Shunga: Ancient Japanese Erotica

Shunga: Ancient Japanese Erotica

In 2014, the British Museum held an exhibition of Japanese erotic art. The exhibition had over 150 pictures called shunga, which included the most famous works of the most famous artists, such as Katsushika Hokusai, Suzuki Harunobu, and Kitagawa Utamaro. The shunga exhibition brought this form of Japanese erotica to the wider public eye. So what is shunga exactly?

Literally translating into “spring pictures,” shunga was popular during the Edo period (1603–1867), with most work being done in the 19th century. The reason the Japanese call them spring pictures (i.e., pictures of spring) is because spring is a well-known euphemism for sex in Japanese. Let’s dive into what this art consists of.

What Is Shunga?

Shunga depicts sexual acts that are pleasurable and shameless. They’re basically erotic pictures that you make with woodblock print or ink painting. Most commonly, they represented heterosexual couples. However, Japanese artists at the time had no trouble depicting homosexuality (usually two males) and other forms of attraction, such as zoophilia. For instance, one of the most famous shunga pictures is The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife. In this painting from 1814, you can see a naked lady getting orally pleasured by an octopus.

All shunga paintings feature exaggerated genitalia, which are far too big for anyone to consider them realistic. In some paintings, people have clothes on as the Japanese didn’t see nudity as much of a sexual thing as the Westerners did.

Although there were some artistic influences before, shunga hit the height during the Edo period of Japan’s history, which covered three and a half centuries. As was customary at the time, virtually all shungas belong to ukiyo-e, an artistic genre that depicts life’s pleasures. Ukiyo-e means “pictures of the floating world.”

The Uses of Shunga

Back then, shungas didn’t represent some form of a sexual revolution, nor was Japan an overtly sexual society. In fact, there were even highly strict laws against adultery, and self-control was one of the most esteemed virtues. However, sex wasn’t as taboo as it was in Europe. The Shinto religion didn’t frown upon sex as something sinful. Instead, they viewed it as a pleasurable activity and a natural one. So there was no groundbreaking philosophy behind them.

There were several uses of the shunga pictures, with some being more obvious than the other. Firstly, they used these depictions as an educational aid in sex ed. They would show these pictures to younger people in order to show them what’s what. Some people, however, dispute this theory simply due to the fact that there was no real objectivity in these drawings.

Another use was a social one. They were simply a funny thing ordinary people would exchange among themselves. This is why many of the pictures are accompanied by some text as people depicted had a funny line to say. Basically, some of them were just a Medieval sketch with genitalia.

Furthermore, they used shungas in the way you’d assume. Simply, many samurai warriors would live in barracks for months at a time. Merchants would travel the country and miss their homes, with both professions leaving lonely housewives behind. Both men and women would use the pictures as an aid to get themselves where they want to be.

Other Uses

There was also a use you wouldn’t really expect. Many viewed shungas as some sort of lucky charms. Samurai believed they would ward off death, while merchants thought shungas could deter a fire.

Finally, although shungas had a “by men for men” kind of vibe going on, women were also owners of these paintings. Men would buy shungas for their wives as a wedding gift.

Shunga: Art or Pornography?

Nowadays, there’s an ongoing debate about shunga and its actual artistic value. Some see it as feudal-era pornography with no actual artistry behind it. Essentially, people back then didn’t have means for anything more advanced, so they had to fulfill their voyeuristic desires by looking at a piece of wood.

However, many dispute this view, saying that shunga paintings are an art form. For example, Akiko Yano, an art historian at the London University, rejects the pornographic connotation as a form of censorship. Each picture comes with text and dialogues as well as many delicate visual details. Every shunga, in Yano’s words, is rich with characters, a story, and an atmosphere. These pieces contain wit, satire, and humor. All of this together places shungas at above pornography.

The Themes of the Genre 400

Another reason why we regard shunga as an art form instead of Medieval porn today is because of the depth of the subjects artists covered. They weren’t there just to show a man with a huge penis having a go at a woman with a huge vagina. There’s a wide variety of themes shungas talked about. Oftentimes, shungas would have a voyeur lurking in the background. They might be looking over a wall or through a hole in the washi walls. These voyeurs represented us, the viewers, who secretly enjoyed watching the lovers.

Additionally, they often talked about rape. Rapists were usually brigands or Yakuza members, and they were always the perpetrators. They had aesthetically displeasing features, such as an unshaven or disfigured face. Rarely, women would be the rapists, but these shungas would depict desperate, undesirable women tying up younger men.

Creatures and Animals

Moving on, many shungas used the Japanese belief system at the time as an inspiration. Back then, the Japanese imported Chinese Daoist and Confucian beliefs, which viewed sex as an important aspect to both your mental and physical health. Subsequently, many gods and deities frequently feature in shungas. This is especially true for Izanami and Izanagi, who, according to the legend, created the Japanese islands. 

Other depictions include the Seven Gods of Fortune, which often took part in orgies. Buddhist angels, including Daruma (founder of Buddhism), also feature in shungas, having sex among themselves and with other people. Another popular figure is Tengu, a demon with a long nose. Tengu would use his nose to satisfy women.

Similarly, there were many other depictions that found their roots in popular beliefs. For instance, you can find paintings of men and women getting raped by ghosts. These would take place in cemeteries and other dark places, you know, the type of stuff that turns Stephen King on.

Finally, animals were also a popular theme. They usually had two subgenres — realistic images and fantastical scenery. For instance, you’d see half-octopus, half-human creatures, water demons, and mutating foxes. The more realistic paintings usually show dogs, cats, camels, monkeys, deer, mice, and so on. These animals either have sex with each other, or they’re there just to be a bystander.

The Decline

Shungas were never something the Japanese rulers would wildly celebrate. Even in the heyday of the Edo era, there were governmental efforts to suppress them. There were edicts who wanted to censor these shungas as “lewdness books.” However, lewdness books also included works that criticized the government and samurai, which took priority over shungas.

In the 18th century, 1722, to be precise, there was a stricter edict that made it impossible to publish a piece of work without the government’s approval. However, sales didn’t go down; they just became “underground” or illegal, if you will.

The Meiji era replaced the Edo in the mid-19th century. The Meiji era was much more inclined towards Western culture, adopting clothing and hairstyles. For a time, shungas showed these Meiji influences, but ultimately, they lost the war with technology. They simply couldn’t compete with erotic pornography that was on its rise.

40 Years and Over 500 Million Sold Worldwide — Welcome to the World of Gundams

40 Years and Over 500 Million Sold Worldwide — Welcome to the World of Gundams

During the last couple of decades, we’ve seen all sorts of far-out ideas and concepts hit the American mainstream. However, none of them were as fruitful and successful as Japanese giant robots and Kaiju monsters. From numerous Mecha anime spin-offs and remakes to Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” these monumental battle droids remain the staples of fun childhood memories for many. But where did they come from, and what’s the story behind their creation? Well, let’s find out!

Japan’s Most Remarkable Commercial Phenomena

For years now, Japan has been the cradle of many critically acclaimed manga and anime series. Their overall attention to detail and art style are so interesting that most people in other parts of the world can’t resist and consume their comics and TV series. The fan-favorite “Ghost in the Shell” even has its own big-budget Hollywood adaptation. However, one anime series seems to top the rest, becoming a commercial phenomenon in itself.

Of course, we’re talking about “Mobile Suit Gundam.” The series tells a story of a teenage mechanic, Amuro Ray, battling the Principality of Zeon. He controls a giant battle robot, Gundam, in service of the Earth Federation during the “Universal Century” 0079 war. “Mobile Suit Gundam” is the work of director Yoshiyuki Tomino and the famous Nippon Sunrise animation studio. Needless to say, the series has countless video game adaptations and questionable rip-offs.

But when was Gundam made? Well, the first episode came out in 1979, and it’s still running strong nowadays through numerous spin-offs. The popularity of “Mobile Suit Gundam” is so big that Bandai Namco toy company is still selling its toy models worldwide. Moreover, they have sold more than 500 million products for over 40 years now. The history of Gundam is so rich and interesting that we’ll segue into more details about Bandai and their Gunpla model kits.

The Bandai Hobby Center

The base of operations for making these models are two factories in Japan. The first one is on the Pacific Coast, in Shizuoka Prefecture. But as of 2020, they added another factory in Naganuma to help raise the production of Gundam model kits by about 40%.

This Bandai Hobby Center is a dream place for all fans of the Gundam series. You can visit it as a tourist and have a walk through the assembly lines to see all sorts of models in production. The company says that girls enjoy newer models more, while men are still pretty big on the original Gunplas from the early ’80s.

Why People Love It

One might wonder why so many people enjoy assembling Gunplas. Moreover, why would adults enjoy something that’s somewhat childish? Well, the answer is simple. The Mecha animes are a huge part of their youth, and since people are usually nostalgic about their childhood, playing around with a hobby like this is a no-brainer.

And if you dig deeper into the whole process, you get to see that it’s not some simple kiddy stuff. Most kits have over 1000 pieces that you carve out and put together to get a great-looking model. It’s a form of escapism for most, as they get to feel like their favorite mechanics from the series while putting their suits together.

It’s hard to argue against anything like this. And why would you? People show interest in all sorts of things. From fantasy sports to video games, they enjoy themselves without answering meaningless questions. And in its essence, collecting Gunplas and assembling them is a great hobby for anyone who loves Japanese Mecha anime.

Choosing the Right Gundam

In case you’re interested in getting yourself a Gunpla, maybe you should consider a couple of things first. The thing is, not all of them are simple to put together. From their grades to the scale system, you might find yourself lost at first. Hence, we’ll provide you with some basic tips on how to choose the right one for you.

Firstly, it’s important to understand how the grading system works. And just like with any other hobby, there are numerous types of models you can purchase and enjoy yourself. You have five different types of them: the High Grade, Master Grade, Perfect Grade, Real Grade, and Super-Deformed.

High Grade

The High Grade is like a beginner level, as they’re easier to assemble and are the cheapest. They come in various sizes, but they’re pretty much simple to put together. The High Grade doesn’t have that many parts, and you don’t need to paint them if you’re not skillful enough.

All of this justifies the price tag they come with.

Master Grade

On the other hand, the Master Grade models are a bit trickier to assemble. They have more parts, details, and mechanics to them. Also, the Master ones have an inner skeleton you can show off to your friends. However, all these traits make them more expensive, so they’re something in between an entry and pro level.

Perfect Grade

The Perfect Grade Gunplas are the holy grail in the world of Gundams. Unfortunately, they mean more money. The reason for this is that they have the most parts, and their scale is the biggest. But their price is justifiable since the attention to detail is so big that you’ll easily forget you’re playing around with a toy and imagine yourself being one of the characters from the Gundam series.

Real Grade

Still, if you don’t have that much money to spend, you can get Real Grade models. They’re also highly detailed and come in large scales but for less money. Some models are so good that you’ll easily mistake them for Perfect Grade kits. Hence, we’d always go for these boys before we spend big money on the grade above.

Super-Deformed

Finally, the Super-Deformed models are kid-friendly. Why? Well, they’re pretty small and have a chubby, cartoonish look that’s more suitable for the young ones. They’re also the cheapest of the bunch, so you can try them out before spending some real money on more expensive Gundams if you’re not sure about the whole idea. 

Yamete Kudasai! Why This Phrase Arouses Hentai Fanatics

Yamete Kudasai! Why This Phrase Arouses Hentai Fanatics

It’s no secret that the Japanese are no strangers to weird and somewhat obscure sexual content. Some of their best selling products in the West, besides cars and high-end tech, are hentai videos. For those who’re not aware, these videos are animated porn with far-fetched plots and pretty graphic imagery. Nevertheless, why do people get off to seeing female characters begging their captors to stop?

Sexual Fantasies

There’s no denying that we live in a more sexual world than what it was back at the beginning of the last century. Most parts of the world are reasonably tolerant and liberal to concepts that were unthinkable back in the day. From LGBTQ+ rights to various kinks, we enjoy our sexualities more freely than ever. However, some of our more extreme fetishes are still hard to understand for everyone.

Namely, we’re talking about rape fantasies. Both men and women of all demographics enjoy thinking about being overpowered by strangers in a harsh, sexual way. A 1974 study by Hariton and Singer suggests that rape is one of the most popular perversions young students have. Moreover, it reports that it’s only second to having an imaginary, perfect lover. But does one study mean that this notion is true?

Well, the 1974 Hariton and Singer report isn’t the only scientific paper to suggest such fantasies. By 1984, another study done by Knafo and Jaffe shows that rape is actually in the first place for both young men and women. Fantasies, where people overpower one another for sexual pleasure, are so popular that porn studios roll out such content almost daily. You know, masks, intruders, naive girls who’re home alone, and similar stuff.

Softcore BDSM

Throughout the years, various forms of physical intercourse were a big thing in popular culture. From sexploitation flicks that ravel in rape and revenge to pop stars dressing up as Doms and slaves, people are aware of such concepts. However, the mainstream wasn’t always as generous to the BDSM community as it might seem. Their portrayal of the fetish is one of the reasons why most people think it’s all about violence and degradation.

Nevertheless, those same people have fantasies about trying it. Of course, the somewhat lighter, softcore version of it. And what better way to indulge in it than by watching hentai porn and not being in actual danger? Yup, this Japanese porn genre is a major form of escapism for your ordinary Joe and Susan.

Like we’ve said, most people like some form of rough sex, be it fantasy rape or BDSM. Still, most are not willing to try anything similar in real life, so they find enjoyment in uncensored hentai videos. And seeing how graphic they can be, we understand their reasons even more.

Common Phrase Before Hentai Orgasms

Finally, we come to the meat of this article. The center of this text is all about a certain phrase that’s in almost every anime hentai video — “Yamete kudasai!” In the Japanese language, these two words mean — please stop. And you can hear them almost every time just before the girl reaches an orgasm.

Strange? Well, most hentai anime stuff is. But if you take into consideration that rape fantasies are so popular among all demographics, you can understand the reasons behind such content. People get off to watching girls struggle while their captors mindlessly fuck their brains out. And the contrast between her begging him to stop and then reaching a massive orgasm makes the whole deal even more satisfying to viewers.

No matter if it’s a hentai monster or a gang of rapists, female characters are mostly in a submissive position in these anime porn videos. Moreover, they’re usually in school uniforms, have big tits, and are cute and naive. The point is to make them as innocent as possible for the intercourse to be even more perverse. 

A Must-Try When Doing Cosplay Sex

Of course, we condemn rape and non-consensual intercourse. Who doesn’t? But if you feel like you need to try something similar to the content you see in perverse teen hentai videos — try cosplay with your partner. Yup, dress up like a schoolgirl and a convict on the run and come up with your kinky little tale.

For example, the female can wear a school uniform and big glasses, while the guy goes for a jumpsuit and a balaclava over his face. Something like that, you know. And once you get your costumes, come up with a scenario where he’s on the run from the authorities, and he hides in the school girl’s house. But once he sees her, he can’t resist having his way with her innocent young body.

Of course, include the aforementioned phrase and change the scenario to your liking. Play around with fantasies as much as you want, but don’t go out acting like that in public. After all, without consent, you’re committing rape, and we want to make sure you understand that we don’t encourage anything like that. Ever.

Why Are Genitals Censored In Japanese Pornography?

Why Are Genitals Censored In Japanese Pornography?

If you ever came across censored porn with Asian actors, you can trust that it came from Japan. Don’t get it all wrong, though — that doesn’t mean that Japan is an extremely moral country. They are, of course, but to an extent.

Their roots tell us that they were always quite open when it comes to all things sexual, but things radically changed after Western countries paid them a visit. Now you can go to prison for showing some genitals, but that isn’t the case for breasts. Free the nipple!

Regardless of partial nudity being illegal, the porn industry in Japan is well and thriving. They market to other countries, too!

Why Is Japanese Porn Unique?

It doesn’t take a lot to realize what makes Japanese porn so different from the rest. You’ll be able to pinpoint it after taking the very first glance at it. You’re right — we’re talking about censored porn.

This isn’t something you’ll often come across when looking at western porn. People are usually down to see other people’s genitals and every piece of action that goes down. In fact, many individuals are actually turned on by that and look for nothing else. They don’t care about positions, genders of actors, or even the plot of these porn videos.

If you’ve never seen Japanese adult videos, however, you might wonder why porn would have anything censored. What’s the point if you can’t see anything? Well, there’s much more to it than meets the eye. Censoring of the genitals happens even in hentai, which is Japanese animated porn.

Another thing that differentiates this kind of porn is they usually feature younger women and older men. They aren’t strangers to various plots, public sex, or some kinks either. You can find just about anything, except the view might not be the same.

This type of porn is excellent for people who enjoy the sensuality of the act of sex itself. Those that don’t care to have a close-up on someone else’s genitals. So, we’d say that Japanese porn is a great way to introduce yourself to the adult entertainment industry. Besides, uncensored versions of almost everything exist as well.

The Japanese Legal System

So, why censor genitals then? Believe it or not, it all started at the very beginning of the 20th century.

The Japanese Criminal Code went through a revision. A new Act 175 was passed, stating that any distribution or depiction of obscene or indecent images is strictly forbidden. Yup, it’s illegal to share anything that Japan considers improper or perverse. Breaking this law can get you up to two years in prison, followed by a fine of around $23.500.

Clearly, this law needs another revision because the adult entertainment industry has found a way around it. They simply blur out anything that they shouldn’t show in the first place. Not only that, but the internet is a vast place. That makes it nearly impossible to catch people distributing even the uncensored videos. Marketing to countries other than Japan helps quite a lot as well.

Why Are Breasts Not Blurred?

To answer this question, we have to dive into the past of Japanese pornography. Before the Western countries came to preach morality, Japan was actually quite progressive and open about all things sexual.

Back in the day, Japan had traditional erotica by the name of shunga. You could see all kinds of things there, including the beginnings of the tentacle fetish. However, shunga went through a lot, and it too became illegal.

What you can notice, though, is that usually only the genitals were exposed in shunga. People were rarely freeing their nipples on these paintings, no matter their gender. In fact, they were usually fully clad. That tells us that Japan never sexualized boobs, and never has. People were strutting around naked in communal baths way before the 19th century.

That explains why you can see the Japanese women’s breasts, but their private parts are always in pixels, unless you find a different version, of course.

Japanese Porn Is Still Popular Regardless

Still, none of this takes a toll on the Japanese adult entertainment industry. This category of porn is still quite popular, and there are quite a few valid reasons for that.

Japanese pornography features incredibly entertaining and exciting plots, showing us just how creative people can be. Not to mention that there’s something incredibly sensual and seductive about blurred genitals, right? We’d definitely say so.

To top it all off, Japanese porn actors and actresses are quite attractive and beautiful as well. That said, we can’t find a single thing wrong about this kind of porn, and neither can you, we are sure of it.

Conclusion

We think that blurred genitals don’t take away from the excitement of porn. Clearly, a lot can be done to make porn appealing to the masses, besides showing someone’s naughty bits. Of course, it all depends on the preference.

Japan’s erotic industry has gone through a lot after it came into contact with the West. Yet, this nation remains quite open about all things erotic. Many kinks came from their traditional erotica, so we do need to thank them for it. That’s true even though they pixel some parts out.

If you’ve never seen Japanese porn, we encourage you to give it a try. You might even start liking it more than Western porn because there’s more to it than just genitals.

The Obsession With Cartoon Porn

The Obsession With Cartoon Porn

Anime fans, we have just the thing for you. Did you ever fantasize about doing anything sexual with your favorite animated character? If so, hentai porn should be right up your alley.

The world of hentai porn includes every fetish you can imagine. Plus, many characters that we know and love are in them as well. For some, that might ruin their favorite characters or cartoons, but for others, it’s a world they’ve always dreamed of.

Why is this category of porn so popular? Why do people love it so much? What even is hentai? Those are all the questions we’re going to answer today. Let’s take a deep dive into the wondrous world of 2D porn and all it entails.

The Popularity of Cartoons in Pornography

If you’re an avid porn-watcher (Learn more about porn addiction), we’re sure you came across some type of cartoon porn. Whether it be hentai, soft-core anime sex scenes, 3D renderings, it is everywhere. You just cannot escape it! Not many people see the appeal of cartoon porn, but we’re sure everyone took a peek at it at least once.

We don’t judge you, though. More people watch animated porn than you’d probably guess. We’ll dabble in some statistics now. According to PornHub’s year in review, the word “hentai” has held the second position for the most searched term for three years now. That tells you almost all you need to know of the popularity of animation in porn. Almost.

We’re sure you’re no stranger to finding an animated character attractive. There’s just something about them — maybe it’s how they look or carry themselves. Whatever it is, trust that this is something you’re not alone in. Naturally, people who create animated shows and movies can feel that way, too. That’s, we assume, why animated porn exists in the first place.

We’re not only talking about finding animated film characters attractive. It can be video game characters too. There’s plenty of porn featuring those and to no surprise. If a video game is popular, you’re bound to find the main characters engaging in some kind of sexual activity. We’re sure that makes a lot of people happy.

There’s so much more that can answer the question of why it is so popular. Some people just prefer not to look at other real people’s bodies. So, it can be just a preference. Needless to say that Japanese animation can feature some unreal-looking women, but if that’s what you like, who are we to judge?

Besides, hentai is a great way to explore fetishes.

What Is The Psychology Behind It?

When thinking of psychology, many people can believe there’s a lot of things to be said. Truthfully, it all depends on your point of view. The way we see it, it’s all a matter of preference.

It would be ridiculous to talk about the psychology behind one’s preference as we’re all so different. Some people simply like different things. However, there are some things you can see in hentai that you cannot find anywhere else.

Many people feel strange finding animated animals attractive, for example. Bestiality is something that’s heavily looked down upon in the real world, so it isn’t something you can see whenever you want. Animated porn offers you that in a semi-ethical fashion.

Not only that, but maybe you have incredibly high standards that only hentai women can reach. How so? They have unrealistically perfect bodies. Plus, cartoon porn can play the nostalgia card and involve some of your dearly beloved characters that might have been your first crush.

The psychology of each individual is different. We all have our reasons why we find cartoon porn appealing. Whatever it is, you don’t need to feel any shame about it. It’s safe to say you’re not alone.

What Is Hentai?

At this point, we’re sure you know that hentai is, but do you know what the word actually means? Translated into English, the term “hentai” is Japanese for “perversion.” However, there’s a catch. In Japan, hentai is the term used for any type of perverse sexual desire or act. Everywhere else, it’s Japanese cartoon porn that comes in different media formats.

RELATED: 5 Unforgettable Facts About Hentai Industry

That’s right. Hentai isn’t just anime — it includes manga too, for example. Several things make this type of porn different from the rest.

Hentai porn heavily revolves around young, innocent women who secretly want to enjoy sex with, well, whoever. That doesn’t include humans only. There are some monsters and animals you can see as well. Besides, these kinds of cartoon porn have very entertaining plots. Of course, not everyone wants to watch a whole plot while just trying to get some sexual gratification. Still, sexy scenarios are fun.

This category of porn involves people with impossibly perfect bodies and things that cannot happen in real life. For example, women in hentai videos can suddenly grow out penises to have sex or they can be aliens from your wildest science fiction dream. That is an excellent way for you to explore some fetishes you might have.

Nothing is off-limits in the world of hentai. That’s because no actual humans are being exploited — it’s all just drawn and animated. We’re sure we all know how far the human imagination can go, and, proportionately, you can see many different kinds of things in porn.

How Is Hentai Basically BDSM

First, we need to make sure you know what BDSM stands for. It’s bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. All of that might sound extreme, but BDSM can be as simple as you having a fetish and enjoying engaging in it.

When it comes to hentai, it’s safe to say it’s full of fetishes coming to life. Bondage isn’t uncommon in these types of videos, but neither is bestiality. People having sex with all kinds of monsters or animals is a particularly popular subgenre.

However, fetishes don’t always involve sexual acts set in stone. Let’s go back to thinking about the impossibly perfect bodies these people have. Some people have a fetish for big breasts or butts. Those are the types of fetishes that hentai will fulfill every time.

We wouldn’t consider hentai as a whole to be BDSM, but we can include it. Plus, cosplay is a big part of both some BDSM relationships and anime/hentai fandoms. So, you see, it all kind of connects in the end.

Conclusion

The world of cartoon porn is vast. There’s a whole array of things you can find and see. That means its popularity is justified.

When you think about it, many of us had an animated crush before having a real one. There’s just something about how these people carry themselves and look that we like. Of course, it’s unhealthy to be stuck in this fantasy world for too long. It can give you a skewed picture of how the real world functions.

Still, enjoying hentai won’t have adverse effects on you. Just like porn, in general, doesn’t. As long as you keep everything in moderation, you’ll be fine and able to indulge in your animated fantasies for as long as you please.

Japan Is Not as High Tech as You Thought It Was

Japan Is Not as High Tech as You Thought It Was

Everyone believes that Japan is the land of robots, mechs, AI, bullet trains, automated toilet seats, and more robots. But, most people are unaware of all the stories about how Japan is low-tech and how it actually faces challenges in many areas, including its banks, internet access, paperwork, etc. It’s true — Japan is not as high tech as you thought it was! 

In this article, we’ll reveal some obsolete technologies and processes that the Japanese still rely on, as well as outline some problems that will completely shatter your high-tech image of this country. 

ATMs and Banks

Firstly, getting around in Japan without any money can be a bit tricky. The reason is that ATMs are a bit of an inconvenience in Japan. They have their own operating hours and usually shut down at around 7 PM. Also, they close even earlier during public holidays or weekends. Sometimes, they even charge higher fees on those days! 

Many ATMs still don’t accept foreign cards, and you’ll notice this if the machine doesn’t have an option to access it in English. Tourists can encounter even more problems since most ATMs that accept foreign cards are Japan Post Office machines. They generally close at 5 PM. Fortunately, 7-Eleven ATMs in the konbini chain are available 24/7. But, they will charge high fees. What’s more, if you use Maestro or Mastercard, you probably won’t be able to take out any money. Some establishments like 7-Eleven or the post offices have banned them. 

Paperwork

If you’re planning on getting a job in Japan or doing something official that requires formal agreements, you’ll have to rely on handwritten paperwork. For example, as part of the tradition, resumes should be handwritten. The Japanese have strict beliefs regarding handwriting, and that’s why they have such neat writing styles. It’s said that handwriting shows off the individual’s attitude, so it should always be tidy and coherent. 

Additionally, traditional seals called Hanko are still in use for nearly any official document. That includes bank records, contracts, office paperwork, apartment leasing documents, as well as casual everyday documents such as receipts. The stamps are quite small, and you have to carve your own personal Hanko, which usually contains your name written in Japanese. Then, you must use red ink while stamping your documents.  

As a result, people use fewer laptops and personal computers. While most westerners have one or two computers, many Japanese households do not even own one. Instead, they rely on their mobile phones for emails and messaging. Still, it’s difficult to imagine how one would handle their business arrangements at home or even work remotely without a personal computer. 

The Japanese Still Love Using Cash

While other countries have moved on to digital transactions, people in Japan still use cash. Paying with paper money is pretty much the norm in restaurants, retail shops, grocery stores, etc.

In fact, it’s even common and recommended to pay with cash for large purchases. Because of this, everyone carries cash. Locals usually carry paper bills worth thousands of yen in their wallets. The reason is that most stores don’t accept debit or credit cards, especially if it comes from a foreign bank. 

Fortunately, since all shops accept cash, it won’t be a problem to find change to pay for cheaper items. Also, the streets are generally quite safe, and even if you carry lots of money in your wallet, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll encounter a pickpocket or thief. Interestingly, in Japan, cash is so popular that you can even order things from Amazon and go to a convenience store to pay for the online purchase. 

No Free Wi-Fi

Japan has a big internet problem, and networks are rarely available in households, universities, hotels, and even offices. Wi-Fi is not common at all, and not to mention free Wi-Fi, which is incredibly difficult to find. It’s more common for Japanese people to use mobile data since most homes lack high-speed internet connections. However, mobile data is also an inconvenience, as the plans can be quite expensive. 

And for those that do have a home or office computer, it’s likely that they’ll wire their internet up through Ethernet ports. It’s the same with hotels, which will sometimes offer an Ethernet cable for you to plug into your computer to get a connection. The problem is that most newer computers like Macbooks don’t even have Ethernet ports. To add to the irony, some places like Starbucks can offer free Wi-Fi, but it is actually impossible to use. You have to first register online to get access, but there’s no way to do that if you are not connected. 

Sadly, low-tech Japan is facing a big challenge due to the spread of the coronavirus and the fact that many Japanese workers lack an adequate internet connection for remote work. But that could change soon. Most people have been forced to start working from home due to social distancing and other measures. 

DVDs and Fax Machines Are Still in Vogue

Japan may be the leader in humanoid robots and advanced technology, but it still uses older technologies. Most people still rely heavily on fax machines, and even Japan’s biggest companies like Sony use them. 

However, this technology is so obsolete that you can even see it in museums like the Smithsonian. Yet, part of the reason why Japanese businesses prefer fax is the people’s reliance on the physical. They value paperwork and anything that you can hold in your hand. This is something that online forms do not provide.

And when it comes to older technologies, Japan still uses DVDs and CDs exclusively. The sales of music or movies on discs are constantly overwhelming streaming and downloading. Because of this, Japanese releases of CDs and DVDs come with colorful packaging and include booklets, posters, or even small towels. Both younger people and music/movie collectors prefer physical mediums in Japan because the culture prefers the tangible as opposed to the virtual. Interestingly, you can still find DVD and CD rental stores in Japan, which is something that’s completely obsolete in the rest of the world. 

Closing Thoughts

So what do you think? Is using obsolete technologies like cash, DVDs, and fax machines perfectly acceptable since Japanese culture prefers the physical? Or will the country fall behind the rest of the world due to poor internet access and its reliance on old tech? Either way, these questions just add to Japan’s sheer brilliance and prove that there’s truly no place like it on the planet! 

The Birth and History of Hentai

The Birth and History of Hentai

It’s not common to meet someone who’s familiar with Japanese anime porn. And although it seems weird to know about such stuff, it is one of the most popular genres of videos on tube-like adult sites. Hence, if you’re one of those people who don’t know what hentai is, we’re willing to explain everything in no time. Read the rest of our article and get to know your porn.

What Hentai Really Is

Although many people mistake it for anime, this pornographic genre is much more than cartoon porn. And you can’t blame them for this since it’s not easy to make a clear distinction of what hentai is. Namely, in the Japanese language, it means “an abnormal activity.” That said, you can also use it as a euphemism for sex that’s creepy or perverse.

However, in Japan, they don’t use it to describe your run-of-the-mill porn. Such content is more likely to be labeled as 18-prohibited or AV (adult video). The reason is, hentai is much more graphic and sexually extreme than anything else. It delves into rape, fantasy, and squid-like creatures having intercourse with schoolgirls.

But outside of Japan, ordinary people use the word hentai to describe anything that’s of anime or manga style. They don’t mind if the content they’re watching isn’t bizarre and extreme. The notion is that any Japanese-related pornography is either hentai manga or anime, depending on its format. But, hey, that’s why we’re here to make things a bit more clear.

This porn genre can come in many forms. From animation to comic-like books and drawings, hentai is omnipresent. And ever since the ’90s and the rise of video games, you can find titles full of pervy stuff like naive schoolgirls, aliens with tentacles, and other various hentai tropes. But let’s go back in time and see its evolution through different decades and eras, shall we?

Hentai Etymology

One of the most interesting parts of this story is how the meaning evolved since its inception in the early 20th century. It’s a true transformation, no doubt about it. That is to say, by the beginning of the 1900s, Japanese doctors and psychologists would use it to describe various disorders like hysteria. They would also have a place for hentai when describing abnormal abilities like psychic communication and second sight.

Nevertheless, its sexual meaning came from something else completely. The thing is, Japanese doctors would translate various German psychology books that would deal with sexual perversions. And to bring the subject closer to the Japanese language, translators would use the term hentai for abnormal sexual desires. Furthermore, uncensored hentai would find its place in various Japanese erotic art publications like magazines.

Erotic Manga as the First Form of Hentai

During the 1920s, this kind of content had its first big boom. Since literacy levels were going up, there was a void for all sorts of cheap entertainment, and one of them was hentai with its perverse content and girls with big tits. Before that, in the 17th-century Edo period, the Japanese people would find pleasure in woodblock prints we know as shunga.

Interestingly enough, the rising popularity of hentai made sexual perversion somewhat normal for its time. It wasn’t necessarily something bad or taboo like today, and ordinary people would discuss it since they were the target audience. Unfortunately, by the late 1930s, the country was getting ready for WWII, and such material lost its mainstream popularity. Of course, this didn’t last long.

The main form of hentai in the post-war decades was manga — Japanese comic books. But as animation grew in popularity, kinky sexual activities would find their way in cartoons. However, it was pretty underground, a somewhat subculture thing. And just like in the West, the sexual revolution of the ’60s would bring its ideas into hentai — male and female homosexuality.

Most Viewed by Men Around the World

Since every year one of the most popular porn sites in the world, Pornhub, reveals all sorts of interesting statistics, we were wondering what demographic enjoys watching hentai videos the most. And we weren’t surprised. Men are the main audience for such content. But why is that?

Well, we can think of a couple of reasons. Firstly, lots of men in the West love watching Japanese anime films. From the artistic style to sexy characters, it’s all set up perfectly for them to look for pornographic content that resembles their favorite titles.

On the other hand, anime hentai videos are pretty male-centric. How come? Well, most of the time, girls are submissive. They don’t serve any other purpose than to be objects for males to masturbate to. Either while gang-raped by thugs or while having non-consensual sex with a squid-like monster — they’re young, naive, and helpless.

What You Don’t Know About Hentai

Like classic porn, hentai can come in various genres. From homosexual to straight, you can see all sorts of acts and fantasies. They mostly revolve around fetishes and paraphilias but can also depict vanilla sex. Nevertheless, let’s point out some of the most interesting ones, shall we?

  • Lolicon is a subgenre of hentai that revolves around pedophilia. It shows underage girls having sex with older people. The Lolita term derives from Vladimir Nabokov’s eponymous novel from 1955.
  • On the other hand, we’ve got shotacon. It’s opposite to Lolicon, and it shows older people with young boys. The term comes from the Japanese slang for liking prepubescent males.
  • Bakunyu is a genre that revolves around girls with enormous breasts. The name itself means breast exploitation. The name itself means “breast exploitation.” It’s one of the most popular types of hentai, and it’s easy to understand why.
  • Tentacles hentai is pretty well-known because of its extreme content. It revolves around girls being raped by squid-like creatures in the most obscure ways possible. Pretty weird, isn’t it?
  • Futanari is a bit of a tricky one to describe. Why? Well, it’s a form of hentai that shows women with penile-like genitalia. They don’t have actual penises or vaginas, but somewhat of large clitorises.

Of course, this isn’t all. Hentai games and videos depict all sorts of niche fetishes. From bukkake to incest, you can see it all. Still, we think the former subgenres are the most interesting. At least for now. And if you’re looking for something to shock you, Japanese sex culture is pretty rich in history and detail. Do check it out.

Things You Need to Know Before You Move to Japan

Things You Need to Know Before You Move to Japan

It’s no secret that Japan is home to some of the most beautiful nature and cities in the world. Many foreigners view it as the ideal country to move to. One of the reasons could be its rich culture that is often seen as unusual from a Westerner’s perspective.

However, moving to Japan is not so as simple as hopping on the next plane to Tokyo. You’ll need to read up on some of the good and bad things to know before moving to Japan. That includes unwritten rules, protocols, and even legal matters. So here’s our rundown of the essential things you need to know before you move to Japan!

The Right Kind of Visa

Like everywhere else, you won’t be able to find work in Japan if you don’t acquire the correct visa. Businesses are incredibly strict. In fact, there’s no chance that they’ll let someone slip by and work without a visa.

If you want to get employed in Japan as a foreigner, first consider if your work will be full-time or temporary. Then, you should get the correct type of visa. If you try to work a temporary job with a permanent visa and vice versa, you won’t be able to get employed.

As you know, Japan is incredibly formal. Everything has to be done according to protocol and the law. Even if you want to find informal work such as waitressing, you’ll need the right documents. If you fail to get them, you could actually face many risks. That includes heavy fines and detention. It’s also possible to get arrested if you work illegally.

Thus, the best thing to do would be to consult with the Japanese embassy in your area. Then, get your paperwork in order and file for a visa application. Plus, note that it’s necessary to get a residence card and bring it with you at all times. So take care of the legal issues first. However, don’t forget to figure out your health insurance and bank accounts too.

Housing May Be a Problem for Foreigners

One of the most important things you need to know before moving to Japan is that housing is quite different. Not everyone will be comfortable with it, especially foreigners who are used to living in large apartments.

It is also advisable to contact real estate agents before you start living in Japan. Then, you can arrange the accommodations in advance. However, you won’t be able to find multiple listings and a lot of choices online. Most people find housing through agents in Japan. Still, if you’re lucky, you could locate some Western-style apartments that are more suited for foreigners. 

However, if you get a Japanese-style apartment, expect to have less space for sleeping, living, and storage. Even a furnished apartment will have few utensils, a tiny refrigerator and cooking stove, and a small futon bed.

In fact, housing is so much smaller in Japan compared to the U.S. that the typical apartment has a surface area of 100 to 150 square feet. Also, many apartments do not offer central heating. Most will have some kind of air conditioner or an electric heater. Another tip is to avoid older apartments and buildings. They could have bathrooms with squatters and offer even less space. Most importantly, expect to encounter problems with the internet. The country has poor connectivity, and most homes will only provide it through Ethernet connections.

Be Ready for Natural Disasters

While Japan is among the safest countries on the planet regarding crime, it faces other dangers. The biggest threat comes from natural disasters and especially earthquakes with landslides and floods.

See some other countries listed as safest to visit to in this Forbes article.

Every year, the country suffers over 5,000 earthquakes across its entire archipelago. Most of them are minor, with magnitudes ranging from 3.0 to 3.9. Those quakes chiefly go unnoticed, but others are much more powerful. It’s even possible to feel them on a daily basis. The county sees more than 150 earthquakes that have a 5 or larger magnitude each year. The reason for this is Japan’s geographical placement on the infamous Ring of Fire in the Pacific. 

Actually, nearly 90% of all earthquakes on the planet occur in this area. Additionally, some reports show that approximately 70 cities could face tsunami risks in the next three decades.

As mentioned, most of Japan’s earthquakes are not incredibly dangerous. However, because there are so many, the country has become experienced in dealing with them.

For example, most new buildings can withstand earthquakes. Additionally, Japan has developed warning systems and evacuation procedures. In some towns, you could hear warnings over loudspeakers. However, if you use a Japanese phone number, you will always receive official earthquake notifications in case of an emergency.

Adapting to Their Customs

Perhaps the biggest challenge for foreigners will be to adapt to the Japanese language, culture, and customs. This could be a big issue for those who come from cultures that are quite open and direct in terms of communication and authority. Japanese customs are incredibly complex. They feature unwritten rules, and most of them are entirely different from those in Western cultures.

RELATED: How Hard Is It To Really Learn Japanese Language?

For instance, you’ll need to learn the proper walking, eating, and conversational etiquette. Those customs are unwritten, and it will take a while to master them, especially if you don’t have any Japanese friends to help you. Luckily, the locals will not be too strict regarding those rules if they notice that you are a foreigner. 

However, you’ll also need to follow strict written rules that you’ll see in public places. They’ll include pictures and warnings for what you are not allowed to do in public baths, convenience stores, trains, etc. To add to the confusion, many rules will not be clearly written for foreigners. This is only the beginning. After that, you’ll have to understand social behaviors, hierarchy, authority, the proper ways of being polite, and so much more.

Thus, you should expect your first experience in Japan to be quite overwhelming. The best tip is to start early on and learn some customs online. For example, research the practice of bowing and understand the difference between sitting and standing bows. Then, get familiar with gestures that Japanese people use to excuse themselves, say thanks, and catch someone’s attention. It’s also useful to brush up on eating etiquette, riding trains, and the proper way to talk to someone via phone.

Summary

If you were planning to move to Japan and you read our article, your adventure has already begun. It will take some time until you get used to the customs, rules, and Japanese culture. In the end, you’ll get some incredibly unique experiences that will completely change your life. So have fun preparing for your move and good luck!

Visual Novels: A Cultural Difference Between The East And West

Visual Novels: A Cultural Difference Between The East And West

Visual novels are a largely overlooked genre of games that we actively encourage more people to look into around these parts. While they certainly aren’t for everyone, those looking for an emphasis on character development and story progression often end up finding it in visual novels in a way that most other games don’t quite offer.

While they’ve been published on near every video game console from the N64 to the Xbox 360 in one form or another, visual novels typically tend to be most at home on the PC — an open platform, free of any kind of publishing restrictions. As a result, they’ve been able to explore subject matter like love and sexuality or career and ambition in a way that console games haven’t quite been able to match. Over the years, we’ve also seen several other genres of games incorporate visual novel elements into their own design, the most notable being the Ace Attorney and Persona series in how they emphasize character interaction, development and relationships.

You might be thinking, “But that sounds great! So, what’s the problem?”

Sadly, the problem is that, for all they have to offer, visual novels are largely ignored by the vast majority of the game market, especially in territories like the U.S. and Europe. This is for both cultural and genre-related reasons.

Due to the enormous amount of content out there, it isn’t always easy to separate the good from the bad if you’re looking for a more “pure” visual novel experience on the PC side of things. Erotica is a barrier for many whose knee-jerk reaction is to classify visual novels with sexual content as “porn games,” and one could easily argue that even certain publishers often don’t do a good enough job of promoting why their visual novels are worth playing.

Recently, we talked to John Pickett, head translator of PC visual novel publisher, MangaGamer, to go over just what some of the challenges these games face are, and how they can be overcome. We hope you find it an interesting — or even informative — read.

Lets begin with a quick introduction for people who play games but tend to keep their distance from visual novels. Who are you guys and what do you do?

John, MangaGamer: Well, we at MangaGamer are similar to other companies like Atlus and NISA in that what we primarily do is to localize games from Japan into English, so that those in the western world can experience them as well. What separates us from them is that our focus is on visual novels, a genre of game not as well spread as others here in the west yet. Another difference is that we focus on games developed for the PC and not consoles.

Since our founding in 2008, we’ve offered our games for digital download worldwide through our website, but recently we’ve started offering hard-copies of our games as well through Hendane! in North America, and as soon as we find another distributor, Europe as well.

However, for those who say they haven’t played a visual novel at all before, I have to ask: Are you sure you haven’t? Or do you just think you haven’t because you’re not familiar with the term? A lot of games currently on sale, popular, and so on draw many elements from visual novels, and ones you think might not be considered visual novels are much closer than you think they are. For example, if you took the FPS out of Mass Effect, what would remain? A 3D visual novel. If you’re trying to pursue a relationship in Dragon Age or Fable, then you’re already doing something very similar to what most visual novel players do.

Something we talk about a lot is the relatively limited market for visual novels outside of Japan. It’s a similar situation to what Japanese game developers face in general in the U.S. and Europe. For traditional games, this is an easier issue to deal with because there are so many different genres available to catch people’s attention with. What do you think visual novels need to attract attention?

Well, seeing as our goal is to try and expand and cultivate this western market for visual novels, this is a question we’ve been trying to find an answer to for a while.

I think one of the biggest hurdles visual novels face, and this is also true to some extent for Japanese developers in general, is that we ask, nay demand, that the player actually read. I know, if you’re reading this interview you’re probably thinking “Why is getting people to read considered a hurdle?” but I would instead ask you to think about how many people didn’t bother to read this article once they saw it was more than one paragraph, or how many people just skimmed over this paragraph you’re reading right now.

Visual novels and most Japanese games do not offer the quick, easy, and instant satisfaction of “BOOM! HEADSHOT!” that tends to capture a large portion of the western audience. The sad truth is that this is very much a cultural issue.

I’m sure many here who have taken the time to read this can list plenty of people they know who never bothered to read more than they were required to in school, or even people who can’t read very well. There’s not a whole lot of pressure in America to be able to do so, so it becomes okay to not read. If most people you know aren’t reading, there’s not a whole lot of incentive for one to do so.

In contrast, the opposite is true in Japan. Those who can’t read are under great pressure. Reading is encouraged nearly everywhere. If you get on a train to go to work and want to look at an ad, you don’t see a pretty picture barely related to the product, you see a wall of fancily designed text telling you all about it. In Japan, adults aren’t expected to watch the Daily Show; they’re expected to be current on the latest issue of Nikkei, Japan’s weekly business magazine.

To put this in a more game-related perspective, go back to my previous example of Mass Effect without the FPS. How many in the west do you think would still play Mass Effect if the ability to run around randomly shooting aliens was taken away? Probably very few. In Japan, they might have even gotten more purchases had it never been there. Or look at Catherine: would its sales be worse for a lack of that adventure/puzzle game? I don’t think it would in Japan, but in the west, greatly so.

So I think what the west probably needs most right now to start luring interest into visual novels are those with more of a gaming element to break up the reading. Games like 999, Ace Attorney and so forth are showing there is a demand for these games even if relatively small at present, and introducing people to the idea that you can still have a great game that requires a lot of reading.

As for our end, our upcoming release Koihime Musou has a gaming element, and we currently have two games we hope to bring in the future with one as well. We’d also like to look into more as well, but we don’t want to forget that a gaming element isn’t the part that makes a visual novel great either.

Let’s say there’s someone that’s into visual novel-like games on consoles. Games like Catherine or 999 or the Ace Attorney games. What do you think PC visual novels have to offer them?

Well, first I would have to point out that those playing 999 or Ace Attorney are already playing visual novels. Admittedly, Catherine appears to be adding a rather extensive action/puzzle element to the game, but the sections where the story develops — the conversations with the other characters, the choices you will have to make as Vincent, and the way they then affect the ultimate outcome and progression of the story — all of that is a tried and true visual novel. Likewise, anyone enjoying Disgaea Infinite is already enjoying visual novels, and anyone enjoying the Agarest War series is enjoying a visual novel with an added SRPG element.

What visual novels on the PC have to offer is more of what people who enjoy such games already find enjoyable. If you’ve ever spent hours trying to max out someone’s Social Link in Persona, then congratulations: you’re already entranced with the process of completing a heroine’s route in a visual novel.

For anyone who likes playing a game to experience the rich story, or character interaction, then visual novels are right for you. Visual novels, as the term suggests, are often primarily text with the added touch of on-screen visuals, voices, and other elements found in movies, anime, and games, but not typically of bound novels. If you’ve ever found yourself playing an RPG and wishing you could just get on with the story instead of grinding your way up a few more levels, visual novels are great for you. There are a lot of great stories told through visual novels, and quite frequently they’re even adapted into movies, anime, and more because of how great the experience can be.

However, while the story, character interactions, and text are certainly the most important elements of visual novels, they most certainly do not always stop there. Just as Agarest War adds in a SRPG element, there is a fair deal of visual novels for the PC which does so as well, and in fact, one of the games we’re looking to bring over in the future does something quite similar. Just as Ace Attorney adds a detective/investigative element, we have one game which also does so that we’re hoping to bring over.

There are a lot of people that tend to think of porn games the minute they hear of visual novels because a lot of them do tend to cover sexual subject matter. If you’re a consumer, how do you separate the unintelligible erotica from the richer, more story or character-driven experiences?

People often say “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in this case you more often than not can. The “unintelligible erotica” as you call it is pretty obvious from the title. If you’re buying something called “My Sex Slave is a Classmate” or “Conquering the Queen” from a page with an “Are you over 18?” gateway, then you really ought to be able to guess what you’re getting.

Even if the title doesn’t make it obvious, we try and make it clear which is which on our website: if under the sample CG section you see a lot of uncensored intercourse, then you can pretty much guess what you’re signing up for when you click “Add to Cart.”

Titles that aren’t like that are going to be your more story or character-driven games with only maybe one or two adult scenes per heroine. Granted, there are some games which fall at varying points of the spectrum, so you might find a game about in the middle in terms of story and adult content, but if you’re ever unsure, there’s a healthy community of fans on our blog, forum, and elsewhere who can surely help answer your questions and lead you to whichever type of visual novel it is you’re looking for. I know I frequent those two places myself to help anyone who’s interested in the genre.

One of our editors recently decided to try Higurashi out on the iPhone. It was his first visual novel. He was kind of taken aback by the game at first, but he couldn’t put it down after that. What do you personally think is a good game for people to start out with?

A lot of our fans frequently recommend Higurashi or Kira Kira. They’re both really great works, and it’s no surprise why they’re the most frequently recommended. Those who are coming from anime rather than video games tend to pick up Shuffle! or Higurashi from what I’ve seen, namely since those are two popular anime series in the first place.

Aside from those three, I honestly tend to ask what kind of story a person likes before recommending a visual novel to them. I’ve used this tag a few times on Twitter before, but it’s a very true statement: #theresanerogeforthat (note: “eroge” stands for “erotic game”). No matter what your tastes, or what it is you want to see, there’s almost certainly a visual novel out there that will provide what you want. Granted, it may not yet be available in English, but we’ve tried to offer a variety on our catalog too, and this variety will only continue to grow as time goes on.

If you’re just looking for an introduction to visual novels, and have an interest in Japan though, I think our upcoming exclusive will be a great one for people new to the genre to try. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of details to offer on this title right now, but it looks really good to me and I can’t wait to talk more about it once we can.

The Bluffer’s Guide to Hentai Games

The Bluffer’s Guide to Hentai Games

What a brilliant sales pitch: “Feeling lonely and bored?” asked the email newsletter. Of course I am! I’m sitting at my computer, aren’t I? I’m reading a newsletter about import games, aren’t I? Well then, the email went on, why not check out some newly available English-translated Japanese Adult Dating Games? Why not indeed? Up until now, if you wanted to feed your Hentai videogame fix you’d have to brush up on your kanji and search out seedy game stores in the side streets of Akihabara. Not any more. In recent years, companies such as Peach Princess and JAST USA have been making English-language eroge (as it’s also known) available to American gamers. Now, Play-Asia is making them easily available to us European lot.

But should we actually care? Is there any more to this heady blend of anime, videogames and porn than antique game mechanics and mildly titillating drawings? Eurogamer decided to find out.

The first part of our research took us to Play-Asia’s selection of Hentai Games. A brief warning that the pages ahead contain ‘Nudity’, ‘Strong sexual content’ and ‘Explicit pictures’ confirm that we’re in the right place. Further confirmation is provided by the selection of games on offer – a selection that also provides some pretty startling insights into the genre. There are currently some 50-odd titles available in translation at the moment. And they are pretty odd. Picking titles at random demonstrates pretty clearly that even this limited selection of hentai games caters to the broadest extremes of sexual proclivity: there’s transexuality (Yin-Yang – X-Change Alternative); gothic horror (Animamundi – Dark Alchemist); historical romance (Enzai – Falsely Accused); human sacrifice (Bible Black: The Game); submission (Absolute Obedience – Zettai Fukuju Meirei); mild incest (Hitomi – My Stepsister) and much, much more. Certainly more than the odd cross-dresser in Guilty Gear, or Dead or Alive’s bikini babes.

According to Wikipedia, Hentai is a Japanese word that can mean ‘change of shape’, ‘abnormality’ or ‘metamorphosis’. As well as all this.
There’s also a wide range of play mechanics, from simple dating games, where you’ve got to impress the girls enough to get them into compromising positions, to choose-your-own adventure style flowchart games, where you simply have to make choices at key moments to propel the sexual narrative along. And if, for some reason you’re stuck without a Windows-compatible PC, you can pick from a choice of interactive DVDs, which all play in a regular DVD player. And if for some reason you’re stuck without a pair of hands, you can chose those games that include a ‘hands-free’ mode (whatever that means).

And talking of hands, the next part of our research obviously demanded a more hands-on approach. Three titles were duly selected and ordered. And received, although only one of them in plain cover, presumably because only one of them – Casual Romance Club – was adorned with 12 pictures of naked girls on the box.

Saving that for last, the first game to be subjected to the sort of rigorous scrutiny that you’ve come to expect from Eurogamer was Critical Point. Originally released in 2002, the game is essentially a choose-your-own adventure with 24 different paths scripted by Mobile Suit Gundam scriptwriter, Kenichi Matsuzaki. It’s illustrated by partially-animated and still images, and accompanied by a sort of lounge bar jazz soundtrack. Rather helpfully it can be played in an easily alt-tabbed window, and for anyone who isn’t a fan of Matsuzaki-san’s work, the game’s creators have helpfully included a ‘quick’ mode, which speeds through the story so fast you don’t have to read it.

Hentai games are known by a variety of terms, including H game and Eroge.
More patient gamers will appreciate the science-fiction take on a police procedural that plays out pretty normally until the lead character, an amputee undercover investigator, takes a tour of Moon Base D-02 and this happens: “The crew woman called Tsuei turned away from her panel and stood up. She started walking towards me. Before I knew it, she opened her uniform and revealed her breasts.” The murder-mystery plot goes on to encompass sex with an older woman, female marines running round in fishnet tops; a scatterbrained assistant who accidentally falls over and flashes her panties etc. etc. There is one, frankly troubling scene, however, which incorporates sado-masochism and rape fantasies.

Which leads, of course, to the serious argument about whether games such as these are likely to dehumanise women, or encourage sinister patterns of real-life behaviour. While you might imagine such an argument to be a lively and complex one, the game’s readme file boils it down pretty succinctly (some might say too succinctly, given that the game’s amputee undercover investigator describes one of his amorous encounters thus: “I was consumed with anger and lust. I didn’t even really hear her screams of protest”). Yep, the creators of Critical Point are pretty clear about the beneficial effects of playing these sorts of games.

The readme file makes clear that it’s all just a fantasy: “We would like to state clearly that we oppose abuse or violence against any individual or living creature regardless of gender or other distinguishing personal traits… Furthermore, we assert that sex is an important aspect of adult relationships, and that sexual fantasies shared consensually between adults can enhance the emotional bond of a such relationships.” It continues, with what might be considered a bit of an understatement: “the completely fictional sexual relationships portrayed by this game’s artwork do not always exhibit ‘safe sex’ practices, nor do they necessarily demonstrate the full range of sensitivity, communication and intimacy necessary to sustain a real life interpersonal relationship.” Nevertheless, for anyone who would like to base their real life interpersonal relationships on a videogame depicting domination and rape fantasies, there are some real-life sex-tips: “Always protect yourself and others when engaged in sexual activity, and always follow the principles of ‘safe sex’. Always treat your sexual partner(s) with consideration. Never use force to get what you want, whether your partner is a man or a woman.”

Hentai games are then further broken down into sub-genres, such as Yaoi for boy on boy; Bishojo for pretty girls, and so on.
By comparison, the sexual activities on offer in the other two games chosen for research are more moderate, although the gameplay is probably more interesting. Transfer Student was originally released in the same year as Critical Point, and depicts the story of a young man drifting aimlessly through college, fantasising about women. It features a similarly branching narrative structure to Critical Point, but it’s enlivened by the occasional freeform section in which you can stare at women in a bid to become so aroused that you can retire to the men’s room to fantasise about them. It’s also enlivened by the occasional bout of sex with your step-mother, depicted, once again, with partially animated stills.

Casual Romance Club, however, is the premium pick of the pack. Released at the end of last year, it is, according to the blurb, “the first dating-sim game released in Japan to feature a full English translation.” It also features 12 pictures of naked girls on the box, and comes with a handsome hardback manual containing character biographies and plenty of advice, such as: “Relationships for only making love are wrong because some may want you to be responsible for it.” Indeed, in spite of the naked girls on the box, this is a world away from the amputee rape in Critical Point. It’s still, ultimately, about having sex with women but just like in real life you have to be willing to put in a bit more groundwork.

The narrative sees you participating in the Casual Romance Club, a school club formed “to offer a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere where love and romance can be discovered and explored without fear or failure or rejection.” Which means you’ve got four weeks to persuade your chosen girl (or girls) to get their kit off – and there’s a girl for every taste here, from the bookish bespectacled Sidney, to ko-gal Clare, or the worryingly youthful Amanda, or even the mature charms of Sophie.

Interestingly, we shied away from tentacles. Perhaps it’s not our thing?
It doesn’t save unlocked images to a permanent gallery, as Critical Point does, but it is, in every other way, a more sophisticated experience. The game is a fairly typical dating game in which you have to woo your chosen honey by saying the right things. It rather artfully resembles an internet chatroom, with various windows offering different types of information, and at the key moments, the more prurient parts of images are tastefully pixellated out. Indeed, considering the plain-cover packaging, Casual Romance Club is remarkably coy, with most girls taking a lot of persuading to get to bed, and most of the pixellated-out sexual activities falling well within the normal bounds of taste and decency. For porn, anyway. There’s even a parallel translation function for people who’d like to hone their language skills to graduate to playing these games in their original language.

Despite the differences in narrative, sexual mores and gameplay between even these three games, there are undeniable similarities: the bizarre internal logic; the conversational non-sequiturs that lead suddenly to sexual activity; but mostly the sense of mild disappointment. Judged by the standards of conventional porn, especially of the sort that’s now freely available to anyone with an internet connection, these games demand a monumental amount of patience. Sure, those sickos who get their kicks by googling for amputee rape images might find their thing in games like Critical Point (a google image search for research purposes only turns up a Final Fantasy XII pack shot and a picture of Jean-Luc Picard, for example). But for the rest of us, it’s difficult not to feel underwhelmed when the only reward for patiently plodding through acres of mundane text and/or stultifying game mechanics is one or two semi-animated cartoon pictures.

So in the end, this experiment doesn’t reveal any startling insights into Hentai. These games are pretty much as you’d imagine interactive anime porn to be: more amusing than arousing, and not very entertaining as videogames. But then if you can imagine interactive anime porn, why would you need any of this stuff?

Beginner’s Guide To Visual Novels

Beginner’s Guide To Visual Novels

What exactly is a Visual Novel? Why should I care, and why are you talking about them? The Visual Novel Genre is a confusing genre, especially if you have no idea what it’s about. I’m here to try to help through my Beginner’s Guide to one of my favorite genres in gaming, Visual Novels.

Before we actually get started, there is one thing I need to clarify; I’m talking about Visual Novels as a genre, not about dating sims. NOT ALL VISUAL NOVELS ARE DATING SIMS. Dating sims are a Sub-Genre of Visual Novels, if that. A lot of them aren’t even VN’s. Get it? Ok, good. Let’s move on.

What is a Visual Novel?

A Visual Novel is genre of video games (I like to think of it as an interactive storytelling medium, as there isn’t really much gameplay), that’s similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books and Adventure games from the 90’s. As the name implies, Visual Novels are text heavy, but they usually have music, voice acting and stills of characters to help you get absorbed into the story. The biggest gameplay aspect of a Visual novel is choices; The player has to decide what the protagonist does in the form of options. The options can lead you to different story plotlines called routes, or they could just lead you to a bad end and you’ll have to try again. Visual Novels without choices are usually referred to as Sound Novels or Kinetic Novels.

Why should I care?

Visual novels are a very flexible genre, storytelling wise. Visual novels have very little restrictions, story wise, as they can go on and have a ton of exposition without making a book HUGE, they have the flexibility of multiple routes, they don’t have to comply with arbitrary rules set by TV companies and using the genre to mess with you. The Fate/ stay night Visual novel is a good example of this, as it’s 50+ hours, had 3 separate routes, and having Shirou as a narrator can skew your viewpoint. The flexibility leads to many visual novels to have amazing stories. Because of the excellent stories from this genre, many popular visual novels get anime adaptations. Some of the most well known adaptations are Clannad, Fate/stay night, Steins;Gate, and Higurashi. Some of you may be asking, why would I play Visual Novels if I could watch the anime? There are many parts of the visual novels that do not get adapted, and sometimes the adaptation is kinda bad. Also, there are some great visual novels that have not been adapted, like Phoenix Wright, G-Senjou no Maou, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and Tsukihimethat I’d recommend you check out.

What is it like to play a Visual Novel?

How exactly do Visual Novels play? It’s like watching a really long anime, or reading a book that’s kinda animated. It’s easiest to describe as a mix between a book and an anime. On average, they are usually much longer than the anime counterparts, which give them time to flesh out the characters and the world. Usually, Visual Novels have branching routes, where stories have some similarities (known as a common route), but overall could be considered their own stories (ex: Heaven’s feel in Fate/stay night). In any Visual Novel, usually you have to go on a path and stick with it. When you stray away from the route you are in, you’ll probably run into what’s known as a BAD END, where something horrible or pointless happens. Also, i’ll insert the OBLIGITORY EROGE WARNING here; Many Visual Novels are Eroges, meaning they have NSFW content. Many have censorship patches, or none of this content at all, but if type of content is not up your alley, be prepared.

How would I get my hands on a Visual Novel?

The fact that Visual Novels are not popular in the west means that most of them are kinda hard to get over here. Many companies do not translate and make English versions, so you are pretty much have to rely on fan translations. In the past, most VNs never got English versions, but as of late, there’s been a trend to localize VNs, so if you know that the game has an official US release, I’d go and support the publisher on their site, or places like rightstuf. Also, if the Visual Novel doesn’t have sexual content or has a Non-H version, there’s a good chance you can get the game over at Steam. If not, you’ll have to torrent them, and the best selection of VNs I’ve found is Mofumoe, after Fuwanovel stopped hosting torrents. It’s important to note that many Visual Novels do not find their way outside of Japan, which can be depressing if you found game or series really like.

Japan — the Most Advanced Country in Technology

Japan — the Most Advanced Country in Technology

For the longest time, Japan has been well-known for being at the cutting edge of technological innovation. In fact, many people directly associate it with things like robotics, superfast trains, and other such tech wonders. And it managed to do all that while recovering from the devastation of World War II.

But how does Japan stay a cut above other countries in terms of tech?

This list will give you a quick overview of what makes Japan the flagship of technology.

Big Investment in Education 

All progress starts with a good education. The Japanese government understands this very well, which is why it has emphasized the importance of education for decades. It spends a sizable chunk (3.59%) of its GDP on education in order to keep the sector strong.

As a result, the country’s education system has been streamlined through years of innovation in the field, from experimental classes to educational robots. Therefore, the way kids in Japan experience schooling is very different than what a lot of Europeans or Americans are used to.

But all the differences from what Westerners know about school are there for a good reason. For example, the kids have a much more hands-on role as they often teach their peers, which serves to solidify the information they recently learned. All of them also eat each meal (supplied by the school) together in their classroom so that they can spend more time bonding.

That may sound like fun, but it’s also hard work. Japan’s average school day lasts 6 hours, more than in almost all countries around the world (this excludes all the homework, projects, and drills outside of school time). The standards of Japanese education are gruelingly high and often push kids to their academic limits from elementary school to high school and beyond.

All this effort pays great dividends, though. The stats show that, among 34 countries in the OECD region, Japan ranks second in maths and first in science. 

Simple, Yet Extremely Complex 

One fascinating pattern we find in Japan’s history of invention is its practical nature. In other words, the vast majority of technological development in the country came about from a need to address a natural or social ill. For example, the massive push in AI tech is largely propelled by a shrinking labor market. But we’ll discuss that particular issue a little later, so we won’t go into it here. 

Instead, here’s another big driver of innovation in Japan. Japan’s tumultuous weather has also propelled it to come up with new solutions to keep people safe from natural disasters. The country’s climate makes it prone to typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, and seasons of heavy rain. For example, the country has a sophisticated disaster warning system that predicts nasty weather and warns the appropriate authorities, giving them ample time to respond accordingly.

The point is that almost all of Japan’s inventions came from the need to make people’s lives more comfortable. It’s a real-life example of “necessity breeds innovation.” The outstanding situations on the Japanese islands have driven their people to think of solutions both simple and sophisticated.

Bullet-Fast Infrastructure 

When they hear Japan and high technology, people’s imagination usually takes the direction of autonomous robots and other such fanciful tech. But it’s usually the people who have actually been to Japan that immediately think of its infrastructure.

Japan’s infrastructure is easily among the most advanced in the world. The country’s government constantly works on improving and expanding roadways, transportation systems, telecommunications, and more. In fact, Japan has spent upwards of $200 billion on construction projects since 2003. Just so you know, $200 billion is roughly 40% of the country’s entire budget.

Luckily, all that money has clearly been put to good use. People who live or have visited there can attest that the traffic and utilities in Japan function pretty much seamlessly (outside of natural disasters disrupting large parts of the country). Almost everything runs like clockwork and looks spotless, from the trains to the silk-smooth roads.

However, perhaps the biggest symbol of Japan’s stellar infrastructure is the so-called bullet train. 

The first instance of the bullet train (or Shinkansen) was introduced in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Even back then, it was a seriously impressive vehicle: it could make the route from Osaka to Tokyo in four hours, compared to seven that a traditional train could manage. 

But these trains are even faster now, able to finish the trip in 2 hours at an astounding top speed of 200 mph. They’re able to do thanks to levitating via magnetism instead of resting on wheels. Essentially, they float above the tracks without ever touching them.

Automation of Workforce

Japan’s labor force has been shrinking for years. This is due to the country’s birth rate failing to keep up with its death rate. Data from a few years ago put Japan’s birth rate at 1.4 per woman — far from the 2.1 needed to keep a country’s population young. As such, there are fewer and fewer young workers ready to step in and replace the old guard.

This puts Japan’s economy in a serious bind. Technologically advanced though the country may be, its shortage of labor is still liable to crash all the progress made thus far.

But, as always, Japan has a high-tech solution — workplace automation.

AI in the workplace isn’t exactly a new concept. A lot of the work we do is very repetitive and dull, often to the point where few people would actually willingly do it. But artificial intelligence doesn’t fuss about trudging through these boring tasks. By implementing AI in their workplace, employers save money and enjoy a boost in productivity.

While this technology isn’t the norm in most of the world, Japan is really pushing the envelope on what work can be done by robotic systems. It’s actually the fourth-most automated country, behind South Korea, Singapore, and Germany. Its automation rate a few years ago was 303 robots per 10,000 human employees.

Industrial robot workers are pretty widespread in Japan. Odds are you’ve seen some pictures of automated restaurants or heard of automated hotels dotting the cities. These are great examples of Japan’s ingenuity with replacing human workers.

Japan Is Already Living in the Future

In many respects, the world’s tomorrow is Japan’s today. No, this isn’t some weird wordplay on Japan being in the Eastern hemisphere. Rather, Japan is using the kinds of technology that most other countries (even the United States) are years away from introducing to their infrastructure.

We already mentioned marvels like the bullet train and automatic restaurants as examples of how advanced Japan is. But those are just scratching the surface of Japanese technology. 

Just imagine something like supermarkets that scan customer activities and lower prices in aisles with the least visits. What about a robotic babysitter that tells children to go to bed and plays them songs to lull them into sleep?

Japan also has full-on automatic vending machines that sell everything from food to clothes. It’s also home to wackier inventions, such as square watermelons that are easier to stack for transportation. Equally curious is the rainproof umbrella that covers its carrier from head to toe.

All of the above are innovations that came from and are an everyday thing in Japan. For most other countries, these inventions aren’t even on the horizon. The unique conditions in Japan have led it to always look forward, addressing as many problems as it can along the way.

However, this need to solve difficult issues has given the nation more than convenient fixes for its infrastructure. It also brought into the world generations of curious, results-oriented scientific minds. Their love for technology and creative solutions is what’s made them renowned around the world as visionaries of their respective fields.

The Most Popular Animes of All Time

The Most Popular Animes of All Time

I may not have seen all anime in the world, but I’m definitely a big fan of these kinds of series. So, let me give you a list of the most popular anime of all time. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with all of them, and if not — get to work!

5. Death Note

Let’s talk about the most serious of them all first. Well, by serious, I mean it definitely has those kinds of vibes and visuals. Death Note is a story about how we all have moral dilemmas. When we come face to face with mysterious power, what do we use it for? Let’s ask the protagonist, Light Yagami. 

Light seems to be your average golden child student. That’s until he stumbles upon a death note that came from the hands of a shinigami, Ryuk. Light finds out that writing names in this notepad results in people’s deaths. Since he’s not necessarily a terrible person, he starts using the death note for “good” — purging the world of all evil. 

However, his killing spree doesn’t go unnoticed. The antagonist, L, is set to find Light and stop this teenager with a god complex.

4. Naruto

Out of all the famous anime shows I’ve seen, this one is definitely on the longer side. It is a story about a troubled kid with big dreams, and nobody will stop him from achieving them. However, this description doesn’t only apply to our protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki, but to his friend, the antagonist, Sasuke Uchiha, as well. 

The story of Naruto is all but simple. Gifted with a great power dwelling inside of him, Naruto was shunned as a child, and his power was deemed too dangerous. His adventures begin once he finds himself in a team and starts going on missions. 

While he’s busy training hard and trying to become a Hokage, his best friend Sasuke is working on revenge of his own. As we follow Naruto and Sasuke through their adventures, we realize that this is a story of friendship and never giving up.

3. Pokémon

There’s no way you don’t know about this one. For years we’ve been following the great adventures of Ash Ketchum and his friends. Much like the previous one, this anime will teach you all about working hard, never giving up, and teamwork! 

Ash aspires to become the greatest Pokémon master of all time. To do this, he has to compete in regional gyms and championships. Wandering the world with his friends, they all try to catch new and exciting pokemon to have by their side. However, their adventures don’t always go without a hitch. 

Team Rocket — Jesse, James, and Meowth — will stop at nothing to get Pikachu, who travels with Ash! This means that Team Rocket is always keeping this fun friend group on their toes. Where will they come out of next, and with what schemes? It doesn’t matter. Gotta catch ’em all!

2. One Piece

If you love “Pirates of The Caribbean,” I’d say that this is the anime for you. To become great, you have to work hard. You can achieve your dreams, no matter how big or small they are. Imagine wanting to become the king of all pirates and find a great treasure. Does that sound impossible? Our protagonist Monkey D. Luffy doesn’t think so!

You can’t really sail the seas and be a great voyager without a ship and a crew. Throughout the series, Luffy enlists people to join his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates. They sail on their ship, the Going Merry, in search of the One Piece treasure. 

Of course, their adventures can’t go smoothly either. Enemies constantly confront them, and they include other pirates, criminal organizations, bounty hunters, and the evil agents of the World Organization. Will they be able to achieve their dreams? There’s only one way to find out.

1. Dragon Ball

Let’s talk about the spectacular story of a monkey-tailed boy, Goku. This anime talks about how you have to work hard for your greatest desires. Not everything can just be wished upon a star. To be able to make that wish, Goku needs to find the seven Dragon Balls and summon a powerful dragon.

Luckily, our monkey boy isn’t alone on his adventures. He meets plenty of friends along the way, but the foes aren’t lacking either. Furthermore, many of those foes become allies after fighting Goku and aid him in fighting off enemies. Ultimately, after fighting in a couple of World Martial Arts Tournaments, Goku encounters his biggest enemy yet — King Piccolo. 

Will Goku be able to defeat him and use the Dragon Balls to wish his friends back to life? Watch and find out!

Conclusion

This was only a short list, but other anime are deserving of your time and attention too. We can definitely learn a lot from these series and our protagonists’ stories. As for me, it’s time to binge all of these because they’re just so good!

How the Japanese Deal With Sexuality

How the Japanese Deal With Sexuality

How Does Japan Deal With Sexuality?

The second part of the 20th century brought an inexorable expansion of Western influence throughout the globe. But no matter how globalism connects people worldwide, some cultures prevail in keeping their traditions intact. 

In the form of pop culture, the so-called soft power of the United States quickly won over the hearts and minds of young people in both Europe and Asia. The American way of life was easy to sell. Hence, some hostile countries would portray it as deviant and dangerous. And sure, in some ways, it can be.

Most notably, the way we perceive sex, nudity, and freedom isn’t the same everywhere. A prime example of different views on sexuality is the mighty nation of Japan. Therefore, our article aims to demystify sex in the Far East.

We’ll talk about traditions, the modern age, fetishes, and sex in mainstream culture. And as always, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. So, without further ado, let’s check how sex in Japan looks, shall we?

There Is No Shyness

Although it’s general knowledge that people in Japan are somewhat shy towards foreigners, there’s no holding back when it comes to nudity. Japanese society is well-entwined with public and outdoor baths. The latter is also known as “onsen,” which means “hot springs.”

Many tourists find it strange that Japanese people easily walk around naked while visiting these springs. Sure, it’s not like they’re full-on masturbating or having sex publically, but elsewhere it’s not that common. Japanese and nudity go hand-in-hand, just like sumo wrestlers and their minimal garments.

Growing up in Japan, kids will fairly soon encounter nudity in anime and manga. Both their cartoons and comic books are full of, let’s say, controversial content for a young age. However, men and women in modern Japan don’t see it that way. It’s part of their upbringing, and they export it overseas with great success.

Walking around Tokyo or any other major city, you’ll see girls in short skirts. It’s like a parade of high-school girls almost revealing their intimate parts. And once again, it’s a hybrid mix between the “free” Western world and how Japan deals with sexuality traditionally. 

Pornography Is a Fact of Life

Just like all other aspects of sexuality, pornography in Japan has its unique twists and turns. In general, there are two main periods for Japanese porn, Edo and Meiji. The first one was prominent until the latter half of the 19th century. It was a time when Shunga (depictions of sex on wooden blocks) were all the rage among men and women. However, by the end of the 1800s, the government began to censor both erotica and pornography.

During most of the 20th century, censoring porn in Japan was a big thing. Both genitals and pubic hair couldn’t appear freely in magazines and films. Anuses weren’t problematic if there was no penetration shown. Nevertheless, by the end of the ‘90s, it all began to change. Genres we now know as fully Japanese came to life, like bukkake, tentacle porn, gokkun, etc.

Japanese people love erotic manga, hentai (anime porn), and sex video games. You could say they’re the epicenter for such content, and they export it with flying colors overseas. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to Japanese pornography as well. Lolicon (child porn) is a big issue in their culture. It’s not rare to hear news about police raids related to possession of child pornography.

Fetishes

Discussing Japanese sexuality wouldn’t work well without going into their popular fetishes and kinks. Sure, it’s a rabbit hole in some ways, but it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in the Far East culture. Some things are somewhat controversial, while others are now almost entirely a part of the Western fantasies.

Like we’ve briefly mentioned, bukkake is a big thing in Japan. It’s a sex kink that consists of a group of people (two or more) ejaculating on one other participant. It’s both a gay and heterosexual experience. Nowadays, you can see these scenes in porn films that come from all over the world.

Another prominent kink is shibari. Meaning “beautiful bondage,” this fetish is common in BDSM practices everywhere. Some argue it’s an art form, seeing how skillful people need to be to pull off such an act.

A list of fetishes in Japan wouldn’t be complete without nyotaimori. This kink is also known as body sushi. It consists of people eating food off someone else’s naked body. You can see similar stuff all over the West nowadays, but its origin comes from Japan.

Virginity

The issue of female virginity in Japan wasn’t that big of a deal before Western influence came along. In the old days, there were certain ceremonies for young girls looking to enter the world of adulthood. However, if a girl already lost her sanctity before marriage, it wasn’t a big problem. On the other hand, men would pay geishas to allow them to have sex with their apprentices, who were virgins.

But once American and European influence came over, Japanese people began to show similar interests in virginity. The concept of a girl being impure if she had sex before is somewhat of an import. Many manga comics and hentai videos depict young girls struggling with this issue. Nevertheless, during the Edo period, there was never that much emphasis on this subject.

Final Words

For a country struggling with birth rates like no other, Japan is interestingly enough a pretty open society in terms of sexuality. When it comes to nudity, the lack of shyness has its roots in people being subject to similar content from a young age. Fetishes are many, and some are rather disturbing for other cultures. Still, Japan is a unique nation that’s full of interesting cultural and societal concepts lots of people admire.

Why Japan Must Be on Your Travel Bucket List

Why Japan Must Be on Your Travel Bucket List

Being a travel junkie is fun. In case you are one yourself, we have just the thing for you. Japan is an incredibly popular country. Most of that popularity might come from anime nowadays, but there’s so much more to it.

This island country offers nature and scenic places as you’ve never seen. Its culture is rich, people are incredibly polite, and food is like art. What’s there not to love about it? It doesn’t matter whether you are going on a business trip or an expedition to satisfy your thirst for adventure, Japan will embrace you with both arms and show you what you’ve been missing out on all along.

There Are Tons of Scenic Places

If you travel to do some sight-seeing, then visiting Japan has to be on your travel bucket list. This incredible island country has a lot to offer.

The most popular time to visit Japan is during the cherry blossom season. However, blooming pink flowers are not the only thing that will grab your attention. There’s a lot of nature to explore, not to mention some of Japan’s famous landmarks and tourist attractions.

Japan is the type of country that fuses modern and ancient. One minute you’re walking down an urban street, just to take a turn and find yourself traveling back through time to visit a shrine. Some of the things you cannot miss on seeing are Mount Fuji, the Imperial Palace, the Island Shrine of Itsukushima, Osaka Castle, and many more.

Hop on the famous bullet train and visit Japan’s breathtaking zen gardens and temples. You’ll be able to experience the level of tranquility you’ve never known before. Don’t forget to visit the bathhouses as well. They’re definitely an experience worth writing home about. However, think about how comfortable you are with being naked around strangers before you jump into one of their hot springs.

It’s a Shopping Heaven

Being a bit of a shopaholic can sometimes be stressful. There are so many places to shop at, so how do you decide where to go? Fret not; we’ve got your back.

When traveling to Japan, there are multiple places to visit that will provide the best shopping experience. If you’re into all things luxury, the shopping area of Ginza, Tokyo, is your best bet.

However, Ginza isn’t the only place for you to shop. There are Umeda (Osaka), Shinjuku (Tokyo), Hakata (Fukuoka), and many more. But what should you buy when visiting one of these places? We suggest KitKat’s numerous flavors, sake, Japanese unique musical instruments (like shamisen), matcha, wagashi, sensu fans, Japanese cosmetics, etc.

There aren’t many things you cannot find in one of these shopping areas. Japan is also famous for its vending machines, which can offer just about anything, from toys to food and beyond.

Japanese Food

When it comes to food, Japan beats many other countries in how much effort they put into making everything look perfect. The fusion of textures and flavors will have you in love with both their traditional dishes, as well as those with a modern twist.

Dining out in Japan, however, isn’t always an easy task. Restaurants usually specialize in one or several dishes, making it hard for you to decide where you want to go. If you’re not familiar with using chopsticks, this is a great time to learn too.

Some of the traditional Japanese foods we highly recommend are sushi, miso soup, tempura, udon, onigiri, sashimi, tofu dishes, yakitori, daifuku, dango, taiyaki, etc. Don’t miss out on trying green tea or sake, either.

SEE: More Japanese Food Here

Having good table manners is essential when consuming Japanese food, which looks like an art piece on your plate. Some locals will consider asking for utensils other than chopsticks rude. However, if servers notice you’re a traveler, they might ask if you want a fork or a spoon immediately.

There are several table rules you should follow. That’s why it’s important to look them all up before you travel to Japan and decide to visit a restaurant. You need to know the proper things to say before and after each meal, what to do with the plates after finishing, how to walk and sit on the tatami, etc. Don’t let that stress you out, though. Just make sure you act decently, and you’ll be alright.

Sports and Activities

You won’t lack entertainment in Japan if you’re into sports. Japan is famous for martial arts, but those aren’t the only athletic spectacles category that this country can offer. Baseball, soccer, tennis, racing, sumo, boxing, and more are some of the most popular sports in Japan. You definitely shouldn’t miss out on going to some of the matches and experiencing all of the Japanese sports.

Besides sports, there are numerous other things you can see and do that will make your stay unforgettable. If you’re a nature junkie, you’re in luck! Japan is full of seemingly untouched vistas. Not only will you hike beautiful trails, but you’ll be able to see a lot of things on your way to the final destination. You can pass preserved historical villages, different shrines, and even see animals like snow monkeys and Nara deer.

Staying in the city isn’t a problem either. You can go around different restaurants or izakayas (casual food bars), as well as soak in onsen baths, go to large shopping areas, and museums. Taking Japanese cooking classes is yet another fun thing to do during your stay while riding the bullet train is an experience too.

There are different things to be done depending on the weather as well. If you’re in luck, you’ll be able to visit Japan during the cherry blossom season. The beauty of the pink flowers is unmatched, and its popularity can vouch for that.

Amazing People and Culture

Last but definitely not least, if none of the above appeals to you, we suggest visiting Japan to experience its hospitality and culture. The Japanese are known for their welcoming nature, good manners, and politeness. This ensures excellent customer service wherever you go. You don’t even need to thank them for it because they’re just doing their jobs.

The culture and history of Japan are rich. There are a lot of things to learn about it, especially if you immerse yourself in any kind of event or ceremony. That’s why visiting during festivals or participating in traditions is a special treat for anyone.

RELATED: Top 6 Japanese Celebrations

Some of the things you can do to participate in Japanese culture are participating in a tea ceremony, having a calligraphy lesson, wearing a kimono (or having a geisha/maiko makeover), learning origami, and so much more. The best thing you can do is try to link up with a local. They will be able to show you everything you need to know and be a part of, to have a complete experience.

There is an important rule you should know about the people of Japan. Even though they’re kind and hospitable, you should never bother a stranger without a good reason. This means you shouldn’t come up to them randomly to start a conversation, or say their dog is cute. They will likely be shocked or startled, and try to politely remove themselves from the situation.

Whatever you do, try your best to be respectful.

Conclusion

There are so many things you can do and see while traveling to Japan. International travel isn’t always easy, but rest assured that this country is incredibly safe. It has meagre crime rates, ensuring your safety wherever you go.

Japan and its people are there to offer you hospitality and entertainment like you’ve never seen before. In case you just want to relax and not worry about a thing, Japan’s nature, shrines, and temples will provide the zen experience you’re looking for.

We hope our Japan travel guide has given you an idea of what you can expect from this gorgeous country. Definitely look into visiting it at least once because it will be an experience you’ll never forget.