Yaoi: The Art of Japanese Gay Comics

By: Tiara Chiaramonte
1.22.2014

Yaoi (pronounced "yah-oh-ee") is a term typically thrown around the fringes of the geek community, but what is this gay Japanese phenomna? It's a form of manga, or Japanese comics/graphic novels, with homoerotic and homoromantic themes. If you think the concept sounds interesting, you're not alone. Millions faithfully read Yaoi not only in Japan, but around the world, as it is routinely translated into dozens of languages.

Whether you’ve wanted to know more about this queer Japanese art form or your curiosity is being piqued for the first time, the following brief guide will help familiarize you with one of the most read gay comic book genres in the world.

Yaoi
Yaoi translates to no climax (as in the climax of a story), no plot, no meaning. This referred to the lack of story in the comics and the focus on sex or violence. Now Yaoi has become a more encompassing term of any fictional media that focuses on homoerotic male relationships. The lead characters in yaoi novels are often bishounen or beautiful pretty boy types of men with very feminine features. The majority of these comics are written for women by women, and some Yaoi authors are lesbians.

Suggested Reading:
Finder Vol. 1: Target in the Viewfinder follows a photographer on assignment to document Japanese underworld, but he gets caught up in the mafia when a dark and mysterious man kidnaps him.  

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