Yaoi Popularity


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Yaoi Popularity

aug 7, 2006, 11:42 am

Hello everyone. In my work and social environment if someone has a question about manga they ask me. Lately I have been getting more questions about yaoi. (I have been reading manga for a number of years and have noticed the steady increase in yaoi titles on the market as well.) While I have bought a few titles, such as Loveless and Gravitation I have never really found it particularly interesting and am wondering about the yaoi fandom. Are there any particularly stellar yaoi titles? Are yaoi titles your favorite titles, or the titles you read in-between other releases? Is there correspondence between the age of readers and the likelihood of owning yaoi? Or perhaps a relationship between the years you began reading manga and the chances of owning yaoi? I guess in a nutshell I am asking if yaoi is a fad (as the most popular/marketed group of manga, as I am sure yaoi titles will now always be available)? And if it were not a fad, what titles would you recommend being knowledgeable in?
Thank you for time/responses. I am hoping here I will get more insightful and intelligent comments as opposed to posting on some random forums.

aug 7, 2006, 6:42 pm

Well, I've been reading yaoi for nine years now, so I would have to vote against "fad," as would most of my friends, who have similarly long interest in it. And a whole lot of Japanese women would also disagree with the idea of it being a "fad," as yaoi has been around since the 80s there.

Loveless and Gravitation are not really yaoi. In Japan yaoi is a term used only for fan works like doujinshi and fanfiction, and pro stuff is called BL (boys love). They are also considered very, very mild--with no graphic sex, they barely even count, really. A lot of BL (and even more real yaoi/doujinshi) is mindless smut, but created by and for women.

aug 7, 2006, 6:46 pm

Well, I believe it has to do with years of reading manga before you accept and start to like yaoi. When I started reading I was very much against it, but lately I've started to prefer yaoi pairings to actual straight pairings.

Also, I have the feeling that yaoi isn't a fad. Technically, some of the first yaoi was back in Ancient Greece, when the god Apollo took the mortal Hyacinthus as his lover. While the manga form of yaoi might not last long, the idea will.

Also, you mentioned the manga Loveless. I've been debating with myself for a while on if I should buy it or not, and I want to know if it's a worth-while series. Please give me your opinion on it :)

aug 7, 2006, 6:52 pm

That's not really correct, Sehktmet. ^^;; The important thing about BL/yaoi is that it is written by and for WOMEN. Ancient Greece had no such tradition, not at all. That there is homosexuality in their mythology is only a representation of the homosexuality common in their culture--it's not meant to be titillating fiction for female consumption only (seriously, Japanese BL authors/artists have been shocked by the presence of men at events like Yaoi-Con, in the past).

aug 7, 2006, 9:02 pm

I guess I don't really think that Sehktmet is off base much at all, lohegrin. The myth of Hyacinthus and Apollo fits within the yaoi tradition of story at least, because it describes an unobtainable (or difficult to obtain) purity in love - and the jealousies of others in the face of it. We do not have any idea of the gender of the author of the Greek myth, or who its first listeners were, so we cannot claim right or wrong of application of the story in those two areas.

Yes, there was homosexuality in Ancient Greece, but there is also homosexuality in Japan. And without homosexuality existing in the first place as a reality/possibility in the real world - the yaoi stories would seem quite preposterous.

The only area where yaoi may perhaps not match to the Greek myth is that in yaoi, the male characters often represent both genders - the female characters are often missing or minor. But - show me the female characters in the myth of Hyacinth and Apollo?

I absolutely agree with you that modern yaoi is really written by women and for women in Japan. But I don't think the use of the Greek myth is too misplaced. :)

aug 7, 2006, 9:05 pm

No, it's really not the same. I have a hard time with people comparing myth (stories to explain the world, based on the active religion of the time) to yaoi, which is designed only to titillate.

aug 7, 2006, 9:12 pm

Some myth is meat to titillate. You should read American Indian Trickster Tales for some examples.

There is a rich tradition of mythology and legend in many cultures that strives to explain the greatest mystery of all time: the differences between men and women. :) I believe part of yaoi attempts to explore that difference, in a somewhat unconventional manner.

But I respect your opinion, tho' it differs from mine. :)

aug 7, 2006, 9:13 pm

The myth of Hyacinthus is meant to explain the hyacinth flower.

aug 7, 2006, 9:19 pm

Sorry to be confusing to you. I understand that there is a difference between the BL and yaoi manga, I just am not very clear on them and wanted to include everything of that nature. Yaoi seemed to be the most used term so I stuck with that.
“A lot of BL (and even more real yaoi/doujinshi) is mindless smut, but created by and for women.”
Is what I am interested in. I don’t want to be missing a wonderful series, just because I am not a fan of specifically boy/boy romance.

I bought lovelss because the idea sounded interesting. (Magic and cat-people are neat in my book.) However there is a lot of dialogue, and the visual flow is not the best I have seen. So it actually comes of as a more confusing read.

aug 7, 2006, 9:22 pm

Well, if you're looking for smut? What kind? Happy fluffy smut? Bondage rape smut? ^^;

aug 8, 2006, 8:10 am

I'm not looking for any really :P

The situation is more like, I got a job at a library, and the rest of the employees are older/not interested in manga. I have seen some of the catalogues/conferences and publishers are really pushing yaoi titles. With a limited budget I would rather see them order FullMetal Alchemist, Fruits Basket, and Death Note. However if there are any stellar yaoi titles out there, I wish to be aware of them, even if it doesn't suit my particular taste.

aug 8, 2006, 2:15 pm

(Disclaimer: I am not a librarian.)

I can't think of any current English-language BL/yaoi releases that are really must-haves for a library collection that's just starting out with manga. Your main demand, I'd think, is for titles like FMA. (I'd probably add Naruto to that as well.)

For the library, I'd suggest Antique Bakery. This is not a BL title (it's not romance at all,) but it does have a gay character, and his relationships are discussed. It's a workplace drama about a bakery, and it's only 4 volumes.

Redigeret: aug 17, 2006, 7:39 pm

Neither Loveless nor Gravitation are technically BL. They are shoujo, in the same category as Fruits Basket, Yami no Matsui, and Antique Bakery.

If you want yaoi/BL for the library, the pickings are kind of slim. I think your best bet is Only the Ring Finger Knows. It's very mild, just some kissing, and it's one of the better titles aimed at a younger audience.

aug 17, 2006, 3:01 am

Uhhh... Loveless, YnM, etc. may not be BL... but Gravi is very definitely BL. o.O Very mild, unless you count the remix doujinshi done by the author/artist, but... yeah. BL.

aug 17, 2006, 4:02 am

Gravitation was published under a shoujo imprint in Japan. The original publisher (Sony Magazines) ran the series in the shoujo magazine "Kimi to Boku." The books were later republished by Gentousha under their shoujo imprint: Birz Comics Girls Collection. Gentousha's BL imprint is Birz Lynx, which they use to publish the Okane ga Nai manga.

So, technically, Gravitation is a shoujo manga series, which factored into its success in Japan in the late 1990s because shoujo is mainstream while BL manga is considered a niche market.

aug 17, 2006, 4:10 am

The person asking, however, is not asking for the detailed publishing history. The fact that a male/male relationship is central to the plot of Gravi is the important thing for most westerners who are asking to be introduced to the genre. After all, things are not so neatly catagorised by what magazine they are in, here.

Redigeret: aug 17, 2006, 5:02 am

I was driven by the same impulse to accuracy that led you to correct the use of "yaoi" as a label for the genre. On the other hand, if we're going to consider all Japanese manga with m/m romantic relationships as one genre regardless of imprint, "yaoi" would seem the more appropriate label, since that's one of the ways westerners use the term.

ETA: In fact, you've inspired me to re-consider how to tag this title in my collection. Thanks!

Redigeret: aug 17, 2006, 7:08 am

Fair enough. ^^

I try to keep things reeeeally simple with my tags, just to keep my OCD a little under control. So I try not to have more than two or three tags for any given work, and I tag them by "feel," rather than what magazine they were published in (in the case of manga). Whatever category ZERO-SUM may be, Saiyuki is shonen to me, and Loveless shoujo. ^^;;

Redigeret: aug 18, 2006, 2:26 am

If that's the case, can we lump all gay comics under yaoi too? :-( There's a lot of non-bl gay manga out there, though not in English.

I've a lot of titles that are technically shoujo that feature two males in a relationship as the main characters ... I made the distinction because from a library stand point, titles that are 'gay' but shoujo are generally going to be safe for general public consumption and titles that are 'gay' and bl must be considered on a case by case basis.

Here's another title that's bl and safe for any age reader: Don't Cry, Hong Kong.

<delete class="to avoid misunderstanding">And yes, the Gravitation doujinshi are eye-poppingly stupid ...</delete> I've read the Gravi doujinshi, they are genuinely stupid.

aug 17, 2006, 8:06 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

aug 17, 2006, 8:09 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

aug 17, 2006, 8:13 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

aug 17, 2006, 8:18 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

aug 17, 2006, 8:22 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

Redigeret: aug 18, 2006, 2:02 am

No, I think gay comics still need to be separate, because they are intended for a gay (male) audience, whereas BL is intended specifically for women. Extremely different feel and aesthetic, much more so than the difference between shoujo-BL and BL-BL, which is more one of degree.

Also, please don't put words in my mouth--I said the Gravi djs were graphic, not "stupid."

ETA: Of course, the server goes down while I try to post, and I end up with a quintuple post. Charming.

aug 18, 2006, 2:23 am

Aaagh! on the server.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply you said the Gravi djs were stupid. Yes, they are graphic. I 'm saying: having read several of them, they are also incredibly stupid.

aug 18, 2006, 2:42 am

Well, I don't like Gravitation to begin with, so I reserve judgement on anything but the graphic nature of the djs. ^^

28OmnipresentDoormat Første besked:
okt 23, 2006, 10:04 am

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

okt 23, 2006, 11:58 pm

First of all, you are using "world" when you mean "western society." The world? Accepts lots, and lots, and lots of prejudices much worse than homophobia. Like, the kind that lead to ethnic cleansing in places like Darfur (still ongoing, by the way, with no serious intervention from the international powers).

And yaoi is not about gay men. Never has been. Never will be. It does not need to, and in fact CANNOT, seriously tackle discrimination because it's not about any group that is discriminated against. It is coded as heterosexual, the uke as the female, the seme as the male. It has NOTHING to do with the reality of gay men, and isn't supposed to.

And finally, yaoi is Japanese. A society that is very, very different from the western world, however westernised they may be in some respects. They have NOT made the same strides in handling discrimination and mental illness, for instance, that we have. It's simply NOT handled as a major issue there. This doesn't mean it isn't a problem, far from it, but it means THEY DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. There is a very distinct culture of silence completely unlike what we experience here.

In short, you are projecting western values onto a foreign art form. This NEVER works.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2006, 12:36 am

Another good title for a library might be Shout Out Loud!.

okt 25, 2006, 1:00 pm

If anyone is into scans, I would suggest Yume no Kodomo (on Essence of Purity). I can't think of anymore at the moment, but Essence of Purity, DokiDoki, Mochi-Mochi, and Smexy Bastards are all very good.

okt 31, 2006, 1:50 pm

I would like to extend an apology to lohengrin, because it appears that I misphrased my comment. I know that things such as mental illness are still taboo issues, but none of my exchange students or my Japanese teacher seem to have too much against homosexuality, but prefer not to speak about it. I do believe, however, that someone who draws yaoi for a living would (whether or not it represents a female in reality) eventually develop some measure of sympathy for the (mostly irrelevant) issue at hand. Do you know of any manga that could be classified as homosexual rather than yaoi?

okt 31, 2006, 10:05 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

nov 1, 2006, 8:52 am

Thank you very much. I'll check those.

jan 17, 2007, 12:39 am

I second the vote for Only the Ring Finger Knows, for pretty much the same reasons. There's both a manga and three novels for the series currently out, and although the editing for the novels is rather...poor, the series itself is very mild and would probably work well for a library.

I myself tend to separate yaoi from BL, if only for my own ease of reference...I tend to refer to the basically plotless smut (ex: Passion, Level C, Vol 1) as yaoi and the more plotted romance (such as Ring Finger or Eerie Queerie) as BL. Granted, this line can blur, although it works for me.

jan 24, 2007, 2:53 am

I believe there are very good yaoi titles, as there will be good works in any genre. However, what's 'good' is highly subjective. ;)

Semantics aside, I read quite a bit of yaoi. I don't believe it's a fad, either. Many manga companies like Blu, DMP, DramaQueen and others are importing and translating these titles because fans are requesting it and they're voting with their dollars.

Most yaoi titles carry mature ratings, so the readers do tend to be older. Milder BL (Boys' Love) or shonen-ai titles, manga featuring male homosexuals, have also been rated a minimum of age 13+ for US licensing.

I prefer plot over smut but enjoy both. Therefore, I would recommend Fake by Sanami Matoh and Kizuna by Kazuma Kodaka. Both series are for mature audiences. Fake is a 7-volume series which revolves around two police detectives and lends the appeal of action and murder mystery. The main characters in Kizuna are a former kendo star and a yakuza boss's illegitimate son. This series also has plenty of action, while exploring the characters' relationship.

I hope that information is helpful to you. :)

Redigeret: nov 8, 7:08 pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.