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Gay Manga FAQ

What is this site all about?

Gay Manga! is dedicated to sharing our love for Japanese gay manga, artwork, and culture. We hope this site serves as an introduction to the many incredible gay mangaka who are producing work today.

Additionally, this blog strives to provide cultural context by examining artists’ personal influences as well as Japan’s rich visual and narrative history of male-male eroticism.

Most importantly, this site is about honoring the artists themselves – because what they do is amazing!

What is gay manga?

Referred to in Japanese as gei komi (ゲイ コミ, literally “gay comics”), gay manga are homoerotic comics predominantly written by men for men. The term “bara” is frequently used to describe the genre throughout the English-speaking Internet, but “bara” is not in common use in Japan, in part because of the word’s pejorative connotations (see below). The genre is also called ML (Men’s Love).

Who makes gay manga?

There are dozens, if not hundreds of gay manga artists producing work in Japan. Some of the best-known artists include Gengoroh Tagame, Jiraiya, Seizoh Ebisubashi, Go Fujimoto, Takeshi Matsu, Guy Mizuki and Kazuhide Ichikawa. On the “Artists” page you’ll find an expanding directory of artists and links to their work.

What is The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame?

The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame: Master of Gay Erotic Art is  the first English-language collection of gay manga. The 272-page omnibus in an entree to Gengoroh Tagame's groundbreaking body of work, presenting a variety of short and medium-length comics from the late 1990s to 2012, as well as a brand new story commissioned by Chip Kidd. The book includes essays, background information, and commentary on individual stories by Tagame. You can see excerpts from the book in our tag for “The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame.” 

Published by Picturebox, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame was produced by Anne Ishii, designed by Chip Kidd, and edited by Graham Kolbeins (who also edits this blog), with an introduction by Edmund White.

Do gay manga artists have an online presence?

Finding the websites of gay manga artists can prove challenging, but many of them do have blogs, websites, and presences on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Pivix. We provide links wherever possible.

What is BL?

BL (Boy’s Love) is a separate genre of comics also focused on male-male romance and eroticism, written mostly by women for women. Originating in the 1970s through the work of the Showa 24 Group, BL has gone on to become a hugely popular cultural phenomenon. In sharp contrast to gay manga’s hypermasculine depictions, the “boys” of BL tend to have a more feminine, androgynous look.

While the two genres remain distinct, they’ve recently begun to exist in the same space. In the past decade, BL fans and artists alike have found opportunities to cross over to the rougher, “macho” world of gei komi.

What is yaoi?

While Yaoi is often used interchangeably with BL, it refers specifically to sexually explicit BL. Yaoi is an acronym for “Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi,” which translates to “No peak (climax), no fall (punch line/denouement), no meaning.” 

What is bara?

Bara (literally, “rose”) is an antiquated gay slur comparable to the English term “pansy.” When Japanese gay culture was forming its identity in the 1970s, the title of Barazoku magazine audaciously re-appropriated “bara,” turning the word on its head. The magazine’s supplement Bara-Komi also became the first publication devoted to printing gay manga. As gay culture developed in Japan, however, the term faded out of common use.

In the 1990s, Japanese internet administrators (perhaps lacking a firm understanding of gay culture) labeled gay message boards the “bara” boards. As a result, Western Internet users adopted the word to refer to the gay Japanese artwork they discovered on those message boards.

Where can you buy these artists’ books?

You can order gay manga books and magazines overseas from Japanese online retailers like Rainbow Shoppers and G-project. Licensed digital copies of some works are available on JPGAYS.

What about bootleg manga?

Bootleg scans of gay manga can be found online, but we strongly discourage participating in the piracy of these artists’ works. Several gay mangaka told us they’ve witnessed a direct decrease in demand for their work as a result of the proliferation of bootleg scans. Japanese and international publishers are reluctant to commission new works or put out collections of gay manga when bootlegs are circulating, and as a result, the artists are finding it increasingly difficult to make a living from this work.

How do you read the manga on this site?

Most of the excerpts of manga we post on this site should be read in the original Japanese format of right to left.

I’m not sure who made this image, do you know the artist? Send it in and we’ll try to figure out where it came from! Use the “ask” page or e-mail us at gaymangablog@gmail.com.

Have any other questions? Let us know! And enjo