Girls Like Boys Who Like Boys Who Sometimes Look Like Girls: Considerations on Japanese Boys’ Love manga

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 15 June, 2017
6:00pm BST

Dr Simon Turner (Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow)

About the Lecture

Boys’ Love, otherwise known as ‘BL’, is a genre of Japanese manga focusing on romantic or sexual relationships between men marketed primarily for a female audience and is usually created by women. Its origins can be most clearly seen in the 1970s when female artists entered the manga publishing industry and who have instigated a market that is now worth approximately £140 million. Narratives within this genre are often distinguished by elevated levels of aestheticism which provides us with a unique insight into the historical and contemporary attitudes of female manga artists and readers in Japan.

This lecture will examine the origins and history of Boys’ Love manga paying attention to the similarities and differences with other homoerotic literature in Japan as well as the contemporary milieu that has influenced and continues to inform this form of women’s writing. It will provide an insight into one of the most popular and enduring manga genres to exist but about which little is known outside of Japan.

About the Speaker

Simon Turner is a Cultural Studies scholar with an interest in Japanese Studies, particularly transcultural flows of Japanese popular culture. His primary research interest is global Boys’ Love manga fandom as well as online communities, popular culture and fandom studies, gender, sexuality, and queer theory.

He completed his PhD at Birkbeck College at the University of London in Cultural Studies with his thesis that utilized a digital ethnographic approach to a Boys’ Love manga fan site. His thesis received The John Crump Studentship award from The British Association for Japanese Studies.

He has published his research on transcultural Boys’ Love manga fandom in Manga-Vision (Monash University Press) and will contribute to the forthcoming Asian Cultural Flows: Industries, Policies, and Media Consumers (Springer). He is also exploring East-Asian reception of Western popular media texts including reception of The Twilight Saga, to be featured in the upcoming Fan Phenomena (Intellect), and The Hunger Games in Thailand.

He is also the News Review Editor of Comics Forum, an online portal that aims to increase the visibility and accessibility of comics scholarship.

About the Third Thursday Lecture Series

Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments). Speakers are all specialists in their field and the talks are intended to be accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Japanese history.

The lecture are normally held at the Weston Room, Cathedral Hostry, Norwich NR1 4DH. The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Yakult and the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Charitable Trust.

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.