BL Manga: een inleidende beschrijving en analyse.

Nele Noppe
Persbericht

BL Manga: een inleidende beschrijving en analyse.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, studierichting Japanologie

 

Journalistieke weergave van de scriptie 'BL manga: een inleidende beschrijving en analyse'

 

          In België zowel als in de rest van Europa groeit de laatste jaren de aandacht voor Japanse manga-strips. Het aantal vertalingen is verveelvoudigd, en het achterhaalde idee dat manga enkel seks en geweld afbeelden verliest aan invloed. Deze evoluties betekenen nog niet dat manga volledig 'ingeburgerd' zijn: veel aspecten van dit in Japan razend populaire medium blijven buiten het land zelf grotendeels onbekend.  Een goed voorbeeld hiervan is het bestaan van het manga-genre genaamd BL manga.

          BL (een afkorting van boys' love) manga beschrijven melodramatische homoseksuele liefdesgeschiedenissen tussen twee mannelijke hoofdpersonages. Wat deze manga opmerkelijk maakt is het feit dat ze geschreven worden door heteroseksuele vrouwelijke auteurs, en dat het lezerspubliek ervan overweldigend bestaat uit heteroseksuele tienermeisjes en jonge vrouwen. Mannelijke homoseksuelen laten deze manga grotendeels links liggen.

          Waarom uitgerekend jonge meisjes massaal interesse opbrengen voor verhalen over mannelijke homoseksuele relaties -liefst twintig procent van alle vijftien- tot achttienjarige Japanse meisjes zou deze manga lezen- wordt snel duidelijk wanneer we BL manga aan een inhoudelijk onderzoek onderwerpen.

 

          BL manga worden niet gemaakt met als doel mannelijke homoseksuele lezers aan te trekken. Auteurs van BL manga doen geen enkele poging om hun verhalen realistisch te maken of hun personages te doen gelijken op echte homoseksuele mannen. Integendeel zelfs: in BL manga wordt een bloemrijke fantasiewereld geschapen, vol amoureuze relaties die zo dicht mogelijk benaderen wat de jonge lezeressen als de ideale romance zien. Dit blijkt vooral uit de wisselwerking tussen de hoofdpersonages, die in BL manga veel belangrijker wordt geacht dan een coherente verhaallijn. De personages kunnen in twee categorieën worden onderverdeeld: de uke, die weliswaar biologisch mannelijk is maar zich gedraagt volgens een stereotiep vrouwelijk rollenpatroon, en de seme, die zich gedraagt als een romantisch ingestelde en sterk geïdealiseerde man.

          Door zich in te leven in het vervrouwelijkte en dus vertrouwde uke-personage kunnen lezeressen genieten van een relatie met de seme, hun 'ideale man' -met als bijkomend voordeel dat ze, in de gedaante van de in theorie mannelijke uke, zich niet hoeven te bekommeren over de vele verwachtingen die de Japanse maatschappij gewoonlijk tegenover meisjes koestert. Deze ingenieuze fantasie verklaart waarschijnlijk deels de grote populariteit van BL manga temidden van een overvloed aan manga over heteroseksuele relaties: lezeressen genieten van een imaginaire wereld waarin ze niet gebonden zijn aan regels, waar alles mag en alles mogelijk is. De personages van BL manga gelijken in de verste verten niet op echte Japanse mannen, die beschouwd worden als bijzonder onromantische figuren. Dit verschil komt niet alleen in het gedrag van de personages maar ook in hun uiterlijk tot uiting: veel personages in BL manga zien er bijzonder androgyn uit, verstoken van al te mannelijke uiterlijke kenmerken.

          Sommige onderzoekers zien in de massale populariteit van BL manga een teken aan de wand dat jonge Japanse vrouwen zich niet meer tevreden willen stellen met aloude traditionel rollenpatronen. Echter, net omdat BL manga zo overduidelijk niets met de realiteit te maken hebben lijken de lezeressen zelf geneigd om de fantasie strikt gescheiden te houden van hun echte leven. Ze zijn er zich uitstekend van bewust dat hun ideaalbeelden niet bestaan en leggen zich daar ogenschijnlijk bij neer. Bovendien worden ook binnen de fantasie van BL manga nog steeds de voor Japan stereotiepe man-vrouw-rollen uitgespeeld, met de uke als vrouw en de seme als man. Hoe 'revolutionair' ze er dus ook uitzien, inhoudelijk preken BL manga voornamelijk traditionele waarden.

 

          Dat BL manga vaak een conservatieve boodschap bevatten wil niet noodzakelijk zeggen dat de jonge lezeressen deze boodschap helemaal kritiekloos aanvaarden.  De manier waarop BL manga de 'ideale man' voorstellen maakt pijnlijk duidelijk dat er onder jonge Japanse vrouwen een grote ontevredenheid heerst over de manier waarop echte japanse mannen zich tegenover hun vrouwelijke landgenoten gedragen. Ook het feit dat jonge lezeressen zich via BL manga willen inleven in het als vrijer voorgestelde leven van mannen wijst erop dat jonge Japanse vrouwen zich niet zomaar tevreden stellen met de rol die hen toebedeeld worden door een nog steeds overwegend patriarchaal denkende maatschappij. Dit alles stemt tot nadenken over de waarden die populaire cultuurproducten aan hun publiek aanreiken, maar zeker ook over de manier waarop datzelfde publiek met deze inhoudelijke boodschappen omgaat -vragen die niet alleen voor Japan relevant zijn.

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
japanologie
Publicatiejaar
2005
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