The Yaoi Phenomenon in Thailand and Fan/Industry Interaction

Abstract

This article aims to explore yaoi phenomenon in Thailand particularly during the 2010s at the height of the industry involvement with yaoi fandom. The article draws on Paul Booth’s (2015) study of fan/industry interaction to expand existing scholarship on yaoi phenomenon in Thailand which tends to focus on textual readings linking back to the Japanese cultural origin, ethnographic research, and the aspect of queer cultural politics. The study also draws attention to GMMTV Company Limited, a key player in expanding the yaoi industry in Thailand and growing the fandom of Thai yaoi stars in different countries in Asia. The article discusses the way GMMTV expands yaoi industry through connections with the local book industry as well as its own star and music making divisions. It pays close attention to fan/industry interactions rooted in the industry-led mimetic practices inspired by yaoi fan culture. These practices include the act of “shipping” (pairing yaoi couples) through what fans referred to as Official Promotional Videos (OPVs) and television shows. The article then discusses the way GMMTV employs fan nostalgia to create memory-driven activities. The highly commercialized industry-led fan meeting also offers an interesting site to explore fan/industry interactions where fan-led practices were reenacted by the industry yet consumed by fans themselves.

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