Breaking Stereotypes: The Yakuza in Yaoi Manga

Yaoi manga with members of the yakuza as the main characters are increasingly popular these days, and it’s not surprising at all. Who doesn’t like a good story packed with sexy, seemingly scary guys taking it from behind in various places and positions? Of course, the members of the yakuza are often depicted as bloodthirsty and violent, but in the realm of Yaoi manga, things are a little bit different. And we are glad about that!

Rough on the Outside, Soft and Fluffy on the Inside

Normally, one would automatically pair the word “yakuza” with the image of a frowning, tattooed middle-aged man that carries a gun and/or a knife around and is quick to snap. While that can be true for some characters in Yaoi manga as well, the truth is that we get to see a different side here. Yaoi mangakas take it upon themselves to create characters that can fall into the stereotype of yakuza but that, at the same time, are completely different from what we would expect.

They look like rough men on the outside, but in reality, they’re really soft and caring with the people they love. Yakuza in yaoi manga have a strong sense of justice and won’t hesitate to set the score straight when the person they love is being attacked or is suffering. Usually, they’ll appear to be distant and unable to talk about themselves or their pasts, but upon meeting the right person they’ll open up, showing vulnerability and proving that they are, after all, human.

When it comes to manga, these men are as sensitive as they come; their rough exterior doesn’t do justice to their fluffy inside. Of course, some of these men are actually bad, but they’re usually side characters or rivals that antagonize with our main couple.

Yakuza wo Shibatte Ii Desuka

  • Author: Suji
  • Genre: Yaoi, Romance
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published Date: 2018

Rui is a rope artist who mainly works on porn sets, making sure that scenes with bondage go as smoothly as possible. He is nice and always willing to help others, that’s why he agrees to take in an underling from a yakuza family when he receives a call from the head of the clan. But things won’t go smoothly for Rui when he discovers that Shin is everything that he’s been looking for in a partner.

Shin looks like a stray puppy, following Rui around and trying to be useful. He doesn’t look scary, though, but there’s a halo of mystery surrounding him that makes Rui want to know more about his past… and the more this rope artist discovers about his new roommate, the more he wants to protect him. Yakuza wo Shibatte ii Desuka does a great job in showing the scary and violent world of the yakuza: Shin has to go through a lot just to please his boss and avoid being killed. His boss uses him as an ashtray, punches him, and even fired a gun at him on several occasions. That’s why Shin thinks that he isn’t someone worth loving, but thankfully, Rui is there to show him that he deserves a lot more.


Not Always the Man on Top

When it comes to yakuza, it’s common to associate them with the top of the food chain, but when it comes to yaoi manga, these men are not always on top… if you know what we mean.

A confident and powerful mafia leader, a man asking for more when between the sheets; to sides of the same coin, and it’s extremely alluring! We can’t help but love an unexpected uke, so that’s why we feel blessed when we get a good looking, fierce, and strong bottom. Of course, they’ll be careful not to let their underlings know their boss is gay and loves a good dick. That’s unacceptable!

While it’s true that they are the seme in the relationship most of the times, there’s an increasing number of yaoi mangakas who like to play around a little bit with their masculine yakuza characters. One moment they’ll look ready to get into a fight, and the minute after they could be moaning and making cute faces while being embraced by another man.

Ikoku Irokoi Romantan

  • Author: Ayano Yamane
  • Genre: Comedy, Yaoi
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published Date: 2003

Ranmaru did everything he was supposed to do, like getting married to a beautiful woman and assuming his role as the head of a well-known yakuza clan. But his marriage is fake and he can’t take it anymore, so he gets drunk on his wedding night and wanders off only to end up in a stranger’s room. When he wakes up, he finds out two things: he had lots of sex last night… and he was the bottom!

Being the head of a yakuza clan is no easy task, but Ranmaru does a great job in handling his underlings. Everyone respects him and they’re more than happy to welcome the boss’ new wife in their circle. The only problem is that Ranmaru is not in love with this woman, he’s just doing what he’s told. This man is stubborn and he can’t take feeling frustrated, feeling like he’s going against his beliefs. Everything changes when he meets the captain of the ship, Valentino, a flashy Italian who’s very flirty and wastes no time in taking Ramnaru’s clothes off. The young boss has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he has been deflowered but in the end, he realizes it actually doesn’t feel that bad to be on the receiving end.


Tradition Against Everything Else

Not everything is about violence and fights in the yakuza world. These people have a strong sense of justice and they value tradition among everything else. That’s why children who are supposed to assume the role of the leader in the future are trained from a very young age to get the ropes of the family business. When we talk about how we expect a yakuza boss to act, of course, the first thing that comes to our minds is a violent man who is quick to get into fights, walking the streets escorted by his underlings. But what happens when the next in line doesn’t want to have anything to do with the mafia?

Our soon-to-be boss is not able to decide whether he wants to be in charge of the family business or not, although he has to do it. If for some reason, the next in line decides to ignore his duty, it’ll be considered treason and he’ll be disowned. Of course, if worst comes to worst, the whole family will go after him and try to kill him. Lucky for us, in the world of yaoi manga things can sometimes be a little bit more carefree, and we don’t have to worry about our favorite characters getting murdered!

Yondaime Ooyamoto Tatsuyuki

  • Author: Scarlet Beriko
  • Genre: Drama, Yaoi, Comedy
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published Date: 2015

Tatsuyuki is suffering from a broken heart; he can’t concentrate on anything and he spends his days brooding over his lost chance at love. Since he only wants to play around and ignore his duties as the next boss of a yakuza clan, he’s sent over to Fukuoka where he’s put in charge of one of the many branches under the care of his clan. Tatsuyuki doesn’t want the responsibility, so he gets drunk and wanders off to a park, where he meets someone from his past that will change his life.

Yondaime Ooyamoto Tatsuyuki tells the story of young boss Tatsuyuki, a spoiled brat who just wants to live a carefree life without having to bother about the “family business”. Upon meeting Nozomi, he realizes that he doesn’t want to be part of the yakuza anymore, he just wants to live a happy life with the person he loves. Of course, this love story has its ups and downs, but true happiness for these two love birds will prevail. Not everything has to be treason and violence, right?


Final Thoughts

We love when yaoi mangakas take it upon themselves to show that there’s another way to depict yakuza men besides being violent and incapable of love. Of course, we know this is just fiction and it’s probably far from being similar to reality, but it’s not like we can complain at all. Seeing rough men coming to terms with their feelings and finding true happiness is something that we’ll always welcome with open arms!

So here we are, breaking stereotypes in the world of manga. Hope you like our recommendations!

yondaime-ooyamato-tatsuyuki-manga-wallpaper-505x500 Breaking Stereotypes: The Yakuza in Yaoi Manga

Author: Yaz L.