Toshishita seme refers to seme characters that are younger than the uke they are dating or wooing. It often overlaps with other seme character tropes such as supadari and wanko seme. In general, the word itself is used to refer to younger seme characters.
The word toshishita seme is written as 年下攻め and has a fairly straightforward meaning. The word 年下 (“toshishita,” literally “younger”) is combined with the word 攻め (“seme,” translates to “attack,” “offense”). The word’s literal meaning is “younger seme,” a rather convenient word to categorize BL stories.
It isn’t a stretch to say that BL genre’s standards were already quite defined during the late 1990s: domineering and proud seme characters with a bit of an attitude problem paired with loud and a little selfish uke characters who wholeheartedly accept the seme.
In the early 2000s, however, a new variation of BL began to gain some popularity. This not-quite genre is known as あんた呼び (“anta yobi,” referring to the uke calling the seme “anta,” which is often considered coarse but at the same time only used to close people). Anta Yobi series frequently depict a toshishita seme, which is often also a wanko seme, slightly obsessed or extremely devoted with the uke. These BL series brought about the wave of BL portraying toshishita seme characters.
Along with the new wave BL genre, around the 2005 series depicting toshishita seme characters began to snag the spotlights and enjoyed a considerable rise in popularity, especially BL with a school setting. Such can be seen with Koisuru Boukun by Takanaga Hinako and Seito Kaichou ni Chuukoku by Monchi Kaori. Since 2013, toshishita seme BL has become another popular BL standard, and publishers use this character trope for categorizing and marketing purposes.
Toshishita Seme: Modern Usage
As the BL genre and its rapidly expanding variation of sub-genre grow and diversify, so do BL stories with toshishita seme characters. While the devoted, puppy-like toshishita seme is still extremely popular, as proven by Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosareteimasu’s massive success, other types of toshishita seme character trope are also very popular. For example, BL light novels popularized the do-S type of toshishita seme character, which later paved the way for series like Ten Count by Takarai Rihito to become a hit.
Most noticeable, however, is the variety of uke types paired with toshishita seme. In the beginning, it was common to see tsundere slightly hot headed and extremely beautiful uke paired with toshishita seme characters. Recently, we have seen more varied uke types being paired with toshishita seme characters. The different personalities of the uke have little impact in changing the original appeal of toshishita seme BL. A relationship dynamic in which the older uke can also dominate the younger seme is just as good because of the uke‘s life experience and maturity.
Titles with Toshishita Seme in the futekiya Library
Ryuuji and Naomi are close childhood friends. Both had their share of relationships with women, so Ryuuji is frustrated as to why he’s had romantic feelings for the idiotic and oblivious Naomi all this time. While drinking his problems away, as usual, he meets the bartender Kiyotoshi who becomes interested in him, and the two ended up sleeping with each other.
Since then, everything went spiraling out of control between the three of them, especially for Ryuuji, whose heart seems to betray him.
Tatsuru Hayama loves long, luscious locks draped like the person’s sitting next to him or, rather, sleeping on his shoulder. After the person wakes up in a nervous spurt, Hayama runs off the last train he could take to get home. From that day forward, before he knows it, his eyes start searching for the person with the soft, long hair. What will Hayama do when the person he runs into isn’t an elegant, long-haired angel but a suspicious guy with a buzzcut? First, save his cat.
The lives of a med student, a loan shark, and a playful cat come together in an instrumental story with little to no written narrative…
Ayumu Satou, a bartender at Bar Crisis, hates how full-fledged adults suddenly lose all decency. A stickler for structure and following rules, Ayumu is not the typical 20-year-old college student.
During his usual shift one day, a new face walks through the door, Yoshitaka Bandou. Immediately enticed, Ayumu tends to the new customer. Meeting a mischievous and devilish Yoshitaka, Ayumu becomes further intrigued.
Upon the manager’s return to the bar, the mood changes, and suddenly, Ayumu is left alone in the dark. What are they exactly? What is going on under the table? And why does Ayumu want to know more?
Tell us your favorite BL titles with toshishita seme in the futekiya Library on Twitter!
New to futekiya? Sign up and subscribe to the futekiya Library to access all these titles and more!
About futekiya: BL manga subscription
In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.
futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.
Readers who subscribe to futekiya and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.futekiya.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.