Yuri isn't Made for Men: An Analysis of the Demographics of Yuri Mangaka and Fans

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Title: Yuri isn't Made for Men: An Analysis of the Demographics of Yuri Mangaka and Fans
Creator: Zeria
Date(s): November 27, 2017
Medium: Blog post
Fandom: Yuri fandom
External Links: https://floatingintobliss.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/yuri-isnt-made-for-men-an-analysis-of-the-demographics-of-yuri-mangaka-and-fans/
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Yuri isn't Made for Men: An Analysis of the Demographics of Yuri Mangaka and Fans is a 2017 essay by Zeria, showing that a majority of yuri fans are women and many are not heterosexual.


For the sake of this section, I used Baka-Updates for researching the gender of mangaka. For the purpose of this study, I classified yuri mangaka as “creators who made 2 or more stories tagged ‘yuri’ or ‘shoujo-ai’, or creators who wrote 1 or more volumes tagged ‘yuri’ or ‘shoujo-ai’.” This is subject to dispute, and many may believe that some of the mangaka on this list aren’t yuri creators, but in absence of a better definition it is what I have chosen.

In this research I found that out of the 150 mangaka, 91 were female, 20 were male, and 39 did not have a listed gender. This means that 60.66% of mangaka were female, 13.33% were male, and 26% were unknown. Of those with known genders, 81.98% were female and 18.01% were male. This means that at least 60% of these mangaka were female as a whole, and at most 87% of these mangaka were female as a whole, depending on the genders of those not listed.

Information on the sexuality of yuri mangaka is much harder to find. A number of yuri mangaka have openly stated that they’re queer, including Morishima Akiko, Amano Shuninta, Takemiya Jin, Nagata Kabi, and others. The afterwords written by many other yuri mangaka also indicate that some may be attracted to women. But for understandable reasons, this sort of information is usually not publically available, so getting accurate data on it is hard. Suffice it to say that at least a sizable number of female yuri mangaka are queer, though there’s no way to judge how many that is at this point.
My other information comes from a survey conducted by Verena Maser for her paper, Beautiful and Innocent: Female Same-Sex Intimacy in the Japanese Yuri Genre. In her unscientific survey of Japanese yuri fans online she found very interesting results. According to this survey of 1352 people, 52.4% identified as female, 46.1% identified as male, and 1.6% identified as other. On its own, this is interesting data that backs up the idea that female fans are more prevalent than male fans in the fandom.

However, what’s most interesting here is the data on sexual identity. According to her survey, 30.0% of respondents were non-heterosexual women, while only 15.2% were heterosexual women(a significant number of people chose ‘don’t know’ for this section.) As a result, we can conclude that roughly 66% of women taking this survey were women who are attracted to other women. In this survey, non-heterosexual women outnumbered every group other than heterosexual men. Non-heterosexual men accounted for around 2-3% of the total survey. This provides powerful evidence towards two claims: the claim that yuri fandom is diverse in its range of genders and sexualities, and the claim that queer women are interested in yuri manga. It is not likely you would find nearly as many queer men in BL fandom.
Beginning with gender, the international survey provides markedly different results to the Japanese one. In this survey of 695 people, 47.19% identified as female, 44.31% identified as male, and 8.49% identified as some other gender. While the ratio of men-to-women here is similar to the Japanese survey, the number of people who selected other is markedly higher. It’s worth investigating how much of this is due to the increased prominence of transgender people on the internet, as well as how that overlaps with communities that already have high rates of queer participation, though that is outside the scope of this piece.

Sexuality is another area that differs significantly from the Japanese survey. A whole 96.04% of women selected a sexuality other than “heterosexual”, and the same is true for 23.38% of men. While the Japanese survey showed a large number of queer people in it, queer people make up well over half of respondents in the international survey. How much of this is due to the survey’s location and other biases and how much is due to innate differences in yuri fandom based on region is worth investigating, though it’s not something I can do myself.

See also