Forum › The "new" sub-genre of Fujoshi Yuri

Licentious Lantern
Lantern%202
joined Sep 17, 2021

Hi, this may be a strange topic for a first post, but I finally felt like I had something that I couldn't really discuss anywhere else, Forgive me if this was already talked about somewhere before, I didn't see anything for the last few pages at least.

So maybe I should first explain what I mean by the so-called "Fujoshi Yuri". I don't especially mean yuri drawn by fujoshis (although that may often be the case actually), but rather yuri works that focus on two or more fujoshis becoming couples. For the last couple of years I've seen an increase in this very specific theme in yuri manga and it feels like it has almost become a sub-genre at this point. I can't really discern its actual popularity in Japan, but at least in Western circles it seems to have a mixed reception.

Now I want to preface this by saying that I am not interested in BL. I only read the occasional fluff that gets recommended to me, but the genre itself has no appeal to me. Therefore I am incredibly biased and not ashamed to admit it. When I read a yuri manga, seeing ten pages of the supposed heroines talking about their fictional BL OTPs just doesnt do anything for me and actually makes me skip entire pages sometimes (something I never do in any other work of fiction). So yes, I may just not be happy with this sub-genre and it may not be made for me, but I also want to talk about it more objectively.

I wonder more about how it came about and what its purpose really is.
This is just speculation of course, but here is how I see it. It is common knowledge that in Japan the target audience of yuri is actually straight girls (though there are some changes in that too lately, just not relevant enough to change that observation). It is also not uncommon that Fujoshis read both BL and GL, though with an obviously heavy lean towards the former. Also there is a perception that all female otaku, regardless of sexuality, must be somewhat interested in BL in Japan. In that light it seems to me like these stories could have two main reasons to exist:
1. To lure fujoshis into reading more yuri by using something relatable (obssession with BL) as bait.
2. For fujoshis to write a self-insertish romance that allows them to feel content with their situation.

So the obvious thing is that fujoshis will hardly be able to write heterosexual romance with the same theme. Just imagine a het man obssessed with BL... not likely. It may be possible to do with a bisexual male lead, but that probably feels too far-fetched for fujos (especially because many of them are in the hardcore "men are only for men" camp). This obssession is a clear barrier that insulates them and the only people who can truly relate are other fujoshis. So their most meaningful relationships that seem the most fulfilling will often be with other women. And that sorta relfects in this sub-genre too.

My main issue with this is that the yuri part of the stories often feels tacked on. Like the author realizes by the end of the one-shot or every few chapters "Oh right, this was supposed to be yuri, guess I will add a scene for that". The ratio of Yuri scenes to BL talk is very disproportionate. And I am fully aware that this is not an unusual case. You could argue the same for the "Sports Yuri" genre, where the sport can often eclipse the romantic progress a lot. But I suppose the main difference here is that having BL as a focus automatically puts the genres in opposition. To see a girl rave about her fictional BL OTP, drooling and blushing and exploding about sexualizing men, but when faced with their actual female lover/love interest they are so much more subdued or even seem less interested, it makes it clear that there is a huge imbalance. It seems nearly disingenuous.

I've seen a different variety of this in Visual Novels like OshiRabu where it's yuri with a husbando obssessed otaku, but the same issue permeates both. I suppose I was more accepting of it in that scenario, because Akuru was portrayed as a closeted bisexual/lesbian who drowns out her lacking emotional fulfillment with 2D boys and never actually confronted her sexuality due to it. Meanwhile in fujoshi yuri generally the love interests are either very quick to hook up or simply dont question their sexuality at all and just brush over it. Mostly because there is no time to delicately build a yuri romance, as they have to cram in so much BL talk that the only way to make sure that it is recognized as yuri is to actually skip the "foreplay" if you will.

I would like to hear people's thoughts on this topic. Is it a good way to sway some fujoshis to the yuri genre, like an introduction perhaps? Do these authors need to learn how to focus more on the actual romance of their leads? Is there another factor I am just not seeing here?

joined Dec 18, 2020

It may be possible to do with a bisexual male lead, but that probably feels too far-fetched for fujos (especially because many of them are in the hardcore "men are only for men" camp).

Probably also because there seems to be distinction between homosexual romance written for women (yaoi) and written for men (bara). I'm not really too familiar with either to be honest, but just looking at art style alone there appears to be a major difference. Though I have seen fujos interested in a hentai called Legend of the Blue Wolves because due to being aimed for a male audience it does a lot of things you'd never see in your average yaoi.

last edited at Sep 17, 2021 8:39AM

RadiosAreObsolete
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joined Mar 6, 2021

It is common knowledge that in Japan the target audience of yuri is actually straight girls

???
Did you mean yaoi, perhaps...?

Regarding this topic, I don't really have much to say. Like you, I'm not interested in BL at all, so sometimes I do find it to be a bit out of place when I see women in GL obsessing over it, but I can't say it bothers me much...? And I actually enjoy Kami eshi JK to OL fujoshi, which would probably fall in the category of works that have tiny slices of yuri between tons and tons of BL talk.... lol

Img_0215
joined Jul 29, 2017

It sounds in large part that you just don’t have much interest in BL; I don’t blame you—I don’t have much interest in that genre either.

But female BL shippers are a staple of many kinds of manga (especially SOL/workplace manga), and as you yourself suggest in mentioning sports-yuri, there are plenty of yuri series where the GL romance per se is subordinated to some other activity, such as food + yuri, video-game-design + yuri, mountaineering + yuri, stretching + yuri, etc., i.e., series that have no particular interest in having “delicately building a yuri romance” be the primary focus of the story.

So fujoshi-yuri is a kind of story you don’t especially care for, but I don’t think it’s necessarily much of an indication of any larger movement or trend.

Nyohohoho
joined Apr 20, 2013

I wouldn't worry about that, I bet you can't name more than 5 titles with that, I can only think of 3 right now and one of them is just 5 % of the main series ( otome no teikoku).

I don't really care about the undiluted yaoi btw or the ships, it doesn't bother me, but I do like many ones with cross-dressing.

last edited at Sep 17, 2021 1:14PM

Licentious Lantern
Lantern%202
joined Sep 17, 2021

Probably also because there seems to be distinction between homosexual romance written for women (yaoi) and written for men (bara). I'm not really too familiar with either to be honest, but just looking at art style alone there appears to be a major difference. Though I have seen fujos interested in a hentai called Legend of the Blue Wolves because due to being aimed for a male audience it does a lot of things you'd never see in your average yaoi.

You bring up a good point that I did not consider at all. Ultimately the twisted fetishized version of homosexual romance between men that fujoshis crave is probably not very compatible with the works that actual gay men enjoy. I was not quite familiar with the fact that Bara is a term for BL that appeals to men, I only saw occasional art of it which made me think it is focused on bulky men, not unlike the "bears" of real gay communities. This is good to know.

I have in fact heard some fujoshis talk about how they like Bara before, but they did treat it almost like a different genre from BL. Now it makes more sense.

It is common knowledge that in Japan the target audience of yuri is actually straight girls

???
Did you mean yaoi, perhaps...?

Not at all. The target demographic of GL is in truth straight girls. Yuri was an offshoot of Shoujo manga first and foremost and it has historically always had an overwhelming female audience (and obviously the heterosexual kind, as those sales numbers wouldnt work out if it was only for actual lesbians). Straight girls hold up both the GL and BL industry simultaneously basically. Only with a strong preference for one side...

Perhaps you are aware of the more recent development of "Shounen Yuri" which is aimed at boys. No doubt yuri is getting more popular with the male audience too, but the percentage is not comparable at all.

I wouldn't worry about that, I bet you can't name more than 5 titles with that, I can only think of 3 right now and one of them is just 5 % of the main series ( otome no teikoku).

I can think of quite a few more, though many not translated of course. Then again, I may well draw broader strokes as I suggested by bringing up OshiRabu and the like where an obssession with men in Otaku culture is still a major factor in a yuri work. If we added those up it would grow more sizable.

Just to clarify, I do not "worry" about this. Much like many other works that do not appeal to me I have no trouble ignoring them. It was just that I find this trend odd and wanted to get these thoughts off my chest. If there are positives to this sub-genre that would also be great.

It sounds in large part that you just don’t have much interest in BL; I don’t blame you—I don’t have much interest in that genre either.

But female BL shippers are a staple of many kinds of manga (especially SOL/workplace manga)

I cannot really deny it, but that's why I am trying to be transparent.
As for the BL shipper archetype, yes I am aware. Even in Yuri they have been a common trope for decades. And in many ways I see them as the prototype of this kind of yuri we are talking about, because occasionally a fujoshi will also be paired up with a girl in those stories.

Actually I think there is a trope of girls that are zealots for same-sex relationships and basically support anything other than heterosexual pairings. The two genres can exist in a peaceful parallel after all.

last edited at Sep 18, 2021 11:50AM

RadiosAreObsolete
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joined Mar 6, 2021

It is common knowledge that in Japan the target audience of yuri is actually straight girls

???
Did you mean yaoi, perhaps...?

Not at all. The target demographic of GL is in truth straight girls. Yuri was an offshoot of Shoujo manga first and foremost and it has historically always had an overwhelming female audience (and obviously the heterosexual kind, as those sales numbers wouldnt work out if it was only for actual lesbians). Straight girls hold up both the GL and BL industry simultaneously basically. Only with a strong preference for one side...

Perhaps you are aware of the more recent development of "Shounen Yuri" which is aimed at boys. No doubt yuri is getting more popular with the male audience too, but the percentage is not comparable at all.

Well, yes, I am aware that yuri started with Class S stories, which would fall in the shoujo category; I just get the feeling that yuri nowadays isn't really targeted to straight girls.

From what I've read the yuri readership in more recent years seems to be about 60-40 regarding female to male audiences and not a small number are actually queer women. Which would mean that the target demographic isn't really "straight girls". Of course, I'm not that well-informed, really, that's what I've found through a very leisurely research (if I could even call it that) and how I've felt from my own experience, so I might be totally off base.

...And this wasn't even the point of the discussion at all XD

But if you've read otherwise and can share your sources I'd be glad to take a look. Finding out more about my favourite genre is always welcome!

last edited at Sep 18, 2021 8:01PM

C__data_users_defapps_appdata_internetexplorer_temp_saved%20images_lavender_town_screenshot
joined Dec 9, 2014

Not at all. The target demographic of GL is in truth straight girls. Yuri was an offshoot of Shoujo manga first and foremost and it has historically always had an overwhelming female audience (and obviously the heterosexual kind, as those sales numbers wouldnt work out if it was only for actual lesbians). Straight girls hold up both the GL and BL industry simultaneously basically. Only with a strong preference for one side...

I find very hard to believe straight women would be the main audience of Yuri romance, which includes lewd scenes too.
Yuri is not a popular genre to begin with, with half of the audience being males, so I don't think the numbers don't add up. Btw it's not just the lesbians who are wlw.

Also regarding fujoshi Yuri, personally I haven't come across many stories like that

last edited at Sep 18, 2021 4:35PM

joined Dec 18, 2020

I was not quite familiar with the fact that Bara is a term for BL that appeals to men, I only saw occasional art of it which made me think it is focused on bulky men, not unlike the "bears" of real gay communities.

Bara literally translates to "Rose", it comes from some LGBT magazine back in the day that called men the "rose tribe" and women the "lily tribe" (which is where we got the term Yuri from as well).

Yaoi is actually an acronym for YAma nashi, Ochi nashi, Imi nashi, which means "No climax, no point, no meaning". Pretty harsh, isn't it?

Actually I think there is a trope of girls that are zealots for same-sex relationships and basically support anything other than heterosexual pairings. The two genres can exist in a peaceful parallel after all.

Those people do actually exist in real life.

last edited at Sep 18, 2021 9:19PM

Licentious Lantern
Lantern%202
joined Sep 17, 2021

Well, yes, I am aware that yuri started with Class S stories, which would fall in the shoujo category; I just get the feeling that yuri nowadays isn't really targeted to straight girls.

From what I've read the yuri readership in more recent years seems to be about 60-40 regarding female to male audiences and not a small number are actually queer women. Which would mean that the target demographic isn't really "straight girls". Of course, I'm not that well-informed, really, that's what I've found through a very leisurely research (if I could even call it that) and how I've felt from my own experience, so I might be totally off base.

Has it really already come to a 60-40 split? Are you sure that isn't just the percentage for a specific magazine (I think we all know which one)? I know that the numbers were quite a bit more skewed 10 years ago at least... I suppose Shounen Yuri really has taken off.

Regardless, straight girls were the target demographic, which only gives you an idea of who the publishers market to ultimately. The biggest paying audience for Yuri were straight girls and therefore became the main demographic by default. I already mentioned that I was aware of the shifting market, but didn't want to go into it because it is not that relevant to the topic overall.

I find very hard to believe straight women would be the main audience of Yuri romance, which includes lewd scenes too.
Yuri is not a popular genre to begin with, with half of the audience being males, so I don't think the numbers don't add up. Btw it's not just the lesbians who are wlw.

Please keep in mind that we are talking about Japan, not the entire world.

In recent years there have been stronger appeals towards the LGBT crowd on both sides of the spectrum no doubt. Subject matters that would never have been addressed 20 years ago are now common. This shows an evolution of course that goes alongside the shifting audience.

To be honest from what I learned about, Yuri was actually seen skeptically or even frowned upon by a lot of actual lesbians back in the day, exactly because it was not very representative. And don't get me started on the porn. It's either almost non-existent to not offend the straight girl demographic or it is drawn by men (in doujins usually) who know even less about it than straight women. So "lewd scenes" were an exception if not frowned upon for the longest time. That's why Yuri used to be automatically associated with "purity". To the point where a lot of Yuri artists and fans would scoff at the idea of sexualization (which perhaps somewhat unfairly is often associated with Shounen Yuri).

Either way, I am not making it up. Girls have always been more open-minded about romance and straight women are quite a force on the market. Just consider please that 2.5% of the population of which the majority will not engage with the genre, can't actually be the main clientele. Yuri is niche, but not THAT niche.
This 50-50 split you talk about between girls and boys reading it is 100% false at least.

Actually I think there is a trope of girls that are zealots for same-sex relationships and basically support anything other than heterosexual pairings. The two genres can exist in a peaceful parallel after all.

Those people do actually exist in real life.

Certainly. like with most tropes there is always a real world origin. Like I said, it's not too farfetched as those two ideals do not cross over. Rather they complement each other. If all men are busy amongst themselves, women will be able to safely focus on other women and vice versa. Hence why I brought up that it is not unheard of for fujoshis to read both BL and GL.

GendoIkari Uploader
Tsuglenda
joined Aug 10, 2011

Nah mang, everyone knows that the One True Queer Art is shoujo-ai and shounen-ai.

RadiosAreObsolete
Img_20210321_022239%20(2)
joined Mar 6, 2021

Has it really already come to a 60-40 split? Are you sure that isn't just the percentage for a specific magazine (I think we all know which one)?

No, you are right in assuming that this was the percentage of Yuri Hime. My deduction about yuri demographic as a whole being around 6:4 actually came from reading about a couple more surveys, where the ratio of female to male readers was actually even closer to 1:1, (while there also seemed to be a notable percentage of non-binary people), and the female audience itself was actually constituted mostly by non-straight women. Again, I haven't looked too much into it, but from what I gathered it seems that the demographic of yuri readers has shifted significantly from its starting point, which was, in fact, straight women.

I'm sorry for getting so off-topic here, though, I wish I had something more to add to fujoshi yuri... I just wanted to clarify my previous statement (since you accurately guessed where the 6:4 ratio came from XD)

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