TWC Releases No. 12 (Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies special issue)

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) today released issue No. 12, “Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies,” guest edited by Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma, both of Oita University, Oita, Japan. This issue features academic articles on the growing interest in and engagement with Boys’ Love (BL) within international fan communities. Following its regular format, this open-access online multimedia journal has collected scholarly essays, personal essays, and book reviews that seek to bridge fan and academic writers and readers. TWC is published under the umbrella of the nonprofit fan advocacy group Organization for Transformative Works.

Whereas BL fans have been studied in its original country of Japan as well as within the US American context, little has been published looking at other national responses and languages neither Japanese nor English. The editors, Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma, describe how personal encounters with transnational BL fans convinced them of “compelling necessity for BL critics to expand their own horizons” in order to acknowledge and study the “cross-cultural diversity of BL fan and community cultures that both globalization and localization propel.”

As a result, the contributions span countries and continents, moving between official products and fan versions, addressing the monetization of fan cultures and the pirating of commercial products alike. Björn-Ole Kamm and Paul M. Malone, for example, look at BL reception in Germany, whereas Erika Junhui Yi discusses Chinese BL writers. Lucy Hannah Glasspool and Toshio Miyake focus on the way Japanese culture gets constructed within international reception and translation. The remaining pieces focus on the possibilities of new venues for BL research, including character bots (Keiko Nishimura), the relationship between Yaoi and gay culture (Akiko Hori) and the controversial reception of Fujoshi within Japan (Midori Suzuki).

Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma are both at the Center for International Education and Research at Oita University. Nagaike has taught there since 2004 and focuses on analyzing female acts of fantasizing male-male eroticism in literature and popular culture; Suganuma joined the university in 2009 and studies the post-1945 encounter of Japanese and Western queer cultures. As such, both brought to the project an interest in the transnational elements of queer representations and male-male eroticism.

Founded in 2007, The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), is a nonprofit established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fan works and fan culture in its myriad forms. Advocating on behalf of fans, the OTW believes that fan works are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.

No. 13 is slated to be a special issue on “Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books,” guest edited by Matthew Costello, and will appear June 15, 2013. The 14th issue of TWC will feature more general submissions and is scheduled for release on September 15, 2013.