Yuri (term)

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The word yuri (百合?) literally means "lily", and is a relatively common Japanese feminine name.[4] In 1976, Itō Bungaku, editor of Barazoku (薔薇族?, lit. rose tribe), a magazine geared primarily towards gay men, first used the term yurizoku (百合族?, lit. lily tribe) in reference to female readers in the title of a column of letters called Yurizoku no heya (百合族の部屋?, lit. lily tribe's room).[14] It is unclear whether this was the first instance of this usage of the term. Not all women whose letters appeared in this short-lived column were necessarily lesbians, but some were and gradually an association developed. For example, the tanbi magazine Allan (アラン Aran?) began running a Yuri Tsūshin (百合通信?, "Lily Communication") personal ad column in July 1983 for "lesbiennes" to communicate.[15] Along the way, many dōjinshi circles incorporated the name "Yuri" or "Yuriko" into lesbian-themed hentai (pornographic) dōjinshi, and the "zoku" or "tribe" portion of this word was subsequently dropped.[6] Since then, the meaning has drifted from its mostly pornographic connotation to describe the portrayal of love, sex, and intimate emotional connections between women.[16]

Japanese vs. western usage

As of 2009, the term yuri is used in Japan to mean the depiction of attraction between women (whether sexual or romantic, explicit or implied) in manga, anime, and related entertainment media, as well as the genre of stories primarily dealing with this content.[5][16] The wasei-eigo construction "Girls Love" (ガールズラブ gāruzu rabu?), occasionally spelled "Girl's Love" or "Girls' Love", or abbreviated as "GL", is also used with this meaning.[3][16] Yuri is generally a form of fanspeak amongst fans, but its usage by authors and publishers has increased since 2005.[3][5] The term "Girls Love", on the other hand, is primarily used by the publishers.[16][17]

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