Japan’s Child Porn Comics Craze Raises Questions of Legality

The BBC wants to know when Japan is going to ban child porn of the comic book variety.

Breitbart News reported this week on the prevalence of pornography in Japanese culture. Dr. Susan Yoshihara, SVP of Research for the Center for Family & Human Rights in New York, told Breitbart News that porn is everywhere in Japan, including in business magazines, that men view porn openly on public transportation and that the main porn icon in Japan is the schoolgirl.

The BBC reports in depth about the craze Japanese men have for schoolgirl porn, what they call “child porn” but in comic book form.

The BBC reporter is taken to a conference called “Sunshine Creation” where “thousands of manga fans, mostly men, crowd into an exhibition center, poring over manga comic magazines… Posters of elfin-faced, doe-eyed cartoon heroines, many of them scantily clad and impossibly proportioned…”

Manga is a catch-all term for graphic images and novels in Japan; while internationally, “manga” is used to describe a particular Japanese style of animation, in Japan it can often be used for comic books generally. And these comics often include the adult-themed variety, in which young, sometimes underaged, scantily-clad girls with unrealistic body proportions are the main attraction. There is a term for those who prefer the sexualized images of children: “Lolicon” for “Lolita complex.” A participant tells the BBC reporter, “I like young-girl sexual creations…” and that his wife likes “young boys sexually interacting with each other.”

It is very difficult to determine the financial revenues of pornography, but the BBC reports Japanese porn consumption comes in roughly at $3.6 billion. Compare that the United States, and you can see how big porn is in Japan. Even in its heyday, porn was estimated at not much more than $10 billion a year in the US. Free porn now eats voraciously into revenues, so it is now estimated that US porn revenue is around $5 billion. Compare Japan’s porn number of $3.6 billion with its 127 million population, and you get an idea of the depth of enthusiasm the Japanese have for this once taboo subject.

One of the issues Japan is dealing with is the legality question. The production and distribution of child porn was made illegal in Japan only 15 years ago. Even so, just two years ago, the US Department of State deemed Japan “an international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography.” It was only last year that Japan made possession of child porn illegal.

Though possession is now illegal in Japan, aficionados get around it by buying tapes of children in porn poses with their genitals covered. In fact, the BBC reporter was taken to a room where these types of videos are openly sold.

Some Japanese campaigners are hoping to stamp out or at least tamp down this Japanese interest in child porn, including comic book porn. They have their eyes on the Japanese-hosted Summer Olympics in 2020, and they do not want Japan known as “perverted” or “weird.”


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