What is Yuri?

Since this is a yuri blog, I first want to give you some important definitions that you’ll need to know when reading about the yuri genre.

Yuri (百合) is a Japanese word that in English literally means “lily”. Even though the word yuri is basically a Japanese name, in anime and manga, it is used as a genre that tells us that lesbian characters, a lesbian love story, or lesbian sex is involved.

Shoujo ai (少女愛), on the other hand, literally means “girl’s love” and also represents a genre. These two terms are very much alike. The only difference is that the word “yuri” is usually used whenever the lesbian relationship is shown in a more explicit and maybe even sexual way, while “shoujo ai” implies that the depiction of the relationship doesn’t go any further than maybe kissing. In general, I’d say that “shoujo ai” is used for innocent romance, while “yuri” implies a more sexual relationship.

I know that this post doesn’t really go very deep into the genre. There are also some subgenres of yuri, which basically tell you what kind of audience the lesbian relationship is aiming for. If you want to read more about it, click here.

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3 thoughts on “What is Yuri?

  1. We no longer use the term shoujo-ai due to it being associated with lolicons…apparently. Yuri is the general term related to all things animated/drawn lesbians from Japan.

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  2. Shoujo-ai is associated with lolicons? Ok now that's new to me, but I was wondering why I don't read that term as often as yuri.
    But still when I was asking people on the internet what they think about yuri, many thought I was talking about porn.

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  3. If you were to ask the typical uninformed American…yes, that would be the answer you would get. If you were to ask an animeniac, I suppose they would answer using both terms, probably addressing SA as romantic lesbianism and Y as sexual.
    Either way, as far as I know in the circle of yuri, Yuri is now the generally used term.

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