As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I took a break from anime for about a year. During that time I did indeed live like a shoujo maiden in a slice of life anime. Actually, I may have watched one anime during that time, but it was Natsume Yuujinchou Roku and since it’s my all-time favorite series it was mandatory.
Awkward Segway aside, Japan has this really cool way of incorporating pop culture into tourism. Sure, all countries do but admittedly I don’t pay attention to marketing I have no interest in. The Prince Hotel in Ikebukuro, Tokyo has a Yuri!!! On Ice X Sanrio character mash-up promotion going on from February 13th until May 31st of 2018. May I say that it’s pretty glorious that Sanrio, known for Hello Kitty, is not shying away from the ice-skating sensation with leading queer characters! It’s so refreshing. Most brands in America would not do something like this.
Prince Hotel sits in an area known as “Sunshine City” which is located in Ikebukuro’s Toshima-ku, a city that “has been selected as Japan’s candidate city for the 2019 Culture City of East Asia.”
For the ladies reading who identify as fujoshi and relish the simple pleasures of reading BL and yaoi, be sure to check out Otome Road while you’re in the area. For those of you who might not be familiar with that term, fujoshi are women who enjoy manga and light novels that depict male | male relationships. These relationships can be referred to as shonen-ai, Boys Love or yaoi.
BL is generally tamer than yaoi, which can get sexually explicit and learn towards the sphere of hentai. The word 腐女子, or fujoshi has a negative connotation within the Japanese language. It is often reclaimed in the same vein as the word “otaku”. A male counterpart for fujoshi is fudanshi (腐男子), or fukei (腐兄 ).
Here is a little trick that helps me remember the differences when browsing for manga in Japanese.
Although a kanji can have multiple uses, it typically will not be pronounced the same. Remember to memorize all of the on’yomi (reading based on Chinese pronunciations) and kun’yomi (reading based on Japanese interpretation) throughout your kanji learning journey early on. I made the mistake of ignoring these differences and suffered greatly until I got my act together.
One way to remember the difference between these words in Japanese is to take a close look at the kanji (or hiragana) after “fu”. The “joshi”（女子 => じょし） in fujoshi is a term for women or girls, (although I’ve never really heard it in spoken conversations before.)
Josei (女性 => じょせい ) is also a word for female/encompassing femininity, which has more relevant usage today.
The “danshi” (男子=> だんし ) in fudanshi is a word for a young man or a youth. Have you ever heard of a show called Daily Lives of High School Boys? Danshi koukousei no Nichijou => 男子高校生の日常. If you watch subs, they also use the word ‘danshi’ a lot to refer to themselves as a group.
Fukei uses the kanji for ani (あに => 兄) which is the casual speech version of older brother. So, 腐兄.
Next time you’re browsing for non-English manga, see if you can recognize any of these kanji in the BL section! After reaching the Prince Hotel in Sunshine City’s complex, walk towards the Animate building which serves as the gateway to this fujoshi haven.
If you have a chance to visit Prince Hotel or if you just enjoy Yuri!!! On Ice in general, let me know in the comments below! What is your favorite sports anime? I was really into Free! Iwatobi Swim Club when it came out. I tried getting into Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket…but no dice. Go figure. Be sure to follow us for more anime-real world crossovers!