By Your Side Chronicles a Hundred Years of Yuri Manga and Anime

In this episode of Castle Talk, Jason chats with Erica Friedman, author of By Your Side: The First 100 Years of Yuri Anime and Manga. The publishers call it "the untold story of lesbian love in Japanese anime and comics."

Two decades in the making, By Your Side is a collection of essays, scholarly and approachable, by the Western Hemisphere's authority on the subject. This landmark work should be in the library of any fan of anime, manga, lesbian relationships in media–or any combination of the three!

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By Your Side cover and Castle Talk logo used with permission

Through the collection, Friedman explores the birth of the label "Yuri," which she herself played a role in, harkening to a 1970s magazine that used the rose as a symbol for gay men and the lily as the symbol for gay women—with Yuri as the Japanese word for lily.

Erica Friedman produces a lot of Yuri-related content beyond the book—she runs a blog called Okazu and a YouTube channel called Yuri Studio.

In the chat, Friedman talks about how it can be complicated to label a work "queer" because often the work can feature queerness without actually internalizing queer identities or challenges. It all depends on whom the work is for. Yet Yuri as a label, Friedman says, applies, either way, denoting any work that features a gay female relationship. More and more today, though, manga and anime with queer themes are coming from queer authors, for queer audiences. "In recent years, there are more and more out lesbians telling their own stories," says the author.

Listen here:

Listen on YouTube:

You can find here a helpful video on the subject, "A Very Brief History of Yuri."

Check out the Book.


Jason Henderson hosts the Castle of Horror and Castle Talk Podcasts, the "Castle of Horror Anthology" series editor. The newest volume is Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 7: Love Gone Wrong. He is the author of The Serpent's Nest: Young Captain Nemo from Macmillan Children's Books. His most recent book is 18 Miles from Town: a Midlife Crisis Thriller.

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About Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson, author of the Young Captain Nemo (Macmillan Children's) and Alex Van Helsing (HarperTeen) series, earned his BA from University of Dallas in 1993 and his JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1996. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
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