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June (ジュネ?) was the earliest yaoi (BL) magazine, which began in 1978 as a response to the success of commercially published manga such as the works of Keiko Takemiya, Moto Hagio and Yumiko Ōshima. Other factors that influenced the founding of June were the rising popularity of depictions of bishōnen in the dōjinshi market and ambiguous musicians such as David Bowie and Queen.[2] June was meant to have an underground, "cultish, guerilla-style" feeling – most of its mangaka were new talent. Frederik L. Schodt describes June as "a kind of 'readers' magazine, created by and for the readers."[1] Very early on, Keiko Takemiya became the editor of a section called "Manga School", which instructed readers and amateur manga authors.[3]

June magazine was named after the French author Jean Genet, with "june" being a play on the Japanese pronunciation of his name. Digital Manga Publishing has an unrelated BL imprint which is also called June.[4] The magazine's name became an early name for what is now the BL genre,[5] as June published male/male tanbi 耽美 ("aesthetic") romances, stories written for and about the worship of beauty,[5] and romance between older men and beautiful youths[6] using particularly flowery language and unusual kanji.[5] Essays about the characteristics of the June genre were published with the manga in June. In 1982, Shōsetsu June ("Novel June"), a sister magazine to June began publication. Its content is text-only stories with male romance.[1]

As of the mid-1990s, Shōsetsu June outsold June.[1] In 1996, there were four June magazines - one called June, in a "large format" with many photos of youths, Roman June ("Romantic June") which contained a mix of stories and manga, intended for an older female reader, Shousetsu June, and the original manga magazine, retitled Comic June.[1] As of 2002, June was still running, although the target audience's ages had widened and the style of stories had changed from being "soft love" to being more overtly pornographic.[2][3] The magazine is still popular.[7] In April 2006, Koi June was launched, which published 3-4 issues per year.[8] Creators associated with June include Tomomi Kobayashi, Kaoru Kurimoto (both as an author and as a critic), Keiko Takemiya, Mizuki Kawashita and Akimi Yoshida.

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