In Japan, 'BL
' is actually the umbrella term for yaoi/shounen ai. i.e. BL contains everything from hints/subtext (which Western fans might call 'shounen ai') to really explicit doujinshi/titles (yaoi). According to the Japanese wiki, they don't use 'shounen ai
', and 'yaoi
' is a sub-heading that refers to really explicit scenes or works that are full of such scenes. Also, BL and 'ladies comics
'* are both listed as genres under 'shoujo
*'josei manga' is the Western term, although 'josei' is used as a genre term in Japanese literature in general.
The Western fandom, as far as I know, tends to use 'yaoi
' as the umbrella term, though a lot of Asian fans seem to have started using 'BL
'. It seems like people are starting to use the two terms interchangeably in the English-speaking fandom, although I think there is still something of an East/West divide.
titles are actually aimed at girls/women, as a few people have already said in this thread. i.e. they're not shounen
. According to J-wiki again, with regards to manga, it'd come under shoujo manga (like 'josei', it's a genre term in Japanese literature).
is more like a genre within shoujo than a sub-genre of josei. As far as I'm aware, it's a distinction made in the Western fandom - I don't know if the Japanese care to make such a distinction.
But I give up trying to explain. The Western adoption
of all these terms has resulted in a lot of misunderstanding in the English-speaking fandom.
So what does all this mean for popularity and all that? Anyone have a more interesting argument than the one put forth by TJR?
Originally Posted by TJR
Traditionally speaking, the popularity of BL in Japan is rooted in feminism.
Target audience = heterosexual women
Origin = a rejection of the power imbalance between the sexes found in a typical male/female relationship (and within society at large). The typical BL relationship maintains the power imbalance (seme/uke dynamic) but eliminates the gender aspect.
I don't know whether the same is true for western fans, but there is some sentiment that explicit BL depictions offer female oriented smut without being degrading to women.
As for yuri, no such link exists.