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Boys’ Love: The History and Transformation of BL in Asia


Time & Location

May 12, 8pm-10pm EDT



For our third episode of a special “Girls’ culture series”, we will focus on Boys’ Love (BL) genre and its media explosion across Asia. BL is male-male romantic content, originally created and marketed towards women by female manga artists in Japan to challenge gender and sexual norms in the 1970s. Over the years, BL has seen a tremendous growth in popularity and become a global phenomenon, expanding into media such as anime, prose fiction, live-action dramas, and fan fiction. As BL became more popular in other parts of Asia, it has evolved uniquely in each Asian country, taking on new meanings and forms within their own cultures.

Come join our panel discussion with four Boys’ Love experts: Akiko Mizoguchi, Hyojin KIM, Kristine Michelle Santos and  Thomas Baudinette. They will delve into the history and transformation of BL genre across Asia through the examples of Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Thailand, while exploring the transnational popularity and cultural influence of the BL genre in Asia.




The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. Now is your chance to ask the experts your questions about Boys’ Love genre! Please ask your question when you register. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session live as well.

This is a FREE event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.



Dr. Akiko Mizoguchi:

Akiko Mizoguchi is a queer visual culture theorist based in Yokohama, Japan and currently 2021-2022 fellow at The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Wellesley College. She has published extensively on film, contemporary art, and LGBTQ+ media. Her work particularly focuses on “Boys’ Love” or “BL” manga (Japanese comics)—male-male romance comics primarily written by and marketed to women in Japan. Akiko has written two award-winning books on the subject in Japanese: Theorizing BL As a Transformative Genre: Boys’ Love Moves the World Forward (2015) and Theorizing BL as a Transformative Genre (“Dialogue Edition”): Visiting the Sites Where Boys’ Love Is Born (2017) which have been translated into Chinese and Korean.
Official Website

Dr. Hyojin KIM:

Hyojin KIM is Assistant Professor at Institute for Japanese Studies, Seoul National University. Majoring in cultural anthropology, her interests lie in Japanese Otaku and Fujoshi Culture and its impacts on Korean popular culture, including cultural exchange between Korea and Japan since postwar, and the changing relationship between Japanese mainstream society and Otaku culture in general. Hyojin wrote numerous articles and books in Korean, Japanese, and English and her latest article in English is “Rethinking the Meaning of Boys Love in an Era of Feminism : Online Discourse on “Leaving BL” in Late 2010s Korea” in Queer Transfigurations: Boys Love Media in Asia (2022, forthcoming)
Official Website

Dr. Kristine Michelle Santos:

Kristine Michelle “Khursten” Santos is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Japanese Studies Program at Ateneo de Manila University. Her areas of study include gender, cultural history focused on queer and youth cultures in Asia. She has written and presented on queer works and boys love culture for various conferences and academic publications. Her latest publications include “Queer Affective Literacies: Examining “Rotten” Women’s Literacies in Japan” in Critical Arts titled The Bitches of Boys Love Comics: The Pornographic Response of Japan’s Rotten Women published at the journal Porn Studies. Outside of academia, she is also one of the founding organizers of Lights Out, the first BL convention not just in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia, since 2004. The event has been renamed as BLush since 2012.
Official Website

Dr. Thomas Baudinette:

Thomas Baudinette is Senior Lecturer in Japanese and International Studies at Macquarie University, Australia. A cultural anthropologist, his ethnographic research focuses on how pop culture informs knowledge about gender and sexuality across East and Southeast Asia. Thomas has also published widely on the queer affordances of Japanese media fandom across the Asia-Pacific. Thomas has written two books: Regimes of Desire: Young Gay Men, Media, and Masculinity in Tokyo (University of Michigan Press, 2021) and Boys Love Media in Thailand: Celebrity, Fans, and Transnational Asian Queer Popular Culture (Bloomsbury, forthcoming). He is currently investigating LGBTQ fans of K-pop with a particular focus on idol shipping.
Official Website



Previous Session

Takarazuka: The Interplay Between All-female Musicals and Girls’ Culture in Japan

Watch all the episodes on YouTube.


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