Why is Japanese Porn Censored?

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    Unless you are a pure individual, you probably know that Japanese porn is censored. Male and female genitalia are censored using a mosaic blur. If you watch Japanese porn expecting to see the female crotch area, you will likely see something like this instead:

    Why is this so? Why does Japan, one of the largest markets for pornography in the world, force film makers to censor their films?

    Porn was first seriously restricted in Japan in the Meiji Era, when materials deemed “injurious to public morals” were banned [thanks to the introduction of Victorian morals from the West]. After Japan’s defeat in WW2, American occupation authorities changed many of Japan’s laws to guarantee freedom of speech and expression. Sadly, the occupation authorities decided that the pre-existing law regarding pornography didn’t need to be changed. It has remained in effect to this day.

    While the 60 years after World War II saw the acceptance of uncensored pornography as freedom of expression in the West, Japan continued to consider it “injurious to public morals.” One still cannot legally buy a movie featuring fully visible hardcore action.

    In recent years it seems that the definition of “injurious to public morals” has been relaxed. Ten years ago, pubic hair was censored: now it is not. Last year, the American film Kinsey was allowed to air in Japanese theaters uncensored. The scene in which Dr. Kinsey is giving a slideshow of penis/vagina picture made history as the first ever scene showing human genitalia allowed by the censors.

    Does this mean we will be seeing uncensored porn anytime soon? Probably not; the display of genitalia in a serious educational setting is a far cry from pure porno. Until then most porn consumers within Japan cannot legally buy uncensored porn.

    The uncensored Japanese porn that exists does so because 1) It was made for foreign export, or 2) It was illegally produced/uncensored. Certain machines, such as the one pictured above are supposedly capable of removing certain types of mosaic censoring. Various knobs are used to adjust settings to match the mosaic censoring, while a small joystick is used to target a certain area of the video. As one Japanese guy explained to me, “it is kind of hard to whack” when you have to concentrate on using your other hand to move the joystick and make sure the de-mosaic is centered on the action. This doesn’t stop Japanese guys from shelling out hundreds of bucks for such machines. Smarter men go onto the internet, where the uncensored movies made for export are downloadable from sites hosted outside Japan.

    Censorship is enough to completely turn off most Americans to Japanese porn. They are so used to seeing hardcore penetration shots that the fact that they can’t actually see the genitals make the porn useless to them. It’s a shame, since some out there think that Japanese pornography is often far superior to American adult videos. Japanese porn doesn’t focus on the penetration shot, instead using a variety of direction styles to create a sex scene. Without censorship, most Japanese directors would be as lazy as their American counterparts, who rely heavily on close-ups of penetration. It is possible that Japan’s wacky and innovative porn is a partial response to censorship.

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