There is something about Japanese culture I find disgusting.
Child porn was not made illegal there until 2014 and it took international pressure to force it. It is still a world center for the production and it is still easily available.
In 2017 Nobuhiro Watsuki, the creator of Rurouni Kenshin (an anime much beloved by me) was arrested and pled guilty to owning child pornography. Apparent there was an investigation of a major porn producer and he showed up in the books as a minor customer. A raid on his apartment turned up “DVDs and other materials.” He pled guilty and was fined the equivalent of $1,900 and that was that. He’ll be back to work on Rurouni Kenshin’s “Hokkaido” arc.
In his deposition, he stated he “liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school.”
Imagine the public reaction if he’d been convicted in the US. Even just being accused would make him persona non grata in most circles. Think about the restrictions of being a registered sex offender for life, even if he managed to avoid prison. Not arguing the merits or failings of either legal system. The American system has its own problems. But Japanese culture appears to be comparatively okay with the sexual exploitation of little children.
Pornography involving children is a fundamentally evil activity. You cannot produce it without violating the law and more importantly, violating the children involved. By consuming the material you have become a part of the conspiracy to produce it and a criminal yourself.
I am happy to argue that there should not be the same restrictions on animation as on live-action film. Animation does not involve actual children involved in illegal activity and so is protected under the 1st Amendment in American jurisdictions. It is just flickering images that never involved a real child. To the extent that loli and shouta ecchi and hentai probably reduce the demand for live-action porn, I’m completely in agreement with that.
Certainly, there can be innocent nudity too. That isn’t what sexualizes a character or a scene. You could set an anime with children in a nudist resort and be completely innocent. You could use anime to show sexual exploitation seriously rather than for entertainment value.
But the next time you watch an anime and the little girl’s panties get shown closeup at every excuse and from every angle, complete with camel toe, ask yourself, “Why?” Or when you see an elementary schooler dressed for an adult erotic ball, take a pause. You don’t have to stop watching the anime or conclude that it is evil, but what exactly does the director find interesting or entertaining about a child’s panties? What’s that trope all ’bout?
Don’t get me started on Boku no Pico.
Take a pause and give a thought to the culture that didn’t want to make kiddie porn
illegal until international pressure forced it only a few years ago. The culture where middle-aged and older men openly hire teenage girls as “companions” for dates. Or guys chase after teenage girls half their age because an adult woman is considered past her prime. The culture where a director can say he likes explicit videos of little girls without becoming a social pariah and molestation of girls and young women on trains and subways is a regular experience.
There are a lot of wonderful things about Japan. This ain’t one of them. Japan has never been a good place to be a woman or a girl. Probably not a young boy, either.