"History is a nightmare from which I'm trying to awake." - James Joyce

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yaoi and Bara Manga

Example of Yaoi
Manga is Japanese word for comics, usually adult in nature. Yaoi and Bara refer to genres of Manga that are homoerotic in nature. Japan, though a generally sexually repressed culture which has a strong taboo against homosexuality, has a flourishing and wide-spread culture of porn, both 3-D (i.e., real men) and 2-D (graphic or drawn). And the kinds of manga that exist are amazingly varied, from straight to lesbian, to kiddie, to furry, and beyond. It's seems that the more sexuality is repressed, the more it flourishes in underground and not-so-underground forms. Limiting myself to gay manga for the moment, and the two genres listed above, I find Bara to be the most congenial: it is created for gay men, by gay men, in a variety of styles for a variety of tastes. Yaoi is weirdly interesting: it is mostly created by women for women. Yes, in Japan, women like to read manga and novels where men court and have sex with other men! It's forms are similar to "romance novels" here in America, with a stronger man pursuing and seducing a weaker. As I said, weird.

Bara, on the other hand, is made by and for gay men. It generally features men more to the various tastes of gays: muscle, hairy, s&m, older-younger, chubs, etc. It can take many forms, from full-on illustrated novels, to short stories, to serialized stories, to single frames (one fascinating sub-genre is bara depicting anime characters), and are usually graphic (though the Japanese law against depicting male genitalia sometimes results in "masking"). Though the men are usually Japanese, they can (and often do) include western men in their imagery. Although, we in the west also produce such illustrations, we are slackers compared to the Japanese. As part of this blog, I will occasionally post some bara along with other forms of manga for my viewers' pleasure and edification. Later I will blog about another of my favorite manga genres, furry. So, enjoy!




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