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Template:Expert-subject Yaoi (やおい) is a publishing genre which focuses on male/male relationships.[1] The genre originated in Japan and encompasses manga, anime, novels and dōjinshi. Yaoi directed toward women, the subtype most well-known outside of Japan,[citation needed] is called BL or Boy's Love.[2] Despite the genre being called Boy's Love, the males may be of any age, the term for works focused on underage boys being shotacon.[3] Yaoi has spread beyond Japan; yaoi material is available in the United States, as well as other Western and Eastern nations worldwide.

Yaoi began in the doujinshi markets of Japan in the late 1970s, mostly as parody works; but male same-sex love had previously been presented in shonen-ai, june and tanbi works. BL authors and fans are careful to distinguish BL from “gay manga,” which is created by and for gay men.[4][5] Some male mangaka have produced BL works.[6]

The main characters in yaoi usually conform to the stereotypes of the older: a masculine seme (dominant/top in relationship) who pursues the younger, feminine uke (bottom).

TerminologyEdit

PronunciationEdit

In careful Japanese enunciation, all three vowels are pronounced separately, for a three-mora word, Template:IPA2 Ya-oh-ee.

UsageEdit

Yaoi is an acronym created and popularised in the doujinshi market of the late seventies standing for " YAma nashi [no climax], Ochi nashi [no point] and Imi nashi [no meaning]" 「ヤマなし、オチなし、意味なし」. This phrase refers to how yaoi has more emphasis on the stylisation of the characters (see Seme and uke) and their emotions than a traditional plot structure.[4][7] As such, yaoi is not a common term in Japanese; it is specific to the otaku subculture.

Although different meanings are often ascribed to yaoi and boy's love, (with yaoi generally said to be more explicit and BL generally said to being less so) there is conflicting information on their usage.[8]

Yaoi is an umbrella term in the West for male/male manga or Japan-inspired comics.[9] The actual name of the genre aimed toward women in Japan is called 'BL' or 'Boy's Love'. BL is aimed at the shōjo] and josei demographics, but is considered a separate category.[9] Yaoi is used in Japan to include dōjinshi and sex scenes,[9] and does not include gei comi, which is by gay men and for gay men.[4][9]

Contrary to the belief of many English-speaking fans, "yaoi" is not the primary name of this genre in Japan. Originally much of the material was called "june",[9] a name derived from a publication of the same name that published male/male tanbi romances, stories written for and about the worship of beauty using particularly flowery language.[9] Eventually the term "june" died out in favor of "BL" which remains the most common name.[9] "BL" or "Boy's Love" continues to be the most common name for female-oriented yaoi.[citation needed]

Another term for yaoi is 801. "801" can be read as "yaoi" in the following form: the "short" reading (on'yomi) of the number 8 is "ya", 0 can be read as "o" - a western influence without doubt, while the on'yomi for 1 is "i" (see Japanese wordplay). For example, an Internet manga called Tonari no 801-chan, about an otaku guy who wants to date a fujoshi (yaoi fangirl), has been adapted into a serialised shōjo manga and a live-action film. 801-chan, the mascot of a Japanese shopping centre, is used in the manga.[10]

Yaoi and shōnen-ai are terms that are sometimes used by western fans to describe the contents of one title in the genre. Here yaoi is used to describe titles which contain sex scenes and other sexually explicit themes. The counterpart, shōnen-ai, is used to describe titles that focus more on romance and do not include explicit sexual content. This definition of yaoi sometimes clashes with the usage of the word to describe the genre as a whole and the subject is often a cause for debate.

While shōnen-ai literally means "boy's love", the two terms are not synonymous. In Japan, shōnen-ai used to refer to a now obsolete shōjo subgenre that told stories of prepubescent boys in relationships ranging from the platonic to the romantic. The term was originally and is currently used to describe pedophilia. Boy's Love, on the other hand, is used as a genre's name and refers to all titles regardless of sexual content or the ages of characters in the story.[9]

Seme and ukeEdit

The two participants in a yaoi relationship are often referred to as seme ("attacker",攻め or せめ) and uke ("receiver",受け). These terms originated in martial arts and do not carry any degrading connotations. Seme derives from the Japanese verb semeru (“to attack”) and uke from the Japanese verb ukeru (“to receive”). Though gay males are often referred to in English as "tops" or "bottoms," seme and uke are more nearly analogous to "pitcher" and "catcher." The seme and uke are often drawn in the bishōnen style and are "highly idealised",[11] blending both masculine and feminine qualities.[7]

The seme is often depicted as the stereotypical male of anime and manga culture: restrained, physically powerful, and/or protective. The seme generally has a stronger chin, shorter hair, smaller eyes, and a more stereotypically masculine demeanour than the uke. The seme usually pursues the uke. The uke usually has softer, androgynous, feminine features with bigger eyes and a smaller build, and is often physically weaker than the seme.[12][13][14] He is usually less experienced with romance or sex and his interactions with the seme often make for his first homosexual experience.[citation needed] Anal sex is a prevalent theme in yaoi, as nearly all stories feature it in some way.[13] The storyline where an uke is reluctant to have anal sex with a seme is considered to be similar to the reader's reluctance to have sex whilst still a virgin.[15] Another common trope is where the seme pursues the uke to the point of rape, as "an expression of love".[13] Despite this, the seme is shown as being truly in love with the uke.[4] One stereotype that is criticised is that the protagonists do not identify as gay, but rather are simply in love with that particular person.[13][5] This is pointed to as avoiding having to address prejudices against people who consider themselves to have been born homosexual.[5] Newer yaoi stories have characters that identify as gay.[6] There has also been criticism of the uke in particular - that he has stereotypically "girly" behaviour.[14] It has been questioned if yaoi is heteronormative, due to the masculine seme and feminine uke stereotypes.[16] It has been noted that yaoi stories are often told from the uke's perspective.[12]

Though these stereotypes are common, not all works adhere to them.[14][8] For example, some of the anthologies published by Biblos feature stories on themes such as "younger seme" or "ribariba/reversables."[citation needed] The "height rule," the rule by which the taller character is the seme, is also sometimes broken.[citation needed] There is also the term "gekokujō" referring to when the character with more uke characteristics (be it physically or emotionally) actually plays the seme role in the sexual elements of the relationship.[citation needed] The term means "lower slays higher" and comes from feudal times when a servant would slay his lord in order to gain power.[citation needed]

DoujinshiEdit

The doujinshi subculture has been considered the Japanese equivalent of the English-language slash fandom, especially as they both do not have typical "narrative structure" and science fiction works are particularly popular in both.[7] Typical yaoi doujinshi features male-male pairings from non-romantic, published manga and anime. Much of the material derives from male-oriented shōnen and seinen works which contained male-male close friendships and are perceived by fans to imply homosexual attraction, such as with Captain Tsubasa.[4] However, yaoi fans may ship any male-male pairing, sometimes pairing off a favourite character, or creating a story about two men and fitting existing characters into the story.[4]

Though collectors often focus on doujinshi based on particular manga, any male character may become the subject of a yaoi doujinshi, even characters from non-manga titles such as Harry Potter[4] and Pirates of the Caribbean. Video games have also been parodied, including titles like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy.[17][18]

Most doujinshi is created by amateurs who often work in "circles"[citation needed]; for example, the group CLAMP began as an amateur doujinshi circle. However, some professional artists, such as Kodaka Kazuma and Maki Murakami, create doujinshi as well. The bulk of yaoi manga is doujinshi,[13]Template:Dubious and some publishing companies have used doujinshi published in the 1980s to spot talented amateurs,[13] such as Biblos hiring Youka Nitta.[19]

Important characteristics of the early yaoi doujinshi were that they were amateur publications not controlled by media restrictions, the stories were by teens for other teens, they were based on famous characters who were in their teens or early twenties, the same age as the yaoi fans.[20]During the early 1990s, doujinshi played a part in popularising yaoi.[11]

American yaoiEdit

As Japanese yaoi gained popularity in the U.S., a few American artists began creating gay-themed original English-language manga referred to as "American yaoi." What started as a small subculture in North America, has, in the last three years, become a burgeoning market, as new publishers began producing male/male erotic comics and manga from creators outside Japan.[21] Because creators from all parts of the globe are published in these original English language works, the term 'American yaoi' is not used; the term 'Global BL', is considered more acceptable.

Current North American publishers of 'Global BL' are Yaoi Press, who currently have over twenty titles on the market,[22] Iris Print,[23] as well as licensors DramaQueen and Seven Seas Entertainment. DramaQueen debuted their 'Global BL' quarterly anthology RUSH in 2006.[24]

PublishingEdit

The earliest magazine about Boy's Love was June, which began in 1978.[13] The Japanese publisher Biblos (from the mid 90s) was once the most commercially successful publisher of yaoi in Japan,[citation needed] but their bankruptcy due to failure of their parent company[13] caused them to fold in April 2006,[25] and provided an opportunity for competitors to take up a larger share of the professional yaoi and BL manga market.[citation needed]

Japanese yaoi and BL works are sold to English-speaking countries by companies that translate and print them in English; companies such as Digital Manga Publishing with their imprints 801 Media (for explicit yaoi) and June (for "romantic and sweet" yaoi),[26] as well as DramaQueen, Kitty Media, and Tokyopop under their imprint BLU. The earliest officially translated yaoi manga sold was in 2003, and as of 2006 there were about 130 English-translated yaoi titles commercially available.[13]

Japanese BL Magazines and their ImprintsEdit

Aqua ComicsAsuka CL DXB's Anima SeiresBamboo ComicsBe X Boy ComicsBoys LChara ComicsChocolat ComicsDear + Comics - Deux PressDiamond ComicsDaria Comics -Drap ComicsEnrous ComicsGush ComicsGust ComicsHanaoto ComicsHanamaru Comics - Hana to Yume Comics - Hit ComicsIkisuchi Comics - June ComicsJune Pierce SeriesKousai ComicsMarble Comics - Princess Comics - Margaret ComicsMisshi ComicsOAK ComixPaper Moon Comics - Pixy ComicsRacish ComicsSanwa ComicsSBK C (Shobukan Comics)Scholar LC Rutile SeriesShuubeiru ComicsShy ComicsSUPER BBCZero Comics - Shota Comics - Yaoi Hentai Comics

Fandom demographicsEdit

Most yaoi fans are either teenage girls or young women (figures of 80%,[27] and 85% have been proposed).[28] It is usually assumed that all of these are heterosexual, but there is also a presence of lesbian manga authors[6] and lesbian, bisexual or questioning female readers.[29] Although the genre is marketed at women and girls, gay,[13] bisexual and straight men[30][31] also form part of the readership. That is not to say that majority of homosexual men are fans of the genre as some are put off by the feminine art style or unrealistic depictions of homosexual life and instead seek "Gei comi" (Gay comic), written by and for homosexual men,[6] as gei comi is perceived to be more realistic.[4] Lunsing notes that some of the narrative annoyances that homosexual men express about yaoi manga are also present in gei comi.[6] Some male mangaka have produced yaoi works, using their successes in yaoi to then go on to publish gei comi.[6]

As of 1994, fan translations of the series From Eroica with Love began to circulate through the North American slash fiction community, creating a "tenuous link" between slash and shonen-ai.[32] Although the English-speaking online yaoi fandom is observed to increasingly overlap with online slash fandom,[33][28] yaoi fans tend to be younger than slash fans, and so are less squicked about depictions of underage sexuality.[34]

In the mid-1990s, estimates of the size of the Japanese yaoi fandom were at 100,000-500,000 people.[6]

As of 2003, on Japanese-language internet sites, there were roughly equal proportions of sites dedicated to yaoi as there were sites by and for gay men about homosexuality.[35] As of April 2005, a search for non-Japanese sites resulted in 785,000 English, 49,000 Spanish, 22,400 Korean, 11,900 Italian and 6,900 Chinese sites.[28] In January 2007, there were five million hits for 'yaoi'.[36] As of June 2008, 18 million.Template:Or

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. やおい (Japanese). Nihongo Zokugo Jisho. Retrieved on 2008-05-13. “Yaoi is works that deal with male homosexual love. (やおいとは、男性の同性愛を扱った作品のこと。 Yaoi to wa, dansei no dōseiai wo atsukatta sakuhin no koto?)
  2. BL (Japanese). Nihongo Zokugo Jisho. Retrieved on 2008-05-13. “BL is an English-influenced Japanese acronym called "Boy's Love,"and it means comics, stories, etc. intended for women, with a theme of male homosexual love. Type of yaoi (BLとはボーイズラブ(Boy's Love)という和製英語の頭文字で、男性の同性愛を題材とする女性向けのマンガや小説を意味する。やおいの一種。 BL wa (Boy's Love) to iu waseieigo no kashuramoji de, dansei no dōseiai wo taizai to shite josei-muke no manga ya shōsetsu wo imi suru. yaoi no isshu.?)
  3. ショタコン (Japanese). Nihongo Zokugo Jisho. Retrieved on 2008-05-13. “A sexual preference towards underage males (ショタコンとは、未成年男子(少年)を対象とする性的嗜好のこと。 Shotakon to wa, miseinen danshi (shōnen) wo taishō to suru seiteki shikō no koto?)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Wilson, Brent; Toku, Masami. "Boys' Love," Yaoi, and Art Education: Issues of Power and Pedagogy 2003
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Noh, Sueen. Reading YAOI Comics: An Analysis of Korean Girls' Fandom 2002
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Lunsing, Wim. Yaoi Ronsō: Discussing Depictions of Male Homosexuality in Japanese Girls' Comics, Gay Comics and Gay Pornography Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context Issue 12, January 2006
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Kinsella, Sharon Japanese Subculture in the 1990s: Otaku and the Amateur Manga Movement Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Summer, 1998), pp. 289-316
  8. 8.0 8.1 Masaki, Lyle. (6 January, 2008) “Yowie!”: The Stateside appeal of boy-meets-boy YAOI comics AfterElton.com
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Definitions From Japan: BL, Yaoi, June. aestheticism.com.
  10. Tonari no 801 chan Fujoshi Manga Adapted for Shōjo Mag.
  11. 11.0 11.1 McLelland, Mark. "Male homosexuality and modern culture in modern Japan." Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context Issue 3, January 2000
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jones, V.E. "He Loves Him, She Loves Them: Japanese comics about gay men are increasingly popular among women". Boston.com. April 2005.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 McLelland, Mark. Why are Japanese Girls’ Comics full of Boys Bonking? Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media Vol.10, 2006/2007
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Keller, Katherine Seme and Uke? Make Me Puke Sequential Tart February 2008
  15. Avila, K. "Boy's Love and Yaoi Revisited". Sequential Tart. January 2005.
  16. Linderström, Jenny Boys' Love: En studie av maskuliniteter och maktrelationer i yaoi manga
  17. Kingdom Hearts aestheticism.com
  18. Heavy Hero or Digital Dummy? Multimodal Player–Avatar Relations in Final Fantasy 7
  19. O’Connell, M. "Embracing Yaoi Manga: Youka Nitta". Sequential Tart. April 2006.
  20. McHarry, Mark (November 2003). "Yaoi: Redrawing Male Love". The Guide. 
  21. The Growth of Yaoi. Retrieved on 2007-07-13.
  22. Yaoi Press Moves Stores and Opens Doors. Retrieved on 2007-07-13.
  23. A Year of Yaoi At Iris Print. Retrieved on 2007-03-13.
  24. DramaQueen Announces New Yaoi & Manhwa Titles. Retrieved on 2007-07-13.
  25. Biblos Bankrupt
  26. Strickland, Elizabeth. "Drawn Together." The Village Voice. November 2 2006.
  27. Keenapan, Nattha Japanese "boy-love" comics a hit among Thais Japan Today 2001
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 McLelland, Mark. The World of Yaoi: The Internet, Censorship and the Global “Boys’ Love” Fandom Australian Feminist Law Journal, 2005.
  29. Welker, James. Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as Girls' Love in Shôjo Manga Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2006, vol. 31, no. 3
  30. Anime North's bent offerings
  31. Anime, mon amour: forget Pokemon—Japanese animation explodes with gay, lesbian, and trans themes - video
  32. Girls' Stuff, May (?) '94
  33. Youssef, Sandra Girls who like Boys who like Boys - Ethnography of Online Slash/Yaoi Fans Honours Thesis for Bachelor of Arts, Mount Holyoke College, 2004.
  34. McLelland, Mark (10 2001). Local meanings in global space: a case study of women's 'Boy love' web sites in Japanese and English.
  35. Mobile Cultures: New Media in Queer Asia
  36. Roundtable: The Internet and Women’s Transnational “Boys’ Love” Fandom

General referencesEdit

Further readingEdit

Template:Morefootnotes

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