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This reaffirmation of Western dominance and representations of Orientalist ideas of Arabs in BL texts (not to mention the conspicuous absence and negative depictions of non-Japanese Asian characters and Black characters) demonstrate women’s romantic fantasies’ complex entanglement with racism, something which is especially critical to examine in the context of BL’s globalization: as Western fans read their own fantasies and desires into works depicting Japanese women’s fantasies and desires, problematic racial dynamics are reinterpreted through a more globally dominant perspective, and this creates new points of fan engagement and complications surrounding representation and power in BL fan cultures.[…] My own original research—personal interviews conducted over a period of approximately a week—also deals heavily with…transnationality and its implicit, part-and-parcel transformations of the source material….Mark Mc Harry touches on this in his article “Yaoi: Redrawing Male Love” in which he quotes Mark Mc Lelland saying that “The traditional understanding of homosexuality as a particular style or ‘Way’ of enjoying sex is still faintly discernible in certain media texts which speak of homosexuality as a ‘hobby’ [shumi] or a kind of ‘play’ [asobi/purei]” (as cited in Mc Harry 2003).Where Western understandings of homosexuality currently emphasize a largely fixed identity which is an intrinsic and integral part of the individual self, Japanese traditions of same-gender intimacy, such as nanshoku, or sexually intimate mentor relationships between adult men and adolescent boys, leave a lingering perspective which conceptualizes same-gender eroticism in terms of behavior and free-floating desire.In this essay I will examine how these young people are reading and creating BL differently and similarly to the original Japanese fanbase—how they have transported and transformed this subculture.
She writes, “The setting of a German gymnasium [in Heart of Thomas] works, because it is fictitious….It also worked to create a kind of Occidentalism—reproducing an idea of “the West” that is unmarked, assumed to be coherent and stable.Toshio Miyake’s analysis of Axis Powers Hetalia, an amateur Japanese gag comic depicting nations anthropomorphized as young men provides a useful lens through which to look at the use of Western settings in early shounen’ai manga that Aoyama describes; Miyake discusses the way in which the overrepresentation of Euro-American nations in the text of Hetalia, as well as the popular character pairings in dojinishi, produce unquestioned representations of existing hierarchical geopolitical relationships, thereby reinforcing key logics of Occidentalism (Miyake, 2013, para. Although Heart of Thomas and works like it do not literally represent anthropomorphized nation-states, their highly romantic, aesthetic depictions of setting and character that tie wealth, philosophy and romance to the West certainly carry occidental implications.In his one-volume title Dogs and Swallows (or 犬とつばめ), high school student Kaede Yamada is reunited with and–this is BL, after all–falls in love with his childhood playmate Taiju Noro as he attempts to come to terms with the death of his older sibling, Asahi Yamada.Throughout the volume, Amagakure brings his trademark sensitivity to themes of grief and gently subversive portrayals of masculinity to the table while deftly utilizing classic–even cliché–BL tropes.