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What Can We Learn from Japanese Professional BL Writers?

What Can We Learn from Japanese Professional BL Writers?

A Sociological Analysis of Yaoi/BL Terminology and Classifications

(p.93) What Can We Learn from Japanese Professional BL Writers?
Boys Love Manga and Beyond
Kazuko Suzuki
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses the problems that emerge from the proliferation of different terms referring to genres of male-male romance writing in Japan. Drawing from the insights of Boys Love (BL) light novel writers and manga artists, it argues that a failure to distinguish between genres can not only lead to confusion on multiple levels, but also impede the development of research that uses the genres as variables to explain a distinct social phenomenon associated with each. The chapter also presents their perceptions on the other subgenres of BL. In discussing the categories shōnen'ai, tanbi, JUNE, yaoi, and BL, the interviewees stressed both chronological and narrative content difference between these terms. For instance, they associate the traditional term shōnen'ai with the pioneering manga by the Fabulous Forty-Niners, while tanbi (aesthetic) literature for them is most associated with themes explored by “aesthetic” authors such as Thomas Mann and Oscar Wilde in Europe.

Keywords:   male-male romance writing, Japan, social phenomenon, BL, manga, light novel, yaoi, tanbi, JUNE, shōnen'ai

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