‘Japanese gay men’s attitudes towards “gay manga”‘ is published!

My article ‘Japanese gay men’s attitudes towards “gay manga” and the problem of genre‘ has just been published in the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture!

This article traces young Japanese gay men’s attitudes and consumption of both Boys Love (traditionally viewed as women’s texts) and geikomi/bara to critically rethink changing attitudes towards what is considered “appropriate” for gay men’s consumption in Japan. As far as I am aware, this is the first article published in English which specifically focuses on Japanese gay men’s consumption/fandom of Boys Love (and geikomi).

A key argument of the paper is that some Japanese gay men do not view the stylistic distinctions b/w BL (left) and geikomi (right) as a meaningful reason for not considering BL as explicitly “gay” texts

Here is the abstract.

This article critically analyses the concept of ‘gay manga’ to ascertain how fan ‘produsers’ and casual consumers understand both geikomi (also known as bara) and Boys Love (BL) manga. Drawing upon interviews with four Japanese gay men, one Japanese Korean man and one Japanese Brazilian man, I investigate how ‘gay manga’ is understood as a locus for the construction of gay subjectivity. I argue that the informants understand BL and geikomi as two aspects of the same meta-genre, revealing how attitudes to the term ‘gay’ have evolved in Japan. For the informants, geikomi and BL are interconnected and they are both understood as legitimate expressions of gay subjectivity that play a crucial role in their understandings of gay desire. Importantly, by focusing upon readers’ subjective relationships with texts, this article demonstrates how ‘gay manga’ is understood through an affective lens, with consumers locating their understandings of ‘gay manga’ within their overall patterns of ‘gay media’ consumption. Throughout the article, I reflect upon the necessity for scholars to engage with genre in a more nuanced fashion in order to better understand how individual consumers engage with media texts in their everyday lives.

You can find an up-to-date list of all my recent publications here.

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