The strict censorship laws in Japan have created an environment ripe for innovation in the adult sector. And the Japanese, well they’re a creative people.
Japan is notorious for bizarre porno. The West is quick to think of naughty school girls, hardcore bondage, bodily fluids, sea cucumbers…and the like. But the interesting fact is that genitalia is forbidden to be shown in any Japanese films. All legal adult material from the country features a mosiac blur over the actors’ private bits. So why is one of the largest porn markets in the world forced to operate underneath these rigid rules? Well, like many things, it’s all the West’s fault. Starting as early as the Meiji Era in the late 1800s Western attitudes toward sex began infiltrating the country. The introduction of Victorian morals led to Japanese authorities to deem hardcore materials “injurious to public morals.” At the time these views were pretty across the board in the civilized world but fast forward to 1945 and the end of the second World War things should have began to change. With Japan’s defeat and the subsequent American occupation of the country, the new ruling authorities switched things up a bit. They altered Japanese rule to allow for freedom of speech and expression. But for some reason they kept the censorship laws in place, where they’ve remained to this day.
The West now enjoys a hyper relaxed attitude toward porno to the point where a case could be made for the desensitization of an entire generation. Japan has seen some relaxation — for example, ten years ago pubic hair was censored and now it’s free to blow in the breeze unpixelated. That’s about it though. Some particularly enthusiastic men will purchase machines like the DV-9900DX that can un-censor some films, though not easily. It involves an intricate series of knobs as well as a joystick to select the blurred out area of the moving picture — which definitely sounds like a two handed job to me so these guys must really need a release. There’s also of course the internet, visiting sites hosted outside of Japan solves the problem pretty quickly, but I guess for some that’s the easy way out.
Due to the lack of focus on hardcore penetration though Japanese porn tends to be far superior to it’s Western counterparts. Directors get inventive, using a variety of direction styles to create wacky and innovative films. American, et al directors got lazy, relying almost entirely on the money shots. So, yes the genre forces innovation but there are only so many ways to make soft core porn appealing to the hardcore customer. That’s where artist Toshio Maeda and his 1987 work Urotsukidoji come in. Maeda was looking to create a hentai film — animated porn — but found that by Japanese law no penises were allowed, even if just cartoon (strangely enough this did not apply to the female genitalia). Frustrated and seeking inspiration, Maeda came across the work of Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist from the early 1800s who was known for his erotic wood carving. In one particular piece entitled The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, Hokusai depicted a giant octopus wrapped around a naked lady with it’s mouth suctioned onto her privatest of parts. Maeda saw this as the perfect way to circumvent Japanese censorship laws — a tentacle isn’t a penis, but it’s sure as hell close enough! Urotsukidoji used this idea as the story revolves around the sexual exploits of a giant octopus, and the hentai film became an instant cult classic with two sequels.
This tentacle idea quickly penetrated real life porn, and “tentacle rape” became popular in closeted circles throughout Japan. Then when the internet struck the concept spread to new audiences world wide. It is truly terrifying to watch one of these films (a friend forced it on us, don’t ask) but hey, whatever floats your boat. In the grand scheme of things, the injection of tentacle rape into Japanese pornography is just another example of forced innovation and how boundaries will always create a more creative end product. So now, we dare you to google it. Double dog dare.