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Josei is a demographic category of manga, anime, and other entertainment aimed at female audiences aged 18 to 40. Like its Spear Counterpart Seinen, Josei is notable for more realistic, less idealized portrayals of romance and life than in works for young girls.

It typically uses a more realistic artistic style. Most are written by women, and feature in magazines or anthology collections directly sold for the demographic. Stories typically portray everyday life for young Japanese women — usually adults, but occasionally high school age.


Josei manga get adapted into anime far more rarely than other demographics, more often getting live-action TV series if they make it to television at all. However, Fuji Television's noitaminA anime block is notable for focusing on this demographic.

Compare Seinen, which is aimed at young men of the same age; and Shoujo, which is aimed at younger females. Shounen is aimed at younger males.


Series sometimes mistaken for josei:

  • Axis Powers Hetalia: Very close, but the involvement with Comic Birz pulls it closer to the seinen category. Though now it's closer to shonen thanks to the involvement with Shonen Jump.
  • Nana, which is really close to a josei, but it's a shojo.
  • Black Butler seems to be a mix of Shoujo, more so in the anime, and Seinen, more so in the manga. As such it is often thought of as a Josei but it's actually a Shounen.
  • Comic Zero Sum is a magazine targeted at women of all ages. This often leads to confusion as to whether a work is shoujo or josei. These include Amatsuki, Loveless, 07-Ghost, Karneval and Hatenkou Yuugi.
  • Works by Mayu Shinjo like Sensual Phrase, Haou Airen, Love Celeb or Akuma na Eros, due to the extremely high sexual content that often includes Sexual Harassment and Rape Tropes. The melodramatic storytelling and the fact that the protagonists tend to be girls in their late teens, however, sets them as full-blooded shoujo.
  • Hataraki Man, due to featuring a female protagonist and written by Moyoco Anno, who is well-known for writing Josei manga. It actually runs in a Seinen magazine, however.
  • Bitter Virgin is about a boy who finds out his classmate was raped by her step-father and became pregnant. It delves into topics like abortion, molestation, miscarriage, and teen pregnancy but is not a josei or even a shoujo manga. It's seinen.
  • Life is on the thin line between seeming shoujo and seeming josei. It's about a bullied high school girl that cuts herself and has a fair amount of graphic sexuality and violence to the point where Tokyo Pop upgraded the rating from "Older Teens" to "Mature". Still it's a shoujo manga.
  • Wandering Son. It's a calm Slice of Life about kids going through elementary to college. It delves with topics like bullying, gender roles, growing up, and other topics more common in female geared works. Its anime adaptation has a watercolor look and aired on noitaminA. Signs point toward josei, maybe shoujo, but it's really a seinen series.