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 reader of the Tanbi stories uses her smartphone in Beijing to zoom in on a painting of a character from an original tanbi book. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao / China Daily]

Chinese women crave Tanbi lit

The case for dads

Chinese women crave Tanbi lit

100 books for young readers 

Jinjiang Literature, one of the more popular websites that features original tanbi stories, clocks two million log-ins a day. Ninety percent of its users are female, and 80 percent are in the 18 to 35 age group, according to a report the company provided to China Daily.

Tanbi borders on gay fiction, but the readership is predominantly heterosexual women.

"I never thought it strange when two men become a couple," Zhou says. "We are reading about two guys together exactly because we like boys."

"They're reading for the variety tanbi offers," Yang says.

The genre is broken down into a gamut of sub genres, that touch on a wide variety of themes from apocalyptic tales, star wars, martial arts, and fan fiction. The stories can be "clear-water" (platonic) or x-rated. Tanbi is written in so many styles that there are stories told in dialects from northeastern China to Cantonese.

"Whatever subject you like, you can find it there," Yang says. "It's like a small literary kingdom."

And then there is the love story at the core.

"In tanbi, love and relationships have no set patterns like in Cinderella, where a hero rescues a beauty in danger," Yang says. "Both sides can be strong. Or they can take different roles in different circumstances. There are many more possibilities to explore."

That is perhaps one of the reasons why these readers are more open-minded when setting their own terms, and more understanding to others, Yang says, who has interviewed many tanbi fans in recent years.

"These are definitely positive influences. When they are open to different types of relationships, they are also open to other discussions, such as staying single for longer, or raising a child on their own," Yang says.