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|See also:||doujinshi, femslash, yaoi|
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Yuri (百合) is a genre that involves romantic or sexual relationships between female characters in manga, anime, and related Japanese media. Yuri can focus either on the sexual or the emotional aspects of the relationship. Non-adult yuri works are sometimes called shoujo ai in western fandom.
Yuri literally means "lily". (As in English, this is both the name of a flower and a female given name.) Yuri, Yuriko, and related names are often used for characters in yuri works in Japanese. In English, references to lilies are common, such as in the name of the scanlation group lililicious.
- Sempai/Kohai dynamic: Also known as "oneesama", this is the pairing of a mature older girl with a bright-eyed, emotional, admiring younger girl. This was popularized by Sachiko Ogasawara/Yumi Fukuzawa in Maria-sama ga Miteru in 2004.
- Dark hair/light hair: This is common in yuri series to the point where some fans consider it a cliché. Maria-sama ga Miteru features this, along with Kannazuki no Miko and the heavily-implied Sayuri/Mai in Kanon.
- "Class S lesbians", wherein the romantic relationships between two women only last until high school or college graduation, whereupon the girls will go back to being "just friends" and find husbands. This trend is slowly dying out, however, seen as outdated and offensive.
- Butch/Femme is mostly seen in western lesbian love stories, but a few anime couples have this dynamic as well, such as Tenou Haruka/Kaiou Michiru in Sailor Moon.
Unlike the term 'yaoi', 'yuri' does not indicate a particular audience: it can be realistic slice of life stories by and for Japanese lesbians, non-graphic schoolgirl love stories with an assumed audience of straight women, girl-on-girl porn for men, or anything else featuring f/f romance or sex.
Usage Outside of Japan
The terms 'yuri' and 'shoujo ai' came into use early in the history of English speaking animanga fandom. They are also common in other non-Japanese anime and manga fandoms. These parallel the usage of yaoi and shounen ai in those fandoms. (Note that Japanese usage of some terms differs from English usage.)
- The Impact Of Globalization On Yuri And Fan Activism by Yaritza Hernandez (2009)
- Japan: Fertile Ground for the Cultivation of Yuri by Rica Takashima (2014)
- Thoughts on the Representation of Yuri Fandom in Kurata Uso’s Yuri danshi by James Welker (2014)
- Yuri isn't Made for Men: An Analysis of the Demographics of Yuri Mangaka and Fans (2017)
- Wikipedia's yuri article has more on the etymology.