The neutrality of this article is disputed.

Japanese pornography has some unique features which separate it from pornography in other cultures. It is quite common and frequently translated and exported to western cultures because of its large spectrum of themes and media. Due to cultural differences and various taboos, Japanese erotica has a reputation in the West as being sado-masochistic and youth-centered.

Table of contents
1 Themes of Japanese pornography
2 Censorship laws
3 Homogenization
4 External links

Themes of Japanese pornography

Animated erotica (known in the West, but not in Japan, as hentai) is apparently a popular genre in Japan and generally maintains the same style of animation seen in other popular forms of Japanese animation (anime). Japanese erotica has many of the same themes as its western counterpart such as heterosexual and homosexual intercourse, group sex, and sexual bondage. Similarly to western erotica the Japanese version may also portray various sexual fetishes such as foot fetishism, or a focus on a certain type of clothing such as uniforms (buru sera) or costumes (cosplay).

To Westerners, Japanese pornography is also known for its extreme portrayals of scat fetishism (coprophilia), such as smearing and ingestion of feces. Some Japanese pornography also features induced vomiting, and the subsequent ingestion of the vomitus (often repeated multiple times). While scat fetishism is also found in pornography of other countries, it is more popular and wide spread in Japan.

Censorship laws

The social taboo against nudity has historically been less strong in Japan than in the West: "pillow books" detailing sexual acts were widely sold in the Edo era, and women and men routinely worked in the nude and bathed in public up to, and even after, the Meiji Restoration. Although public nudity has ceased since then (except in gender-segregated public baths), the Japanese attitude toward nudity in the media is more liberal than that of the United States, although it is still conservative in contrast to western Europe.

In Japan, it is illegal for any commercial publications to depict the female clitoris or male glans. Any publications depicting the penis or vagina must be shrink-wrapped and barred from sale to minors. However, it is not uncommon for pictorial magazines to depict nude women with their genitalia airbrushed over in black, and video pornography routinely depicts explicit sex scenes with the participants' genitalia mosaiced out.

Until the early 1990's, the entire pubic region, including hair, was deemed obscene.

It is also illegal to bring pornographic material into Japan, and customs agents are known for checking videotapes in international mail and hand baggage.

Many common genres of Japanese erotica evolved because of these laws. Tentacle rape, an animated portrayal of rape fantasies involving a human female and a science fiction-like creature, emerged as an alternative to depicting the male penis. Bukkake, a genre focusing on ejaculation, also fell outside obscenity laws, and has made its way into Western pornography retaining its Japanese name.

There is also a thriving genre of underground pornography in Japan (called urabon) that ignores these censorship laws: it has become especially prevalent on the internet, as there are no mechanisms in place to prevent its transmission to Japanese nationals.


The Internet has had the effect in many ways of homogenizing and harmonizing the prurient interests of distant cultures--of validating aspects like the "sailor uniform" (buru sera) in Japan, which is the Eastern equivalent to the "Catholic-schoolgirl" stereotype/archetype. Japan recently has begun a crackdown on child pornography, largely due to US pressure in attempts to gain a control over Internet trafficking.

See also:

External links