Girls Who Love Girls and the Otaku Who Love It! What is “Yuri” and Why is it Popular?

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Girls Who Love Girls and the Otaku Who Love It! What is “Yuri” and Why is it Popular?

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“Yuri” is a term referring to female-female relationships, also known as “GL (girls love)”. In Japan, yuri has become a widely known genre mainly popular with the younger generation. It is also developed as a type of category in various media, like anime, movie and more. Yet might seem like a culture from yesterday, the term was coined in the 1970s. Let me dig into the history of the yuri and introduce the media and the factors behind its appeal.



History of yuri goes back to the 1970s. The term was invented by Bungaku Ito, who is the chief editor for Japanese homosexual magazine “Barazoku”, which “bara” is a term for rose and it was used to express homosexual people or culture, gathered contribution letters from lesbian readers on “Barazoku” and named this column “Yuri-zoku no Heya”, meaning “a room for Lesbians”. First of all, “yuri” is a term for lily flowers, in which Bungaku used this word to express the white pureness of women contrasting with men. When the column started, many homosexual lovers (nowadays called “fujoshi”) wrote to the magazine, but after the column renewal to “Yuri-zoku no Corner” in 1981, the term “yuri” was recognized as a term meaning lesbians. However, “yuri” is now used and known as a term for culture depicting lesbian mostly, not as a group of people.


The Revolutionary Girl Utena

Yuri in Otaku Culture

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I am an anime otaku who still believes in fairy tales:3 Came back from the states and now studies English as my major at university in Tokyo.

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