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Yaoi Genre

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Why? Because Guy-on-Guy Is Hot and that's all there is to it.

Yaoi, also known in Japan as "Boy's Love", is a subgenre of Shoujo focusing on male homosexuality, for a predominantly female audience. Typical pairings have the seme and the uke roles, which signify the characters' roles during sex, penetrative and receptive respectively, and often times even dictate their personalities and masculinity relative to each other. The word itself comes from "yamanashi, ochinashi, iminashi" (or "no climax, no ending, no meaning"), though fans have also come up with another memetic acronym: "Yamete! Oshiri ga itai!" ("Stop it! My ass hurts!")

Sometimes it's just part of the scenery, although most series directly foster what the audience expects and likes, with the plot usually being quite unrealistic with respect to actual LGBT culture and people. Yaoi presents gay men primarily to be lusted over, and is often (falsely) claimed to be a genre only for women; the rigid seme/uke dynamic can reinforce heteronormative values of masculinity and femininity, from who is allowed to penetrate whom, to the characters' personalities, and their body types; characters rarely identify as gay or bisexual, diminishing issues of homophobia and limited gay rights, and removing itself entirely from the LGBT narrative; rape is often fetishized or portrayed as a display of love. That said, a significant portion of the Yaoi Fan crowd are in fact transmasculine people, who relate strongly to men being assigned feminine bodies and female social roles.

See Boys Love Notes for a list of standard character types.

For the corresponding genre aimed specifically at a gay male readership (not female readership), see Bara Genre. For the Distaff Counterpart to this genre, see Yuri Genre, or Hentai.

No relation to the Yowie, an Australian cryptid similar to the Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti.

If you're looking to write in the genre yourself, see the page on how to write a good Yaoi.

     Subtopes associated with the Yaoi genre 


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  • The song Stab Me In The Back by X Japan is a fairly graphic description of Intercourse with You between two men in its original version (the 1987 and live version, not the Jealousy version), and qualifies as both this and Bara Genre due to the appearance of the band when they performed it, though, with some of the band members likely having been/being bisexual, it's probably closer to bara.
  • The Visual Kei duet Adams centers around the idea of the duet being male lovers, and they are consciously a mix of yaoi and bara aesthetic.
  • Some Visual Kei Performance Video and promotional video tends in this direction due to fanservice or symbolism - see the Visual Kei entry below.
  • There are various song parodies of the "Yaranaika" meme (you may not name or link to the work it originated from, as that work is definitely a violation of site rules). The most well known are "Yaranaika (Balalaika)," "World Is Abe," "Crash Man," and "GONG." These vary in whether they are classified as bara (as the story the meme originated from was) or yaoi. They also vary in explicitness - the Balalaika remix is usually "safe" if no one around understands Japanese (which is how someone in one of the more famous videos got away with performing it in a mall in Muslim-majority Indonesia), and "GONG" the most visually so and only allowable on Youtube because of its heavy use of parody censor items (roses, lightsabers, golden wings)

    Video Games 
  • Alice Blue, produced two Boys Love RPGs (Oujisama Lv1, Oujisama Lv2) and a BL simulation game (Ore no Shita de Agake) before going under.

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Use of BL manga/anime itself as a trope (for uses of BL tropes outside BL, see Yaoi Guys):

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    Video Games 
  • The The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games have a Running Gag of a girl named Dorothee who is head of the Thors Military Academy Literature Club, but her entire taste in literature is this. One of your playable characters, Emma, joins the club not knowing of her taste in literature and throughout the game, Dorothee works to try to corrupt others into becoming fans of this genre.


    Western Animation 
  • In the episode "Tweek x Craig" of South Park, Tweek and Craig are Mistaken for Gay due to the Asian girls drawing a bunch of Yaoi artwork. Not only does Wendy give a lecture about the topic of Yaoi, all the drawings in the episode are actual fanart submitted by fans for this episode.

Alternative Title(s): Yaoi, Shonen Ai, Boys Love, Shounen Ai, Boys Love Genre