Boy’s Love (BL) and yaoi are a subculture that originated in Japan that refers to sexually explicit male-to-male romantic fantasies in Japanese popular culture (Martin, 2012, p. 365). The term fujoshi, a belonging term of BL and yaoi, refers to females interested in male-to-male romantic relationship fantasies (Suzuki, 2013). In the early 2000s, cultural consumption and artistic communication between China, Japan, and Korea became more frequent (Oh, 2009). A large number of Japanese animations and television series have been imported to China for national communication and cultural sharing. Since then, various genres of Japanese popular culture, including BL (relating to intimate relationships) and yaoi (relating to sexual content), have become widespread in China. Globally, the public understands BL and yaoi as a subordinate portion of the otaku culture that heavily relates to Japanese anime, games, and manga (or comics in English); and a broader homosexual subculture with a deep connection to sexual desires (Bai, 2022). However, in China, the focal point of BL and yaoi is relatively different from the fujoshi communities elsewhere. This project explores BL and yaoi’s development in China, introducing perspectives of what, how, and why the Chinese fujoshi form their community within the public digital spaces shared by the mainstream media culture.
Additionally, through anonymous personal interviews, this project brings Chinese fujoshi’s consumer views on their past and current BL and yaoi consumption within and outside of the fujoshi community (see detailed interview process and interviewees’ information in Appendix C-E). Eight Chinese females who have self-identified as fujoshi or had similar practices were selected for the interviews. The chosen participants’ age is from twenty-two to mid-thirties. All of them have had at least five years’ access to BL and yaoi and received higher education. Each participant had at least two interviews answering questions regarding their attitudes as fujoshi and their viewpoints on consuming BL and yaoi products. This thesis analyzes the Chinese fujoshi community’s uniqueness in making BL content visible and yaoi content invisible in China. Consequently, they are forced to have a limited preference for BL and yaoi content, adapt the shared space with other popular cultures on mainstream social media, and utilize alternative communication methods to avoid violating China’s law and censorship. These factors indicate the need for specified classifications or designated digital spaces for BL, yaoi, and even the greater homosexual culture.
- The Uniqueness Found in the Chinese Fujoshi Community: Visible Boy’s Love and Invisible Yaoi Consumption on China’s Online Environment