Thailand’s Tourism Agency Pays Attention! Behind the Scenes” of Thailand’s BL Dramas That Became Big Hits | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Thailand’s Tourism Agency Pays Attention! Behind the Scenes” of Thailand’s BL Dramas That Became Big Hits

Thailand's entertainment industry and the values of a Buddhist country open up new frontiers for boys' love

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Ms. Maya Murai of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Osaka Office talks about the attention of Thai BL

While the spread of the new coronavirus was spreading, “Emergency Landing of Love” and “Itaewon Class” gained enthusiastic popularity in Japan through NETFLIX. In addition, “NiziU,” which was created through an audition project conducted by a Korean entertainment agency, made a big breakthrough, and the momentum of “Hallyu” is unstoppable.

On the other hand, BL dramas from Thailand are secretly gaining fans at a rapid pace. In Thailand, BL dramas are called “Y (wai),” an acronym for “Yaoi,” a slang term used in Japan to describe boys’ love productions.

What is the background behind this genre that was pioneered in Japan, became popular in Thailand, and was imported back to Thailand and became a hit?

A scene from “SOTUS,” a landmark Thai BL drama produced by GMMTV, a Thai TV production company and talent agency. In Thailand, TV stations often have the function of talent agencies.

The presence of actors with diverse backgrounds leads directly to the popularity of the drama

The first BL drama broadcast in Thailand was “Love Sick” in 2014. When “2gether” was broadcast on You Tube in 2019, it was made available with Japanese subtitles, which is said to have sparked the Thai BL boom in Japan. Maya Murai of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Osaka office tells us.

“The BL drama boom in Thailand started in 2016, and gradually grew to the present, so the boom in Japan is happening as fast as it did in Thailand.

There are some movies that are no longer available for free, but now that it has become a boom, many people are enjoying them even on paid platforms. There are some films that are no longer available for free, but now that they are booming, many people are enjoying them on paid platforms.

2gether”: The film that sparked the Thai BL boom in Japan. The movie version was released on June 4 this year.

While there are many appealing aspects to the story and the beauty of the images, it is the actor who plays the main character that determines the popularity of the drama.

A Thai BL fan in her 20s who lives in Thailand discusses the situation in the Thai entertainment industry as follows.

“Many of the actors in the dramas are unknown newcomers. Many of the actors in the dramas are unknown newcomers, especially overseas Chinese living in Thailand.

These actors often enter the entertainment industry through scouts, but since the scouts often go to university campuses, I think they come from families that are wealthy enough to go to university. Overseas Chinese living in Thailand tend to be financially successful.

The Chinese population in Thailand is said to account for about 14% of the country’s population, making it the second largest in the world. When the Thai dynasty was in danger of dying out in the 1760s, overseas Chinese from nearby areas were brought together to form a new dynasty. Thailand is also known as a country of immigrants, and as a result of the mixture of various cultures, the skin color and facial features of the actors appearing in the drama series are rich in individuality. Many of the actors have roots in various parts of Asia, which is refreshing to viewers who are used to watching Japanese dramas.

Wachirawit Chiwari (left) and Mehtawin Opayamkajoon, who play the main characters in “2gether. Even after the drama is over, the actors who played the couple in the film often form a unit and work together.

Some fans say, “There are no Japanese actors in the show, so I can immerse myself in the work,” and “There are people of many different races in the show, and it depicts homosexuality in a more everyday way than Japanese productions.

Thailand is an LGBT friendly country by nature. In Pattaya, a transgender beauty pageant called “Miss International Queen” is held, and it became a hot topic in 2009 when Japan’s representative, Ai Haruna (49), won the grand prize.

Thailand has a history of accepting homosexuality in the royal court, as Prince Claythorne, son of King Rama I, was a homosexual in the 1700s. Thailand is a Buddhist country. Thailand is a Buddhist country, and the teaching that “all living things have the potential to become Buddhas” is widespread, leading to the current Thai BL worldview of respect for all genders.

Enjoying Thai culture that can’t be experienced in tourist spots

It is not only race and gender that are fresh in the eyes of fans. Thai dramas have detailed depictions of culture and daily scenes that are different from those in Japan.

The drama “SOTUS” is set in a university’s freshman education system. In fact, there is a system called “Lap Nong” in Thailand where upperclassmen educate new students for about two weeks.

For example, it is common for houses to have no front door, and university students also wear uniforms. Since it is cheaper to eat out than to cook for oneself, people often go to food stalls instead of sitting around the table with their families, and this is how you can experience the unique daily life in Thailand. This is why the Tourism Authority of Thailand is also using the Thailand BL to promote the country.

“When we conducted a survey on the Tourism Authority’s Thailand BL PR account on Twitter, we found that 80% of the people who liked Thailand BL had never been to Thailand. As the Tourism Agency, we can’t tell people to come to Thailand for the Corona disaster, but we hope that through Thailand BL, people can get to know the atmosphere and culture of this country. I’m sure there are many discoveries that can’t be found just by visiting tourist spots such as Bangkok and Phuket, so I’d be happy if the drama could help people fall in love with the country of Thailand.

It would be ideal if we could continue to enjoy various foreign productions and deepen our understanding of each other’s countries, and not end up with a transient boom.

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