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Webcomic / A Fake Affair

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A Fake Affair is a romance comic on Webtoon by Akiko Higashimura that was released on January 2, 2022.

30-year-old Shoko Hama has given up on finding a husband after three years of fruitless efforts. After her latest job contract ends, she takes a solo trip to Korea and finds her sister's wedding ring in her coat pocket. As she boards the plane, a bag falls on her head, causing her to drop the ring. The bag turns out to belong to her seatmate, a young Korean man named Jobanni. He picks up the ring and, at Shoko's prompt, puts it on her left finger, which creates the impression that she's married.

After the flight, Jobanni invites Shoko to his sister's restaurant and later proposes having an affair. This leads to Shoko maintaining the lie that she's married because she's smitten with Jobanni and believes that he wouldn't love her if he knew she was single.

A Fake Affair contains examples of:

  • Age-Gap Romance: Shoko (30) falls in love with Jobanni (25) on a trip to Korea, after having given up on finding a husband due to her status as an Old Maid. Her sister, Yoko (35), has an affair with Futa, who is in his early- to mid-20s.
  • Amnesiac Lover: Jobanni forgets several recent memories as a result of the procedure to remove his brain tumor, which is otherwise successful. This means that he forgets his romance with Shoko, and doesn't recognize her when they reunite one year later, but he's happy to (re)start a relationship with her.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Yoko and Kenji are in a loveless marriage because their priorities don't line up. Kenji wants a son out of Yoko, but Yoko wants room to breathe.
  • Basement Dweller: While both sisters live in a duplex with their parents, Shoko freeloads off of her parents because she's out of a job.
  • Camera Fiend: Jobanni is a passionate photographer who travels a lot to capture landscapes.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Every time Shoko encounters Jobanni, she fails to admit that she lied about being married. She finally admits on accident through text, but he never gets to see the text.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Yoko goes through great lengths to hide her affair from Kenji, which includes dragging Shoko into her lies.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: For the most part, Shoko and Jobanni's fake affair is portrayed positively because Shoko isn't married. On the other hand, Yoko looks very unsympathetic when she two-times Kenji and Futa until it's revealed that Kenji doesn't love her.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Kenji and Yoko pretend to be getting along even though Yoko is having an affair and Kenji is suspicious of her.
  • Irrevocable Message: Shoko writes a text to Jobanni admitting that she's really single. Before she can take it back, some kids bump into her and cause her to hit the send button. She panics and tries to unsend it, but she decides to let it be because it would be suspicious since he supposedly already read it. His sister ends up deleting it for him, believing that it's for the better if he forgets about her.
  • Language Barrier: Shoko can't speak Korean, so she has trouble communicating with Koreans other than Jobanni, who speaks fluent Japanese. Everyone else resorts to speaking broken English when necessary.
  • Likes Older Women: Futa prefers older women because women his age are too immature and superficial.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Yoko and Kenji got together through a marriage bureau so they could enjoy the benefits of being married.
  • Meaningful Name: Jobanni sounds similar to Giovanni, and Shoko's name means Campanella. These names correspond to the main characters of Night on the Galactic Railroad.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Futa has pink hair because his coach told him to dye it to stand out when fighting. He wanted it red so he would look tough, but it turned out a lot lighter than he expected.
  • Older Than They Look: The way Shoko dresses makes her look older. Someone once thought she was 45 years old.
  • Old Maid: Shoko is 30 years old and has given up on husband-searching because the combination of her social awkwardness and looking older makes her unattractive.
  • Out of Job, into the Plot: The story begins when Shoko's job contract ends, leaving her free to travel to Korea.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Shoko buys a pair of sunglasses so she can tail Yoko incognito, but she doesn't remove the sticker or tag. Yoko finds out quickly.
  • Saying Too Much: Shoko accidentally brings up Yoko's wedding ring when she's spilling her heart out to Futa, revealing to him that Yoko is married. Futa takes it rather well.
  • Secretly Dying: Jobanni hides the fact that he has a brain tumor that leaves him with little time to live. He downplays his condition to his sister and Shoko, hoping they won't worry about him.
  • Shout-Out: There are several references to Night on the Galactic Railroad. Jobanni and Shoko's names correspond with those of the main characters, and they ride the actual Galaxy Express.
  • Spit Take: Shoko spits out her drink when Jobanni first asks where she's staying the night.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The romance seems to be set up to fail as late as the second-to-last chapter, but the final chapter gives everyone a happy ending. A year after the main story, Jobanni's tumor has been mostly removed and he promises to value his life more and obey his doctor's orders. Shoko runs into Jobanni again and is able to restart their relationship. Yoko is living happily with Futa after running away. Even Kenji gets a chance to find real love.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Yoko becomes a lot more sympathetic when it's revealed that her marriage with Kenji is loveless and she genuinely cares about Futa.
  • Translation Convention: When the primary language is Japanese, Korean is displayed in blue text and English in green.
  • The Un-Smile: Kenji tells Yoko he's not mad that she's been away a lot, but his smile is unconvincing and looks like Tranquil Fury.
  • Wedding Ring Defense: Inverted. Shoko pretends she's married in the heat of the moment and ends up having an "affair" with Jobanni. She continues to pretend to be married because she believes that he wouldn't be interested in her if he knew she was single.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: The first clue that something's wrong with Yoko and Kenji's marriage isn't as perfect as it seems is that Yoko's wedding ring is in the pocket of the coat Shoko borrows. As it turns out, Yoko is having an affair with a much younger man.