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March 24th, 2007

9:30 AM

Random Thoughts on a Saturday morning

Why are some M/M books being published as "Yaoi"?

According to Wikipedia, "Yaoi (やおい) is a publishing genre, which originated in Japan and often encompasses manga, dōjinshi, anime, and fan art." This sounds like the definition I'm familiar with - yaoi  is generally used to describe animated films and comics depicting m/m, usually with men that are effeminate in appearance. You know, big twinkly eyes the size of dinner plates for the designated "female" and bodies that look like that of a preteen adolescent girl that hasn't grown breasts yet.

I can see why the Dragon's Disciple series by Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain are marketed as yaoi since it is set in a setting typical of yaoi, complete with Japanese characters and/or cultural elements and there are illustrations of recognizable yaoi quality in these books.

Some publishers, like loveyoudivine, however, are selling M/M romances under the blanket label "Yaoi", which suggests to me that they either don't know what yaoi is or this term is becoming interchangable with "gay" or "M/M" in the genre.

Where are the "Yuri" (the F/F counterpart of Yaoi) romances, by the way?

I'm not a yaoi person because effeminate men aren't really my thing. I'm more of a Hong Kong comics gal - I love how homoerotic each kung-fu comic from Hong Kong always turn out to be. Men with unrealistically tight jeans and nothing else except for maybe a fluttering unbuttoned shirt pounding the crap out of each other, these same men bonding with other men often at the exclusion of women (often depicted as objects of temptation that render brotherhood asunder or cause these men to stray from righteousness - these men often find "salvation" by returning to their male buddy's side at the end of the day) - what's not to love? I find such homoeroticism more enjoyable that the girly screams of two yaoi characters shagging on film, second only to voices of female characters in anime as sounds I believe are created by the devil to plague humanity for all eternity.

What's with the trailers?

I'm puzzled by the use of "movies" and "trailers" by authors to promote their books, especially when these trailers turn out to be flash scenes or video clips of slideshows of their book covers. Are these slideshows fun to watch?

7 comment(s).

Posted by Barbara Sheridan:

Some publishers, like loveyoudivine, however, are selling M/M romances under the blanket label "Yaoi", which suggests to me that they either don't know what yaoi is or this term is becoming interchangable with "gay" or "M/M" in the genre.

Personally I think a lot of folks are using the term yaoi because the yaoi genre as far as manga and anime is concerned is a money maker pure and simple.

All m/m is definitey not yaoi. Yaoi (to me at least) is very over the top and larger than life. The angst is angstier, the sex neverending (and often self lubricating).

You do have your elitists who say that nothing produced outside of Japan by anyone other than Japanese artists or writers can be yaoi.

I prefer the less rigid folks who are open to "Western Yaoi"--works written in the spirit of the Asian material but by western artists and writers.

I'm highly amused that my confirmation word is UKYE

BTW, Mrs. G. Anne and I thank you for mentioning our work.
March 24th, 2007 @ 2:37 PM

Posted by Emily Veinglory:

I agree. Some places have actual yaoi written by westerners or not--the real thing (e.g. Mojocastle, Coyote Moon) others are just trying to make yaoi-sploitation. Which is about as clever as calling something with no HEA genre-romance. It annoys the real fans. Yaoi is not slash (M/M) any more than chicklit is romance, or saga is historical. The difference my be subtle to some, but not the fans.

p.s. I find these you tube trailers dull in the extreme, do readers really care about that sort of thing?
March 25th, 2007 @ 4:45 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

"Yaoi-sploitation". I like that word. I'm stealing it!
March 25th, 2007 @ 4:43 PM

Posted by Jules Jones:

I think in some cases it really is because people have picked up from context that it's about Teh Gay, and haven't realised that there's more to it than that. I've seen something similar happening with the term "slash" -- some of the people who started in slash fanfic were using "original slash" as a way of indicating to other slashfen that their m/m profic was like slash in tone, rather than like gay erotica aimed at gay men. And of course, after a while it's quicker to just type "slash" as a shorthand. Then some of the romance readers who weren't familiar with fanfic picked it up and started using "slash" as a synonym for "m/m romance", without realising that slash is not necessarily romance, and often without realising that the term originated in fanfic.
March 26th, 2007 @ 2:34 AM

Posted by Michael Barnette:

What a lot of people don't realize over here in the West is that many yaoi manga and anime series started out as print novels in Japan. Ai no Kusabi for instance started out as a novel and was then made into manga and anime.

As Barbara pointed out, yaoi is much more over the top than gay fiction or even the m/m written for your typical audience. Yaoi authors aren't writing about the real world, we're writing prose with the over the top feel of anime.

Also some of the reason behind the 'effminate' males in yaoi culturally stems from a facination women over there have for men who cross dress. It's a long standing tradition that has it's roots in Japanese Theater and continues to this day in the cross dressing men of many visual kei rock bands.

And book trailers are the new advertising medium that publishers with YouTube using marketing people have decided are 'important' for some reason. Many of the big NYC firms are paying big money to have booktrailers made. As far as I can tell they do not influence sales.
March 26th, 2007 @ 1:51 PM

Posted by Michael Barnette:

Oh, and I'm pretty much to blame for the whole 'yaoi craze' at publishing companies. I sent a story to Stef Kelsey back in 2004-- when she was with eXtasy-- that I pitched to her as yaoi. (It was originally pubbed in a gay erotica antho, but to be truthful it IS yaoi the way I write it.) She was the first editor to bring a yaoi ebook out here in the States. That started the whole thing because before then none of the ebook publishers had ever heard of yaoi.

From your description the 'yaoi' you've seen it might have been the kind involving teenaged characters rather than adult characters. Forgot to mention that before.
March 26th, 2007 @ 2:08 PM

Posted by Xandra:

I thought that when I saw "Yaoi" as a heading at an epub, it meant that I'd expect to see M/M fic where one member was younger than the other (significantly so), and that it would be in a fantasy or fantastical context. I'm a manga reader/anime watcher, but not quite an otaku yet, and the yaoi I've read all seems to share the fantastical nature (or maybe I just gravitate towards the more paranormal manga) and the "mentor/student" feel to it where one of the members is a young ingenue and the other is older, powerful, and has all the answers. Kinda like those old Harlequin "Greek Tycoon" stories.
March 29th, 2007 @ 10:07 PM