So I've seen some say that using lilies is very common for an author to show that a girl is lesbian for example.

However, I've heard that the whole lilies = lesbian thing is not mainstream. So I was wondering, how common is this trope used really outside of the yuri genre?

  • Related off-site discussion: myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=1840155 May 15, 2020 at 19:45
  • @Rubiksmoose not sure how true that is May 15, 2020 at 19:47
  • 1
    How true what is? It's a discussion related to your question. I'm not claiming any of it is true. May 15, 2020 at 19:47
  • This question also seems a lot more appropriate for anime.stackexchange.com than here. May 15, 2020 at 19:50
  • 4
    I’m voting to close this question because it is not pertinent to the Japanese language. May 15, 2020 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


百合 is a very common term, and virtually every anime/manga fan knows its association with female-female relationships. It's hard to imagine an otaku who does not understand the meaning of YuruYuri, for example.

However, you have to understand the following points (I explained some of them to you before):

  • Outside the otaku culture, indeed it's not mainstream at all. Today, 百合 mainly refers to female-female romance in fiction. Wikipedia defines this as follows.

    Yuri (百合, "lily"), (snip) is a Japanese jargon term for content and a genre involving lesbian relationships or female homoeroticism in light novels, manga, anime, video games and related Japanese media.

    If you want to know words for lesbian used outside otaku contexts, see this question.

  • 百合 is the name of a very common flower, too. Even in the otaku culture, it can simply refer to a flower with absolutely no sexual implication. As I explained before, "banana" has a sexual connotation even in English, but that does not mean it is used in a sexual sense whenever you see it in a novel.

  • As an aside, if you know the term yaoi, this word fell out of use long ago in Japanese. Young Japanese otaku may not even know this word. (Today, 腐 (ふ; slangy) and BL (sounds relatively "formal") are the common terms.)

  • is there a term that is used instead of yaoi now?
    – katatahito
    May 15, 2020 at 23:24
  • 1
    @katatahito Please see the edit.
    – naruto
    May 15, 2020 at 23:30
  • @naruto Thanks to clarify, I mean is it more common for the flower to be used to represent lesbianism in anime/manga or have other meanings like just simply being a flower. I.E, someone in anime likes lilies but isn't lesbian. May 16, 2020 at 3:07
  • @zainalleck I don't know such statistics, but contexts and the knowledge of each work are far more important. Usually the meaning is self-evident if you know Japanese well enough.
    – naruto
    May 16, 2020 at 11:25
  • I see,but in your view/case, how does it seem based on your experiences? May 16, 2020 at 17:27

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