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.
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.
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.
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.