Cover of Korean edition of Mizoguchi's Japanese-language book
Cover of the Korean edition (Imageframe, 2018) of Mizoguchi’s Japanese-language book BL shinkaron (Theorizing BL As a Transformative Genre).

Theorizing BL As a Transformative Genre: Male-Male Fictions by and for Women

A Presentation by Akiko Mizoguchi
Mar 14, 2022, 4 PM
Newhouse Center for the Humanities
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"BL," the acronym for "Boys' Love" (also known as yaoi), is a genre consisting of male-male romance fictions created by women and for women in Japan. The genre originally consisted of manga (narrative comic stories) and illustrated novels, both commercial publications and self-published dōjinshi. More recently, it includes voice dramas ("drama CD"), anime, live action films, and video games.

Identifying Mari Mori's 1961 short novel as the origin of the genre and the 1970's-1980's "Beautiful Boy" manga within the girls' (shojo) manga as the precursor, Dr. Akiko Mizoguchi discusses how the commercial BL genre has transformed into an unprecedented genre with feminist and queer activist potential. Recent commercial BL genre has produced stories that portray strong female characters and gay-identified characters who come out and engage in other realistic negotations. Mizoguchi argues that while BL represents beautiful male characters at the center, for veteran women fans and authors, it functions as a female sexualized discursive space in which they exchange pleasure to the extent that these women can be called "virtual gay men" and "virtual lesbians." 

This is an in-person event open only to students, staff, and faculty in the Wellesley College testing protocol. Click here to register for remote attendance. 

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Image Credit:

Ota-shuppan, 2015