Newman’s Nook: Yozakura and Church Family Ties

Mission: Yozakura Family is a relatively new Shonen Jump manga series about painfully shy high school student, Taiyo Asano, as he enters the world of the Yozakura family.  After his parents died, Taiyo chose to avoid close relationships, coming to the resolution that since intimacy with family and friends can be snatched at a moment’s notice, what’s the point?

The one exception in his life is his best friend, Mutsumi Yozakura, which whom Taiyo has remained close with since they were children.

Joining the Family

One day a series of unexpected circumstances lead Taiyo into the middle of an explosion near Mutsumi. He is saved from the blast by the Yozakura family and then finds himself in their home as the family gathers around to try to protect Mutsumi. The explosion was an attempted attack on Mutsumi—because the Yozakura family are all spies.

After the incident, Mutsumi’s oldest brother decides she can not leave the house. This is his attempt to protect her from the outside world. Mutsumi tries to fight the plan when a different one is brought up by her family—she could marry Taiyo. If she marries him, Taiyo would be with her full time at school and could serve as a second line of defense to protect her. As a member of the family, Taiyo would also be protected. Having witnessed the pain Taiyo felt when he lost his family, Mutsumi rejects the plan at first. After all, to flippantly ask him join their family would be cruel.

As Taiyo watches this unfold around him, though, he decided to steps forward. He offers to join the family in protecting Mutsumi, to serve as a protector for her through marriage. Mutsumi agrees as well, and through an action packed exchange of rings, Taiyo is adopted into the Yozakura family as Mutsumi’s husband.

Following Taiyo and Mutsumi’s marriage, we witness a slow process whereby the family begins to acknowledge and accept him. They protect him with their lives from other spies and train him up to understand their family’s ways. In short—Taiyo is truly adopted into the family.

What is Family?

A common question we ask on Beneath the Tangles is this: What makes a family? Is family merely a group of people connected by common genetics? Or is it something more?

In the Gospel of Matthew, there’s a story where the earthly family of Jesus approaches the disciples. At the time, a number of his family members had rejected Christ’s message and claims. When asked about them, He responds:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 12:46-50, English Standard Version

Who is Christ’s family? In these verses, he makes it abundantly clear: it’s the church.

A Stronger Family

Kinship as fellow believers in Christ can be stronger and closer than anything that comes from mere genetics. The Bible paints this as a picture of adoption—we all are united as one family in Christ Jesus. Acceptance of Christ as our Savior has us join a family of believers going back to the beginning. We become a family bonded not by our genes, but by love and unity of purpose.

In Twwk’s article on The Boy and the Beast and other Hosada films, he too wrote about family:

It is not blood bonds. It is not simply a group living in the same residence. It can be a human boy trained by magical beasts. It can be a mom struggling alone to raise children who are half-wolf. It can be kids connected to digital monsters. Whatever the connection is, conventional or otherwise, it has to do with love, grace, and sacrifice…those of us who have experienced God’s grace know that we’re part of a most unconventional family. We are not naturally children of God, having broken our family plate ourselves. But God’s grace flows over us, showing us his love, and we are the orphans, like Kyuta, brought into his loving family.

On his own, Taiyo was an orphan without a family.

No parents.

No siblings.

Just Taiyo.

He felt alone in the world and avoided close, personal contact. After his marriage to Mutsumi, Taiyo finds himself joined into a huge family—all of whom are ready to lay down their lives for him. It was not genetics that made them family, but love and unity.

The love Taiyo and Mutsumi share for each other is a closeness some never find in life. They are able to share their true selves and feelings. So, too, do we grow closer as we are open and honest with our love for each other, and our love of Christ. True love where one strives to better others at his or her own cost is beautiful to behold.

The unity of the Yozakura Family has in protecting their own creates intimate bonds. This unity of purpose connects the Yozakura family, Taiyo included, with their ties strengthened with each new mission. So, too, does the church grow stronger as we each grow in unity of purpose and faith. Unity of purpose comes from our faith. This purpose strengthens the family of Christ, which allows us to do great things together we could never accomplish on our own.

One Family

Love and unity helps builds us up as individuals, but also as a body. Our faith in the Gospel message of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection is supposed to unite Christians. When we see disunity in the greater church of Christ, we need to remember the fundamentals of faith we all accept. We need to remind ourselves that we are all brothers and sisters.

We are the church.

We are a family.

BENEATH THE TANGLES RECOMMENDS MISSION: YOZAKURA FAMILY. IT CAN BE READ DIGITALLY AT SHONEN JUMP.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible..

mdmrn

Matthew Newman is an environmental engineer who’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

6 thoughts on “Newman’s Nook: Yozakura and Church Family Ties

  1. Great article. Never heard of this manga, but it looks interesting. I like that concept of the story. Also, I can totally relate to Taiyo, myself being practically with no family. To have that unity even with a family that isn’t genetically your own is a powerful feeling.

    Also, many times others who are not our family can treat us better than our own family. Friends, in-laws or even co-workers can have strong bonds with us.

    I love that Christ defined us all as family, those that believe in Him. When you find another Christian who has their faith in Christ it’s like finding a new family member 🙂

  2. Samuru – Thanks! Glad you enjoyed and could relate to the piece. I enjoy the manga series, but it may not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea.

    Family is more than mere genetics. I have 5 adopted siblings and they are family as much as my 2 biological siblings are. Christ does help bring us together as family in His church.

  3. It was surprising to see a series this recent getting covered, but I like reading the concepts you’ve gotten from this manga in this article.

    Now I’m wondering if you’ve read SPY X FAMILY, and if you have any thoughts on that.

  4. thathilomgirl – Thanks and glad you enjoyed it! I am really enjoying the series so far. I haven’t had a chance to check out Spy X Family, but I recognize it’s also fairly new on SJ. I’ll have to check it out and let you know.

  5. I always appreciate the reminder to treat other Christians like family even if they’re right next to us, halfway across the world, or if we agree on almost nothing outside of Christ.

    1. Tyler Burnette – Thanks for reading and, honestly, I think sometimes we all need that reminder!

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