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Gay Japanese Vlogger Discusses Boys-Love in English-Subtitled Video

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Gay and feminist Japanese vlogger and critic Masaki C. Matsumoto began streaming a video about their thoughts on yaoi and boys-love on their YouTube channel in February. The English-subtitled video is a reupload of a previous Japanese video that did not include subtitles.

The video "discusses sexism and heterosexism surrounding the whole anti-BL culture as well as [Matsumoto's] own personal history with BL." Additionally, the video and its YouTube description reference Matsumoto's 2016 interview with the Anime Feminist website, in which Matsumoto also addressed their opinion on BL.

Matsumoto appears in director Graham Kolbeins and co-writer Anne Ishii's (Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It editors) Queer Japan documentary film. Kolbeins and Ishii held a successful crowdfunding campaign for the project in 2016 that raised US$47,193.

Kolbeins is currently holding a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to fund post-production of the documentary. The campaign launched in April 2017 and has raised US$8,220 of its US$39,425 goal. The staff aim to complete the film's first cut by summer and submit it to film festivals in the second half of 2018.

The boys-love genre of manga and anime depicts romantic relationships between homosexual men but typically caters to heterosexual women. In response, manga artist Kamome Hamada launched the Tatoeba Konna Koi no Hanashi (For Example, a StoRy of This Kind of Love) manga as the industry's first "authentic account of boys love" in January 2017. The series concluded in June.

Ohzora Publishing released Akiko Mizoguchi's BL Shinkaron [Taiwa-Hen] Boys' Love ga Umareru Basho (Theorizing BL as a Transformative Genre ("Dialogue" Edition): Visiting the Sites Where Boys' Love Is Born) book in November. The book analyzes the evolution of boys-love and its relationship to society.

Update: Instances of "queer" in the article changed to "gay" due to Matsumoto's self-described "'almost' gay" identity. Matsumoto responded to this article in its forum thread, and that full post is below:

Hi! I'm Masaki, the person in the video. A friend of mine showed me this thread. I'm glad my video seems to have sparked some discussion among English-speaking anime/manga fans and others, here on ANN and elsewhere, about BL and the issues of representation in general. All the subtitling (yes, it's a lot of work) was worth it. Thank you all for watching the video and responding. There's just one thing I wanted to clarify, and it's about my gender/sexual identity. I said in the video I was "almost" gay because I am also bi. It's complicated, but I'm sexually attracted to both women and men, but only want to engage in sexual activities with men, and definitely only want to have a romantic relationship with men. Since I don't plan on engaging in any romantic or sexual activity/relationship whatsoever with women, I usually don't bother telling people I'm bisexual (because there's no point in them learning about my sexual arousal that will never be acted upon or even shown to other people ever at all). And my gender identity is not firmly fixed to "male," either, and I don't mind being called a they or a he. I hope that makes sense. With that said, I'm grateful to the person who pointed out here that I'm a gay man and that people should not disrespect or belittle my such self-proclaimed identity, for trying to protect me from potential mislabeling. I thank both of you for trying to respect my identity, in different ways because of a lack of clarification on my end. Hope you have a wonderful day.

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