Re censorship etc.

Birgit Kellner kellner at
Thu Dec 17 12:39:55 EST 1998

John Dougill wrote:
> If the assertion of the writer is against sexual harassment, then I do not
> have any argument.  But as I understood it, we were discussing sexuality in
> fantasy i.e. on film and in manga.    The suggestion that a country has
> more sexual hang-ups because of its rich fantasy life as compared to a
> culture (America, say) where statistics for real life violence and sexual
> violence are immeasurably higher seems altogether peculiar, not to say
> perverse.   I may be wrong, but I have the feeling that the Japanese are
> being criticised here because their fantasies are different - and as
> Orientalists we all know that the Other is always worse.  Personally
> speaking, I have found Japanese attitudes to be refreshingly honest
> compared with the hypocrisy that reigns in the West.  The Christian and
> puritan legacies are still all too evident in the readiness of some to
> condemn what they neither like nor understand.
> Let me endorse here Eija's comments....
> "Doesn't this show that Japanese people are actually healthier in their
> relation to sexuality than Americans?"
> Best wishes at this seasonal time of year, and thanks for a thoughtful
> discussion.
As much as I am basically ready to agree with the first part of John's
statement (i.e. that the discussion is about sexuality in fantasy, and
not in "reality"), and as much as I acknowledge John's signals that he
would like to bow out of this discussion (what with the seasonal
greetings and all), still, I must say that HIS logic strikes me as
equally flawed. For if fantasy and reality are not unequivocally
causally related (fantasy "x" produces behaviour x), then surely,
neither the presence nor the absence of a "rich fantasy" are conclusive
for evaluating the presence/absence of real life sexual violence. IF one
is willing to claim a more complex relationship between fantasy and real
life than straightforward causality, then whatever happens within the
realm of fantasy is a non-starter regarding honesty/hypocrisy as far as
"real life" sexuality is concerned. In simple terms, whether or not
there is a "rich fantasy" of sexuality in Japan is one thing, and
whether or not there is a "healthy" (or any other) real-life attitude
towards sexuality, or whether or not there is sexual violence, are

birgit kellner
department for indian philosophy
hiroshima university

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