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Aleardo Zanghellini suggests that the martial arts terms have special significance to a Japanese audience, as an archetype of the gay male relationship in Japan includes same-sex love between samurai and their companions.Another way the seme and uke characters are shown is through who is dominant in the relationship - a character can take the uke role even if he is not presented as feminine, simply by being juxtaposed against and pursued by a more dominant, more masculine, character.Although not the same, a yaoi construct similar to seme and uke is the concept of tachi and neko.
Yaoi also attracts male readers, but manga specifically marketed for a gay male audience (bara) is considered a separate genre.
The main characters in yaoi usually conform to the formula of the seme (the "top", or dominant figure) who pursues the uke (the "bottom", or passive figure).
Material classified as yaoi typically depicts gay relationships between male characters and may include homoerotic content.
In the 1980s, the genre was presented in an anime format for the first time, including the works Patalliro!
(1982) which showed a romance between two supporting characters, an adaptation of Kaze to Ki no Uta (1987) and Earthian (1989), released in the original video animation (home video) format.
Yaoi derives from two sources; in the early 1970s, shōjo manga magazines published tanbi (aesthetic) stories, also known as shōnen ai (boy love), featuring platonic relationships between young boys.