Perfect for all those parents looking for just the right gift for their fujoshi daughters.
Boys’ love, the genre of manga/anime where beautiful boys… well… love each other, has only been growing in popularity, and one place is the center for it all: Ikebukuro in Tokyo. It’s long been a gathering spot for fujoshi, female fans of the genre, and even has a boys’ love cafe where young men serve up drinks and love confessions to each other while dressed as high school students.
So it then comes as no surprise that even mainstream Japanese book retailer TSUTAYA has a boys’ love section in Ikebukuro. What may come as a surprise, however, is that their section is so large it’s divided into more than 30 sub-genres!
Japanese Twitter user @aria1204 posted a picture of the legendary bookshelves, which quickly blew up online: (click pictures to enlarge)
▼ “Breaking news! Things are heating up at the Ikebukuro
TSUTAYA bookstore where the boys’ love genre is divided up lol.”
速報。 池袋東口に出来たツタヤの本屋さんがBLジャンル分けされてて熱いwwww https://t.co/JdKY6fhnhX—
あり子@アカシウス (@aria1204) July 24, 2017
Just as a reminder, this is not a boys’ love specialty store! This would be like going into your local Barnes and Noble (or whatever big chain book retailer is nearest you), and not only seeing a significant section of the store dedicated to “vampire romance,” but that section divided into smaller sub-genres like “sparkling,” “aggressive,” “non-blood-sucking,” etc.
Some of the boy’s love sub-genres are hard to make out, but here’s a list of some of the ones we can see, complete with their Japanese and English translations: (uke means “the submissive/bottom one in the relationship” and seme means “the aggressive/top one”)
Yankii uke = “Yankee” (delinquent) uke
Tsundere uke = “Tsundere” (initially cold but slowly warms up) uke
Megane uke = Glasses uke
Otokomae uke = Handsome uke
Sasoiosoi uke = Aggressive/attacking uke
Inran uke = Lewd uke
Shicchaku seme = Clingy seme
Oresama seme = Conceited seme
Kichiku seme = Brutal/savage seme
Gōman seme = Haughty seme
Haraguroi seme = Malicious seme
Zetsurin seme = Peerless/perfect seme
Yandere seme = “Yandere” (psychotically obsessive) seme
Dōkyūsei = Classmates
Riiman = Salaryman
Fantajii = Fantasy
Urasoshiki = Underground organization
Osanajimi = Childhood friends
Sensei seito = Teacher/student
Jōge kankei = Upper/lower-rank
Senpai kohai = Senior/junior
Torauma = Trauma
Fukusuu = Multiple men
Toshi no sa = Age difference
Gachi kyōdai = Real siblings
Itai = Painful
Honobono = Heartwarming
Eroero = Erotic
Biginaa muke = For beginners
Diipu = Deep
Muriyari = Coercion
Kyūsho seme = Kick in the balls
Chōkyō = Breaking/training (like an animal)
Omocha = Toys
Tsugi ni kuru BL = Up and coming Boy’s Love
Phew! Did you get all that? I never knew that there was such a beautiful rainbow of boys’ love genres out there.
As far as marketing goes, this is really a genius move by the Ikebukuro TSUTAYA. Not only will fans of the genre appreciate the organization, but just the sheer variety of it all would make even me want to go take a look. I mean, I want to know what that “kick in the balls” genre is all about.
And if you look closely, at the bottom-right of picture #2 you can see English translations of some of the genres. They’re truly catering to as wide an audience as possible, though I can’t imagine why anyone who couldn’t read Japanese would buy them. Just to look at the pictures…? Nah, that couldn’t be it.
Here’s how Japanese netizens responded to this boys’ love book paradise:
“Oh Ikebukuro. I expected as much.”
“That TSUTAYA is amazing. I’m jealous.”
“Oh my god, ‘peerless/perfect seme‘ is my favorite genre! I have to go.”
“Who’s in charge of classifying them? A god-level fujoshi?“
“This is the official TSUTAYA IKEBUKURO account. The photos are real. Thanks for coming to our store! We look forward to you coming back!”
If you’re a fan of the boys’ love genre, then this is probably a must-see location on your next trip to Tokyo. And even if you’re not, hey no big deal. You can still use your newfound boys’ love knowledge to see if you can identify the uke and seme in some boy-on-boy relationships.