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Bishōnen ( 美少年 , also transliterated
The prefix bi (美) more often than not refers to feminine beauty, and bijin , literally "beautiful person", is usually, though not always, used to refer to beautiful women. (美中年) means "beautiful middle-aged man". Biseinen is to be distinguished from bishōnen as seinen (青年) is used to describe men who are of age, including those who have entered or completed tertiary education. The term shōnen is used to describe boys of middle and high school age. Last, bishota can be used to refer to a beautiful, pre-pubescent male child or a childlike male. Outside Japan, bishōnen is the most well-known of the three terms, and has become a generic term for all beautiful boys and young men.Bichūnen
The aesthetic of the bishōnen began as an ideal of a young lover, originally embodied in the wakashū (若衆, literally "young person", although only used for boys), or adolescent boy, and was influenced by the effeminate male actors who played female characters in kabuki theater. The term arose in the Meiji era, in part to replace the by then obsolete erotic meaning of the older term wakashū, whose general meaning of "adolescent boy" had by this point been supplanted by the new term shōnen. The bishōnen was conceived of as "aesthetically different from both women and men [...] both the antithesis and the antecedent of adult masculinity".
The bishōnen is typically slender, with clear skin, stylish hair, and distinctly feminine facial features (such as high cheekbones), but simultaneously retains a male body. This androgynous appearance is akin to the depiction of angels in Western renaissance art, with similar social roots for this aesthetic.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Amakusa Shirō have been identified as historical bishōnen.Ian Buruma notes that Yoshitsune was considered by contemporaries to be not physically prepossessing, but that his legend later grew and due to this, he became depicted with good looks. Abe no Seimei was depicted according to the standards of a Heian-era middle-aged man, but since 1989 he has been depicted as a modern-style bishōnen.
Kyokutei Bakin wrote many works with nanshoku undertones featuring bishōnen characters,and in 1848 he used the term bishōnen in the title of a work about the younger wakashu partner in the nanshoku relationship.
The bishōnen aesthetic is continued today in anime and manga, especially shōjo and BL .
Some non-Japanese, especially American, anime and manga fans use the term to refer to any handsome male character regardless of age, or any homosexual character. (美男子, literally "handsome man") is used. In the place of bishōnen, some fans prefer to use the slightly more sexually neutral bishie (also spelled as bishi) or bijin (美人), but these terms remain less common. The term binanshi was popular in the 1980s. Bishōnen is occasionally used to describe some androgynous female characters, such as Takarazuka actors, Lady Oscar in The Rose of Versailles , or any women with traits stereotypical to bishōnen.In the original Japanese, however, bishōnen applies only to boys under 18. For those older, the word bidanshi
Scottish pop singer Momus notably used the term in his song "Bishonen" from the "Tender Pervert" album (released on Creation Records).Almost 8 minutes long, the song is an epic tale of a young boy raised to die young by an eccentric stepfather.
The enduring preference for bishōnen males can clearly be seen in Japan and throughout parts of East Asia to this day.
In particular, Japan's largest male talent agency, Johnny & Associates Entertainment Company, specializes only in producing male Tarento idols.Accepted into Johnny & Associates in their early teens, these boys, collectively known as 'Johnnys', are trained and promoted to become the next leading singing-acting-commercially successful hit sensations. Almost all can be classified as bishōnen, exhibiting the same physically feminine features combined with a sometimes deliberately ambivalent sexuality or at the very least, a lack of any hint of a relationship to maintain their popular availability.
Current bishōnen examples from the same agency include Tomohisa Yamashita of J-pop group NEWS, Jin Akanishi and Kazuya Kamenashi of KAT-TUN, Takuya Kimura of SMAP, Ryosuke Yamada and Kei Inoo of Hey! Say! JUMP and Jun Matsumoto of Arashi, all of whom are phenomenally successful throughout East Asia by appealing to both younger and older women and whose widely praised, gender-incongruous physical beauty is often deliberately manipulated in terms of role-playing and, most commonly, fanservice.
Besides being a character type, bishōnen is also a distinct art style not usually forgotten in books about drawing manga. In art, bishōnen are usually drawn delicately, with long limbs, silky or flowing hair,and slender eyes with long eyelashes that can sometimes extend beyond the face. The character's "sex appeal" is highlighted through introducing the character by using an "eroticized" full page spread. Characters with "bulging muscles" are rarely considered bishōnen, as they are too masculine.
It is said that Björn Andrésen's appearance as Tadzio in the film Death in Venice inspired many Japanese anime artists, such as Keiko Takemiya, who became known for their depictions of young, effeminate men.
Bishōnen characters are fairly common in manga and anime. Many of the male characters show subtle signs of the bishōnen style, such as slender eyes or a feminine face.
Some manga are completely drawn in the bishōnen style, such as Saint Seiya . bishōnen manga are generally shōjo manga (girls' comics) or yaoi (girls' comics focused on homosexual relationships between beautiful boys), however shōnen manga (boy's comics) may use casts of bishōnen characters for crossover appeal to female readers.Mainstream shounen and seinen fare also often uses such characters as rivals for a traditional masculine protagonist, with some degree of comic relief, or for the blander everyman, whether as the embodiment of his insecurities in a grittier realism, or as a more lighthearted constant reminder of his less than advantageous social status and the constraints thereof. Comics for younger boys tend to use arrogant bishōnen in the role of the recurring minor rivals readers love to hate, though their effeminate good looks there will often appear older, bigger, stronger, and thus in fact more masculine than the commonly shorter and less mature protagonists.
Bishōjo ('beautiful girl') is often mistakenly considered a parallel of bishōnen, because of the similar construction of the terms. There are major differences between the two aesthetics. The bishōjo aesthetic is aimed at a male audience, and is typically centered on young girls, drawn in a cute, pretty style; and bishōnen is aimed at a female audience, centered on teenage boys, and drawn elegantly. Another common mistake is assuming that the female characters in bishōnen manga and anime are bishōjo. In truth, female characters in bishōnen manga are very different from those in bishōjo; bishōjo females are usually more petite and drawn in a style that is cute rather than beautiful, whereas bishōnen females exhibit the long limbs and elegance of the bishōnen themselves.
Several cultural anthropologists and authors have raised the multifaceted aspect of what bishōnen represents and what it is interpreted as, mostly to fit a particular external viewpoint.Ian Buruma noted that although Western comics for girls also included "impossibly beautiful men" who are clearly masculine and always get the girl in the end, the bishōnen are "more ambivalent" and sometimes get each other.
For Sandra Buckley, bishōnen narratives champion "the imagined potentialities of alternative [gender] differentiations"James Welker describes the bishōnen as being "queer", as the bishōnen is an androgynous aesthete with a feminine soul "who lives and loves outside of the heteropatriarchal world".
Jonathan D. Mackintosh believes that the bishōnen is a "traditional representation of youth", being "interstitial" between both childhood and adulthood and between being male and being female,regardless of the sexual issues.
Ishida Hitoshi makes the case that the image of the bishōnen is more about a grounding in sexuality than a transcendence of it, drawing on the idea of the image as being a refuge for alternative methods of looking at sexual natures, and sexual realities, at least since the 60s, rather than the elegiac aesthetics of usages in an earlier era.
Representations of men in manga by and for men show "an idealized man being ultramasculine and phallic", bishōnen are conversely drawn to "emphasize their beauty and sensuality", and female artists have been said to react against the ultramasculine representation by showing androgynous and "aesthetically beautiful" men.
Ian Buruma, writing in 1984, considered the "bishonen in distress" to be a recurring motif in popular manga. The bishōnen in distress is always rescued by an older, protective, mentor. This scenario has an "unmistakably homoerotic" atmosphere.He also notes that bishōnen must either grow up, or die beautifully. He considers the "worship" of the bishōnen to be the same as that of the sakura, and notes that "death is the only pure and thus fitting end to the perfection of youth."
A similar South Korean aesthetic has been noted in the kkonminam ('flowery pretty boy').
宗之瀟灑美少年 [He has Very High color and Beautiful boy.]
Shōnen, shonen, or shounenmanga is manga aimed at a young teen male target-demographic. The age group varies with individual readers and different magazines, but it is primarily intended for boys between the ages of 12 and 18. The kanji characters (少年) literally mean "boy" or "youth", and the characters (漫画) means "comic". Thus, the complete phrase means "young person's comic", or simply "boys' comic"; its female equivalent is shōjo manga. Shōnen manga is the most popular and best-selling form of manga.
Yaoi, also known as boys' love or BL, is a genre of fictional media originating in Japan that features homoerotic relationships between male characters. It is typically created by women for women and is distinct from homoerotic media marketed to gay and bisexual male audiences, such as bara, but it can also attract male readers and male creators can also produce it. It spans a wide range of media, including manga, anime, drama CDs, novels, games, films, and fan production. Boys' love and its abbreviation, BL, are the generic terms for this kind of media in Japan and have, in recent years, become more commonly used in English as well. However, yaoi remains more generally prevalent in English.
Yuri, also known by the wasei-eigo construction Girls' Love, is a Japanese jargon term for content and a genre involving lesbian relationships or female homoeroticism in light novels, manga, anime, video games and related Japanese media. Yuri focuses on the sexual orientation or the romantic orientation aspects of the relationship, or both, the latter of which is sometimes called shōjo-ai by Western fandom, despite its different and negative meaning in actual Japanese.
Shotacon, abbreviated from Shōtarō complex, is a Japanese slang describing an attraction to young boys. It refers to a genre of manga and anime wherein prepubescent or pubescent male characters are depicted in a suggestive or erotic manner, whether in the obvious role of object of attraction, or the less apparent role of "subject". In some stories, the young male character is paired with a male, usually in a homoerotic manner. In others, he is paired with a female, which the general community would call "straight shota". It can also apply to post-pubescent characters with neotenic features that would make them appear to be younger than they are. The phrase is a reference to the young male character Shōtarō (正太郎) from Tetsujin 28-go. The equivalent term for attraction to young girls is lolicon.
Records of men who have sex with men in Japan date back to ancient times. Western scholars have identified these as evidence of homosexuality in Japan. Though these relations had existed in Japan for millennia, they became most apparent to scholars during the Tokugawa period. Historical practices identified by scholars as homosexual include shudō (衆道), wakashudō (若衆道) and nanshoku (男色).
Harem light novels, manga, anime, hentai, and video games focused on polygynous/polyandrous relationships, where a protagonist is surrounded by three or more androphilic/gynephilic love interests or sexual partners. A story featuring a heterosexual male or lesbian protagonist paired with an all-female/yuri harem series is informally referred to as a female harem or seraglios; while a heterosexual female or gay male protagonist paired with an all-male/yaoi harem series is informally referred to as a male harem, reverse harem, or gyaku hāremu (逆ハーレム).
Bishōjo is a Japanese term for a beautiful young girl, usually below young adult age. Bishōjo is not listed as a word in the prominent Japanese dictionary Kōjien. A variant of the word, biyōjo (美幼女) refers to a pretty girl before the age of adolescence.
A bishōjo game or gal game, is "a type of Japanese video game centered on interactions with attractive girls". These games are a subgenre of dating sims targeted towards a heterosexual male audience.
Moe is a Japanese word that refers to feelings of strong affection mainly towards characters in anime, manga, video games, and other media directed at the otaku market. Moe, however, has also gained usage to refer to feelings of affection towards any subject.
The following is a glossary of terms that are specific to anime and manga. Anime includes animated series, films and videos, while manga includes graphic novels, drawings and related artwork.
The history of manga is said to originate from scrolls dating back to the 12th century, and it is believed they represent the basis for the right-to-left reading style. The word first came into common usage in the late 18th century. Manga is a Japanese term that can be translated as "comic"; Historians and writers on manga history have described two broad and complementary processes shaping modern manga. Their views differ in the relative importance they attribute to the role of cultural and historical events following World War II versus the role of pre-war, Meiji, and pre-Meiji Japanese culture and art.
Brigadier Oscar François de Jarjayes is a supporting character in the manga series The Rose of Versailles, created by Riyoko Ikeda, while in the anime is the main protagonist.
Yaoi fandom consists of the readers of yaoi, a genre of malexmale romance narratives aimed at those who participate in communal activities organized around yaoi, such as attending conventions, maintaining or posting to fansites, creating fan fiction or fan art, etc. In the mid-1990s, estimates of the size of the Japanese yaoi fandom were at 100,000–500,000 people, but in 2008, despite increased knowledge of the genre among the general public, readership remains limited. English-language fan translations of From Eroica with Love circulated through the slash fiction community in the 1980s, forging a link between slash fiction fandom and Yaoi fandom.
Bara is a colloquialism used to refer to a genre of Japanese comic art and media known within Japan as gay manga (ゲイ漫画) or gei komi. The genre focuses on male same-sex love, as created primarily by gay men for a gay male audience. Bara can vary in visual style and plot, but typically features masculine men with varying degrees of muscle, body fat, and body hair, akin to bear or bodybuilding culture. While bara is typically pornographic, the genre has also depicted romantic and autobiographical subject material, as it acknowledges the varied reactions to homosexuality in modern Japan.
Wakashū is a historical Japanese term indicating an adolescent boy.
Otokonoko is a Japanese term for men who adopt a culturally feminine gender expression, usually through cross-dressing or crossplay. Otokonoko (男の娘) is a play on the word 男の子, also pronounced otokonoko and meaning "boy", where the kanji for child (子) is substituted with daughter/girl (娘).
The term ikemen is a portmanteau neologism derived from the Japanese words ikeru (いける) or iketeru and menzu (メンズ). Ikeru and iketeru mean "cool", "good" and "exciting", while menzu is the Japanization of "men". This term has been used to reference good looking men featured in Japanese pop culture.
Shōjo, shojo, or shoujo manga (少女漫画) is manga aimed at a young teen female target-demographic readership. The name romanizes the Japanese 少女 (shōjo), literally "young woman" in English. Shōjo manga covers many subjects in a variety of narrative styles, from historical drama to science fiction, often with a focus on romantic relationships or emotions.
In anime and manga, the term "LGBT themes" includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender material. Outside Japan, anime generally refers to a specific Japanese-style of animation, but the word anime is used by the Japanese themselves to broadly describe all forms of animated media there. According to Harry Benshoff and Sean Griffin, the fluid state of animation allows flexibility of animated characters to perform multiple roles at once. Manga genres that focus on same-sex intimacy and relationships resulted from fan work that depicted relationships between two same-sex characters. This includes characters who express their gender and sexuality outside of hetero-normative boundaries. There are also multiple sub genres that target specific consumers and themes: yaoi, yuri, shoujo-ai, shonen-ai, bara and etc. LGBT-related manga found its origins from fans who created an "alternative universe" in which they paired their favorite characters together. Many of the earliest works that contained LGBT themes were found in works by dōjinshi who has specifically written content outside the regular industry. The rise of yaoi and yuri was also slowed due to censorship laws in Japan that make it extremely hard for Japanese manga artists ("mangakas") and others to create work that is LGBT themed. Anime that contained adult-only content was changed to meet international standards. However, publishing companies continued to expand their repertoire to include yuri and yaoi, and conventions were created to form a community and culture for fans of this work.