When did Yaoi rise in popularity?

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When did Yaoi rise in popularity?

Post by TheMidnightSnack »

I would say I'm asking for a friend, but I'd be lying.
I recently finished Gravitation by Maki Murakami, and I began thinking: When was Yaoi an accepted genre by a Japanese and American Audience? Gravatation was started in 1996, so I'd expect it to be sometime before then.

I mean, I could look it up, but asking you guys is more fun anyways.
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Re: When did Yaoi rise in popularity?

Post by mbanu »

The rec.arts.anime and rec.arts.manga archives would probably be helpful here.

Explaining Yaoi in 1994 to rec.arts.manga:
Cynthia Ma wrote:Hi all,

As a manga fan, you may be familiar with terms such as shounen manga (for
boys), shoujo manga (for girls), seinen manga (for men), or jousei manga (for
ladies). But do you know about the "June" phenomenon? New trend of manga and
novels has appeared on the market. A genre that is targeting at readers who
are not satisfied with the traditional shoujo manga. These are manga focusing
on the aesthetic love and relationship between bishounen. There was a magazine
boom last year with mainly this kind of manga. Most of them don't regard
themselves as shoujo manga, nor shounen manga. It is a unique genre which
stands alone. We called it "Yaoi manga", or "Boys' Love manga".

The manga magazine "Puff" has compiled a manual on Boys' Love magazines. Here
is the list of the ones with manga (there are novel magazines as well):

J U N E :
June magazine is the originator of Yaoi magazines. Nowadays, fans
simply refer yaoi matters as "June mono" (June stuffs), and the word
"June" is also used as a noun in conversation. Famous manga artists
such as Yoshida Akimi (Banana Fish) and Takemiya Keiko (Song of wind
and wood) has manga published in June. Another manga "Ai no kusabi" by
Yoshihara Rieko serialised in June was first animated in 1992, and the
second anime will come out soon as well.

First published : 1 Oct 1978
Publish pace : 25th on odd number months (i.e. Jan, Mar, May, etc.)
Size : B5
Price : 750 yen
Concept : Aesthetic tradition and revolution
Contents other than manga : Shounen movie history, Rock info, Video
guide, Manga guide, etc.

G U S T :
Probably the second most popular yaoi manga magazine. "Osakana wa ami
no naka" serialised in Gust is just animated recently.

First published : 10 Jul 1990
Publish pace : 3rd of even number months (i.e. Feb, Apr, Jun, etc.)
Size : A5
Price : 600 yen
Concept : The royal road to yaoi book
Contents other than manga : Doujinshi info, Various experiences from
manga artists (e.g. going to a haunted mansion, etc), etc.

G E N E R O U S :
This magazine contains only one-off manga.

First published : 10 Mar 1993
Publish pace : 15th of odd number months
Size : A5
Price : 900 yen
Concept : All one-off bright and cheerful Yaoi manga.

B E x B O Y :
There are a lot of manga from good manga artists with wide varieties
in this magazine.

First published : 7 Mar 1993
Publish pace : monthly on the 7th
Size : A5
Price : 550 yen
Concept : Shoujo manga about "boys & boys"
Contents other than manga : Info on CD and videos which are based on

A S U K A C I E L :
Ciel has an official fanclub which makes it unique. The editors put
the readers in the top priority and organise parties and interviews
with manga artists regularly.

First published : 31 Sep 1993 as an extra edition to Asuka
30 May 1994 as an individual magazine
Publish pace : 30th of odd number months
Size : A5
Price : 500 yen
Concept : "Ciel" means "Sky", which is the main image as well. Bright
and refreshing manga and novels published in high quality style and
Contents other than manga and novels : movie and video info, CD info,
shoujo manga previews, fortume telling, info on Ciel official fanclub.

S H Y :
Gathered with cute boys....

First published : 23 Jul 1993
Publish pace : Mid-Feb, May, Aug & Nov
Size : A5
Price : 700 yen
Concept : Bright, cute, healthy shounen stories. Virtually happy
ending. Cover design usually cute.
Contents other than manga : 1-2 novels, doujinshi corner, manga
artists interviews, etc.

C H A R A D E :
Carries a "pop" image, with a lot of one-off manga. Also contains
manga by current doujinshi artists. Contains some novels too.

First published : 29 Jan 1994
Publish pace : 29th of odd number months
Size : A5
Price : 750 yen
Concept : From school life to serious stories, it contains a variety
of boys' love novels and manga.
Contents other than manga and novels : movie, TV, music, anime
previews, doujinshi previews.

R E I J I N :
Hard and heavy stuff targeted at adults.

First published : 29 Oct 1993
Publish pace : Early Feb, May, Aug & Nov
Size : B5
Price : 720 yen
Concept : High quality revolutionary adult aesthetic manga.

R U F F & R U F F :
Contains both hard and soft stuffs. Mainly one-off manga with 2-3
serialising manga. Mail order corner for doujinshi.

First published : 16 Mar 1994
Publish pace : 23th of Mar, Jun, Sep & Dec
Size : A5
Price : 600 yen
Concept : Delivering the passionate message of pure white shounen,
with bright happy beautiful manga.
Contents other than manga : doujinshi info & preview.

M A U R I S :
A lot of "sexy" stories, in a trendy sense.

First published : May 1993
Publish pace : 16th of even number months
Size : A5
Price : 600 yen
Concept : Love & anxious
Contents other than manga : doujinshi info, readers' page.

H O M M E :
Used to be called "Xi", this magazine contains works from more popular
manga artists with a lot of high grade one-off manga. Takaguchi
Satosumi ("Hana no asuka gumi!") has a manga called "Lucky-kun"
serialised in it.

First published : 16 Jun 1994
Publish pace : 16th of even number months
Size : A5
Price : 700 yen
Concept : Consists of manga of this unique genre that appeal to readers.
Contents other than manga : doujinshi previews, Murata Junko
("Kyaa--!")'s bishounen introduction page, manga artists interviews,
readers' page, relay free talk of manga artists, etc.

R A N M A R U :
A new magazine with manga that has "personality" (!?). The first issue
contains a long interview with Yoshida Akimi ("Banana Fish").

First published : 25 Jun 1994
Publish pace : 18th of Mar, Jun, Sep & Dec
Size : A5
Price : 900 yen
Concept : A "shounen" manga for "shoujo" by "shoujo" (Please notice
how indistinguishable between "shounen" & "shoujo" this genre is in
comparing to the ordinary shounen and shoujo manga...)

H A N A O T O :
Focusing on the "storyline" of the manga, this new magazine targets
at readers who are a bit older.

First published : 14 Sep 1994
Publish pace : 15th of odd number months
Size : A5
Price : 500 yen
Concept : With the new feeling of the love & romance world with
boundless beauty setting on the stage of fantasy in office & school
about the love & friendship between boys.

C O M I C I M A G E :
Mainly long stories, along with readers's page and essays, this
magazine carries a trendy image with bright picture manga.

First published : 11 Dec 1991
Publish pace : 9th of even number months
Size : A5
Price : 880 yen
Concept : Boys' Love Comic (Pretty straightforward, isn't it? ^_^)
(https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.art ... Y0zU5sMlEJ)

Not sure of the validity, but another person suggested that yaoi caught on in the U.S. because of its similarity to sci-fi slash fiction, which already had an established audience:
Iain Sinclair wrote:Like other observers of the manga industry, I find the yaoi phenomenon
"omoshiroi". But I don't think the reasons for its popularity are all
that mysterious. The growth of yaoi in Japan more or less mirrors the
growth of slash fan fiction in the West, and the causes are pretty much
the same, IMO. Yaoi is bigger in Japan, almost mainstream now, but mainly
because Japan is much better at delivering to niche markets.
(https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.art ... n6W5I0syUJ)
mbanu: What's between Old School and New School?
runesaint: Hmmm. "Middle School", perhaps?
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Re: When did Yaoi rise in popularity?

Post by usamimi »

Yeah, slash fiction was a thing long before the term yaoi crept into fandom consciousness. I wanna say it really started to take a foothold in the late 90s/early 00s? That's when I started seeing people in western fandom use it.

It's technically an outdated term now, as most Japanese fans call it BL (boys love), but since that's the term that got popular here, I guess it's not going away any time soon.

Of course, if you mean when did gay male love stories in manga really become a thing in Japan, it started in shoujo manga & doujinshi culture back in the 70s.
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Re: When did Yaoi rise in popularity?

Post by Akage »

For the US, I would say it occurred once Viz opened up their yaoi branch, SuBLime. Prior to that, the bulk of the yaoi manga in the US was released by DMP. DMP has notoriously small print runs, which means that a lot of their titles are too pricey for many to own once DMP runs out of stock. Viz also was willing to embrace digital reader technology far before DMP, so that also helped. It's a lot easier to be a yaoi fan when volumes are available on Amazon, 24/7 for $10-12/each than when you have to hunt around on eBay or various second hand stores for them. Case in point - Prior to the re-release of HInako Takanaga's The Tyrant Falls in Love, some volumes of that series easily sold for $100+ on auction sites.

If you are a yaoi fan, I recommend attending YaoiCon. They're taking a year off in 2018, but they should be back for 2019. I've been a couple times and it's enjoyable. Definitely recommend the YaoiCon Bingo, Auction and Closing Ceremonies.

BTW..with exception to Be x BOY, none of those manga listed above are currently in print. There's Be x Boy GOLD, GUSH, cab, Dear+, Cheri+, Chara, Hana Koi, Opera, Gateau, Links, drap, onBLUE, Boy's, Hanabusa, and Daria. I used to be a fan of GUSH because they were one of only a handful of magazines that had nengajo giveaways in their January issue, but they stopped that in 2017.
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Re: When did Yaoi rise in popularity?

Post by PinkAppleJam »

Good question! My assumption would be, as my UK friends who were super-into yaoi got access through a lot of written translations of scans (not everyone had photo manip software!) and page scans from 1999-2003, obtained via IRC chat channels.

There was a specific boom at conventions and Boku no Sexual Harassment* was shown after midnight (1994-1995 OAVs, so yep took that long to get translated, subbed and circulated). Perhaps tech restrictions aided this, as it was probably less problematic to torrent over a few weeks or so, as opposed to get tapes sent over and seized by customs?

IIRC the slash fiction thing developed from written Spock/Kirk doujin in US sci fi cons in the 70s?

*I couldn't remember the exact title, so googled "yaoi corn cob" :shock:
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