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  • The Rise of Taiwan’s “Boys’ Love” Genre (II)
    Nov 15, 2022 / By Miyako Chang ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver

    Read Previous Part: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/latest_info.php?id=196

     

    Since then, BL works have thrived in Taiwanese fandom communities and have slowly come to occupy a certain portion of the romantic fiction genre. Within commercial manga publishing however, it seems like the field might still be waiting for BL to be officially established as a genre in Taiwan, as female manga creator Nicky Lee (李崇萍) seems to be the only one who continues to include diverse, gay male characters in her works. That was until 2012, when Sharp Point Press published a collection of BL stories called Youthful Orientation: Be Your Lover (青春取向 ~ Be your Lover ~ ) which featured Cory Ko (柯宥希), Lin Min-hsüan (林珉萱), and Mi Ssu-lin (米絲琳) among others, and acted as a precursor to Taiwan officially starting to publish commercial BL comics. Elsewhere, Taipei-born American comic book artist Jo Chen (咎井淳) who was best known for her work on Speed Racer (DC Comics) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse Comics), was also an early writer of BL fanfiction and in 2010 she decided to self-publish a BL manga series called In These Words (言之罪) in Taiwan. The Japanese edition was published by LIBRE, Japan’s leading BL manga publisher, which prompted a huge surge in American-style comics that swept across Japan.

    In 2015, Mi Ssu-lin’s Heart-Stealing Playboy (偷心郎君) series became the first Taiwanese manga by a lone author to be officially marketed as BL. The Taiwanese publishing industry has produced a lot of outstanding BL titles since then, including The Monster of Memory (記憶的怪物) by MAE, American-Style Domination (明日戀人) by MORIKU (墨里可), and Tomorrow Lovers (明日戀人) by Wulin Syunji (五〇俊二). One by one, famous female manga artists have also tried their hand at creating BL works, or BL-style works, such as One Hundred Spring Nights (春夜百景)  compilation by Tong Li Comics, Yi-Huan’s (依歡) side story “Nighthawk Romance” (鳶夜艷) from her Princess Chef (馥桂吉祥) series. Elsewhere, Cory Ko returned to her story that was featured in Youthful Orientation: Be Your Lover and developed it into the Why Not (有何不可) series, while Nicky Lee (李崇萍) wrote an original BL story called Fever (熱病), and Kuang Hsia Chia (廣下嘉) wrote her masterpiece Strangers Bound by Fate (陌生人) which was the work she’d wanted to create in the first place.

    Original Taiwanese BL works have been going through a dramatic developmental period since around 2020, with titles like My Influencer Boyfriend (我的網紅男友) by Gui (桂), Day Off by Dailygreens (每日青菜), and The Shimmering Summoner (微光的召喚師) by Gene becoming so popular that they were translated into Japanese. Boys’ Love has also demonstrated that it is more than capable of holding its own alongside other genres, with The Monster of Memory by MAE winning the prize for Best Comic for Teenage Girls at the Golden Comic Awards in 2017, and His Hair Scrunchy (他的髮圈) by TaaRO winning the Golden Manga Award across all categories in 2021.

    Taiwan was the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage and has the most progressive gender awareness in the region, making it a great environment for creating Boys’ Love works. The open exchanges with Japanese BL and Western SLASH culture have also contributed to the unique styles and perspectives within Taiwanese BL, as can be seen in the Glittering Rainbow (彩虹燦爛之地) series developed by Halftone Press which portrays the diverse realities of same-sex marriage. The latest big hit for the genre is NU: Carnival (新世界狂歡), an 18+ role-playing game developed for mobile devices that has been wildly popular with BL fans all over the world and achieved astonishing success thanks to its bold storyline and distinctive characters. Who knows what kind of spectacular works we’ll see next, it could even be said that Taiwanese BL is experiencing a golden age of creativity.

  • The Rise of Taiwan’s “Boys’ Love” Genre (I)
    Nov 14, 2022 / By Miyako Chang ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver

    The concept of popular romance stories between two male protagonists spread from Japan to Taiwan in around 1986 with the emergence of derivative works (note: in Chinese these are often known as “secondary creations” or “re-creations”) and fanfiction published for non-commercial purposes by individual writers and fan groups. These derivative works originate from people consuming novels, manga, TV shows, movies, or anime, and feeling dissatisfied or unconvinced by the author’s interpretation and choosing to spontaneously interpret (or misread) the text in their own way, using the work’s existing worldview, settings, or characters to create their own stories.

    At the time, Japan was experiencing a second wave of female creative pioneers with the rise of popular works such as Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (聖鬥士星矢) by Masami Kurumada, and a lot of female fanfiction writers were keen to use these works to create love stories, with most of the content crafting romances between male characters. Then, in 1987 Taiwan lifted martial law after 38 years and there was a huge influx of Japanese culture in various forms, although foreign works weren’t protected by copyright law until 1992 which meant unauthorised translations were a significant part of the market. During this period, a lot of fan-written male romance stories were also able to reach Taiwanese readers via various methods. Thanks to the rapid progress of printing technology that eventually became ubiquitous, there was now a much lower threshold to printing your own creative works. At the same time, Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ movement was also gaining momentum. These circumstances converged, giving rise to a creative concept that is known as Boys’ Love, or BL, which gradually became accepted by Taiwanese readers. Initially, these were male love stories written by women for women, although the genre has since expanded so that the creators and audiences are now no longer limited to women.

    Initially, most of the Taiwanese derivative works were based on Japanese texts. However, in 1990 the hit Taiwanese glove puppet TV series Pili (霹靂布袋戲, also translated as Thunderbolt) aired its “Thunderbolt Anomaly” (霹靂異數) episode which gave local female creators the chance to write texts set in their homeland and ushered in the first wave of Taiwanese fanfiction writers. They established their own unique, self-styled literary identities and created works that were purely based on their homeland. Thunderbolt has had a vast impact on fanfiction in a way that spread overseas and continues to this day.  This was also when people increasingly started to use the term “Boys’ Love” as the idea gradually spread to Taiwan and locally-created original works began to emerge. Original BL works include Cavan and Clay (卡文與克萊) by Wang Yi-wen (王宜文) and Cut Sleeves (斷袖)  by Ai Mi-erh (愛彌兒), the latter of which explores a euphemism for homosexuality (“cut sleeve”) that originated in the Han Dynasty and demonstrates how BL can be used to interpret the history of homosexuality in China. Other similar works include The Transformation of Nirvana (梵天變) by Kao Yung (高永) and Tricking a Beautiful Woman (佳人接招) by Wu Si-hsuan (吳思璇) and so on. Even the classic female manga creator Yu Su-lan (游素蘭) created a male romance plot in her masterpiece The King of Blaze (火王) which was one of the most well-known BL stories at the time.

     

    Read On: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/latest_info.php?id=197

  • Grant for the Publication of Taiwanese Works in Translation (GPT)
    Oct 03, 2022 / By Books from Taiwan

    GPT is set up by The Ministry of Culture to encourage the publication of Taiwanese works in translation overseas, to raise the international visibility of Taiwanese cultural content, and to help Taiwan's publishing industry expand into non-Chinese international markets.

    Applicant Eligibility: Foreign publishing houses (legal persons) legally registered in accordance with the laws and regulations of their respective countries.

    Conditions:

    1. The so-called Taiwanese works must meet the following requirements:

    A. Use traditional characters
    B. Written by a natural person holding an R.O.C. identity card
    C. Has been assigned an ISBN in Taiwan
    i.e., the author is a native of Taiwan, and the first 6 digits of the book's ISBN are 978-957-XXX-XXX-X, 978-986-XXX-XXX-X, or 978-626-XXX-XXX-X.

    2. Applications must include documents certifying that the copyright holder of the Taiwanese works consents to its translation and foreign publication (no restriction on its format).

    3. A translation sample of the Taiwanese work is required (no restriction on its format and length).

    4. The translated work must be published within two years, after the first day of the relevant application period.

    Grant Items:

    1. The maximum grant available for each project is NT$600,000, which covers:

    A. Licensing fees (going to the copyright holder of the Taiwanese works)
    B. Translation fees
    C. Marketing and promotion fees (limited to economy class air tickets for the R.O.C. writer to participate in overseas promotional activities related to the project)
    D. Book production-oriented fees
    E. Tax (20% of the total award amount)
    F. Remittance-related handling fees

    2. Priority consideration is given to books that have received the Golden Tripod Award, the Golden Comic Award, or the Taiwan Literature Award.

    3. The grant will be given all at once after the grant recipients submit the following written documents to the Ministry within one month of publication:

    A. Receipt (format given along with the Ministry's formal announcement);
    B. A detailed list of expenditures;
    C. 10 print copies of the final work published abroad (if the work is published in an e-book format, grant recipients shall instead provide purchase authorizations for 10 persons);
    D. An electronic file with aforementioned documents in PDF.

    Application Period: Twice every year. The MOC reserves the right to change the application periods, and will announce said changes separately.

    Announcement of successful applications: Winners will be announced within three months of the end of the application period.

    Application Method: Please visit the Ministry’s official website (https://grants.moc.gov.tw/Web_ENG/), and use the online application system.

    For full details of the GPT, please visit https://grants.moc.gov.tw/Web/PointDetail.jsp?__viewstate=pvWqz/p/nta24J579unZRwn9PKt77jmt9chKvuZNtY9YfgsNnMsauXJZcscjkMix7n5bknQ4C1jvfwxUC1ZSeBfK7nUo4Ss4

    Or contact: [email protected]