'In recent decades, “Boys Love” (or simply BL) has emerged as a mainstream genre in manga, anime, and games for girls and young women. This genre was first developed in Japan in the early 1970s by a group of female artists who went on to establish themselves as major figures in Japan’s manga industry. By the late 1970s many amateur women fans were getting involved in the BL phenomenon by creating and self-publishing homoerotic parodies of established male manga characters and popular media figures. The popularity of these fan-made products, sold and circulated at huge conventions, has led to an increase in the number of commercial titles available. Today, a wide range of products produced both by professionals and amateurs are brought together under the general rubric of “boys love,” and are rapidly gaining an audience throughout Asia and globally. '
From the summary of Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan, edited by Mark McLelland, Kazumi Nagaike, Katsuhiko Suganuma, and James Welker, 2015.
While a decade ago this genre was bubbling away in the quietest corners of the Chinese internet, a series of hit online and TV dramas mean BL is now big business. It's a genre known as danmei (耽美 – indulging beauty) that's still going strong.
It's no surprise that BL series/movies are becoming popular in India especially after the Supreme Court of India, a 5-judge constitutional bench, invalidated part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, hence making homosexuality legal in the country.
Yaoi (やおい), also known by the wasei-eigo construction boys' love (ボーイズ ラブ, bōizu rabu) and its abbreviation BL (ビーエル, bīeru), is a genre of fictional media originating in Japan in the 1970s that features homoerotic relationships between male characters.
Korean soap operas has been popular in many Asian countries. It is no wonder that BL series became well-loved by many after the country's first BL drama Where Your Eyes Linger (2020).
Laos' history with BL series is new. The country has just released its first BL series this year (2021) called One Love: The Series, originally titled "Winter Flower."
The first BL series in Myanmar is Tick Tick Again. It is an astonishing series given the repressive nature of Myanmar's government is towards homosexuality. Beauty can be everywhere if we just allow it.
Filipinos are huge fans of BL series. It's no wonder that BL series is now exploding in the Philippines. Gameboys, the country's first BL series, has captured many audiences and hearts since its first episode in late May 2020.
Inadvertently, Russia has entered into the BL world with the release of Here I Come. It was produced in the wake of Russia’s homophobic “anti-gay propaganda” law which prohibits any distribution to minors about 'nontraditional sexual relations'.
Spain has one of the richest traditions of incorporating LGBTQ themes and thinking into the mainstream films. More recently, Spain has introduced more gay-themed serials into the mainstream.
There was not a single feature-length gay film made by Singaporeans in Singapore until “Solos” in 2007. BLs are beginning to burgeon with the release of Summerdaze, Getaway and other short recently short films
Funny Boy, a film released in 2020 and distributed by Netflix will most probably pave the way for Sri Lanka to enter the world of BL. Let us support their efforts.
Sweden’s history of voicing gay people begins in 1917 when it released its first film with a queer content - Mauritz Stiller’s Vingerne. With the passage of time and societal changes, the film industry has not only become more and more progressive, its representation of LGBTQ Swedes has also increased.
Taiwan's venture to BL series started with HIStory. Each season presents stand-alone stories with different plots and main characters focusing on the theme of boys' love. The first season premiered on February 14, 2017. The series has attracted a large international following.
Thailand's first BL series Love Sick: The Series, adapted from the Thai BL novel, premiered its first season on July 6, 2014. But it was the popularity of the BL series 2gether that catapult the country to success in international audiences.
The first modern beguiling movie of romance with two males goes back to 1985 in My Beautiful Launderette. Arguably, there have been other ‘gay’ moves previously but mostly centered around the negative stereotypes of being gay.
While the USA is not known for its BLs, it has managed to sneak in a few BLs into the mainstream of American society. Many were enamored with Love Simon, a 2018 movie about the coming out of a teenage boy. So much so that there have been two sequels as TV series called Love Victor. Each series got bolder and more realistic in its approach to being gay in the United States.
Vietnam's history with BL series is not new as many would think. Its first BL series called My Best Boyfriend was aired on September 24, 2019.
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