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.

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! 

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.

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.

Hayao Miyazaki: The Genius Behind Studio Ghibli

Hayao Miyazaki: The Genius Behind Studio Ghibli

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest animated film directors ever. His imaginative story building, fascinating characters, and amazing animation in his movies have earned him international recognition from both critics and general audiences around the globe. Even the Walt Disney Company recognized his talent and offered him to work with them so that they could introduce his films to the rest of the world.

He was born in Tokyo in 1941 and began his career in 1963 as an amateur animator at the studio Toei Douga. Even from his early beginnings, people who worked with him admired his incredible drawing ability and an infinite stream of ideas and innovation.

Early Life

This grandmaster was born in Tokyo in 1941 on January 5. He graduated from Gakushuin University in 1963. He was one of the four sons of Katsuji Miyazaki, who was the owner of the family business Miyazaki Airplanes, which made parts for airplanes during World War II. Later in his life, Hayao said he felt guilty that his family profited during the World War because they aided Japan’s war efforts.

He and his family would move to Utsunomiya City. That’s where they stayed from 1944 to 1946. The time he spent living in the forest would inspire him to make a magnificent piece, My Neighbor Totoro. Sometime later, his mother fell sick from spinal tuberculosis and stayed in the hospital for three years. This event would later foreshadow the family situation portrayed in My Neighbor Totoro.

His Start in Animation

Miyazaki became intrigued by animation in 1958 after watching Japan’s first full-length color anime that was produced by Toei Animation. At first, he wasn’t really interested in making animations but rather in making comic books, also known as mangaka. In 1963, he graduated from Gakushuin University. He majored in economics and political science, but as we all know, he was much more interested in the arts.

Later on, in 1963, he joined Toei Animation as an animator. There, he learned the very basics of animation and began his artistic journey. He started as a laborer, filling in the cell by cell movements of characters and objects. He found this work enjoyable, and this was a place where he learned to draw characters accurately. He impressed his coworkers with his talent and soon became the leader of the animations union. In 1968, the first movie to which he contributed greatly was released, Prince of the Sun.

Breakthrough Films 

The first animated film that Miyazaki directed was The Castle of Cagliostro, a Lupin III film. After that, a manga that helped Miyazaki get critically acclaimed was Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. After its success, the founder of Tokuma Shoten, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, persuaded Miyazaki to work on the animation of his work. While Miyazaki firstly refused to do it, Yasuyoshi managed to convince him to animate it under the condition that Miyazaki gets to direct the film.

Miyazaki got his idea for the story’s world from the events that happened at Minamata Bay. The mercury poisoning and how nature always manages to fight back and flourish afterward inspired Miyazaki to make the film’s highly polluted world. Miyazaki and his close friend and ex-colleague Takahata decided to go with the small studio Topcraft to animate their film. They felt that the studio’s artistic talent would best translate the elegant and intricate atmosphere of the manga into a film.

His film was released on March 11, 1984, and it earned more than 1.40 billion yen at the box office, which is around 10 million USD. People often see this movie to be Miyazaki’s most crucial work as it sealed his future as an animator. The movie was highly praised for its positive outlook on feminist and anti-war themes.

Studio Ghibli and Critical Acclaim

Studio Ghibli was founded by Miyazaki, Tokuma, Takahata, and Suzuki in June 1985, and Takuma Shoten funded it. The first film they worked on was Laputa: Castle in the Sky, which was done by the crew who also worked on Nausicaä. The movie was released in August 1986. It comes as no surprise that it was the highest-grossing animated film of that year in Japan. 

The next two films, My Neighbor Totoro and Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies, were released together to make sure that the studio has a good financial status. The parallel production was quite hard on the artists as they had to switch between the projects constantly. My Neighbor Totoro wasn’t quite as successful at the box office as they hoped it would be, but it did have some success through merchandising. It also received critical acclaim.

RELATED: ALL THE FILMS OF STUDIO GHIBLI RANKED

Kiki’s Delivery Service and Onward

Another film that Miyazaki ended up directing was Kiki’s Delivery Service. While in the beginning, he wasn’t in charge of the production because of his work on My Neighbor Totoro, later on, he assumed the role of director. The film premiered in 1989, and it was yet another of his films that became the highest-grossing film of the year in Japan. 

In 1994, Miyazaki began his work on Princess Mononoke. At the time, this film was the most expensive ever made by Studio Ghibli with a budget of 2.35 billion yen. This film was the first of his works to use computer animation. When it premiered in 1997, it was critically acclaimed and became the first animated film to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year.

In 2000, he began the production of Spirited Away. In this film, he also experimented with computer animation just a little so that it “doesn’t steal the show,” rather just to enhance the story. When the film was released in 2001, it received critical acclaim, and it also won the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year. Later in 2002, it won the Golden Bear, and later, in 2003, the film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Where He Is Now

Miyazaki has tried to retire a couple of times, but in the end, he has just kept coming back. His love for animation is too strong to keep him away from working on a new project for long. In 2013, he announced that he would retire due to his old age but that he wished to go on working on the Studio Ghibli Museum displays.

In later years, it was rumored that he was working on a new feature film that was based on CGI, called Boro the Caterpillar. In 2017, Miyazaki announced that he was indeed working on this movie, and for a special reason — he said he wanted to leave a dedicated feature to his grandson. It was his way of saying, “Grandpa will move on to the next world, but he’s leaving you this film.” This has to be the most adorable and innocent reason to come out of retirement. 

Studio Ghibli has later confirmed that Miyazaki was working on another film, How Do You Live?, which will come out sometime in 2021.

Expert Tips for Traveling With Your Pocket Pussy

Expert Tips for Traveling With Your Pocket Pussy

If you were planning on taking a trip, you might have wondered whether you should carry your pocket pussy with you. That can be a good idea, regardless if you are traveling alone or with your partner. Pocket pussies can be an exciting addition to your sex life. As long as you use them properly and with all the necessary precautions, that is

Why Pocket Pussies Are the Best When Travelling

The first and most obvious reason why traveling with a pocket pussy is a great idea is the toy size. As the name suggests, pocket pussies are quite compact, and you can easily carry them wherever you go. 

If you are just planning to get one of these sex toys, you should try to find one that’s travel-friendly. As you can probably expect, pocket pussies come in various sizes. Models like Tenga create toys that look like an egg and have a similar size. That means that you can put them in your pocket during your travels. 

Even if you get some of the bigger models, like a Fleshlight, you can still carry them discreetly. Besides, having a toy like this can spice up your sex life. There are no reasons you shouldn’t experiment with pocket pussies even when you are with your partner. While most people use them as a masturbating aid, solo sessions are not the only way to incorporate these toys in your sex life. 

But even if you are traveling alone, you can still have fun when you go to your room, just like ladies do with bullet or rabbit vibrators.

How to Pack Your Pocket Pussy

Assuming that you didn’t buy one of the enormous toys, packing won’t be a problem. There are, however, several things that you’ll still need to remember. 

Regardless of the size, type, or design of the toy, finding a discreet packaging might be a good idea. That way, you’ll be able to avoid drawing curiosity or having to answer questions. Furthermore, keeping the toy safe, clean, and secure should always be your number one priority. While some toys come in a generic package, others might need some DIY work. That might be especially important if you are traveling abroad since security officials might want to know more about your traveling habits. 

Moreover, you should avoid placing the toy in your carry-on baggage. If one of the officials notices what you’re carrying, they might assume that you plan on using it on the plane, and it is not something you need. The best idea would be to keep it in the checked baggage. 

Another important thing to remember is to pack some lube as well. Some toys, like Tenga eggs, come with lube, but for others, you will need to get it separately. The type of lubricant you’ll get depends on the material of the toy. A silicone-based lubricant is great unless your toy is also made of silicone. In that case, you should opt for water-based lubricants instead. 

Do not sacrifice quality for portability. Traveling is a great way to relax but that does not mean you have to deprive yourself some great alone time with some premium pocket pussy. Now is a good time to score rare finds at lovegasm website that are perfect for all your travels.

Safety Precautions and Reminders About Sharing a Pocket Pussy With Others

Regardless of the toy you have, the most important thing is hygiene. Ideally, you will clean your toy before and after each use. That way, you will ensure that there are no risks to your health. Some toys, like Tenga eggs, are designed for single-use, and that’s their main quality. You won’t need to worry about cleaning them, and all you have to do is throw them away when you come. 

But other toys are meant for multiple uses, and you will need to clean them properly. Moreover, sharing is something you should always avoid. While it might sound selfish, sharing sex toys can be dangerous and significantly increase the chances of infections or STDs. There is not a single reason to lend someone your pocket pussy or any other sex toy. 

However, assuming that this is the only option, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure that both you and your friend remain safe. Firstly, only borrow the toy to someone you trust and who is healthy. Secondly, be sure to clean the toy thoroughly after you get it back. Ideally, you should sterilize it somehow, if that’s an option. Many people forget to clean it properly or enough, so be sure to inform yourself how to do it.  

Finally, be sure to read the instruction manual. Most toys come with an instruction guide, and there is a reason for it. 

Summary

Carrying a pocket pussy during your vacation can be fun, and it is something you should definitely do. These toys are designed to help you masturbate, and they can be a great toy for couples as well. Of course, it would be best if you found a smaller toy since it would be easier to carry with you. 

The first thing you should remember besides packaging is to keep it in your checked baggage. Avoid putting it in your carry-on bag, since it might look suspicious, and airport personnel won’t like the idea. 

Moreover, be sure to pack lubricants. Many users forget about it, and using an appropriate lube can significantly increase the pleasure. Finally, be sure to clean the toy before and after each use properly. The type of product you will use mostly depends on the material, and you can usually find out which one is suitable for your toy if you read the instructions. 

Why Is Japanese Culture So Unique and Interesting?

Why Is Japanese Culture So Unique and Interesting?

Have you ever wondered why Japan’s so popular with foreigners? It could be their incredible food, or maybe their well-mannered folk. What about their top-notch technology? We’ll cover it all!

All of those things contribute to this country’s popularity and exciting culture. There’s so much more to Japan than what we know today, though. Most of us have only heard of anime. However, that’s a fantastic way to get to know Japanese culture too.

The best thing you can do is give Japan a chance in any way you want. Try their food, learn their history, watch anime, etc. You’ll find out that there’s so much more than meets the eye.

The Culture Is Rich

Japanese culture is probably one of the richest cultures out there. Of course, everyone considers their culture exciting and appealing, but we’re not only talking about Japanese popular culture.

The Japanese have a long history and tradition, which came with the Yayoi people a very long time ago, somewhere between 1,000 BCE and 300 CE. Japan is also an archipelago of islands, which allows them a bit of privacy. Speaking of which, they had a period of complete isolation from the rest of the world. Nobody came in; nobody went out. That let them nurture their culture with great care.

Interestingly, the Japanese don’t follow a single religion. Most of them are a part of Shinto, a polytheistic religion based on the belief in spirits (kami) that reside in everything around us. Most of the people will say they’re not religious, but participating in traditions remains important.

Not only that, but Japan was never a colony. While other cultures might have had some influence on Japan, it was never enough to change anything. So, welcome to the wondrous world of glorious Japanese culture, food, and people. Let yourself get swallowed up by all that the Land of the Rising Sun has to offer.

The Food Is Like Art

If you’ve ever seen what food looks like in Japanese cartoons, we assure you that it looks the same in real life too. The Japanese put a lot of time and effort into their cuisine. That results is that all of their dishes end up looking like small pieces of art on your plate.

The first thing you think about when it comes to Japanese food is probably sushi and sashimi. However, there’s so much more than just that, and it comes as no surprise that Japan has a vibrant food culture as well.

Many people can’t get behind it because they think it’s all just raw fish. We’re here to tell you that you cannot be more wrong, and that’s a good thing! Give it a chance and try different things like miso soup. If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with daifuku.

People Are Polite

Being polite and well-mannered is an essential part of who Japanese people are. They learn proper etiquette from a young age, ensuring they grow up to be kind and courteous.

These people pride themselves on excellent customer service as well. That means you don’t even have to thank them for it because they consider it their job. People are kind because everyone knows their place in society. There are rules and protocols set in place, which might sound a bit limiting, but it isn’t. The order allows for everything to run smoothly.

One of the very important things in Japan is a rule that says you should never bother others without a good reason. So, coming up to a stranger to start a conversation or ask to pet their dog at the park probably isn’t the best idea. That also means nobody will bother you either.

Their Technology Is Top-notch

When it comes to technology, we can always hear about Japan coming up with something new. In fact, Japan is considered to be the most technologically advanced nation in the world.

A lot of the things we use all the time now came from Japan. We don’t even pay attention to many of those things because they became an essential part of our lives. One of those is a phone camera. And even now, Japan is consistently working on new tech to make our lives so much easier than before.

We bet you didn’t know how many of the famous tech companies originate in Japan. They include Sony, Nintendo, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Toyota, or Honda. Those are just to name the few. Even though they were in shambles after WWII, Japan managed to come on top with their cutting edge technology, and we’re waiting to see what they come up with next.

Anime Is Unique

One of the significant parts of popular Japanese culture is anime. Anime is a style of Japanese animation that encompasses both movies and TV shows. Many people think of them as kids shows, that’s why adults who watch them are sometimes judged. However, anime is available to all who want to view it.

This type of animation style is very high-quality and unique. It comes with very detailed characters and worlds, as well as highly entertaining plots. We cannot place anime in the fantasy genre because that’s not always the case. Many of the narratives include stories about regular people and their daily lives, turning anime into the slice of life genre of TV shows. That might sound a bit dull, but trust us — it’s just as entertaining as the fantasy stuff.

The anime industry extends to adult movies as well, if you know what we mean. So there’s definitely something for everyone.

Conclusion

There are numerous reasons why Japanese culture is so diverse and exciting. They have a long history of both trade and isolated island life, which begs you to explore the country. So, why not get to know it better? And we mean more than just learning who the ruler at a particular time was. You can learn why the Japanese people are the way they are and where their customs come from.

If you want to get immersed in the culture as soon as possible, the incredible Japanese cuisine is always available nearby, so give it a try. You won’t regret it.