pornography and sexuality (was: Re: censorship cont....)

Birgit Kellner kellner at
Thu Dec 17 08:56:17 EST 1998

I'll sidestep recent messages re pornography/sexuality, especially those
about an alleged "healthier" attitude of Japanese people to sexuality,
since most of such claims seem to be based either on contingent
individual experiences, or on cliches from cultural comparativism
(Christian guilt etc.), perhaps even infused with a remainder of
colonialist of wishful thinking (the cliche of the liberated and
uninhibited Oriental woman). But in general it seems to me more useful
to look at pornography as a commodity, a product within a consumerist
society, and examine it from that viewpoint, rather than drawing direct
connections to normative moral codes (or the lack thereof) which for the
most part end up in the speculative ascription of psychological states
(e.g. guilt) to individuals or groups of people, but are not
particularly informative or enlightening. 

[I'll also sidestep the at least interesting, if not even conspicuous,
fact that most postings so far have implicitly limited the range of
sexuality to male heterosexual sexuality, apparently ignoring female as
well as homosexual sexuality (at least on my reading) ... ]

Anyway, my main question is whether Japanese pornography has ever been
subjected to thorough sociological studies regarding its consumption.
Who consumes pornography (male/female/age/social layer), who consumes
what type of pornography (magazines/films, or different genres such as
S/M), and under what conditions (solitary consumption/consumption with a
partner)? To the extent that I am familiar with the literature, not much
THOROUGH (but lots of not so thorough) work in this area has been done
in the US/Europe either, so I would be curious as to the state of the
art in Japan. 

Further questions, to which hopefully someone might have some sort of
Has there been any noteworthy Japanese feminist reception of pornography
which would take into account possible differences between the
socio-sexual function of pornography in Japan as compared to the US (or
Europe), as well as differences between the respective societies in
terms of gender-segregation etc.? 
Lastly, what about pornography for women (as far as I can see, it
doesn't seem to exist): Debated, discussed or ignored?

birgit kellner
department for indian philosophy
hiroshima university

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