J.R. Loveless: What is Yaoi? How is it different from Western M/M Romance?
Yaoi, around since the late ‘70s, is a Japanese term meaning Boy’s Love, but the word itself actually has no meaning. It is a shortened acronym of ‘Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi’. Translation: No climax, no point, no meaning. Despite the translation, most Yaoi does have a point, meaning and a climax (sometimes many, LOL). Yaoi is mainly targeted to and written by women focusing on homoerotic or homoromantic relationships. The key factors in most Yaoi animes/mangas/etc. are the usual couple characteristics. The ‘seme’ (or better known as the ‘top’) is usually older, taller, more masculine and serious in nature. The ‘uke’ (or better known as the ‘bottom’) is usually shorter, feminine, outgoing in nature, and the younger of the two.
There are quite a few Yaoi animes available, such as Gravitation, Gakuen Heaven, Junjou Romantica, Kizuna, Kirepapa and many, many others. Although, there are many that some may find objectional so view with caution. Examples of these are ones such as Papa to Kiss in the Dark and Boku no Pico. These contain relationships between family members or between an adult and a younger boy.
What I’ve discovered since venturing into the world of western male/male romance is that there is a significant difference between the two. The main difference I’ve noticed is the characters. In the majority of what I have read, both of the characters are usually masculine, quite close in age, and either top or bottom or versatile. From what I have seen in regards to reviews written by the actual reader on sites such as Goodreads.com, western male/male romance readers tend to be more critical of novels written in the Yaoi style.
Something For Nothing by Connie Bailey, Blue Rose by Sui Lynn, Undercover Sins by Hayley B. James, or Gatekeeper by Rayne Auster.
Detour by Talia Carmichael, The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson, or St. Nachos by Z.A. Maxfield. All great stories and definitely recommended.
Discover the world of Yaoi for yourself by visiting one of the best sites on the net, Aarinfantasy.
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