In the little town of Warwick, Rhode Island, yaoi and LGBTQ communities united to create a memorial and overwhelmingly successful first year BishounenCon!
BishounenCon was the brand new, classy, east coast counterpart to the long running California convention YaoiCon. Like YaoiCon, BishounenCon is founded on embracing the Japanese subculture of "yaoi', or "boy's love," manga, anime, and fandoms with fancentric programing. Juné, the sponsor for both conventions, brought over veteran staff, official bishounen, panels, and main events to really give east coast a taste of what YaoiCon is all about.
Not to be an exact replica of YaoiCon, BishounenCon also embraced LGBTQ culture and communities, giving a safe space for both groups to thrive and interact. Panels like Gay Life: Fact vs Yaoi, But We're Both Guys: Unplacking BL Cliches, and LGBTQ+: Going Beyond Gay gave amazing presentations on gender and sexual variations.
BishounenCon's goal was to become the classier younger brother of YaoiCon, starting with its sharply dressed mascots by Tatouji to new programming events like the Host Club and Masquerade Ball.
Our veteran bishounen truly dressed to impress and entertain at the Friday night Host Club. Here attendees made reservations with their favourite bishounen and got to have a relaxing date with them. Each bishie brought out their unique charm for their guests and even put on skits for the entire crowd to enjoy.
Saturday nights Masquerade Ball was a nice change up from the usual convention rave. With of local dance studio Twirl the Girl, free formal dance lessons were held an hour early to teach attendees a move or two. Attendees showed up to impress and got to dance the night away to Yuri On Ice hits, participate in a cosplay contest, and even win big prizes in a Juné sponsored raffle!
Our special guest Fox E., amazing cosplayer and drag queen, hosted a Drag Show during the Masquerade Ball with some of the bishies. She stunned the audience with her Final Fantasy X/X-2 Yuna performance, costume change and all! This was many of the audience's first drag show and they had an amazing experience between Fox E.'s spirit, bishies in spandex, and even a shirtless lip sync battle.
Guest of Honor, Velvet Toucher, had a busy weekend of signings, panels, and taking in the BishounenCon spirit. She was overjoyed to meet fans of her previous work, Lost in the Snow, and encourage everyone to check out her newest work, Eden's Mercy, currently on Kickstarter.
Overall, BishounenCon's first year was a great success! Final count of attendance was 492!! The attendees were wonderful, courteous, and gave great feedback for us to improve on. A second year has not been confirmed just yet, but keep checking in on the Juné blog for updates for another wonderful year full of even more great programming!
We would like to thank once more our staff, volunteers, bishounen, special guests, and of course our attendees!
Lies are a Gentleman’s Manners gets full marks, no question. This odd little volume and all that makes it unique is immediately one of my all-time favorites. This story, which feels much more full than its 200 pages would suggest, follows Dr. Paul Thomas Haskins, a waspish Ivy League professor, and Jonathan, a student of his. Both these men are manipulative sociopaths, though whether that is in their nature or whether they are so deep in the closet that skeletons and old sweaters are suffocating them and giving them brain damage is not clear.
The characters choose not to see it in each other, and the narration is so successfully ironic that the audience could miss it too if they blink. This is hardly a love story, and the truth is, it’s hardly about Jonathan at all. This book could easily have detailed any of Paul’s many trysts, most likely with a scrappy cutie from the wrong side of the tracks, because that seems to be his type. This story is amazing in that it is a day in the life, rather than a snapshot of some defining, sweeping, meaningful romance. This affair may or may not be remembered, there is no real resolution, and everything will be the same tomorrow.
This book stands out in relative realness. The ongoing theme is that of the dreaded Closet. Our “hero” Paul is a 37 year old gay man who inspires no sympathy whatsoever, and never feels he deserves any. He is New England royalty from the oldest money and the highest position of privilege in the country. His life has been one of connection, nepotism, and leisure. As he says himself, his biggest problem is his receding hairline. Yet one can’t hate him because he is sentenced by his station to never truly be fulfilled in his own identity. The same syndrome is reflected in his lovers, though it manifests differently in each.
Socioeconomic stratification is touched upon. Even HIV is acknowledged. The setting and cultural context is very well researched and fleshed out, so the way the tight social web surrounding the school and the region seems to have all roads leading back to Paul feels natural.
Lies are a Gentleman’s Manners is a story of complex motivations in a complex context. It is also a story of smex. Good old fashioned hot stuff in most satisfactory quantities. The sex scenes are not explicit in the traditional pornier sense I usually gravitate toward, but they are objectively excellent. The faces are expressive enough to make one blush and the anatomy has tension, weight, and volume in all the right places.
The art is just as good throughout and the style is totally unlike any I’ve seen. The style also noticeably changes between the first and last panels, which is fun to watch. The art is minimal yet communicative with a high efficiency of line and very effective toning. From the settings to the outfits, the world building is tight and beautiful, and each character has their own unique features. Not every character is perfect either, something not often seen in yaoi. Of course they’re all attractive, but the basic bishounen mold is not at work here.
If you’re in the market for a terrifically crafted little human drama with truly interesting characters and lots of hot action, rooted in a relatable reality (hard to imagine someone NOT being in the market for that), this is a great score. I look forward to revisiting this treasure many times. I also have the feeling that the next time someone insists I give them a peek into the world of my special secret bookshelf, this is the one I will show them. This is a great yaoi, and also just a great book. I hope you enjoy it.
With Juné Manga's upcoming "yabara" kickstarter project, winter anime hits like "Yuri on Ice," and psychological online manga like "Killing Stalking," the definition of "yaoi" has become much more of a grey area.
At its core, yaoi is defined as romantic relationships between two male characters. These stories are predominantly made by women for women. Beginning in the 70s, the boys love genre would depict "bishounen," or pretty boys, having platonic relationships with one another (what some would consider "shounen ai" today). These would progress into more explicit contents in fan made doujinshi, slowly becoming regularized in the manga form as well.
For many years yaoi was not considered "gay manga" as it did not depict homosexual relationships in realistic ways. Intending it to be a fantasy, mangakas would create overly dramatic plot lines, features, and content that would never be found in the real world. These fantasies appealed and catered to the female aesthetic and desires much more than males, thus male readers grew to have a distaste, and even offense, for the genre.
"Bara" was created as the male counterpart to yaoi, made by males for males. Instead of having feminine features, these men are extremely muscular and hairy. Exchanging less plot for more sexual fantasy, the contents are mostly explicit.
In more recent years, the blending of the two genres has been occurring more and more. Moving away from stereotyped plots like dubious consent or overly feminized men, modern changes such as this have started to resonate with both fujoshi fans and the LGBTQ community. Many authors are now exchanging these known yaoi tropes into more realistic human relationships with plots such as traumatic pasts and less social taboo. Works by artists such as Sakira, who draws very muscular bara men with plenty of sexual content, have grabbed the attention of both sets of fans for her ability of comedic storytelling and unique art style.
With modern streaming and subscription services, the ability to watch and read online with same day releases has caused anime and manga fans alike to flock to these digital sources. The blending of cultures and fans has caused both positive and negative effects for the yaoi, LGBTQ, and general otaku communities.
Last season's hit anime "Yuri on Ice" caused a rift with these communities and sparked debate on what the definition of yaoi truly is and where does one draw the line. Modernizing the yaoi genre and getting rid of social stigmas can cause people to argue "is it yaoi?" or "is it just a relationship that happens to be homosexual?" Some have come to define modern yaoi that if the relationship between the two males is the main plot source for the story, then yes it is a yaoi. If there are much larger plot points and two characters happen to be homosexual, then it is just a subplot romance, thus not a yaoi.
It has truly become a definition in the eyes of each personal reader. Where someone draws the line may vastly vary to someone else based on their upbring, lifestyle, or even just their personal taste. The best part about having an expanding grey area are the debates themselves, if done in healthy open minded settings. Talking about issues and social awareness can be massively helpful and healthy when done under the right circumstances. Now while this is not always done in the most positive ways, as most any disagreement can lend itself to, the community itself still encourages everyone to be as respectful and open minded to any and all.
Whether you spell it yaoi, yai, yoai, or simply yaoi, the big question is: where do yaoi comics go from here? With an ever expanding yet smaller world, there are thousands of plots, artists, and genres to choose from. Whether you enjoy the beautiful bishounen, muscular baras, or even a blend of both, chances are there is a story out there just for you.
Juné has been through many changes over the last few months: new website, new releases, new youtube, new blog, new news! Keeping with that spirit, Juné will be offering FREE gifts for anyone spending $100 or more this entire month! International or domestic, if you spend $100 or more with us, you will get to select a FREE pink labeled Juné title.
Don't want to spend $100, but still want to get your (yaoi) hands on some classic titles? All pink label titles will also be 35% throughout January!
Browse through our classic yaoi titles and pick out your future gift!
Twittering Birds Never Fly, Saezuru Tori ha Habatakanai, or 囀る鳥は羽ばたかない, however you call it, Juné's got it!
The long awaited restock of Twittering Birds Never Fly volume 1 revised edition is in! Available in Print, Digital, and Bundle form, Kou Yoneda's angst filled drama may adorn your bookshelves once more."Yashiro is the young leader of Shinseikai and the president of the Shinseikai Enterprise, but like so many powerful men, he leads a double life as a deviant and a masochist. Chikara Doumeki comes to work as a bodyguard for him and, although Yashiro had decided that he would never lay a hand on his own men, he finds there's something about Doumeki that he can't resist. Yashiro makes advances toward Doumeki, but Doumeki has mysterious reasons for denying. Yashiro, who abuses his power just to abuse himself, and Doumeki, who faithfully obeys his every command, begin the tumultuous affair of two men with songs in their hearts and no wings to fly."