Mother-Daughter Boys Love

The last post was unusually wholesome, with the image of the pious family, respect for dead zoo animals, and bi-national friendship. Welcome President Hu Jintao to Japan!

Now back to the main themes of this blog. While the majority of otaku, or anime/manga geeks, are men, there’s a huge female sub-genre called Boy Love (BL) or yayoi, produced by and for women focused on sex and romance between men. Many say that yaoi stands for ama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi, or “no climax, no resolution, no meaning.” Others say it’s an acronym for “yamete, oshiri itai” – “Stop it, my butt hurts!” Female BL fans are known as fujoshi 腐女子, and Bangin Sensei provides sub-groups depending on age and marital status. This genre goes back to the late 1970s.


While male otaku congregate in Akhihabara (also famous as electronic city for all the gadgets for sale), fujoshi visit specialized stores in Ikebukuro on Otome (Maiden) Road. In addition to books, dvds, figurines, etc, there’s even a butler cafe named Swallowtail, the female equivalent of the maid’s cafe.

Swallowtail butler cafe in Ikebukero

I am planning to visit in the next few days during the Golden Week holiday. Back to the promised family theme, I was struck by this quote about the customers from Ayako Abe at K-Books, which runs manga/anime stores and the cafe:

Our shops’ prime target customers are not women in their teens and 20s, but those in their 30s and 40s who got used to ‘boys’ love’ comics while they were young, and come to the stores with their daughters.”

Wow! What’s the right age for a mother to introduce her daughter to the wonders of boy love? 5? 8? 12? I can’t wait to visit Maid’s Road and find out!!

More links:

Boys on Boys on Film terminology list and Film Reviews

Nanya’s BL terminology list

Canadian comic geek Christopher Butcher’s visit to Otomo Road in Ikebukuro (lots of photos)

Jeeves takes Japan: Time magazine article on Swallowtail

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  1. Hey, I saw your message on a different site and wanted to alleviate your fears..
    I’m a guy and I went to Edelstein, the schoolboy cafe and they said they sometimes get guys. And I’ve been to host bars too, so it’s all good in that regard! Have fun at Swallowtail!! 😀

  2. Adrik, I love your two websites, and thanks for the encouragement about host bars, Edelstein and the butler cafes. Sometimes it’s hard to know how much a guy can participate in these “girls/ladies” entertainments. 日本はすばらしですね!

  3. Nihon is indeed wonderful! Yeah, I think it’s all good regarding men participating. It’s not really talked about, but if someone doesnt like it, they dont really bat an eye (to your face I guess) which is cool! I hope you have fun!!
    PS thanks for the compliment

  4. Thanks again, Adrik. I’ve added posts about Otome Road and Edelstein. The husband does NOT want to come with me to the boarding school. If you’re in Tokyo before May 23, let’s meet there!

  5. XDD Amazing! Mother-daughter BL? That’d be amazing. I got into shounen ai around 11 or 12 years old. It started out with completely platonic stuff like just standing together (my first shounen ai couple was HieiXKurama) and of course progressed to Boku no Sexual Harrassment and Ai no Kusabi and such. Haha.

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