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Hentai

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Ian Dunn
577254.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:03 am Reply with quote

Seeing as how this thread has just opened, I thought it would be best to get the naughty stuff over and done with sooner rather than later.

Hentai is Japanese anime and manga of an adult or pornographic nature. However, this term is only used in the West. The Japanese refer to such works simply as "Adult", or "Seijin" or "18-kin", which means "18-prohibited".

The word hentai is kanji compound made up of two words, "hen" which means "change", "weird" or "strange", and "tai", meaning "attitude" or "appearance". The term itself, which is written in Japan as 変態, in Japanese actually means "Pervert" and is used as an insult. The Japanese word for something which is sexy is "Ecchi".

Hentai itself covers all kinds of different forms of sexual intercourse and fetishes. It is mainly split however between heterosexual works and homosexual works, the later being split into another two groups: "Yaoi" which is homoerotic male pornography aimed for a female audience and "Yuri" which is homoerotic female pornography aimed for a male audience.

One interesting thing about this is the way Japanese censorship works different to that of Western countries such as the UK and USA. The taboo about nakedness is weaking in Japan than it is over here, at least when it comes to being topless. Being completely nude however is still frowned upon. As a result, genitalia is often censored.

Because of this ban on genitalia being shown, people have gotten around this law by using other things to represent the genitalia. The most famous example of this is "Tentacle rape", in which monsters with tentacles are used to rape people intstead of penises. The most famous example of this known in the West is the anime film Legend of the Overfiend.

Another major issue is child pornography. Japanese laws covering this area did not match those of the West until 2003. However, the law says that you can possess paedophilia if you have no intention to pass it onto someone else or to sell it. There are no laws in Japan concerning sexual exploitation in manga and animated films.

 
NobodyHome
577317.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:30 am Reply with quote

I went to Japan for six months when I was 18 and accidentally wandered into the porn section of a manga/anime shop. I just looked up and was suddenly surrounded by scantily clad anime girls.

On the censorship thing, I read a book called Hokkaido Highway Blues about a man who hitchhiked from the south of Japan to its most northern point (very funny and informative, it's still one of my favourite books). At one point he describes staying in a 'capsule hotel' with a tv screen on the inside, and the manager decided to treat him to some free porn but everthing was pixelated out. He also describes an extremely bizarre visit to The Tago Shrine in Uwajima, which is a well known fertility shrine (or sex museum, as he also calls it). In that section he mentions the Japanese censorship laws set in 1908, and according to him it is not the showing of genetalia that concerned the censors, but pubic hair.

Quote:
the law says that you can possess paedophilia if you have no intention to pass it onto someone else or to sell it. There are no laws in Japan concerning sexual exploitation in manga and animated films.


I find both these points extremely disturbing. I've read/heard some really terrible things about the latter, including a video-game that involved child rape.

 
Ian Dunn
577320.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:37 am Reply with quote

NobodyHome wrote:
In that section he mentions the Japanese censorship laws set in 1908, and according to him it is not the showing of genetalia that concerned the censors, but pubic hair.


Yes, I think you are right about pubic hair rather than genetalia. Or maybe it was both, I'm not sure.

 
Ian Dunn
577325.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:51 am Reply with quote

I've just checked out the actual laws. (See here - PDF)

According to Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan:

Quote:
A person who distributes, sells or displays in public an obscene document, drawing or other objects shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than 2,500,000 yen or a petty fine. The same shall apply to a person who possesses the same for the purpose of sale.

 
Celebaelin
577361.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:17 am Reply with quote

I can't imagine why Japan would not have laws banning the portrayal of genitalia.



Hōnen Matsuri Wiki Article

 
Ian Dunn
577410.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:51 pm Reply with quote

I just found this article about hentai and Britain's "Extreme pornography" law which I found quite interesting.

http://derfels-reviews.com/2009/04/anime-hentai-and-the-british-board-of-film-classification-bbfc/

 
NobodyHome
577423.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:29 pm Reply with quote

Quote from the Honen Matsuri article...

Quote:
the phallus in its mikoshi is spun furiously before it is set down and more prayers are said


I assume the prayers are for anyone who happened to get smacked in the head during all the spinning?

Okay, back to being serious again... I'm amazed by the amount of censorship that goes on in anime when it's translated for an English-speaking audience. Regular, non-pornographic anime gets watered down so it can be screened for a much younger audience. Entire sub-plots are changed or completely cut!

 
MinervaMoon
577446.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:51 pm Reply with quote

Several years ago, my mother tried to engage one of my friends in conversation by saying, "So, you're into hentai?" While my friend recovered, I interjected, "The word is manga." Quite why my mother was so well but poorly versed in Japanese anime terms is something I never asked.

 
Sadurian Mike
577456.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:25 pm Reply with quote

I had trouble with the terms myself. The Japanese comic-book thing seems to have exploded in the past few years with all its bizarre and often disturbing connotations.

Pokemon was simply the gateway, we should have stopped it then.

 
Ion Zone
577474.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:56 pm Reply with quote

But if you did that we would have missed all the really amazing stuff as well. It isn't all yellow rodents and boobs.

 
Sadurian Mike
577477.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:00 pm Reply with quote

Ion Zone wrote:
But if you did that we would have missed all the really amazing stuff as well.

I think I must have still missed all the "really amazing stuff"....

 
Ion Zone
577503.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:42 pm Reply with quote

Pom Poko, Barefoot Gen, Millennium Actress, Trigun, The Girl Who Lept Through Time, Haibane Renmei, Cowboy Bebop, My Neighbor Totoro, Paranoia Agent, Robot Carnival, Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Voices of a Distant Star, Animation Runner Kuromi, Martian Successor Nadesico, Serial Experiments Lain.

They are all great, Barefoot Gen is known as one of the best war films ever made. (The ending on Paranoia Agent wasn't as good as it could have been though, and I consider Grave of the Fireflies to be a poor copy of Barefoot Gen)


Last edited by Ion Zone on Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Sadurian Mike
577507.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:43 pm Reply with quote

I have honestly never heard of any of those, although I have heard the term "Bubblegum Crisis" before in regard to a genre.

The whole manga thing just doesn't excite me.

 
Sadurian Mike
577508.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:44 pm Reply with quote

Ion Zone wrote:
They are all great, Barefoot Gen is known as one of the best war films ever made.

By whom?

 
NobodyHome
577516.  Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:59 pm Reply with quote

Spirited Away
Tokyo Godfathers
Perfect Blue
Akira
Ghost in the Shell
Cowboy Bebop (repeated because it is so good!)

There do seem to be people who just can't get into anime and manga for one reason or another. I've had people complain to me that the animation is lazy or the story-lines ridiculous and unoriginal because they always seem to involve giant robots, magical girls or yellow rodents. Oh, and boobs as well. You can't really deny there are a lot of those things around and TBH I'm not surprised it puts people off.

Personally, I can't stand the giant robots...

 

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