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Old 06-29-2010, 11:06 AM
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Default Japan Tour: Gay Japanese manga

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Japan is famous for manga, a genre of comic book art distinguished by its detail and artistry. The field of manga is enormous, with almost every taste catered for, including - very much - the erotic.

Gay manga cater to Japan's gay community. In Japan, the gay manga genre is known as bara, or "rose": the floral reference in Japanese used to generally denote things gay. Alternatively it is known as menzu labu, the Japanese rendition of the English "men's love."

Gay manga became popular in the 1960s. The forebears of the genre, at least commercially, were the yaoi comics, penned by women, featuring boys in love with each other. Gay manga are written generally by men, but there are notable exceptions, such as the manga artist, Reibun Ike.

Gay manga feature a lot of fetishism. The characters have stereotypical roles based on social status, occupation, role during intercourse (top or bottom), race, etc. There is the bespectacled, suited "salaryman," the young, tan surfer, the man in uniform, the massively muscled high school or college jock, the effeminate young student, and more - including, in gay fantasy manga, werewolves and other semi- or fully-alien creatures having little in common with the human characters but insatiable lust. Japanese and usually hugely hung foreigners indulge in a highly sexually charged power play, often in a historical setting. And the abovementioned top/bottom, or tachi-uke, theme is one that no gay manga can be without.

Most manga are paperback, printed on cheap, typically "comic" paper, but better quality hardback editions too. The main body of a manga is in black and white, but many manga will include full-color erotic "poster" that folds out just behind the front cover.

Few have been translated into English, but, being comics, they (very!) largely speak for themselves.

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