The History and Evolution of Boy’s Love Series: Exploring a Fascinating Genre

Boy’s Love, also known as BL, has emerged as a captivating genre that has gained immense popularity over the years. In this blog post, we will delve into the origins, development, and evolution of Boy’s Love series. From its roots in Japanese manga to its global impact, we will explore the fascinating journey of this genre and its dedicated fanbase. So, let’s embark on a captivating exploration of Boy’s Love.

I. Understanding the Terminology:

Before we dive into the history, it’s essential to grasp the terminology surrounding Boy’s Love. While the term “Yaoi” refers to the act of consuming this genre, Boy’s Love encompasses the content itself. Yaoi often includes original narratives that parody popular animated characters, primarily found in fan-created homoerotic manga or novels. On the other hand, Boy’s Love focuses more on romantic relationships, with a lesser emphasis on explicit content (Mizoguchi, 2003 & Thien, 2019). Both terms represent a unique genre that embodies female fantasies of idealized male same-sex relationships (Nagaike, 2003).

History and evolution Yaoi:: old manga

II. The Origins and Early Years:

The Boy’s Love genre can trace its roots back to the 1970s in Japanese manga. It evolved from earlier forms of homoerotic narratives, such as the works of Mari Mori, a novelist who wrote “Koibitotachi no mori,” the first male homoerotic novel penned by a woman. These narratives gained popularity in shōjo manga magazines, known as “shōnen’ai” or “bishonen manga” (McLelland & Welker, 2015 & Mizoguchi, 2003). The term “Yaoi” emerged in the 1980s with the rise of homoerotic fanzines featuring popular characters (Mizoguchi, 2003). This period laid the foundation for the development of various subgenres within Boy’s Love.

III. Evolution and Global Impact:

Over the years, Boy’s Love has transitioned from being confined to manga and novels to becoming prevalent in television series and streaming platforms. Technological advancements and online communities have played a significant role in expanding this subculture. In 1998, Boy’s Love had approximately 0.5 million readers, but today, the genre has witnessed a monumental shift, with series garnering over 250 million views (Mizoguchi, 2003). This transformation not only increased the quantity of content but also improved its quality, captivating a wider audience.

IV. Thai Boy’s Love: A Remarkable Case Study:

While Boy’s Love originated in Japan, Thailand has emerged as a prominent player in this genre. Despite being a society where expressions of non-heteronormative sexuality often face explicit censorship, Thailand has become a haven for the LGBTQ+ community through Boy’s Love series. These series have provided a refuge for individuals in politically repressive and culturally heteronormative environments (Baudinette, 2019). Known as “lakhon” or “wai” in Thailand, these drama-series adapt Boy’s Love narratives to the Thai media landscape, exemplifying the process of “glocalization” (Baudinette, 2019).

V. The Changing Landscape:

Recent studies, such as Thien’s analysis of Thai Boy’s Love series between 2014-2019, reveal significant shifts in the industry. Boy’s Love series have transitioned from public broadcast channels to private platforms, signifying the growing commercial viability of this genre (Thien, 2019). An exemplary case is “LoveSick: The Series” and its association with GMMTV, which marked the beginning of a new era for Boy’s Love series in Thailand. The success of these series highlights the evolving landscape and the increasing recognition of the genre’s profitability.

The history and evolution of Boy’s Love series are a testament to the enduring appeal and impact of this genre. What began as a niche subculture has grown into a global phenomenon, captivating audiences worldwide. From its origins in Japanese manga to its influence on Thai media, Boy’s Love continues to evolve, reflecting societal changes and providing a platform for diverse narratives of love and romance. As we move forward, it will be fascinating to witness how this genre further develops and resonates with audiences across cultures.

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