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A Brief History of ShŌnen’ai, Yaoi, and Boys Love

A Brief History of ShŌnen’ai, Yaoi, and Boys Love

(p.42) A Brief History of ShŌnen’ai, Yaoi, and Boys Love
Boys Love Manga and Beyond
James Welker
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores the emergence of the genres that is predominantly used to label Boys Love (BL). It first turns to the works of the Fabulous Year 24 Group (Hana no nijūyo'nen-gumi), also known as the “Fabolous Forty-Niners,” who created the genre shōnen'ai in the 1970s. The group's narratives were printed in mainstream shōjo manga magazines and featured male protagonists in same-sex romantic and sexual relationships. The first of these narratives were placed in romanticized European settings. It then discusses the emergence of yaoi in the 1980s. Short for yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi, the genre was known for the relatively plotless original narratives and parodies replete with implied or roughly depicted male-on-male sex. The chapter concludes with a description of the JUNE genre, which is named after a popular shōjo magazine, and the BL genre—the first to use other media forms such as drama CD's and light novels.

Keywords:   BL, Fabolous Forty-Niners, shōnen'ai, shōjo, same-sex relationships, yaoi, male-on-male sex, JUNE, light novels

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