Introduction The Japanese Otaku culture becomes a popular subculture in not only Japan but also some other countries. In China, Fujoshi emerges and develops significantly influenced by the Otaku culture

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The Influence of Japanese Otaku Culture on Fujoshi in China

The Influence of Japanese Otaku Culture on Fujoshi in China

Yuzi Guo

Michigan State University

21st June 2014


The Japanese Otaku culture becomes a popular subculture in not only Japan but also some other countries. In China, Fujoshi emerges and develops significantly influenced by the Otaku culture. This essay aims to explain the meanings and forms of Otaku culture and Fujoshi. On this basis, how Fujoshi in China is linked to and influenced by the Japanese Otaku culture is revealed.

Meanings and forms of Otaku and Fujoshi

Otaku is defined as a term referring to people who indulge in forms of subculture linked with anime, games, fiction, and special-effects films and so on (Azuma, 2009, p.3). There are some differences between so-call otaku and fans of ACGN (amine, comic, game and novel). Otaku must indulge into relative activities or love these activities to the extreme level. There are a variety of forms of the Otaku culture. For example, there are anime or manga Otaku, cosplay Otaku, game Otaku, idol Otaku or Wota, figure Otaku, train Otaku, robot Otaku, Pasocon Otaku, Wapanese, female history Otaku, Seiyuu Otaku, and Gunji Otaku and so on (Japan Talk, 2012, para.3-12). This indicates that the Otaku culture covers a wide range of activities and issues. In practice, the Otaku culture has produced significant influences on society and economy of Japan helping to set up the distinguish image (Morikawa, 2012, p.141). Nowadays, women have become important participators of the Otaku culture. The female fans of the Otaku culture who desire Boys Love (BL) or yaoi are referred as Fujoshi (Galbraith, 2011, p.212).

Influences of the Otaku culture on Fujoshi in China

Spreading of the Otaku culture among Fujoshis in China

Fujoshi in China has been significantly influenced by the Japanese Otaku culture. The different forms of the Otaku culture have penetrated into life of Fujoshis in China. Doujinshi is the important evidence. Otaku share their feelings and hobbies and cooperate to create Doujinshi. Some Chinese Fujoshis love Doujinshi or participate into creation of Doujinshi. In recent years, not only the Japanese Doujinshi but also the Chinese original Doujinshi works emerge and become popular among Fujoshis. Seiyuu is also loved by many Fujoshis in China. Initially, Seiyuu is one of the sub-types of anime Otaku. The voice actors or actresses join in anime productions. The Seiyuu Otaku are obsessed with their voices. In China, some Fujoshis are obsesses with the voices of certain actors in games or other cultural events. Certain tone and pronunciation in Japanese amine or comic are imitated in China to attract Fujoshi. Tanbi novels are also spread from Japan to China. Like the Japanese Fujoshis, the Chinese Fujoshis also indulge into boys love and Tanbi novels (Nakamura, 2014, p.5). Originally, Tanbi novels refer to works which are of beautiful and romantic styles. With the emergence and development of the Otaku culture, Tanbi novels now narrowly refer to works focused on boys love (CNN, 2011, para.13). With these works, Fojoshi can image the relationship and sexual behaviors between the male partners. Sometimes, Fojoshi image the true people involved in boys love and act as the figures in Tanbi novels. For example, they may image that the stories happen on two male film stars or celebrities. In China, Tanbit novels also have established its market influenced by the Japanese Otaku culture. Now, they are some novel websites providing online Tanbi novels to readers though homosexual relationship is still controversial in China (Custer, 2014, para.3). Games and anime also attract the Chinese Fojoshis. They follow the trends of the Japanese Otaku culture. For example, the game named Lamento, a Japanese game involved with boys love, has attracted some Fojoshi in China. The above analysis indicates that a variety of forms and activities in the Japanese Otaku culture have spread to China and become popular among the Chinese Fojoshis.
Psychological influences of Otaku culture on Fujoshi

On the surface, the Japanese Otaku culture influences activities and forms of Fujoshi in China. But in a deeper level, the Otaku culture can produce significant psychological influences on the Chinese Fujoshis. As suggested by Zanghellini (2009, p.283), works focused on boys love can help Fujoshis to interrogate their sexual and romantic needs and expectations. In addition, the relationship described in the relative works largely influence their understanding intimacy and interpersonal relationships. In an experiment on Tsinghua students, 30 Fujoshis and non-Fujoshis were asked to read several paragraphs on including erotic scenes and the only difference between them was the gender of the two characters (Seth’s Blog, 2013, para.8-9). It is found that the attitudes and psychological responses of Fujoshis and non-Fujoshis toward homo- and heterosexual are quite different. This reflects that the Japanese Otaku culture especially the boys love subculture has penetrated into psychology, emotions, and ethics of Fojoshis. In fact, boys love can make Fojoshis to image the feelings of the male in sexual relationship (Welker, 2006, p.856). In some circumstances, the Chinese Fojoshis can put themselves in the sexual scenes when they involve with the boys love works. In the Japanese Otaku culture, the virtual world is created and the scenes and facts in the real world are restructured or rewritten in the virtual world. In this process, Fojoshis can get different psychological satisfaction in the virtual world. To some extent, the Japanese Otaku culture creates a new virtual world for the Chinese Fojoshis allowing them to explore their distinctive psychological and emotional needs and meet these needs in the new ways. This helps to explain why the Japanese Otaku culture has produced wide influences on Fojoshi in China though it deviates from the traditional Chinese ethics and moral values.


This essay discusses the influences of the Japanese Otaku culture on Fojoshi in China. It is found that the Japanese Otaku culture has been spread to China and produce significant influences on Fojoshi. It introduces the various forms and activities such as anime, game, cosmic, and novels to the Chinese Fojoshis. Boys love becomes an important theme in these activities. In a deeper level, the Japanese Otaku culture also impacts psychology and interpersonal relationship of the Chinese Fojoshi.


Azuma, H. (2009). Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

CNN. (2011). Otaku: Is It a Dirty Word?. Accessed at: [Retrieved on June 18, 2015].
Custer, C. (2014). On Homosexuality in Chinese Gaming Culture. Accessed at: [Retrieved on June 18, 2015].
Galbraith, P. (2011). Fujoshi: Fantasy play and transgressive intimacy among ‘rotten girls’ in contemporary Japan. Signs, 37(1), 211–32.
Japan Talk. (2012). The 12 Types of Japanese Otaku. Accessed at: [Retrieved on June 18, 2015].
Morikawa, K. (2012). Otaku and the city: The rebirth of Akihabara. In Ito, M., Okabe, D., Tsuji, I. ed. Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 133–57.
Nakamura, T. (2014). Fujoshi Controversy: Fighting Against Sexism and Misogyny. Accessed at: [Retrieved on June 18, 2015].
Seth’s Blog. (2013). Why Fojoshi? Experiment by Tsinghua Freshmen. Accessed at: [Retrieved on June 18, 2015].
Welker, J. (2006). Beautiful, borrowed, and bent: ‘boys’ love’ as girls’ love in Shojo manga. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 31(3), 841-870.
Zanghellini, A. (2009). Boys love’ in anime and manga: Japanese subcultural production and its end users. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 23(3), 279-294.

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