What? Yaoi doesn’t have any male fans after all? But I was so looking forward to meeting them!
Well, it turns out that if I do they won’t be “fundashi”, because (as I recently learned) the name for male fans of yaoi isn’t actually “fundashi” — despite the fact that you can search for fundashi on the web and find a multitude of pages (in English and Spanish, at the very least) where it’s defined as literally meaning “rotten boy” and used tongue-in-cheek as the name for guys who dig yaoi. That’s how I learned it, too. But it turns out that in Japanese, fundashi isn’t even a word, much less a fanboy.
will the real term please stand up
In fact, the term for male yaoi fans is “fudanshi” (腐男子). Yep, it’s almost, almost the same, just with the “n” having hopped to a different location in the word. Fudanshi literally means “rotten boy” and is the genuine article, the humorously self-deprecating term for yaoi fanboys.
Why do English (and Spanish) speakers get it wrong? Well, frankly, as a native speaker, I find fundashi easier to say. It feels more intuitively “right” as a word. Maybe that’s why?
Does using the right word really matter? Meh, you can decide that for yourself. Me, I like getting my terms right, so I’m going to try to remember where the “n” sits in Japanese’s “rotten boy”.
prepared for Yaoicon
Besides, I figured it was a good thing to get right before I head off to Yaoicon this weekend, a place where I might actually, in the course of normal conversation, find myself saying “fudanshi”. It’s never fun to toss out the wrong jargon and have people give you confused, condescending, or pitying looks…