For some strange reason, any erotic and pornographic material officially released in Japan has censorship in the private parts. They simply leave pixels, stripes, mosaics and squares blurry to censor private parts.
Breasts are one of the few things that escape Japanese censorship. In this article we will see why this law exists and what the industry does to get around it. Let’s start by looking at how censorship started in Japan.
How did censorship in Japan begin?
To better understand why pornography is censored in Japan, we must go back to the Meiji Restoration that started in 1868. Before that time, Japan did not have a sense of morality. Even today, this sense is somewhat absent.
The Japanese view was very liberal in relation to sexuality and prostitution was a common business in Japan. There were even erotic religious histories and records that involved samurai, geisha and even homosexual acts.
In an attempt to modernize Japan, Emperor Meiji felt the need to embrace a sense of Victorian England morality that condemned sexual thoughts and art.
In the year 1907, Article 175 of the penal code prohibited the sale and distribution of obscene materials that were subject to fines and imprisonment. It was interpreted that human genitalia and pubic hair were considered obscene, which led artists to reduce the creation of pornography for fear of imprisonment.
Before the world war, censorship was much higher and prohibited even nudity. After the Second World War, the United States abolished all forms of censorship and control of freedom of expression.
However, Article 175 was kept intact, continuing to prohibit any explicit display of private parts. At the end of the 20th century, several erotic works, including animations, began to appear and become popular.
Bypassing the censorship of Japan
The Japanese are not prohibited from drawing their erotic stories without censorship. They are prohibited from selling them uncensored within Japan. That is why in the 2000s it was common to sell Japanese works, mainly hentais to the west. Nowadays it is more and more unusual for these works to go west and remain uncensored.
In order to circumvent censorship, in the 1980s they started using tentacles. The government was unable to prohibit or compel censorship of tentacles or non-human creatures.
Until the end of the 90s it was forbidden to draw by pubic people, to circumvent the law the authors started to draw young girls who had no hair in their intimate parts. That was how the term lolicon and shotacon began to emerge.
The Japanese have become accustomed to censorship and do not usually complain about it. Some experts consider strips and mosaics a way for the Japanese reader to justify their habit and soften the act of reading pornography or the acts depicted there.
In the West we see something similar, where eroticism is accepted in films, as long as genitals are not seen. Still, the Japanese have several secrets to increase sensuality and eroticism if two works without breaking the rules.
Despite the censorship law, Japan is the country with the largest pornographic industry in the world, which moves 20 billion dollars a year (against 12 billion in the United States). Despite all this, it is confusing to understand the purpose of this law.
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