Since my last post I’ve completely changed the focus of my autoethnographic study. In the lecture Chris talked about the process of auto ethnographic study and the way in which your material or artefact begins to confront you with its own reality. My original idea wasn’t bold enough, it wasn’t necessarily going to draw me into its reality. So I racked my brain for interesting or unusual elements of digital Asian culture that I had seen over the years. If I was thinking unusual I undeniably had to settle on hentai.
Now this is where things might get a little weird, because hentai is anime porn. If you haven’t heard of it already, you might be a little taken aback, especially to find out that it not only exists, but that there is a huge market for it. There are lots of sites on the net that host hentai videos, and even more forum threads where people come to discuss them.
I think this is going to be an interesting and challenging study for me because at this point I am so far from understanding the appeal of this weird sub genre of anime, and why people watch and create it. Not to mention the fact that I have to share my reflections on these explicit films with a class full of strangers.
So after my first search in google using the words “manga pornography”, that word ‘confronting’ rears its head again. In June this year (wtf.. only this year??), Japan finally voted to ban the possession of child pornography, though manga comics and anime videos were excluded from the bill “after calls to protect freedom of expression”. This is a really serious issue, and it is deeply disturbing that the sexual objectification of children is of secondary concern to protecting the rights of those people wanting to “express themselves”, and in turn preserve and promote this sick trend.
From a media student’s perspective, the debate here becomes very interesting. What are the effects of ‘cartoons’ on psychology and behaviour? To what extent can people separate the representations of people’s actions and behaviours in drawings with real life? While I in no way support the the ongoing portrayal of children in manga porn, and am quite disgusted, these questions need to be addressed.
[Side note] Ok, I just thought about this a bit more and now I’m confused. Lolita, one of my favourite books, clearly crossed the line I just drew. After it was first published, it was immediately banned for being obscene. Now it is widely read and has been made into two movies. The boundaries of artistic licence are very blurry.
Interesting vlog talking about the American media’s reaction to the above issue, highlighting the difficulty in distinguishing sexually suggestive/pornography/young girls/minors in manga and anime.