Gay Manga Thrive: Pure Love Matters – Comics

Homosexuality is taboo in Japan. But stories about love between boys or men have been thriving in the manga industry for years. These are mostly read by women. This type creates alternative archetypes of masculinity.

When Chika Tsuda saw one of these manga for the first time, she was shocked. The history teacher remembers it vividly: “I was 13 and in the afternoon I was flipping through a magazine with all kinds of stories. Suddenly two figures of semi-naked men were kissing each other!” At that time, the 41-year-old was barely knows anything about sex. Then I quickly closed the book. The next day at school, she didn’t talk to anyone about it. “I was embarrassed to see that,” Chika Tsuda says with a smile. “Everyone in my class must have seen it. We read the same notebooks.”

What barely had a solid name in the mainstream three decades ago is now a popular genre in the massive anime and manga market. It’s called BL, an English acronym for “boys love”: boys or young people who love each other. The subject is not a passion for children because the characters are drawn and their age is often determined with difficulty. This type of literature has become so popular in Japan that anyone who visits a well-stocked bookstore will almost always find a shelf with these two Latin letters: “BL”. This does not mean that it is a cultural import from the West. exactly the contrary:

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