Pornography in Japan is a large and intertwined business of adult entertainment with unique characteristics that readily distinguish it from Western pornography. Reflecting Japan's views on sexuality and culture, Japanese pornography delves into a wide spectrum of heterosexual, homosexual, and transgender sexual acts in addition to unique fetishes and paraphilias.
Starting with erotic stories and wood block prints from before the 20th century, Japanese pornography evolved into distinct subcategories. In addition to pornographic videos and magazines featuring live actors, there are categories of pornographic manga (within Japanese comics), pornographic computer games (for both PC and game consoles), and pornographic anime (animated depictions of sexual activity).
By Japanese law, any lawfully produced pornography must censor the genitals of actors and actresses and up until the mid-1990s so was the depiction of pubic hair. Anuses are only censored at contact or penetration. This type of censoring also extends to hentai comics, video games, and anime. In the attempts to circumvent this type of censoring (and to cater to particular fetishes), actors and producers have featured subject matter unseen or rarely depicted in western pornography. Bukkake, gokkun, omorashi, and tentacle erotica are a few uniquely Japanese genres known to western viewers. Lolicon and its contribution to the controversy regarding the regulation of pornography depicting minors has been a major issue concerning free speech both inside and outside Japan.
Shunga or pornographic wood-block pictures were printed with all imaginable situations. The actual uses of shunga in the period are still debated, but probably resembled modern uses of pornographic materials, including masturbation and shared viewing with a lover.
After the Meiji Restoration in the second half of the 19th century, the publication of pornographic materials declined under government pressure.
In the late Taishō period and early Shōwa period, an artistic movement called Eroguronansensu, literally "erotic-grotesque-nonsense", occurred influenced by decadence works of Europe. Open sexual expressions were permitted in novels and manga but a strict control was applied on photographs and films. After World War II, the law against 'obscenity', Article 175, was the only official censorship law that remained in force.
Influenced by magazines like Playboy, pornographic magazines were printed soon after World War II. While Playboy's articles were about the American lifestyle; women were mostly non-Asian, interviews were with people largely unknown in Japan, and fashion and sport were American, it thereby spawned a fetish and a genre known as yōmono (literally "Western things").
In the early 1960s, several movie studios began producing "pink films". With censorship laws prohibiting genitals from being seen but otherwise free to express anything, these movies quickly diversified to fill all genres, including rape and bondage. Throughout the 1960s, the "pink films" were mainly produced by low-budget, independent filmmakers such as Kōji Wakamatsu. In 1971, the major studio Nikkatsu entered the pink film genre.
Starting in 1971, homosexually-oriented magazines began to appear, including Barazoku. Homosexual magazines tend to be tailored to particular segments of the population, such as Badi, which features younger adult males, Samson, devoted to chubby men, and G-men, featuring muscular men.
The proliferation of pornographic videos in the 1980s commonly called A/V (short for adult video) sold more videos because most Japanese families now had at least two television sets and VCRs. It is rumored, but not supported, that VHS became popular over Betamax format because large numbers of A/V were released in VHS format. Few A/Vs were sold in laserdisc format. Playing games on personal computers with no limitation on content except for censorship laws was sometimes viewed as being synonymous with playing bishōjo games, because so few Japanese people saw any reason to play video games on these platforms, as opposed to video game consoles.
In the late 1980s, the dōjinshi market expanded. It is estimated that about half of this market consists of pornography. Copyright problems plague the market, yet the dōjinshi market was a common place for one to start before making a debut in a professional magazine. Yaoi began in the dōjinshi market.
According to John Carr, a United Kingdom government adviser on Internet safety policy for children, two-thirds of all pedophilic images on the Internet in the late 1990s may have originated in Japan. He further commented, "We think that child pornography, in any form, promotes values and sends the message that it is OK to sexually abuse children. It helps pedophiles to justify their ideas or behavior and it desensitizes society as a whole." Since the law against child pornography in 1999, the proportion is now believed to be less than 2%. ECPAT believes that many child pornography producers have simply turned to producing anime or films featuring adults dressed as children.
A new guideline has been proposed that women pornographic actors have the right to prohibit the sale of videos in which they appear after five years from initial release date.
In Japan, under Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan people who sell or distribute obscene materials can be punished by fines or imprisonment. Article 175 was included in the original document in 1907 and remains relatively unchanged. Showing pubic hair and adult genitalia was once considered obscene. Video pornography routinely depicts explicit sex scenes with the participants' genitalia obscured by pixelization. The amount of censorship of the penis can vary. The publication of Waterfruit and Santa Fe by Kishin Shinoyama was likely the first publication that featured pubic hair. Many video production companies belong to ethical associations which provide guidance on what is acceptable and what is not. The Nihon Ethics of Video Association, the Ethics Organization of Computer Software and the Contents Soft Association are examples of three such organizations. Recent controversies have frowned upon both pubic hair and even genitalia itself being displayed in works of art and in educational settings.
Japan's indigenous religion, Shinto (Kami-no-Michi), is based in animism, with a belief that supernatural beings dwell in nature. The gods and goddesses of Shinto are not repositories of morality or perfection; instead, they exist within nature and thus, sexuality is an innate part of life itself. Therefore, religious attitudes are no obstacle to the presence of pornographic material in Japan's society.
Possession of child pornography depicting real children is illegal in Japan since June 2014. Distribution of child pornography was made de jure illegal in 1999 after international pressure from the United Nations, UNICEF and other international organizations, although the law made a distinction between hardcore pornography and the softcore pornography that is widely available in Japan, such as at junior idol and lolicon media centers like Akihabara and Nipponbashi, and at most konbini, or Japanese convenience stores. Prosecutions have been made under the new law by Japan's powerful prosecutors under Japan's unique legal system, resulting in some financial verdicts, with relative strictness of enforcement continuing to vary by prefecture.
In June 2008, a bill that proposed the imposition of a ban on child-pornography possession was submitted to the House of Representatives of Japan where it was brought before the Diet in September, but failed to pass. On July 15, 2014 penalties were added to the simple possession of child pornography as a result of the revision of the law.
In 2016 the campaign group Human Rights Now reported allegations that some women appearing in pornographic films had been forced to do so against their will. The group called for the introduction of legislation to regulate production companies and for help for any performers who had experienced abuse.
Among the various subgenres of Japanese pornography are the following:
Dōjinshi (often transliterated as doujinshi) or literally "fan works" often contain pornographic imitations of popular anime, games and manga.
Animated erotica (known in the West as hentai but in Japan as "adult anime") is a popular genre in Japan and generally maintains the same style of animation seen in other popular forms of Japanese animation (anime). The term hentai literally means "metamorphosis" or "transformation", but in alternate use and in context to the situation of lewdness, it means "perverse manner" or "pervert".
Adult-oriented games are a genre for video games in Japan. The genre is somewhat unknown outside Japan because of several problems, cultural and translational. Known as "bishōjo games" or "pretty girl games" (alternately spelled "bishoujo") in Japanese, the games are known under several names used by English fans, including PC dating-sim game, hentai game/H game, and so on. Companies such as JAST USA and MangaGamer are translating dating sims and visual novels into English for the fledgling market outside Japan. For adult video games in Japan, the rating of "18+" was coined by the Ethics Organization of Computer Software or Contents Soft Association. Rating of adult video games has not gone in Computer Entertainment Rating Organization.
Fanfictions, commonly found in websites, are not limited to fictitious characters and often use real live people as well, though these works would make little sense to those who do not see Japanese TV programs. Dōjinshi writers typically use the Internet to market their products by offering previews of new works, a secret address where buyers can find additional works, and a sample of their games. They also recruit new writers and artists online. Several exclusively adult oriented search engines exist to let someone find a site they are looking for, without having to search through commercial websites that list all keywords. Many works of dōjinshi are featured in websites that collect the art and let people look for free.
Many websites feature seasonal greeting pictures, often pornographic, from linked sites and friends who frequent their sites. A typical Christmas greeting picture on such sites features a Santa-girl in various stages of undressing. The twelve zodiac animals of Chinese astrology allow for variations on catgirls.
Magazines are, along with videos, popular media for pornographic materials. Magazines that contains pornographic manga or pictures are controlled, and feature age requirements for purchase. Many localities in Japan require pornographic magazines to be sealed when sold outside of adult bookstores. But it is not uncommon to find non-pornographic magazines that feature nudity. Many magazines, especially weekly tabloids, include nude images and photo spreads similar to page three girls featured in many western tabloids. So long as these images do not depict sexual organs or sex acts, they are not considered pornographic and, hence, are freely sold in public.
Confessional writings by both genders are a popular topic in men's and pornographic magazines.
Many pornographic films ("Japanese adult video" or JAV) have titles that may suggest that they use minors, or suggest that they show the recording of an actual crime. However, titles that are circulated with the approval of Eirin, the Japanese film industry's regulatory body, are in full compliance with and do not break any Japanese laws. A common ploy is to have a part of a title replaced with a character, or to use a phonetically similar neologism. For example, a video about "19-year-old Girls Sex Party!" may be sold with a title like "1X-year-old Girls Sex Party!". The word "joshikōsei" (女子) 生, lit. "high school girl", cannot be used as it would suggest a girl of 15 years or younger, who cannot legally act in a pornographic video. The homonymic neologism "joshikōsei" (女子) 生, which can mean a "girl student", is used in a large number of titles to promote the product without breaking censorship laws. This fact may be seen in popular places of Japan such as Akihabara or Den Den Town at Tokyo and Osaka respectively.
One oft-recalled explanation for the failure of Sony's (SNE) Betamax videocassette format in the 1980s was the Japanese company's ambivalence towards producers of pornographic videos. By contrast, proponents of VHS, Betamax's rival, welcomed adult content with open arms and, the legend goes, caused Betamax's demise.
[Jo]Style is a Japanese adult video (AV) director who has supervised more than 300 productions during his career.AV idol
An AV idol (AVアイドル, Ēbui aidoru), also known as adult video idol or AV actress (AV女優, Ēbui joyū), is a Japanese idol who works in the pornographic business, often both as an actress as well as a model as the video performances vary widely, from suggestive softcore imagery to hardcore pornography. The industry is noted for having frequent turnovers; since the dawn of the AV industry in the early 1980s, hundreds of AV idols have debuted every year, with an average career span of about a year, appearing in five or ten videos during that time. Few notable AV idols have careers spanning longer than a decade, have a wide general public recognition, or make a significant impact on the industry in some other manner.Bukkake
Bukkake (Japanese: ぶっかけ, [bɯkkake] (listen); English: buu-KAK-ay) is a sex act in which one participant is ejaculated on by two or more other participants. It is often portrayed in pornographic films.Bukkake videos are a relatively prevalent niche in contemporary pornographic films. Originating in Japan in the 1980s, the genre subsequently spread to North America and Europe, and crossed over into gay pornography.Child pornography laws in Japan
Child pornography laws in Japan outlaw child pornography. The production, sale, distribution, and commercialization of child pornography is illegal under Article 7 of the Act on Punishment of Activities Relating to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the Protection of Children and is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of ¥5,000,000. Possession of child pornography with any intent of distribution and sale is also illegal.Manga artists and anime directors have argued that it is dangerous to try to define child pornography when it comes to artwork, drawings, and animation when regarding hentai due to it being highly ambiguous, and have cited freedom of expression to prevent it from being abused. For example, they argued that even in the anime and manga series Doraemon, the scene of the schoolgirl Shizuka Minamoto taking a bath might be mis-construed as "child pornography". Arts depicting underage characters (lolicon and shotacon) and photography of underage models (junior idol) remain controversial in Japan.Das (studio)
DAS (ダスッ！, Dasu!) is a Japanese adult video (AV) production company located in Tokyo, Japan.Gokkun
Gokkun (ゴックン) is a Japanese term for sexual activity in which a person consumes the semen of one or more people, usually from some kind of container. Commonly used containers include cups, large beakers, bowls, baking pans, and wine or cocktail glasses. Most of these scenarios involve the semen of multiple men.
"Gokkun" can also refer to the sexual act of swallowing semen after performing fellatio or participating in a bukkake. The word "gokkun" is onomatopoetic, and translates roughly as the English word "gulp", the sound made by swallowing.Gonzo pornography
Gonzo pornography is a style of pornographic film that attempts to place the viewer directly into the scene. Jamie Gillis is considered to have started the gonzo pornography genre with his On the Prowl series of films.The name is a reference to gonzo journalism, in which the reporter is part of the event taking place. By comparison, gonzo pornography puts the camera right into the action, often with one or more of the participants filming and performing sexual acts, without the usual separation between camera and performers seen in conventional porn and cinema.Gonzo porn is influenced by amateur pornography, and it tends to use far fewer full-body/wide shots in favor of more close-ups (See: reality pornography). The loose and direct camera work often includes tight shots of the genitalia, unlike some traditional porn.Hentai
Outside of Japan, hentai (変態 or へんたい) (listen English: ; lit. "pervert") is anime and manga pornography. In the Japanese language, however, "hentai" is not a genre of media but any type of perverse or bizarre sexual desire or act. For example, outside of Japan a work depicting lesbian sex might be described as "yuri hentai", but in Japan it would just be described as "yuri".
The word is short for (変態性欲, hentai seiyoku), a perverse sexual desire. The original meaning of hentai in the Japanese language is a transformation or metamorphosis. The implication of perversion or paraphilia was derived from there. Both meanings can be distinguished in context easily.Junior idol
In Japan, a junior idol (ジュニアアイドル, junia aidoru), alternatively chidol (チャイドル, chaidoru) or low teen idol (ローティーンアイドル, rōtīn aidoru), is primarily defined as young child pursuing a career as a photographic model. Generally, this means gravure, or "cheesecake", fully clothed shots; but, junior idols can, and some do, eventually enter the AV industry. Child actors, musicians, and J-pop singers (whose musical genre is often termed idol pop) can also be considered junior idols and are often featured in photobooks and image DVDs.
Female fashion models (not to be confused with glamour models, including gravure idols) also begin their careers typically at age 13–15, but are usually not considered junior idols. Child models, whose careers are usually over by their early young years, are also not usually considered junior idolsKazuo Komizu
Kazuo Komizu (小水 一男, Komizu Kazuo, born December 14, 1946) is a Japanese film director from Miyagi Prefecture, mainly focusing on violent sex and gore films.Kazuyoshi Sekine
Kazuyoshi Sekine (関根和美 Sekine Kazuyoshi), also known as Kazumi Sekine, is a Japanese film director, a dramatist, and a movie producer and the president of Sekine Production production company (関根プロ).
He mainly directs movies produced by independent film studios.
He is married to the actress Izumi Aki, who has appeared in his films.
Many of his films are urban love stories.Kunihiro Hasegawa
Kunihiro Hasegawa (長谷川九仁広) is a Japanese adult video (AV) director. He has directed more than 200 videos during his long career.List of Japanese adult video awards (1991–2008)
Although pornography in Japan has a long history and is a major business, until recently, the adult video industry did not develop a broad-based set of awards for sales or performance such as the AVN Awards in American pornography.
That has changed in recent years, and the two primary awards given at present (which are covered in separate articles) are the AV Grand Prix for retail and internet videos and the Adult Broadcasting Awards for programs broadcast on Japanese satellite TV.
This text is focused on the various earlier Japanese adult video awards given in the period 1991–2008, none of which are presently active. Some were given only infrequently and many were limited to particular studios or groups of companies.Nihon Ethics of Video Association
The Nihon Ethics of Video Association (NEVA) (日本ビデオ倫理協会, Nippon Bideo Rinri Kyōkai, "Japan Video Morality Association"), usually abbreviated as Viderin (official) or Biderin (both: ビデ倫), was a Japanese video rating organization. It was a voluntary organization to ensure adherence to Japanese obscenity laws, which prohibit any display of genitals. This is accomplished by a mosaic pixelation that is applied to videos for sale in Japan, and the NEVA seal is placed on all videos produced by member studios, which included the larger and older adult video studios in Japan - including h.m.p., Kuki Inc., and Alice Japan which belonged to NEVA.Randa Mai
Randa Mai or Mai Randa (乱田舞, Randa Mai) is a Japanese nawashi and adult video (AV) director.Sexuality in Japan
Sexuality in Japan developed separately from that of mainland Asia, as Japan did not adopt the Confucian view of marriage, in which chastity is highly valued. Monogamy in marriage is less important in Japan, and married men often seek pleasure from courtesans. Prostitution in Japan has a long history, and became especially popular during the Japanese economic miracle, as evening entertainments were tax-deductible. Decreased sex drive in the 21st century has been blamed for the low Japanese birth rate and declining growth of the Japanese population.Shunga
Shunga (春画) is a Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. While rare, there are extant erotic painted handscrolls which predate ukiyo-e. Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means picture of spring; "spring" is a common euphemism for sex.
The ukiyo-e movement as a whole sought to express an idealisation of contemporary urban life and appeal to the new chōnin class. Following the aesthetics of everyday life, Edo-period shunga varied widely in its depictions of sexuality. As a subset of ukiyo-e it was enjoyed by all social groups in the Edo period, despite being out of favour with the shogunate. Almost all ukiyo-e artists made shunga at some point in their careers.Shuttle Japan
Shuttle Japan (シャトルジャパン, Shatoru Japan) is a Japanese adult video (AV) production company based in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward.Tamakeri
Tamakeri (玉蹴り) (lit. ball kicking) or ballbusting is a sexual fetish and subgenre of BDSM within which a man's testicles are abused. The genre is also referred to as ballbusting ("bb" for short). Tamakeri is the Japanese term, but it is used by many non-Japanese people to describe media where Asian people- mainly women- are participating in it. The dynamics of tamakeri consist of a masochist having their testicles hurt by a sadist. The fetish is popular among heterosexual and homosexual men and women. With the advent of the digital age, the viewership of this fetish has increased rapidly, with at least 1,269,105 unique annual visitors visiting popular websites. In hentai communities, it is often identified by either "tamakeri", or "crotch_kick".