in Japan, is a Japanese genre of fictional media focusing on romantic or sexual relationships between male characters, typically marketed for a female audience and usually created by female authors.Yaoi also attracts male readers, although manga specifically marketed for a gay male audience (bara) is considered a separate genre.
In the late 1970s, shōjo magazines devoted to the new genre began to appear; and, in the 1990s, the wasei-eigo term boys' love or BL was invented for the genre, which replaced earlier terms such as tanbi, shōnen ai and juné in Japanese usage.
In Japan, the term yaoi continues to refer mainly to parody dōjinshi; among Western fans, however, yaoi is used as a generic term for female-oriented manga, anime, dating sims, novels and fan fiction works featuring idealized gay male relationships.
By the end of the 1970s, magazines devoted to the nascent genre started to appear, and in the 1990s the wasei-eigo term boys' love or BL would be invented and would become the dominant term used for the genre in Japan.
Although yaoi derives from girl's and women's manga and still targets the shōjo and josei demographics, it is currently considered a separate category.
Aleardo Zanghellini suggests that the martial arts terms have special significance to a Japanese audience, as an archetype of the gay male relationship in Japan includes same-sex love between samurai and their companions.
Another way the seme and uke characters are shown is through who is dominant in the relationship - a character can take the uke role even if he is not presented as feminine, simply by being juxtaposed against and pursued by a more dominant, more masculine, character.
Female authors writing for shōjo (girl's) manga magazines in the early 1970s published stories featuring platonic relationships between young boys, which were known as tanbi (aesthetic) or shōnen ai (boy love).
In the late 1970s going into the 1980s, women and girls in the dōjinshi (fan fiction) markets of Japan started to produce sexualized parodies of popular shōnen (boy's) anime and manga stories in which the male characters were recast as gay lovers.
In this case, yaoi is used to describe titles that primarily feature sexually explicit themes and sex scenes, while shōnen-ai is used to describe titles that focus primarily on romance and omit explicit sexual content, although sexual acts may be implied.