What does Yuri Mean?

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Have you come across the anime genre “Yuri” and don’t know what the term means? We’ll tell you what it means and how to use it.

What Yuri Means: Lily

The term “yuri” comes from Japanese and means “lily”. In Japanese jargon, the term is used for media that focus on love between women. In manga and anime, “yuri,” which is also referred to as “girls’ love,” is its own genre. It is aimed at both a female and male audience, unlike its yaoi counterpart.

The relationships depicted in the “yuri” genre are not always romantic or sexual in nature. Likewise, a deep emotional or spiritual connection between women can be shown.

Yuri and Shoujo Ai

Similar to the yaoi genre, “yuri” can be divided into the more sexual depiction of relationships and those focused on the interpersonal. The latter is referred to as “Shoujo Ai,” derived from shoujo and the yaoi term “shounen ai,” which refers to shounen. “Shoujo Ai” means something like “girl love” and focuses on the emotional level.

However, the term “Shoujo Ai” is also sometimes used in connection with pedophilia.

Origin of Yuri

The “yuri” genre finds its origin in Japanese lesbian fiction of the early 20th century. Here, the term forms a symbol, which is supposed to reflect “beauty” and “purity” of women. It has been used as a genre term since about the 1970s.

The genre developed in the 1970s through the influential artist group of the “24s,” who introduced new themes and diversity. Artists such as Ryoko Yamagishi and Riyoko Ikeda are considered to have pioneered the genre. During this time, “yuri” manga and anime mostly showed a tragic relationship.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the “yuri” genre gained great popularity and its own fan culture was established. This was partly due to the portrayal of lesbian relationships in mainstream manga and anime such as “Sailor Moon”. Around the turn of the millennium, numerous “yuri” magazines were also founded, further spreading the genre.

Examples of Yuri

Here are a few examples of the “yuri” genre:

  • Citrus
  • Bloom into You
  • Yuruyuri
  • Kase-san and Morning Glories
  • Sakura Trick

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The author AWSMONE, who works for Scrollbytes Organisation, has been vetted and has the necessary know-how or education to be able to write about any entertainment topics. Learn more on our about page.