Rank #1: Fujojocast no. 15 – Diversity through Futekiya
When things look glum, it’s nice to find the light at the end of the tunnel. If there is one thing great about the world right now is that BL is growing and has become increasingly accessible.
When English-translated BL used to be handled by a select number of companies, some of which have consistently given us heavy hitters while others have broken our hearts, in the last few years, there are more publishers eager to publish BL works and distribute globally online. Sublime and Renta have been staples in our community. Seven Seas has also joined the BL race with a number of heavy hitters. And now, there is Futekiya.
On this Yaoi no Hi, I’m happy to speak with Emma Hanashiro, Editor in Chief of Futekiya, and how their website helps us navigate the ever-growing world of BL manga. We talk about their acquisition process, we squeed about how some of our favourite works and titles are there, and then we delved into some of the interesting questions BL titles are raising.
I hope you would find this podcast fascinating to try the titles on Futekiya.
On this podcast, Emma Hanashiro and I talked about the origin story of their website, their selection process, their spice ratings, how they navigate censorship with their titles and dealing with puritanism and conservatism in queer expression. Some notable titles mentioned in this podcast can be found in English namely:
Sneaky Red by Thanat
The Dreams of the Cuckoos by Tamekou
Welcome to the BL Research Club by Haruta
Aki-chan is the Super Erotic Madonna for Guys by Kabano Sadakichi
Here There and Us by Thanat
Link and Ring by Tsuyuku Yuruco
Shinjuku Lucky Hole by Kumota Haruko
Fujojocast #15: Diversity through Futekiya
Music: Hikobayuru by Kana Shibue from Showa Rakugo Gengo.
Aug 01 2020
Rank #2: Fujojocast No. 14: When Asian Fans Socially Distance because of Cultural Tensions in Fandom
In case you missed the memo, fandom is not a safe place, especially for BIPOC fans.
It’s something that we Asian fans have been keenly aware of since our engagement online. It’s something that has been documented by scholars. In the last week, as different organisations respond to justice and equality, the Organisation for Transformative Works also made an effort to address racism in fandom. Of course, there are people who felt these promises are empty as there is no promise of structural change that supports BIPOC fans.
This recent drama has left my friends and me in a tiff, as we have been enraged as fans over the years. The ways in which Western ideas, practices, and morals are shoved down our throats has left a bitter taste in our fan experiences that, more often than not, we disengage with fandoms popular in the West or we seek for circles that understand our contexts. For a space that claims to be “our” own, this should not be the case and yet this displacement continues and it impacts the way we express our fandom.
Here are links to some of the articles and discussions I mentioned here and others that may also reflect the cultural tensions we face in fandom.
- Stichomancery’s article on What Racism Looks Like in Fandom.
- Dr. Bertha Chin and Dr. Lori Morimoto’s call Towards a Transcultural Fandom
- Dr. Lori Morimoto’s petition to OTW do do better.
- Dr. Rukmini Pande and her thoughts on racism in Fandom
- My work with Dr. Febriani Sihombing on manga’s cultural tensions in Indonesia and the Philippines (If any of you are interested in reading this, leave a comment below)
Fujojocast No. 14: When Asian Fans Socially Distance because of Cultural Tensions in Fandom
Jun 21 2020
Rank #3: Fujojocast No. 13: A Thai BL Primer with Thomas Baudinette
BL is taking an interesting turn and it’s not happening on the shelves of Ikebukuro but on television broadcasts and streams in Thailand. Thai BL has become a hot topic in recent years and as someone invested in boys love culture, the world of boys love in Thailand has definitely piqued my curiosity. My enabler for this is none other than Dr. Thomas Baudinette who has watched every Thai BL ever released and was more than happy to give me the lowdown on Thai BL.
As mentioned in the podcast, Thomas was one of the first anthropologists who has written on Thai BL in English. He has an article that explores the early years of the phenomenon as seen through Lovesick and he has also mentioned in the podcast that he’s currently developing a book on Thai BL. Recently, he also gave a online talk on Thai BL which is definitely something worth listening to as well. His work on Thai BL has led to articles on Asahi Japan that talks about the explosion of Thai BL in the region, his recommended shows, and the new queer practices emerging from this new Thai BL Idol culture.
The show also mentioned a chapter written by Dredge Kang who touches a bit on this culture in his chapter for BL Opening Doors (Japanese only). For those of you who are able to read Japanese, I strongly recommend this book so that you may see the transformation of the genre in the region.
Over the years, I’ve seen Tom’s research grow and I’m fascinated by its connection with the Philippines. In this podcast, we also discussed why Filipino fans are at the centre of Thai BL, the politics of its consumption, and its engagement with our local BL community. After the recording of this podcast, the local publisher for original BL, Black Ink, tangentially touches on Thai BL as they discuss this genre with one of our renowned gay writers, Danton Remoto.
What is clear from this podcast is that BL is changing its shape and it’s no longer centred in Japan alone. Thailand is writing its own chapter and so is China with danmei. The Philippines is thinking of creating their own BL too.
Certainly, BL as we know it is changing. Isn’t it a fun time to be a BL fan?
Fujojocast #13: A Thai BL Primer with Thomas Baudinette
OP Music: Kan Gu, 2gether’s Theme Song
May 14 2020
Rank #4: Fujojocast #12: Gay Manga Dialogues with Thomas Baudinette (Part 2)
In the last episode, we talked about Tom’s research, how he stumbled upon gay manga, and how this genre is consumed by readers in Japan. As for this episode, Tom and I will continue and conclude our discussions on gay manga as it moves in transnational spaces.
In this Episode
Thomas and I continue our discussions on gay manga. This time, we look into new concepts of “hard” BL or “hard” yaoi as terms fans use to describe what Tom considers as hybrids of BL manga and yaroukei. As we discuss the works of some artists such as Matsu Takeshi and Zariya Ranmaru, we acknowledge that these works are changing the landscape of BL manga and has shifted the eroticism of the manga to what some of his respondents consider as pornographic.
We continue to discuss the authenticity of these hybrid manga and see its in impact in transnational spaces. Thomas and I look into the works of Asian artists such as Mazjojo and Guilt|Pleasure and see how their works highlight the transformations of gay comic, as seen through this transnationational concept of “bara”.
As we conclude the show, we summarise the main points of the show and reflect upon the future of gay manga as it continues to navigate in a transnational space.
Fujojocast #12: Gay Manga Dialogues with Thomas Baudinette Part 2
Note: The opinions of both Thomas and Khursten do not represent their institutions
Download this episode
OP: Doukyusei BGM 1 by Oshio Kotaro (from the Doukyusei Movie OST)
EP: Doukyusei BGM 1 by Oshio Kotaro (from the Doukyusei Movie OST)
Show NotesScarlet Beriko’s BL Design Manuals: Kissing Scenes, Love Scenes, Mousou Poses) Ranmaru Zariya: Coyote, Void, Nemuri Otoko, Pet Keiyaku Kinnniku BL Naono Bohra (JP titles, English-translated titles) Takeshi Matsu (JP titles, English-translated titles) Hard or Eroero (Erotic) BL (Chil-chil’s 2017 Awards) William Armour’s Representations of the Masculine in Tagame Gengoroh’s SM Manga. Tom of Finland (wiki) Kazumi Nagaike’s “Do Heterosexual Mean Dream of Homosexual Men?: BL Fudanshi Discourse on Male Feminization” from Boys Love Manga and Beyond Akiko Mizoguchi’s “virtual lesbian” in “Theorizing Comics/Manga Genre as a Productive Forum: Yaoi and Beyond” Mark McLelland’s “Regulation of Manga Content in Japan: What is the Future for BL?” from Boys Love Manga and Beyond Herculion (Mazjojo)’s Full Service DMP’s Yabara announcement Guilt|Pleasure
- as my students call final markings
Dec 19 2017
Rank #5: Fujojocast #11 – Gay Manga Dialogues with Thomas Baudinette (Part 1)
Even when my life since last year has been moving forward like a jet plane, I always make an effort to do something special for Yaoi no Hi! That’s August 1, and that is today!
For this Yaoi no Hi, I decided to upload a podcast featuring my awesome friend and colleague, Thomas Baudinette (or Tom, as I call him in the show) about gay manga in Japan and its place in gay and women’s culture. We brushed on various related topics to gay manga such as gei komi and, of course, boys love.
In this episode
Thomas Baudinette is an anthropologist and Japanese Studies scholar who is currently teaching at Macquarie University in Sydney. We’ve worked together for a couple of conferences and often found ourselves talking about our research which looks at people’s consumption of boys love texts. Finally, I had a chance to invite him on a podcast!
In this show, we talked about so many things about gay manga and BL that I had to divide the show into two parts. The first part deals with Tom’s research on gay manga and how Japanese gay men are defining and consuming this comic genre. We also talked about the subgenres within gay manga, some of which are beyond what I perceive as aesthetically gei komi. Of course, we also brushed upon “bara” and how English discourse packages gay manga through English-translated texts such as Massive and other gay-translated titles.
It was a fun first hour, and hopefully, you learned so much from Tom about Japan’s vibrant gay manga culture.
Fujojocast #11: Gay Manga Dialogues with Thomas Baudinette (Part 1)
Note: The opinions of both Thomas and Khursten do not represent their respective institutions.
Thomas Baudinette’s “An evaluation of physicality in the bara manga of Badi magazine” and “Japanese gay men’s attitudes towards ‘gay manga’ and the problem of genre” (See Thomas’ academia for more articles).
James Welker’s “Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: Boys Love as Girls Love in Shōjo Manga” and “Flower Tribes and Female Desire Complicating Early Female Consumption of Male Homosexuality in Shōjo Manga.” (See James’ academia for more articles)
Gay Manga Artists from Badi
Geshuku no Oniisan by Nohara KuroNijiiro Sunrise by Maeda Poketo
Nijiiro Sunrise by Maeda Poketo (See a sample over on twitter!)
Gay Manga Artists and Works Published in English
Gengoro Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband
Sample yarōkei works & Artists2017 Yaroufesu Promo
Aug 01 2017
Rank #6: Fujojocast #10: Building a BL starter kit!
So I posted last weekend about pooling people’s recs for a BL starter kit! If you’ve got a few titles in mind, that’s great! Let me know about it!
However, if you’re still thinking how to go about it, let Airin, Maija, and I help you build a criteria for your BL starter kit! In this podcast, we share our thoughts on BL titles we think is accessible for curious readers! It may have been recorded last year but I think our selection still holds! Listen in and I hope it inspires you to rec for the BL Starter Kit!
OP/Insert: Spicy Marmalade by Bad Luck
ED: Shining Collection by Nittle Grasper
Kumota Haruko’s Itoshi no Nekokke
Yuzuha Ougi’s Darling
Sakurai Shushushu’s Vibrator Company
CJ Michalski’s Chintsubu
As always, all my love and thanks to Airin and Maija. If you are Finnish and you love BL, please visit their awesome website Fujoshiluola!!
If you have your BL Starter Kit recs ready, do leave a comment here and you might have a chance to win a BL care package from me!!
Sep 08 2016
Rank #7: Fujojocast #9 – Clearly, we can’t stop talking about Free!
Has it really been a year? Is the eternal summer really over?
Well, clearly, Nozmo, Airin, and I cannot have enough of Free! Now the second season came and went with fantastic new characters who even made some of us cry in misery. The second season also showed us our boys’ attempt in sorting out their future. There were meat pies, cute dogs, adorable little bros, and AUSTRALIA! So if you feel like reminiscing over the season that came and went, feel free to listen to this episode!
OP/EP Music: Future Fish, Style Five
If you want to see more of the fan stuff that Nozmo and Airin do, just head on to their tumblrs. You can also read Nozmo’s Todd Allison and the Petunia Violet here. As for Airin’s fic, check out her Ao3 (and for the HaruRins, don’t forget to read Wind Waves!)
Nov 24 2014
Rank #8: Fujojocast #8: 801 Special, Beautiful Things in BL
Hey fujojo! Happy Yaoi no Hi!
As always, I wish you all the best when it comes to BL! It’s been a good year for BL with many exciting titles released in English, Japanese, and online! But as BL fans, we’re probably familiar with a lot of criticism with regards to our beloved genre. We’ve seen it here and there how BL is unsophisticated because it’s all about sex. Sometimes, we as readers are also seen as virginal women who have no critical thought because we enjoy shameless boy bonking. And the list goes on and on and it even spreads within the community. We are critical of what is good and in the eyes of many, BL is not good.
Somehow, that got me thinking. Actually, Alan McKee’s book called Beautiful Things in Popular Culture made me think of the situation of BL and how popular culture’s position in the grand scheme of things is similar to BL’s position in the grand scheme of manga. So I got some of my closest fujoshi friends, Ami of Hazukashii kedo and Airin, and we discussed these criticisms in BL and discover if Boys’ Love has more to say than boy bonking. We’re discussing the Beautiful Things in BL and hopefully you can join us in this discussion through the comments on what you think makes beautiful BL.
So for those who will be listening, you might want to think about the following questions. These are the same questions I raised to Airin and Ami and let’s see if we all thought of the same thing.
1.) Think of a BL title that you believe is beautiful. If you can’t think of a title, think of the best BL author out there. if that’s still hard, just think what makes you want to keep a title in your shelf or give it away?
2.) Why do you think this title is beautiful? What are the criterias in which you name this title as the best or beautiful? Do you use this criteria for other titles?
3.) How does your selection fare with other fans? Is it just as popular?
4.) Do you think that BL fans also have particular criteria in selecting some of the most popular titles in Japan and outside of Japan?
5.) Do you think that our perspective/position as foreign fans change our appreciation of BL? Do we consume BL as the Japanese do? Or are we different?
6.) What are the things that makes BL reading shameful to you?
As much as you’d love to listen to our responses, I’d also love to hear your answers to these questions too! Yaoi no Hi is a good day to reflect on the genre that we love and why we continue to love this genre.
OP/EP Music: Odore, Amars from the Kuragehime Soundtrack
Aug 01 2014
Rank #9: Fujojocast #7 – Give what’s due to Saezuru
This is a podcast about the fans who love an author’s work and a publisher who has been a bit of a hit and miss when it comes to maintaining the quality of their titles.
Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai (Twittering Birds Never Fly) is a work written by Yoneda Kou that features the relationship of high masochist yakuza boss and his loyal bodyguard. It is possibly the most popular title of Yoneda Kou to date, one that is loved dearly by many BL fans in Japan and abroad. It also has one of the most visually stunning cover designs in BL to date and these designs have been lauded by many fans.
In this show, I have Himi, owner of Com801 and organiser for the Licensing of Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai, an online fan campaign that seeks the support for a better quality release for this title. The title has been released by Digital Manga Publishing as part of their June titles. The online edition is available in Amazon US and e-manga and the print edition will be made available in September.
Throughout the show, Himi and I talk about the issues they raised in the campaign, particularly in the quality of translations and editing that DMG have done to some of their works. It’s an interesting talk that really gets into the expectations of fans as consumers of a niche genre and perhaps some insights about translation, post-production work, and the manga industry.
OP/ED – Season of Love by Pinky & Killers (Evangelion 2.0, You can (NOT) Advance OST)
In the end, as fans who know that DMG publishes the largest amount of BL for us, we want to put our money on something worth it. No shoddy translations, lazy editing and cut up printing. We want DMG to set the same standards they have in their Tezuka titles for their BL titles as well.
Jul 29 2014
Rank #10: Fujojocast #6 – Shipping wars, doujin scanlations, and the IP blocking mess we’re in
Perhaps this is the first “breaking news” podcast I’ve done. Not that this is completely breaking news but it, nonetheless, an interesting development in things that we do in fandom.
Last week, there was a bit of a stir when it was made public that a particular scanlation group has said that they’re blocking Japanese IPs so that publishers and doujin creators can’t access their works. Clearly, this doesn’t sound right on all angles but in this podcast, Nellie, who works for Crunchyroll and is an editor genre fiction, discusses with me the complex story that arises from this decision of said scanlation group as well as discussing the complexities we face as fans of Japanese animation and manga.
Some of the things we definitely discussed is the protective attitudes and measures of artists and with regards to the fan works which goes on both ends (Western fandom side and Japanese fandom side). You might have seen pages or websites with the mark OFP which is Online Fanarts Protection group (now defunct). If you want to consider the economic states of doujin artists, you can read this research on how much doujin artists make in Comic Market. Or maybe you can also see the problems of Manga artists too. And for those who are thinking of permissions, here are some things that can help in case you are lost in translation. Asking permission does make an artist happy. Of course, stealing and sharing it a whole lot early can make artists mad, as is the case of Yamamori Mika’s page leak for Hirunaka Ryusei.
OP/ED – Rage On! by Old Codex (Free! Season 1 TV Opening)
In the end, we are in a conundrum, finding no real solutions (although honestly we hope that attitudes DO change). Personally, I’d love to hear every one’s comments on this. But let’s not make this a bashing of the group or that scanlations is wrong but rather really open up discussions on fan attitudes and what needs to be changed so that we can meet fans and content producers in Japan halfway.
If you wanna tune in our future discussions, we’re in also ITUNES now, so feel free to subscribe!
Jul 03 2014