. Encouraged by her friends, Naho embarks on a journey to alter the future and save a classmate named Kakeru Naruse from a tragic fate.

Gokusen

Five main characters from the Gokusen manga
Five main characters from the Gokusen manga
"Gokusen" is an engaging Josei manga series written and illustrated by Kozueko Morimoto. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga combines elements of comedy, drama, and romance while exploring themes of personal growth, resilience, and the transformative power of education.
The story revolves around Kumiko Yamaguchi, a young and idealistic teacher who happens to be the granddaughter of a powerful yakuza boss. Despite her unconventional background, Kumiko is determined to make a positive impact on her students' lives and help them overcome their challenges.

Vinland Saga

The main character of the Vinland Saga manga in black and white
The main character of the Vinland Saga manga in black and white
"Vinland Saga" is a gripping and mature Josei manga series written and illustrated by Makoto Yukimura. While "Vinland Saga" may not fall strictly within the Josei demographic, its intense storytelling and complex themes appeal to a broad adult audience, including women.
Set in Viking Age Europe, the manga follows the journey of Thorfinn, a skilled young warrior seeking revenge for his father's death. As the story unfolds, it delves into themes of war, honor, loyalty, and the search for purpose.

Skip Beat!

The main character of the Skip Beat! manga
The main character of the Skip Beat! manga
"Skip Beat!" is a captivating Josei manga series written and illustrated by Yoshiki Nakamura. Specifically targeted towards a mature female audience, the manga explores themes of self-discovery, ambition, and the transformative power of love.
The story follows Kyoko Mogami, a determined and resilient young woman who embarks on a journey of revenge and personal growth after being betrayed by her childhood friend and aspiring pop idol, Sho Fuwa. Kyoko enters the entertainment industry with the goal of surpassing Sho's fame and proving her own worth.

The Kabocha Wine

The Kabocha Wine manga book stacked close to each other
The Kabocha Wine manga book stacked close to each other
"The Kabocha Wine" is a charming Josei manga written and illustrated by Mitsuru Miura. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga explores themes of friendship, love, and personal growth against the backdrop of a small countryside town.
The story centers around the protagonist, Shinichi Kanzaki, a high school student who moves to a rural area after his parents' divorce. There, he encounters Yoko Sugimoto, a cheerful and outgoing girl who introduces him to the joys of growing kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) and making homemade wine.

Happy Marriage?

The two main characters of the Happy Marriage? manga
The two main characters of the Happy Marriage? manga
"Happy Marriage?" is a captivating Josei manga series written by Maki Enjōji. Specifically targeted towards a mature female audience, the manga explores the themes of love, compromise, and personal growth within the context of an arranged marriage.
The story follows Chiwa Takanashi, a hardworking and independent woman who finds herself in a difficult financial situation. To alleviate her family's debt, she agrees to an arranged marriage with the successful and stoic businessman, Hokuto Mamiya. Initially, the two have a purely transactional relationship, but as they navigate the challenges of married life, they gradually develop genuine feelings for each other.

Our Happy Time

A clip from the Our Happy Time manga showing a woman with several words written in a circle
A clip from the Our Happy Time manga showing a woman with several words written in a circle
"Our Happy Time," also known as "Bokura no Shiawase na Time," is a poignant and introspective Josei manga written by Gong Ji-Young and adapted into a manga series by Sahara Mizu. The manga explores complex themes of redemption, trauma, and the transformative power of love.
The story revolves around Kang Sae-Jin, a death row inmate who has lost all hope and desires to end his life. However, he is assigned a therapist, Yuu Kang-Ho, who is tasked with helping him find reasons to continue living. As they spend time together, a deep connection forms between them, and they begin to heal each other's emotional wounds.

The Heiress And The Chauffeur

The two main characters of the Josei  manga The Heiress and the Chauffeur
The two main characters of the Josei manga The Heiress and the Chauffeur
"The Heiress and the Chauffeur" is a captivating Josei manga written and illustrated by Keiko Ishihara. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga explores themes of social class, love, and personal growth in a historical setting.
The story follows Sayaka Yoshimura, a spirited heiress from a wealthy family, and Shinobu Narutaki, her loyal and dedicated chauffeur. Despite their different social statuses, Sayaka and Shinobu form an unlikely bond as they navigate the challenges and expectations of their respective positions.

Kimi Ni Todoke: From Me To You

The two main characters of the Kimi Ni Todoke: From Me To You manga standing with their backs at each other
The two main characters of the Kimi Ni Todoke: From Me To You manga standing with their backs at each other
"Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You" is a heartwarming and introspective Josei manga series written and illustrated by Karuho Shiina. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga explores themes of friendship, self-acceptance, and the transformative power of love.
The story revolves around Sawako Kuronuma, a kind-hearted and misunderstood high school student who has long been labeled as "creepy" or "Sadako" due to her resemblance to the horror film character. However, her life takes a turn when she meets Shota Kazehaya, a popular and outgoing classmate who sees beyond her appearance and genuinely befriends her.

Tokyo Tarareba Girls

A clip of a scene from the Tokyo Tarareba Girls manga with three characters discussing at a restaurant
A clip of a scene from the Tokyo Tarareba Girls manga with three characters discussing at a restaurant
"Tokyo Tarareba Girls" is an engaging Josei manga series written and illustrated by Akiko Higashimura. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga delves into the lives of three women in their thirties and explores themes of love, career aspirations, and the societal pressures surrounding marriage.
The story follows Rinko, Kaori, and Koyuki, three best friends living in Tokyo, who are all single and struggling with the question of finding love and settling down. Fueled by their fears of aging and societal expectations, they often engage in humorous and thought-provoking conversations about romance and relationships.

Josee, The Tiger And The Fish

The two main characters of the manga Josee, The Tiger And The Fish
The two main characters of the manga Josee, The Tiger And The Fish
"Josee, The Tiger and the Fish" is a heartwarming Josei manga written by Seiko Tanabe. Targeting a mature female audience, the manga explores themes of love, personal growth, and the power of human connections.
The story revolves around Tsuneo Suzukawa, a university student who stumbles upon a young woman named Josee, who uses a wheelchair. Despite her physical limitations, Josee possesses a vibrant imagination and a thirst for adventure. As Tsuneo becomes captivated by Josee's spirit, they embark on a series of heartwarming and transformative experiences together.

Conclusion

These are the top 20 best Josei manga that you should read in 2023. Whether you're looking for romance, drama, action, or slice of life, there's something on this list for everyone. These manga are not only entertaining but also offer insights into Japanese culture, society, and human nature. So, pick up one (or more) of these manga and enjoy a good read in 2023.
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