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Yaoi: A New Genre in Erotic Literature
By Anne Cain



Their lean bodies move together in the throes of passion, their impossibly handsome faces hover close, their lips about to touch…With vivid imagery and intense sensual action such as this, welcome to the world of yaoi.

Yaoi originated in Japan as a form of lady’s entertainment, usually written and drawn by women. The stories are published as manga (the Japanese equivalent of comic books or graphic novels) or even anime (Japanese animation) and feature some rather graphic situations between two very handsome and idealized male lovers. It’s provocative and sexy, and its popularity with readers on the other side of the Pacific shows no sign of waning.

What is yaoi?

Defining the term ‘yaoi’ can be complicated. In Japan, yaoi was never defined as a genre relying on a reader’s ability to recognize it when she saw it. Fans in the West continue to debate about what defines the genre, though there are certain characteristics that are uniquely yaoi. Yaoi presents a purely fantasized and highly romanticized take on m/m fiction. MJ Johnson of
http://www.aestheticism.com/ says, “Romanticised would be the term I prefer since a lot of the unreal aspects of much yaoi can be found, holus-bolus, in romance novels, including the classic separation of roles into active dynamic and passive feeling.”

Traditionally, one lover will assume a dominant role in the relationship, becoming the “seme” (seh-meh), while the partner receiving the amourous ‘attentions’ is the “uke” (oo-keh). Yaoi is in a word: intense. The relationships might have complicated, angst-filled story-lines, but the action is graphic and designed to get the reader’s pulse pounding. No fantasy is too intense to explore, coupled with the often graphic, anatomically correct artwork, chiseled physiques and yes---hot, hard sex. Usually in high doses. The action doesn't necessarily have to be as gritty and realistic as possible---it's just done to entertain in a attractive and very erotically stirring way.

Meanwhile, storylines can span any range of topics, from sword and sorcery fantasy, to samurai tales or even schoolroom dramas. The cohesive element here is the passion between the stunningly attractive male protagonists---something a lot of fans can’t get enough of.

“[The appeal] absolutely case by case,” says MJ Johnson. “There's a whole bunch of reasons why people like m/m, which usually default to 'It's hot' and in the case of anime/manga based yaoi, 'It's pretty.'”

Yaoi themed novels

Keeping with the tradition of Japanese yaoi, English writers are trying to capture the gripping erotic action in book format. Visually descriptive and fast-paced, yaoi-based novels strive to maintain the flavor of their counterparts across the Pacific. Extasy Books is producing a new line of intense, yaoi-themed novels geared to appeal to fans of the Japanese artform. As popularity continues to grow, other publishers are sure to pick up on the trend.



Award winning romance author Barbara Sheridan and graphic artist Anne Cain’s upcoming novel, The Dragon’s Disciple is full of yaoi-goodness, soon to be released by
Extasy Books.

Book Blurb:

Forbidden love and desire is set in the dark underworld of San Francisco's Chinatown in The Dragon's Disciple, the dark urban fantasy by Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain.



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