Otaku USA Magazine
Thailand Uses BL to Court Japanese Tourism, and It’s Working

Japan is famous for its BL culture, but it’s not the only place where women create stories about men in love. Thailand has a growing BL market, and it’s using it for tourism, particularly tourism aimed at Japanese women.

A case in point: earlier this month, a Mini Thai Festival was held in Osaka, and there was a Thai BL corner where the Tourism Authority of Thailand gave out pamphlets on Thai BL. In Thailand, the genre is primarily called “Y series,” a nod to the Japanese term “yaoi.”

“My heart flutters when I see these scenes of handsome actors falling in love with each other,” remarked Keiko Kobayashi, who was at the event. She began watching Thai BL dramas, and added, “I started learning about Thailand, which I previously had no interest in.”

This is the type of stuff that Thailand’s tourism office wants to hear.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand in Osaka also created a trip to Thailand where people would see locations from Thai BL dramas. Eight spots were offered, with the Tourism Authority helping on the bills. The eight spots were filled up right away.

Maya Murai works for the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Osaka and has been one of the people pushing for BL tourism. “I occasionally feel jealous of actresses when I watch love stories between men and women,” she said. “But many women are attracted by BL dramas because they can simply support handsome men.”

Not that long ago BL was straight-up taboo in Thai culture, but that appears to be changing.

“In the 1980s, BL works were in Japan rather than Thailand,” noted assistant professor Rujirat Ishikawa of Aoyama Gakuin University. “Thai society changed, opening the way for a string of homegrown Thai BL drama productions.”

Source: Kyodo News


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.