Chinese women crave Tanbi lit

Updated: 2014-06-25 07:03

By Sun Ye (China Daily)

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Chinese women crave Tanbi lit

A painting on a tanbi story depicts the romance between two good-looking men. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao / China Daily]

Chinese women crave Tanbi lit

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Chinese women crave Tanbi lit

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Tanbi is a form of Japanese literature depicting love between men that its hardcore following of young, heterosexual women can't get enough of. Sun Ye reports on the growing phenomenon.

In the literary world of tanbi, a Japanese term meaning "the pursuit of beauty" and often used to refer to two good-looking men in a romantic relationship, there are answers to what a heterosexual woman wants in love and life.

At least, this is the case for Cici Zhou, a 25-year-old real estate agent who has devoured 1,200 tanbi books over the past 10 years, drawn to them by the strong characters and their fighting spirit.

Zhou's favorite, Tianxiadiyi (translated to English means "No 1 in the world"), is the story of two opposing majestic kings who are mutually attracted but have to fight against each other and their desire.

"You can't find these characters in normal chick-lit," she says. "They're both strong, outstanding men. There are dramatic ups and downs and greater obstacles to overcome."

There is no official tally, but there are an estimated one million readers of tanbi stories in China, according to Yang Ling, associate professor with Xiamen University who studies tanbi sub-culture.

The scene is dominated by work from Japan and China's Taiwan, but tanbi lovers are also putting out original stories in forums, podcasts, custom-made books and other items that target hardcore fans.

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