So I've seen some say using lilies is very common for 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

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    To be clear, are you looking for examples of the lily motif used in non-yuri contexts (e.g. someone just likes lilies but is not a lesbian)?
    – Makoto
    May 15, 2020 at 21:58
  • @Makoto yes, like that for example May 16, 2020 at 3:05

1 Answer 1


This is based on communications between Asian readers of light novel and mangas

Lily is commonly used to represent purity, innocence, especially in Asian religions. Lily in this case symbolizes tight and pure friendship between 2 females. They can be very close friends to the point of slightly flirtatious or look almost like couples but not necessarily sexual. It's more on the emotional bond rather than the sexual aspect that the West depicted it as.

It's not too common as a visual indicator but more as a genre/category of anime/manga/light novel. It started with 'Rose Clan' as a term for gay inclined readers of a magazine series so a writer start using 'Lily Clan' as a female counterpart t

threads & similar discussions:

https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/1451004846732872140.html https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/558714477.html

From history point of view:

Among the first Japanese authors to produce works about love between women was Nobuko Yoshiya,[9] a novelist active in the Taishō and Shōwa periods of Japan. Yoshiya was a pioneer in Japanese lesbian literature, including the early twentieth century Class S genre.[22] These kinds of stories depict lesbian attachments as emotionally intense yet platonic relationships, destined to be curtailed by graduation from school, marriage, or death.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_(genre)#cite_ref-yoshiya_21-1

  • 1
    You misunderstand the intent (lily motif in non-yuri contexts) of the OP. Furthermore, your threads and discussions do not attribute to any actual sources to back up their claims.
    – кяαzєя
    May 21, 2020 at 8:09
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    Your first part seems to be pure speculation, unsupported by any research. The references you cited are discussion forums also based on speculation. As per Wikipedia: "語源は1970年代、男性同性愛者向けの雑誌『薔薇族』編集長の伊藤文學が、男性同性愛者を指す薔薇族の対義語として、百合族という言葉を提唱したことによると言われている。同誌には女性読者の投稿コーナー「百合族の部屋」が設けられた。また、従来日本においては「立てば芍薬、座れば牡丹、歩く姿は百合の花」と、美しい女性を百合に例えることがしばしばあったが、男性同性愛者が真っ赤な薔薇に例えられていることから、伊藤はそれとの対比で女性的なイメージの強い白百合を当てたという説もある。"
    – Eddie Kal
    Oct 18, 2020 at 22:51
  • The "百合 represents purity in the context of GL" rhetoric is a common misconception. The source cited by Eddie Kal gives the correct historical context.
    – mantra
    Jun 15, 2021 at 8:08

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