Title

Lenses on Bishōnen: Artistic Representations of ‘Beautiful Men’ in Contemporary Japanese Manga

Presenter

Celia Langford

Abstract

The manga, or Japanese graphic novel, is a pop culture medium that appears in a variety of genres and often serves as a platform for discourse on topics otherwise frowned upon in the context of Japanese societal norms. My interest lies in the artistic representation of gender in yaoi, a genre of manga defined by its depiction of homosexual relationships between men. Yaoi manga artists regularly bend traditional definitions of masculinity by drawing their characters as bishōnen, or ‘beautiful boys’— with long hair, jewelry and fine features. My presentation features images of bishōnen seen in various yaoi manga and contrasts them with Japanese representations of beautiful boys from other mediums. I am interested in the ways in which a bishōnen can be represented. If the image of a “beautiful man” travels through the right lens, can that image begin to shift standards of masculinity?

Faculty Sponsor

Ron Takemoto

Tracks

Japanese Language and Culture

Terms of Use

ARMINDA Terms of Use

Location

Olin 129

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Lenses on Bishōnen: Artistic Representations of ‘Beautiful Men’ in Contemporary Japanese Manga

Olin 129

The manga, or Japanese graphic novel, is a pop culture medium that appears in a variety of genres and often serves as a platform for discourse on topics otherwise frowned upon in the context of Japanese societal norms. My interest lies in the artistic representation of gender in yaoi, a genre of manga defined by its depiction of homosexual relationships between men. Yaoi manga artists regularly bend traditional definitions of masculinity by drawing their characters as bishōnen, or ‘beautiful boys’— with long hair, jewelry and fine features. My presentation features images of bishōnen seen in various yaoi manga and contrasts them with Japanese representations of beautiful boys from other mediums. I am interested in the ways in which a bishōnen can be represented. If the image of a “beautiful man” travels through the right lens, can that image begin to shift standards of masculinity?

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