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What is Yaoi?

Yaoi is a popular form of manga featuring guy-on-guy romance primarily created for (and usually by) women.

Finding its origin in Japan’s own very successful self-publishing community in the mid-1970s, the term “yaoi” is actually a playful acronym for the Japanese words “yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi” which are often translated as “no climax, no punchline, no meaning.” A more useful variation of this I found on Wikipedia is “no peak, no point, no problem” — something that stresses the sense of fun and freedom that yaoi offers its readers… and creators.

Currently, yaoi graphic novels in the United States are being created and released by professional publishers and fans alike and are growing in popularity by leaps and bounds — often comprising a large percentage of the top ten manga books sold by Amazon.com.

So, that tells you what yaoi is, but perhaps the better question is — “Why Is This Gay Man Creating Yaoi?”

(EDIT: If you’re looking for more context, there is a dated (2003), but truly excellent in-depth discussion of what yaoi is and its history in Japan by April Gutierrez called “Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi” over at GreenCine.)

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