Shoujo ai

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Synonyms: Girls' Love, f/f, lolicon
See also: yuri, femslash, shounen ai
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Shoujo ai or shoujo-ai (少女愛 lit. "girl-love") is used in western fandom as the opposite of shounen ai; it is either synonymous with yuri or refers to non-explicit yuri content.[1][2] That is, it refers to the love between girls.

According to Yuricon,

The term shoujoai (Girls’ Love) was created by an American fan as an analog for shounenai, which was being incorrectly used by American fans as a term for Boys’ Love manga.


Shoujoai was originally used by American fans to refer to stories that contained romantic love between girls. The emphasis was originally on the romantic over the sexual, but this age and content distinction was convention that was made up by Americans and had no meaning at all in Japan.[3]

In Japanese, however, the term is rarely used, and when it is, has very different connotations:

Shoujoai wasn’t ever really used in Japan – although they understood what was meant if western fans used it. If they did use the word, they meant it in the sense of adults who had a fetish for young girls.[3]

The webpage goes on to state that GL (short for Girls' Love) is more often used by publishers to make the distinction that "shoujo ai" makes in English/western fandom, i.e., between pornographic and non-pornographic content.[3]

Japanese studies scholar Verena Maser noted in a 2013 paper, 'Beautiful and Innocent: Female Same-Sex Intimacy in the Japanese Yuri Genre' that "Some fans outside Japan are well aware of the problematic nature of the term shōjo ai and are urging for abandoning it, so far with limited success.".[4]


  1. ^ "Baka-Updates Manga - Genres". Archived from the original on 2022-06-11. Retrieved 14 February 2019. Shoujo Ai Often synonymous with yuri, this can be thought of as somewhat less extreme. "Girl's Love", so to speak.
  2. ^ "Event Yaoi - FAQ". Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Le Yuri sonne d’avantage « pornographique » que Shôjo-ai, qui lui qualifie les relations soft ou suggestives entre femmes. [...] In France, Yuri tends to get a pornographic connotation while Shôjo-ai qualifies « soft » relationships or ambiguous friendships.
  3. ^ a b c What is Yuri?, Yuricon. Accessed February 18, 2021.
  4. ^ 'Beautiful and Innocent: Female Same-Sex Intimacy in the Japanese Yuri Genre', Verena Maser, 2013. Accessed February 18, 2021.