Queer Transfigurations: Boys Love Media in Asia

Hardback: $68.00
ISBN-13: 9780824888992
Published: May 2022
Paperback: $28.00
ISBN-13: 9780824892845
Published: February 2023

Additional Information

312 pages | 11 b&w illustrations
  • About the Book
  • The boys love (BL) genre was created for girls and women by young female manga (comic) artists in early 1970s Japan to challenge oppressive gender and sexual norms. Over the years, BL has seen almost irrepressible growth in popularity and since the 2000s has become a global media phenomenon, weaving its way into anime, prose fiction, live-action dramas, video games, audio dramas, and fan works. BL’s male–male romantic and sexual relationships have found a particularly receptive home in other parts of Asia, where strong local fan communities and locally produced BL works have garnered a following throughout the region, taking on new meanings and engendering widespread cultural effects.

    Queer Transfigurations is the first detailed examination of the BL media explosion across Asia. The book brings together twenty-one scholars exploring BL media, its fans, and its sociocultural impacts in a dozen countries in East, Southeast, and South Asia—and beyond. Contributors draw on their expertise in an array of disciplines and fields, including anthropology, fan studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, literature, media studies, political science, and sociology to shed light on BL media and its fandoms.

    Queer Transfigurations reveals the far-reaching influences of the BL genre, demonstrating that it is truly transnational and transcultural in diverse cultural contexts. It has also helped bring about positive changes in the status of LGBT(Q) people and communities as well as enlighten local understandings of gender and sexuality throughout Asia. In short, Queer Transfigurations shows that, some fifty years after the first BL manga appeared in print, the genre is continuing to reverberate and transform lives.

  • About the Author(s)
    • James Welker, Editor

      James Welker is professor in the Department of Cross-Cultural Studies at Kanagawa University, Yokohama, Japan.
    • Allison Alexy, Series Editor

      Allison Alexy is assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan.


    • Thomas Baudinette
    • Poowin Bunyavejchewin
    • Tricia Abigail Santos Fermin
    • Katrien Jacobs
    • Han Hau Lai
    • Kang-Nguyễn Byung’chu Dredge
    • Hyojin Kim
    • Jungmin Kwon
    • Aerin Lai
    • Xi Lin
    • Lakshmi Menon
    • Kazumi Nagaike
    • Gita Pramudita Prameswari
    • Asako P. Santo
    • Kristine Michelle Santos
    • Kania Arini Sukotjo
    • Peiti Wang
    • Yanrui Xu
    • Ling Yang
    • Wei Wei
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • Not only does Queer Transfigurations extend the borders of BL beyond Japan, but it also significantly updates our understanding of BL from a fan studies perspective and the social, cultural, and political effects of BL in Asia. . . . [It] is a well-edited, novel, and interesting collection of chapters well-suited for academic readers [and] is a crucial volume for manga and fan studies scholars, as well as for anyone interested in Boys Love and LGBTQ+ media. [The] positive, forward-looking tone of this volume mirrors Welker’s final argument that the BL genre has been ‘positively reshaping the imaginary and real worlds of its fans and others in Asia and beyond’ and leaves readers feeling refreshed and optimistic for the future.
      —Lindsey Stirek, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Journal of Anime and Manga Studies, Volume 3
    • This collection . . . offers an ambitious survey of the boys’ love (BL) manga genre, its media extensions, and the communities of fans that have proliferated across different parts of Asia. [Each] chapter’s unique, localized perspective contributes to a rich overall examination of the topic.
      —R. Tait-Ripperdan, Florida Gulf Coast University, CHOICE, 60:8 (April 2023)