The common opinion is that anime’s tales of male-on-male romance are written just for girls, but one study says otherwise.

Most people assume that the boys’ love genre of anime and manga gets most of its love from women, and that’s not an inaccurate assumption. Many fans express the appeal of boys’ love as being that the stories of homosexual male passion give them twice as much male eye candy to look at as the action unfolds, an aspect that statistically is going to appeal to a larger number of women than men.

However, one study shows a surprising amount of men in the boys’ love fan demographic. Japan’s Yano Research Group has done multiple studies on boys’ love fandom, with its most recent publicly available data estimating the number of boys’ love fans in Japan at 740,000 people.

Yano says the largest age group, 20-29, makes up 36.5 percent of the group, followed by 20 percent who are between 15 and 19 years old and 17.6 percent who are in their 40s (with 9.4 percent in their 30s and an identical 8.2 percent in their 50 and 60s). While the large portion of young adults may not be surprising, what is is that Yano performed a survey (with an unspecified number of responses) in which 30.6 percent of the self-identifying boys’ love fans were male.

While it may seem that boys’ love stories would be naturally appealing to homosexual men, the genre is often seen as more interested in peddling steamy fantasies to female audiences, as opposed to earnest portrayals of homosexual romance, with the fact that the vast majority of boys’ love creators are women often pointed to as corroborating evidence. However, the questionnaire doesn’t seem to have delved into respondents’ sexual orientation, so it can’t be determined what proportion of the 30.6 percent of boys’ love fans who were men were interested in the genre because it aligned with their sexual preference, or were heterosexual men enjoying the titles for other reasons.

It’s also worth pointing out that one year before the survey showing 30.6 percent of the boys’ love fans were men, Yano performed an identical survey in which only 17.9 percent of boys’ love fans were male, though some may call even that figure surprisingly high.

Unfortunately, while the study has recently been attracting renewed attention online in Japan, the 30.6-percent-male survey itself was conducted in 2016, and Yano doesn’t appear to have performed the study again since then, so maybe it’s something they should think about adding to the company’s annual study on the state of the otaku community and economy.

Source: X Business via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
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