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Should Yaoi Be Just For Women?

August 19, 2006 | | Comments 26 |

Yaoi is written predominantly by and for women — but is it “just for women”? Yaoi works feature guys falling in love, guys kissing and guys having sex — but is it actually “not homosexual”?

Who “owns” yaoi and why this is important is the subject of this article.

Not too long ago, I commented on the August 09, 2006 post over at Comics 212 (EDIT: which you now have to scroll down a bit in his archives page to see, check out the August 18, 2006 post for his response while you are there) which included some interview excerpts from a very well-known yaoi mangaka, Kazuma Kodaka. In response to the question “How much connection do your stories have to gay culture?” (asked by Giant Robot’s Cathy Camper), she said:

My manga is yaoi, not homosexual, and there’s a subtle difference between the two… It’s about how the characters feel and how they struggle to obtain love until it’s finally achieved. The story is usually about the characters’ feelings of pain and longing for each other, which is a more feminine sensibility.

This wasn’t the first time I had heard a yaoi mangaka express a belief in such a distinction and it has always seemed like a misunderstanding of “gay culture” to me, so I responded in the comments of that post:

It’s interesting that “feelings of pain and longing” are often being attribued more to women than gay men by BL creators and that this perception is being used as a way to show the distinction between yaoi and gay comics. Certainly listening to Bronsky Beat’s Age of Consent as a kid and remembering now how much it resonated with me, it’s hard to imagine my “gay” feelings as a teenager and young adult (the age of many BL heroes) described as anything other than “pain and longing.” In many ways, this argument rings false to me, especially because as a gay guy I have no problem relating to the characters in these “just-for-women” works.

But that said, one of the reasons I am choosing to write “yaoi” works as a gay guy is because I believe that labeling something as manga and yaoi in particular does imply a stronger focus on relationships and emotions in the story, even if the story is an action-adventure one. And the fact that the intended “yaoi audience” is predominantly but not exclusively women encourages me as a creator to focus more on universal elements in my stories, hopefully making them fun for the whole family. So perhaps I am part of the problem, too. ;-)

I think the true definition of “yaoi” and exactly how it is supposed to differ from “gay comics” will be something that will take a number of years — and the maturing of the yaoi market — to be decided. And I question whether, in the end, the distinction will be relevant in any meaningful way.

As this was on an older post, I hadn’t expected anyone to really notice it, but I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking about this issue. As I said in my last article, the comment got a mention at Mangablog and just yesterday Chris Butcher of Comics 212 himself weighed in with an excellent take on the subject. (EDIT: This is the August 18, 2006 post I mentioned above.)

In that article, he brings up a number of interesting points and issues I’d like to address.

Yaoi ain’t Tom of Finland — does it need to be?

Just as there are assumptions on the part of creators and pundits about what a female audience prefers in guy-on-guy action (effeminate-looking men, clear gender roles, etc.) there are similar assumptions about what gay men really want — and often that’s considered to be hyper-masculine images, such as those created by Tom of Finland. This is often cited as the reason why gay guys just don’t get yaoi.

But just as there are all kinds of things that turn on women in this world, not all of us gay guys are into this hyper-masculine ideal — apparently I like clueless boys, for example — and some of the “just for girls” hearts and flowers imagery and warm-and-fuzzy stories found in yaoi can be a lot of fun for us gay boys to read. Chris makes the excellent point that when it comes to fantasy, trying to predict what people should like based on what group they belong to is useless.

In addition, as Lyle Masaki of Crocodile Caucus points out, just because the yaoi heroes don’t always reflect conventional images of Western gay culture doesn’t necessarily mean these stories exist in some kind of gay-ignorant vacuum:

I sometimes find myself disagreeing with the contention that these stories aren’t about gay men, as sometimes these stories handle gay issues (emotional, not political ones) as a source of romantic complications that wouldn’t have as much impact if these characters were heterosexual, or even the “straight-except-for-this-one-guy” type… If the reader doesn’t look at the characters as gay, the story loses a lot of its impact. The “my boyfriend is with me only for the sex” conflict has a lot more drama when a cultural issue of self-acceptance is part of the subtext.

This is another reason why I think it’s misguided to assume that you need a “feminine sensibility” to feel a personal connection to these stories. Yes, the characters in some yaoi stories live in a far more accepting world than the rest of us do, but many yaoi stories I read just seem to get what it’s like to be homosexual in an intolerant culture: the isolation, the longing for acceptance, the perceived need to keep the truth of one’s affections secret… and yes, the “pain and longing” of growing up gay.

So why make the distinction?

So where does this need to draw a line between gays and yaoi-lovers come from? Certainly, as Craig McKenney of Headless Shakespeare Press pointed out in his response to Kodaka’s comments, such sentiments have the aroma of homophobia:

I, too, had great trouble with the assertion that gay comics aren’t about emotions, feelings, relationships, etc. It smacks of the whole “I’m not gay!” defense on the part of straight people who feel they must continue to define themselves & the things around them so that no one thinks they’re gay.

My take at the time was that it actually had more to do with sexism than homophobia — as little kids, we were taught to make important distinctions between boy-cooties and girl-cooties and it seems like every culture takes great pleasure in continuing to play up perceived differences as we grow into adults. And, as I understand Japanese culture, gender roles are still much more defined and restrictive there than here, so that might be informing Japanese mangakas’ perspective on this issue.

But Chris points out another potential reason:

To be honest I think it all comes back to fangirl/fanboy entitlement, like so much of the manga discussion seems to these days. The uneasy relationship between people who love something and the companies who want to sell it to them. Like I always say, a community is defined by who it excludes, and the yaoi community seems to think that it doesn’t include gay men. Sure, their reasoning is benign on the surface and it’s all very nice, but honestly? It’s false, entirely false…

So is that it? Are the yaoi girls just wanting to keep us gay boys out of their club house?

A Girls Only Sanctuary

It’s funny, but as I was reading Chris’ article and the words of others on this subject, I was reminded of a controversial transition that took place in the club scene some years ago here in San Francisco. A new dance club for women opened called “The Cafe” right in the Castro district. This was somewhat special because while there were a number of dance clubs in San Francisco that catered to men who liked men, there was a dearth of them for the lesbian community — in fact, this might have been the only full time women’s dance club in the Bay Area at that time.

But because of zoning ordinances, only one other club in the very gay Castro district allowed dancing and that fact, combined with a very moderate cover charge, led to a huge influx of gay men shaking their groove thing in this women’s only space. Soon, the men outnumbered the women and in less than a year it was essentially, for all intents and purposes, another gay male club. And many women were quite unhappy with that change.

Chris says:

The queers are coming. First one to cater their gay porn to the gay community goes home with the money. :)

And I think there’s truth in that. There is money to be had by courting gay dollars and yes, I think it is foolish for publishers to ignore or alienate that market in the West. But I also think the fangirls’ interest in keeping the flavor of yaoi distinct from other forms of guy-on-guy romance has a foundation in something less trivial than cliquish pettiness.

Yaoi — because its predominant audience is women — does in fact offer something different than comics that cater primarily to gay men. As I’ve suggested, I have serious questions about the validity of a “feminine sensibility” when that concept means somehow excluding men from understanding basic human experiences. But there is something — perhaps found in the explicitly stated winks-and-nudges to the shoujo fan girls in Fake or the emotional tenor of works like Sweet Inspiration — that makes these works special and unique. And fans trying to define what that is — and even looking to protect that some — is understandable.

The “dominant” members of society — and that includes men, both straight and gay — can use their power to co-opt things that didn’t originally belong to them. Dominant white culture co-opted jazz and turned it into swing. Corporations have taken the concept of grassroots activism and, using their far greater resources, are giving us “astroturf” activism. Have these actions killed jazz or grassroots movements? No. But it does dilute them in the popular culture — and those who originally created and loved such things cry out “Hey, you guys are missing something!”

So What Should “Yaoi” Mean Then?

I am struck by Chris’ insightful observation about it all coming down to “the uneasy relationship between people who love something and the companies who want to sell it to them.” What is that relationship? It’s the relationship between identity and marketing.

On the one side of this relationship, Yaoi books offer something special to a group that has not been served by other kinds of media. It’s more than simply “Hey, look — just like straight guys like lesbians, straight chicks can dig the guy-on-guy action!” — actually, trying to define the appeal can be fraught with peril — but whatever the reasons, the appreciation of these books has created a sense of community and belonging and frankly, I don’t think it’s petty to want to belong, to want to be member of a group of peers who share the same perspectives on love and fantasy that you do when so much of the dominant culture seems to tell you such perspectives are wrong.

On the other side of the relationship, as a writer and publisher, I know that when you are going to sell a book, you need to know who your audience is and try to find a way to let them know that you’ve made this book especially for them. Get it wrong — or worse yet, seem like you merely trying to manipulate a fan base — and the reaction can be quite severe. Get it right, and hopefully you make enough money to keep publishing the books you love.

So, for both members of this relationship, there is good reason to try to pin down what exactly yaoi is and who it’s for. I’ve tried to mention some of the things that I think make yaoi unique, but honestly, as I’m sure you can tell from this article, it’s something I’m still trying to figure out how to express. And as I said in that first comment on Comics 212, I think it might take a number of years before we as a culture or as fans will truly know how yaoi should be defined here in the West (and in the “Global Boys’ Love” scene in general.)

But even though I believe it would be best for yaoi to retain its own distinct character — both for those who identify with it and for those who wish to sell books to these fans — I think it would, in fact, be missing the essential truth of yaoi to try to draw strong barriers between men and women, gays and straights when looking to define that character. Even though they are written for a predominantly female audience, yaoi books give everyone an opportunity to appreciate gay love, regardless of their actual gender or sexual identities.

In the end, I don’t think anyone “owns” yaoi. It’s an art-form that by its very nature is about breaking down barriers. Whether appreciating or marketing these books, we should strive to be inclusive — not for the cash prize of appealing to a larger market, but rather, because if there is anything that these “just-for-fun” romantic fantasy romps teach us, it’s just wrong to tell people how, who or what they should love.

P.S. For what it’s worth, a decade later, The Cafe club I mentioned earlier is now very mixed with boys and girls shaking their groove things side-by-side. Just thought I’d let you know how that turned out… ;-)


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About the Author: Filmmaker by day, yaoi creator by night, Alex has dedicated himself to helping cute guys fight evil and find love.

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  1. jen says:

    The amount of discussion on this topic sometimes boggles my mind.

    I DO think that the yaoi community online is one of the appeals of the genre, at least in the US, and I can definitely understand why some male fans of yaoi feel like they're being excluded from a girls-only club…I think a lot of girls feel sort of like, guys have their porn and we have ours, y'know? But I've never seen anyone try to exclude gay men from the community explicitly.

    But part of the definition of yaoi, as I've always understood it, is the fact that it IS created for women and by women. It's not that gay men aren't allowed to enjoy it, but to complain about how people say it's intended for women seems silly to me. It IS, and that's part of what makes yaoi what it is, and if that were different then yaoi would be something different from what it is.

    Think about it this way: I'm a woman, and I enjoy typical western porn. But if I went around complaining about how your average western porno was made with pretty much only male viewers in mind, people would look at me pretty funny, wouldn't they?

    Of course, anyone who intentionally tries to exclude gay men from the yaoi community is probably just some elitist– of which I think the yaoi fandom has more than its fair share. (I was always reluctant to identify as a yaoi fangirl because of the combined power of the elitist fangirls and the giggling-squeeing-13-year-old fangirls.)

  2. Hey Jen,

    Actually, as you can probably tell from my other posts, I couldn't agree with you more. The only consistent and essential characteristic of yaoi that I can put my finger on is its intended audience — that being, predominantly women. Take that factor out of the equation and then it would be hard to tell the difference between what it offers and more conventional western gay romance/porn.

    So, while I'd like to think that you don't have to be a woman to write compelling yaoi (and in fact also happen to believe you don't have to be a gay guy to write compelling gay romance…), I think complaining about yaoi's primary intended audience is not only silly, but misses some of what makes yaoi special.

    I won't speak for others, but for me the issue was more about an assumption made about what I was capable of experiencing and appreciating as a gay guy as opposed to feeling like the "girls weren't letting me into their club house." As I've said in other posts, I see a larger purpose of yaoi which includes promoting inclusiveness and insight into those who are different — in fact, it is my belief that yaoi has the potential to change the world O_O — but I don't think any of that requires changing yaoi's intended primary audience.

    Like you, it's the sense of exclusion on the part of some people and in particular an occasional lack of empathy by creators for a group they are telling stories about that has troubled me. A shorthand way to explain why straight women like yaoi is that "Oh, it's just like lesbian porn for straight men." One of the reasons I think this is wrong is that in the lesbo porn, the women are essentially objects. In much of yaoi, I rarely get that feeling — I find that the creators really try to flesh out real people who not only deserve the other characters' love, but ours as well.

    So, when I wrote that first comment way back when, it wasn't to bash Ms. Kodaka on the head for being a backwards homophobe. Quite the opposite. It is my belief that yaoi creators really would want to get the feelings of gay characters and readers right — and treat those feelings with care and empathy. I wrote that comment thinking about what I'd say to her if we were in conversation and it came from a place of respect and sharing.

    IMHO, Yaoi gives disparate groups an opportunity to understand one another. And in my mind, I'd like to think that at the end of that conversation, Ms. Kodaka and I would be smiling.

  3. jen says:

    It is my belief that yaoi creators really would want to get the feelings of gay characters and readers right…

    I think you've got a lot of interesting points, and I'm particularly curious about this one. So much of what we see in yaoi is sheer fantasy, not realism– case in point, the amount of rape, molestation, and harassment that occurs in the stories that winds up with the uke realizing that he actually wanted it, or something else that supposedly negates the forcible aspect of it.

    In real life, that after-the-fact justification would be seen as being in denial, being an enabler, etc. and the victim would be seriously encouraged to get out of the relationship.

    So I'm not sure if there's a way to incorporate a fantastical element like that in a manner that is both realistic AND doesn't make the reader feel sort of skeezy, if that makes sense.

    I've kind of gone off-topic, haven't I? Sorry ^_^;; Rape fantasy portrayal in yaoi is a topic I've had an interest in, ever since I wrote this article for TheOtaku (who recently closed their Articles section! Sad!).

  4. jen says:

    I have no idea why I can't get these stupid tags to work, by the way!

  5. Hey Jen,

    Don't worry about the tags — I've fixed them for you. :-) (I think part of reason for the trouble is that WordPress uses the greater-than and less-than symbols as opposed to the brackets to denote codes that other sites use. Probably the best thing, though, is to use the Quicktag buttons up above while writing and the Preview button below to make sure all is well.)

    You yourself bring up a very valid and interesting point (and that's an interesting article, BTW, and I would recommend to other readers that they should check it out.)

    As I've said in other posts, I'm not a huge fan of non-consensual yaoi (of which, I admit, there seems to be a lot of), and yes, for those works in particular, it's hard to think of the creators treating those characters "realistically."

    Sure, what you are bringing up is "off-topic," but it's a fascinating question: the relationship of fantasy to empathy and whether yaoi offers us three-dimensional characters or mere sex-objects. My guess is that yaoi is so diverse, we could find examples to support either side of whichever argument we wanted to make. It sounds like a topic that would be both fun and interesting to explore in depth (perhaps a future Yaoi Suki essay?). (And yes, I think especially worth continued exploration is what the non-consensual elements offer readers — especially in a cultural context [Japan] where a lot of the hetero erotica [at least that I've seen] also has strong non-con elements.)

    That said, and back on topic ;-), I still believe that most yaoi creators would want their gay readers to feel understood and respected, if not by their portrayal in yaoi books, than at least by their comments to the press. And I still firmly believe that yaoi works have the potential to increase understanding and empathy even if some of them just want to crank your motor.

  6. jen says:

    Oh, interesting. From the buttons on top I just assumed they used BBcode style, which in retrospect was kind of silly of me. (Although it is the code style that most blogs use, at least in my experience.)

    I'm generally not a fan of non-con either. But I can see at least one potential appeal: typically in those sexual experiences, the seme takes control and the uke is just completely lost in the physical sensations of the act.

    And I can definitely see how that would appeal– sex is so heavily focused on in western culture, and we're so worried about being good at it or being sexy or pleasing our partner or what this means for our relationship or whatever that it's hard for anyone to really lose themselves in it. Or at least, that's how it seems to me.

    And in a country that tends to be very rigid, at least on the surface, I can see how it appeals in Japan as well!

    Oh yes, the topic at hand. *coughs* I definitely think that yaoi– like all media –has the capability of bringing us together. But I'm also inclined to think that with the fandom in the state that it is (i.e. full of elitists and squee-ers), it'll be a long road. ;)

  7. It's interesting but your comments made me think of a line that's stuck with me from a book of gay short stories I read as a teenager — Buddies by Ethan Mordden (quite a good read about a particular time in gay history [the 70s], as I recall.)

    In this book, the characters are all discussing S&M in a Sex in the City kind of way, trying to figure out who would be an "S" and who would be an "M". The lead character ends the conversation by saying that it is pointless to look for "S"'s — that everyone is really an "M". That, in the end, "we all want to be possessed" and the object of someone's full attention.

    I don't know if it's true, but like I said, it's stuck with me. And I suppose, if there's anything I get out of those scenes, perhaps it's that. :-)

    Oh yes, the topic at hand. *coughs* I definitely think that yaoi– like all media –has the capability of bringing us together. But I’m also inclined to think that with the fandom in the state that it is (i.e. full of elitists and squee-ers), it’ll be a long road.

    Well, you know the fan scene better than I do, I think, but as long as I can have such good, intelligent company along the way with fans (if you'll forgive the term) like yourself, it's a road I'm happy to walk down. ;-)

  8. jen says:

    I'm flattered! ;)

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that although I've had a passing interest in yaoi since I first found it around the age of ~13, I really got more into it via slash (yes, I was a Harry Potter slasher, I admit it). So my viewpoint tends to be a bit skewed, I expect.

  9. Well, as I've mentioned here — I've also come to yaoi via slash (and in particular WAFFy slash.) And judging from a yaoicon poll I saw, it seems like a lot of other folks come to yaoi that way too. So, I think we'll give you a pass… ;-)

  10. Oh, and you were a Harry Potter slasher! That's cool. (I was at work, so I had to reply quickly — otherwise I would have picked up on that before. For me it was Ryoga-Ranma, BTW… ;-) )

    You'll have to let me know what you think of "A Shot in the Dark" when it's complete. I'd like to think it'll be right up your alley.

  11. Khalin says:

    I feel like I have to give my own input. As a gay man [I'm 21 years old right now], there is nothing wrong with the emotions and sensitivity that typical yaoi draws out, however it's rather annoying and highly ridiculous at how unrealistic it is. I think part of why most gay guys I know hate yaoi is because there is no balanced love or sexuality, it's always some guy that's overly feminine to the point where it's a joke, which [to me] is a huge distraction and makes it difficult for me to take it seriously. Actual good yaoi that's both beautifully yet realistically romantic with actual characters that weren't designed by a 12-year old girl is extremely difficult to find.

  12. @Khalin

    Hello Khalin and welcome to Yaoi 911™. :-) I hear what you're saying, but I think you might be painting the entire yaoi genre with too broad a brush. While I certainly have read yaoi books that would meet with the description you gave — *cough* Brother *cough* — many I have looked at offer love that — at least to me– feels sweet and honest (does that make it "balanced"?) and characters who read to me as authentically masculine (if not exactly buff… ;-) )

    If you are looking for good yaoi that's beautifully yet realistically romantic, I'd start with

    Seduce Me After The Show by Est Em

    For sweeter (and more mainstream yaoi) I'd definitely point you to the work of Hinako Takanaga-sensei, in particular the Little Butterfly series. While her boys wouldn't fit into a muscle bar, they are definitely guys. And she's tremendously popular both here and in Japan, with a number of series available in English (in fact, I'm about to review another of her books just out…)

    Is her work "realistic"? No, I think it's escapist romance ultimately. But as a gay man, it doesn't feel false to me, either.

    (Another good option for sweet, escapist fantasy, with masculine [if very young-looking] character art, would be Yukine Honami-sensei's work, in particular Rin.)

    So there are just a few options for you to check out before you rule out the majority of yaoi works as the ridiculous product of 12-year old girls. ;-) Yes, you can find those kinds of books out there. Sure, they can be a turn off. But yaoi has been around for a long time and I've found that there are some real gems that are just an Amazon.com click away.

    Gems that hopefully I can turn my readers on to.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Alex

  13. Khalin says:

    You respond very well Alex, and yes I concede your points. But most of the yaoi I do come across is as I described. I do find difficulty finding well-done yaoi [not just in terms of characterization and sexuality, but also in terms of character design as well as art quality].

    I don't necessarily want dudes that would fit into a muscle bar as you said, but I do feel that there needs to be some definite masculinity present. Afterall, we like guys because they are guys, not because they are girls. If I wanted to watch girls, I'd be googling some good yuri, haha.

    Thankyou also for your third recommendation, it looks promising based on its cover [and don't throw the cliche book-cover saying at me].

  14. Originally Posted By Khalin Afterall, we like guys because they are guys, not because they are girls. If I wanted to watch girls, I'd be googling some good yuri, haha.

    Sure. :-) And in all honesty, it's a rare yaoi book that I find "hot". (Just check out my reviews. But that said, it's also a rare bit of visual gay porn that I find hot, either, so that might just be the way I roll…) The appeal of yaoi for me is primarily the romance. The more androgynous the art, the less "sexy" I tend to find the story, but there are often other things that make up for that. And — making a HUGE generalization here — I tend to find the stuff written by women to be more romantic than the stuff written by gay men. Not exclusively — more of a 70/30 split — but enough so that I find I get a special enjoyment out of yaoi graphic novels.

    Thank you also for your third recommendation, it looks promising based on its cover [and don't throw the cliche book-cover saying at me].

    Well, I hope you enjoy it. (And the cover does do a good job of showing off Honami-sensei's art style — better than the covers of Takanaga-sensei's books, IMHO.)

    Please be sure to come back here and let me know what you thought of it!

    Alex

  15. Khalin says:

    Well, the art does look promising so I'll definitely look into it. I have high expectations though, so we'll see.

  16. @Khalin – So long as you're expecting sweet escapist cuddly romance, then you shouldn't be disappointed. :-)

  17. deegroovy says:

    to answer your question (and then I'll read the article ;)

    Of course not! the more the merrier – it just shows the universal appeal of yaoi ^_^

  18. @deegroovy

    Of course not! the more the merrier – it just shows the universal appeal of yaoi ^_^

    Agreed! Guy-on-guy kissing makes everyone's world better. ;-)

  19. Dee says:

    I think there've been articles and studies about why yaoi was created, something about escaping from the demands of society? I'm not very sure… it'd be good to know.

    Oh, Alex, and I'll get back to the other discussion soon. :)

  20. daniyagami says:

    I am loving this site. I love your arguments, they are intelligent and well put. BTW I think you should read Yoneda Kou (if you don´t know her yet) because I think you are going to love. Here some resources:
    http://www.mangatraders.com/manga/series/4644 http://community.livejournal.com/yoneda_kou/
    Check her doujinshis and series, I think you are going to enjoy.

  21. @daniyagami

    Hey – thank you very much for the compliments! They are much appreciated! :-D

    I'll keep an eye out for Kou-sensei's work, in case a U.S. publisher decides to publish her here. I know it sounds strange, but I don't really download yaoi. I might download bara because there really aren't any publishers here who are publishing it, and hopefully by increasing its popularity, publishers will see it's marketable — but for yaoi, there are a number of publishers here in the U.S. already. And if I get in the habit of downloading yaoi — I know myself, it's so convenient to download, I'll be less likely to buy it — and I really want to support the yaoi pubs here in the U.S. that are still managing to survive. I understand that other yaoi-fans might make different choices around that, but it's what works for me. But from what I can see of the art, I find Kou-sensei's work intriguing, so hopefully a U.S. pub will pick her up soon! :-D

  22. daniyagami says:

    Oh, I only read this reply now. Sorry, my apologies, I only read online because there are no places that print yaoi in my country (Brazil) and I prefer to read in english (I detest brazilian translations) that´s why I point everything online. Most of what I pointed to you is not licensed in US (I don´t even know if someone but the fans knows Yoneda Kou because she mostly makes doujinshis, she is not knowed even in Japan)but since you are researching to become a yaoi author, what I think is really cool, I thought in point to you yaois that are not mainstream (so they are not cliché like reluctant crying girlie ukes, semes that out of the blue decide to rape the uke and other clichés that so many yaois have).

    I think the western industrie is still learning about japanese manga in general. We don´t see the best titles licensed and translated. Unfortunately for the mangakas the scanlators does a better work than the editors. (Also let me tell you that Kano Miyamoto and Yoneda Kou are aware of their translators, Kano Miyamoto encourage the scanlation, I have a novel she wrote and made available only through the scanlation site. I suppose is something that is somehow connected with the fact that they both make doujinshis, they are very close to their readers).

    Again, my apologies with all my links. Sometimes I´m clueless. =)

  23. @daniyagami

    No need for apologies. :-) That's interesting to hear about Miyamoto-sensei's approval of scanlations. I too wonder if it's because of her doujinshi background…

  24. rusymptote says:

    Actually it's already possible to define the difference between American gay comics and yaoi. Just compare Tim Fish's Trust/Truth to Kizuna and your dissertation is ready.

  25. tyciol says:

    I don't think it's right to say any form of media should be exclusively for any type of person. Naturally many groups have inclinations and will make up a prime audience of various things but I think you will always find exceptions, people interested in what they're not expected to, and that's just fine.

    I mean, look at how many of us adults still like Pokemon

  26. Dear Alex, I’m just commenting to say that like Alice, I find your site as a whole to be the best kind of rabbit hole. Honestly, today it was “What is Yaoi?” day.

    It’s like I find a mood and pick a topic and this world and its particular art becomes revealed and infinitely more complex and at the same time a a lot more understandable and still a reflection of the human self.

    I loved your definition and your generosity about why YOU do what you do. I loved understanding a bit more about your relationship with your female audience, it opened my mind up. Yes “gay for gay” I know all too well, but I loved your articulation of the subtle differences that attracted you and you were striving for in your own work.

    I am admittedly envious of the smart path you’ve figured out regarding how to pursue your own film-making goals. I’ve often thought that your GN’s felt like films to me – in thought and execution. And now I understand a bit more about why. America has it’s own similar journey in why women writing gay male romance prose is or isn’t legit… it’s all so different… and yet the same. Anyway fascinating reading for me and thanks for your writing and for sharing the links to other’s writings that I find fascinating, even here, seven years later.

    I just read “Should Yaoi Be Just For Women?” A really superb piece of writing in 2006? Do you remember when? I so enjoyed reading the timeless applicable quality to your comments in response to the interview with Kazuma Kodaka and the perfectly expressed idea that “pain & longing” is VERY male and gay… if not universal. I loved linking off to Chris Butcher’s awesome response of so long ago and still so apropos.

    I don’t know if you watched Sapfo’s link to the non-queer male performance theatre piece on “Man Up”. Not oddly, here today, it’s all about “pain & longing.”

    http://www.upworthy.com/if-you-tell-this-dude-to-man-up-you-better-be-prepared-to-learn-why-what-you-said-is-awful?c=cur1

    But your article took me right back to it for… straight men, gay men, all women, everyone. “Pain & longing,” who doesn’t know it?

    Anyway, I love the endless pathways and the education I’m getting on the world of Yaoi or Bara or Manga or or or and all it’s squabbles and tribulations. Publishing houses wanting to distribute clearly gay material as long as they don’t have to say “It’s Gay.” So very like the major studio corporates that I know more than I’d wish. LOL. It never ends completely. Just evolves, as D-Wolf and I were posting about the publishing world this morning.

    So thanks for the Yaoi911 Site itself. It’s beautifully done. In a different way, I get as much out of it as I do TYP and I don’t think I’ll ever link my way to the far edge of the forrest. Thank you, the time and effort is very clear and much appreciated.

    All best,
    ChristopherD

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