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From dashing to delicious: The gastrorgasmic aesthetics of contemporary BL Manga

Cavcic, A. (2016) From dashing to delicious: The gastrorgasmic aesthetics of contemporary BL Manga. In: Peppas, M. and Ebrahim, S., (eds.) Frame Escapes: Graphic Novel Intertexts. Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp. 139-150.

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The prominence (and to an extent, fetishisation) of food in Japan is not a recent phenomenon; Western media’s current infatuation with food and the concept of ‘food porn’ and/or the sexing-up of food media culture (as demonstrated in such programmes as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, The Naked Chef, or in Nigella Lawson’s ongoing BBC series) is a cultural movement that I define as ‘global gastrorgasmic texts.’ While audio-visual media have a certain sensory advantage, Japanese gourmet manga have embraced the fetishisation of food since the 1980s with titles such as Oishinbo (The Gourmet), Cooking Papa, or Bambino! The chapter concerns the incorporation of the fetishisation of food and the shift of focus from the aesthetics of beauty in the bishōnen (beautiful boys) in boys love manga to the gastrorgasmic aesthetics of food in boys love (BL) manga. By drawing examples from mainstream BL manga (such as Yoshinaga’s iconic Antique Bakery series, the more recent What Did You Eat Yesterday? and Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy) as well as several minor publications, I will demonstrate how BL-producing manga artists have arguably incorporated and embraced gastrorgasmic themes and motifs. I argue that BL narratives amplify the pleasure derived from visually “consuming” beautiful boys as well as the tantalising treats they prepare within the narratives. The crux of the chapter, however, is what these gastrorgasmic texts might reflect about Japanese and global culture in Japan’s current socio-economic climate.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press
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