“Love Story of Vietnamese Princess and Japanese Merchant Featured in New Manga”

Akiko Higashimura, a Japanese artist, has released a new manga based on the historical love story between Araki Sotaro, a Nagasaki merchant, and Princess Ngoc Hoa of the Nguyen Lord, which dates back to around 400 years ago.


The historical manga (comic) Princess Anio was released as one of the activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Vietnam. This manga tells the story of Princess Anio, a historical figure known for her bravery and leadership during the Vietnam-Japan wars. The manga aims to educate readers about the shared history and cultural ties between the two countries. With its captivating storytelling and beautiful illustrations, Princess Anio is a tribute to the strong bond between Japan and Vietnam.

The Japanese Organizing Committee of the 50th Anniversary Celebration partnered with Kim Dong Publishing House to bring this project to life. The project aims to educate both Japanese and Vietnamese individuals about the rich history of cultural exchange and friendship between the two nations.

 The two-volume manga Princess Anio reveals the love story of a Vietnamese princess and a Japanese merchant. Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Japan

As both Vietnamese and Japanese people share a love for manga, this project will foster stronger relationships and deepen the historical and cultural ties between the two nations.

This html content was created by the renowned manga artist Higashimura Akiko, who used the script from the opera Princess Anio as inspiration. The opera is set to premiere in Hanoi in September of this year.

The book will not be available for purchase, but it will be distributed free of charge to localities and educational institutions in Japan and Vietnam.

The opera is a captivating retelling of the remarkable love story between Japanese merchant Araki Sotaro and Princess Ngoc Hoa in the early 17th century. Yamada Takio, the Japanese ambassador to Việt Nam, has confirmed that the opera is based on true events.

Princess Ngoc Hoa, the daughter of Lord Nguyen Phuc Nguyen, was a prominent figure during the rule of her father in central and southern Vietnam from 1613 to 1635. She played a crucial role in the governance and development of the region, leaving a lasting impact on its history and culture. Throughout her life, Princess Ngoc Hoa demonstrated immense strength, intelligence, and elegance, embodying the ideals of the Nguyen dynasty. Her leadership and contributions to the prosperity and well-being of the people has solidified her place in Vietnamese history as a beloved and respected figure.

In the captivating tale, Araki embarked on a journey to picturesque Hoi An for a lucrative trading endeavor. Little did he know that his fate would intertwine with that of a beguiling princess. To address her beloved husband, the princess affectionately referred to him as “anh oi” in the melodic Vietnamese language. Enchanted by this endearing term of endearment, the townsfolk playfully bestowed upon her the moniker of Princess Anio; a playful nod to the phonetic resemblance with “anh oi”.

Today, locals in Nagasaki still continue the tradition of staging a palanquin procession ceremony as part of the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival. This ceremony is held to welcome Princess Anio.