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Hentai is anime and manga pornography. A loanword from Japanese, the original term ( ) does not describe a genre of media, but rather an abnormal sexual desire or act, as an abbreviation of . In addition to anime and manga, hentai works exist in a variety of media, including artwork and video games (commonly known as ''eroge''). The development of hentai has been influenced by Japanese cultural and historical attitudes toward sexuality. Hentai works, which are often self-published, form a significant portion of the market for ''doujin'' works, including ''doujinshi''. Numerous subgenres exist depicting a variety of sexual acts and relationships, as well as novel fetishes.


Terminology


''Hentai'' is a kanji compound of (''hen''; "change", "weird", or "strange") and (''tai''; "appearance" or "condition"). It also means "perversion" or "abnormality", especially when used as an adjective. It is the shortened form of the phrase which means "sexual perversion". The character ''hen'' is catch-all for queerness as a peculiarity—it does not carry an explicit sexual reference. While the term has expanded in use to cover a range of publications including homosexual publications, it remains primarily a heterosexual term, as terms indicating homosexuality entered Japan as foreign words. Japanese pornographic works are often simply tagged as , meaning "prohibited to those not yet 18 years old", and . Less official terms also in use include , , and the English initialism AV (for "adult video"). Usage of the term ''hentai'' does not define a genre in Japan. ''Hentai'' is defined differently in English. The ''Oxford Dictionary Online'' defines it as "a subgenre of the Japanese genres of manga and anime, characterized by overtly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images and plots." The origin of the word in English is unknown, but AnimeNation's John Oppliger points to the early 1990s, when a ''Dirty Pair'' erotic ''doujinshi'' (self-published work) titled ''H-Bomb'' was released, and when many websites sold access to images culled from Japanese erotic visual novels and games. The earliest English use of the term traces back to the rec.arts.anime boards; with a 1990 post concerning Happosai of ''Ranma ½'' and the first discussion of the meaning in 1991. A 1995 glossary on the rec.arts.anime boards contained reference to the Japanese usage and the evolving definition of hentai as "pervert" or "perverted sex". ''The Anime Movie Guide'', published in 1997, defines as the initial sound of hentai (i.e., the name of the letter ''H'', as pronounced in Japanese); it included that ecchi was "milder than hentai". A year later it was defined as a genre in ''Good Vibrations Guide to Sex''. At the beginning of 2000, "hentai" was listed as the 41st most-popular search term of the internet, while "anime" ranked 99th. The attribution has been applied retroactively to works such as ''Urotsukidōji'', ''La Blue Girl'', and ''Cool Devices''. ''Urotsukidōji'' had previously been described with terms such as "Japornimation", and "erotic grotesque", prior to being identified as hentai.


Etymology


The history of the word ''hentai'' has its origins in science and psychology. By the middle of the Meiji era, the term appeared in publications to describe unusual or abnormal traits, including paranormal abilities and psychological disorders. A translation of German sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing's text ''Psychopathia Sexualis'' originated the concept of ''hentai seiyoku'', as a "perverse or abnormal sexual desire", though it was popularized outside psychology, as in the case of Mori Ōgai's 1909 novel ''Vita Sexualis''. Continued interest in ''hentai seiyoku'' resulted in numerous journals and publications on sexual advice which circulated in the public, served to establish the sexual connotation of ''hentai'' as perverse. Any perverse or abnormal act could be hentai, such as committing ''shinjū'' (love suicide). It was Nakamura Kokyo's journal ''Abnormal Psychology'' which started the popular sexology boom in Japan which would see the rise of other popular journals like ''Sexuality and Human Nature'', ''Sex Research'' and ''Sex''. Originally, Tanaka Kogai wrote articles for ''Abnormal Psychology'', but it would be Tanaka's own journal ''Modern Sexuality'' which would become one of the most popular sources of information about erotic and neurotic expression. ''Modern Sexuality'' was created to promote fetishism, S&M, and necrophilia as a facet of modern life. The ero-guro movement and depiction of perverse, abnormal and often erotic undertones were a response to interest in ''hentai seiyoku''. Following World War II, Japan took a new interest in sexualization and public sexuality. Mark McLelland puts forth the observation that the term ''hentai'' found itself shortened to "H" and that the English pronunciation was "etchi", referring to lewdness and which did not carry the stronger connotation of abnormality or perversion. By the 1950s, the "hentai seiyoku" publications became their own genre and included fetish and homosexual topics. By the 1960s, the homosexual content was dropped in favor of subjects like sadomasochism and stories of lesbianism targeted to male readers. The late 1960s brought a sexual revolution which expanded and solidified the normalizing of the term's identity in Japan that continues to exist today through publications such as ''Bessatsu Takarajima''s ''Hentai-san ga iku'' series.


History


With the usage of ''hentai'' as any erotic depiction, the history of these depictions is split into their media. Japanese artwork and comics serve as the first example of hentai material, coming to represent the iconic style after the publication of Azuma Hideo's ' in 1979. Japanese animation (anime) had its first hentai, in both definitions, with the 1984 release of Wonderkid's ''Lolita Anime'', overlooking the erotic and sexual depictions in 1969's ''One Thousand and One Arabian Nights'' and the bare-breasted Cleopatra in 1970's ''Cleopatra'' film. Erotic games, another area of contention, has its first case of the art style depicting sexual acts in 1985's ''Tenshitachi no Gogo''. In each of these mediums, the broad definition and usage of the term complicates its historic examination.


Origin of erotic manga


Depictions of sex and abnormal sex can be traced back through the ages, predating the term "hentai". ''Shunga'', a Japanese term for erotic art, is thought to have existed in some form since the Heian period. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, ''shunga'' works were suppressed by ''shōguns''. A well-known example is ''The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife'', which depicts a woman being stimulated by two octopuses. ''Shunga'' production fell with the introduction of pornographic photographs in the late 19th century. To define erotic manga, a definition for manga is needed. While the ''Hokusai Manga'' uses the term "manga" in its title, it does not depict the story-telling aspect common to modern manga, as the images are unrelated. Due to the influence of pornographic photographs in the 19th and 20th centuries, the manga artwork was depicted by realistic characters. Osamu Tezuka helped define the modern look and form of manga, and was later proclaimed as the "God of Manga". His debut work ''New Treasure Island'' was released in 1947 as a comic book through Ikuei Publishing and sold over 400,000 copies, though it was the popularity of Tezuka's ''Astro Boy'', ''Metropolis'', and ''Jungle Emperor'' manga that would come to define the media. This story-driven manga style is distinctly unique from comic strips like ''Sazae-san'', and story-driven works came to dominate ''shōjo'' and ''shōnen'' magazines. Adult themes in manga have existed since the 1940s, but some of these depictions were more realistic than the cartoon-cute characters popularized by Tezuka. Early well-known "''ero-gekiga''" magazines were ''Ero Mangatropa'' (1973), ''Erogenica'' (1975), and ''Alice'' (1977). The distinct shift in the style of Japanese pornographic comics from realistic to cartoon-cute characters is accredited to Hideo Azuma, "The Father of Lolicon". In 1979, he penned ', which offered the first depictions of sexual acts between cute, unrealistic Tezuka-style characters. This would start a pornographic manga movement. The lolicon boom of the 1980s saw the rise of magazines such as the anthologies ''Lemon People'' and ''Petit Apple Pie''. As the lolicon boom waned in the mid-1980s, the dominant form of representation for female characters became "baby faced and big chested" women. The publication of erotic materials in the United States can be traced back to at least 1990, when IANVS Publications printed its first ''Anime Shower Special''. In March 1994, Antarctic Press released ''Bondage Fairies'', an English translation of ''Insect Hunter''.


Origin of erotic anime


Because there are fewer animation productions, most erotic works are retroactively tagged as ''hentai'' since the coining of the term in English. ''Hentai'' is typically defined as consisting of excessive nudity, and graphic sexual intercourse whether or not it is perverse. The term "ecchi" is typically related to fanservice, with no sexual intercourse being depicted. Two early works escape being defined as hentai, but contain erotic themes. This is likely due to the obscurity and unfamiliarity of the works, arriving in the United States and fading from public focus a full 20 years before importation and surging interests coined the Americanized term ''hentai''. The first is the 1969 film ''One Thousand and One Arabian Nights'', which faithfully includes erotic elements of the original story. In 1970, ''Cleopatra: Queen of Sex'', was the first animated film to carry an X rating, but it was mislabeled as erotica in the United States. The ''Lolita Anime'' series is typically identified as the first erotic anime and original video animation (OVA); it was released in 1984 by Wonder Kids. Containing eight episodes, the series focused on underage sex and rape, and included one episode containing BDSM bondage. Several sub-series were released in response, including a second ''Lolita Anime'' series released by Nikkatsu. It has not been officially licensed or distributed outside of its original release. The ''Cream Lemon'' franchise of works ran from 1984 to 2005, with a number of them entering the American market in various forms. ''The Brothers Grime'' series released by Excalibur Films contained ''Cream Lemon'' works as early as 1986. However, they were not billed as anime and were introduced during the same time that the first underground distribution of erotic works began. The American release of licensed erotic anime was first attempted in 1991 by Central Park Media, with ''I Give My All'', but it never occurred. In December 1992, ''Devil Hunter Yohko'' was the first risque (''ecchi'') title that was released by A.D. Vision. While it contains no sexual intercourse, it pushes the limits of the ''ecchi'' category with sexual dialogue, nudity and one scene in which the heroine is about to be raped. It was Central Park Media's 1993 release of ''Urotsukidoji'' which brought the first hentai film to American viewers. Often cited for inventing the tentacle rape subgenre, it contains extreme depictions of violence and monster sex. As such, it is acknowledged for being the first to depict tentacle sex on screen. When the film premiered in the United States, it was described as being "drenched in graphic scenes of perverse sex and ultra-violence". Following this release, a wealth of pornographic content began to arrive in the United States, with companies such as A.D. Vision, Central Park Media and Media Blasters releasing licensed titles under various labels. A.D. Vision's label SoftCel Pictures released 19 titles in 1995 alone. Another label, Critical Mass, was created in 1996 to release an unedited edition of ''Violence Jack''. When A.D. Vision's hentai label SoftCel Pictures shut down in 2005, most of its titles were acquired by Critical Mass. Following the bankruptcy of Central Park Media in 2009, the licenses for all Anime 18-related products and movies were transferred to Critical Mass.


Origin of erotic games


The term ''eroge'' (erotic game) literally defines any erotic game, but has become synonymous with video games depicting the artistic styles of anime and manga. The origins of ''eroge'' began in the early 1980s, while the computer industry in Japan was struggling to define a computer standard with makers like NEC, Sharp, and Fujitsu competing against one another. The PC98 series, despite lacking in processing power, CD drives and limited graphics, came to dominate the market, with the popularity of ''eroge'' games contributing to its success. Because of vague definitions of what constitutes an "erotic game", there are several possible candidates for the first ''eroge''. If the definition applies to adult themes, the first game was ''Softporn Adventure''. Released in America in 1981 for the Apple II, this was a text-based comedic game from On-Line Systems. If ''eroge'' is defined as the first graphical depictions or Japanese adult themes, it would be Koei's 1982 release of ''Night Life''. Sexual intercourse is depicted through simple graphic outlines. Notably, ''Night Life'' was not intended to be erotic so much as an instructional guide "to support married life". A series of "undressing" games appeared as early as 1983, such as "Strip Mahjong". The first anime-styled erotic game was ''Tenshitachi no Gogo'', released in 1985 by JAST. In 1988, ASCII released the first erotic role-playing game, ''Chaos Angel''. In 1989, AliceSoft released the turn-based role-playing game ''Rance'' and ELF released ''Dragon Knight''. In the late 1980s, ''eroge'' began to stagnate under high prices and the majority of games containing uninteresting plots and mindless sex. ELF's 1992 release of ''Dōkyūsei'' came as customer frustration with ''eroge'' was mounting and spawned a new genre of games called dating sims. ''Dōkyūsei'' was unique because it had no defined plot and required the player to build a relationship with different girls in order to advance the story. Each girl had her own story, but the prospect of consummating a relationship required the girl growing to love the player; there was no easy sex. The term "visual novel" is vague, with Japanese and English definitions classifying the genre as a type of interactive fiction game driven by narration and limited player interaction. While the term is often retroactively applied to many games, it was Leaf that coined the term with their "Leaf Visual Novel Series" (LVNS) with the 1996 release of ''Shizuku'' and ''Kizuato''. The success of these two dark ''eroge'' games would be followed by the third and final installment of the LVNS, the 1997 romantic ''eroge'' ''To Heart''. ''Eroge'' visual novels took a new emotional turn with Tactics' 1998 release ''One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e''. Key's 1999 release of ''Kanon'' proved to be a major success and would go on to have numerous console ports, two manga series and two anime series.


Censorship


Japanese laws have impacted depictions of works since the Meiji Restoration, but these predate the common definition of hentai material. Since becoming law in 1907, Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan forbids the publication of obscene materials. Specifically, depictions of male–female sexual intercourse and pubic hair are considered obscene, but bare genitalia is not. As censorship is required for published works, the most common representations are the blurring dots on pornographic videos and "bars" or "lights" on still images. In 1986, Toshio Maeda sought to get past censorship on depictions of sexual intercourse, by creating tentacle sex. This led to the large number of works containing sexual intercourse with monsters, demons, robots, and aliens, whose genitals look different from men's. While Western views attribute hentai to any explicit work, it was the products of this censorship which became not only the first titles legally imported to America and Europe, but the first successful ones. While uncut for American release, the United Kingdom's release of ''Urotsukidoji'' removed many scenes of the violence and tentacle rape scenes. It was also because of this law that the artists began to depict the characters with a minimum of anatomical details and without pubic hair, by law, prior to 1991. Part of the ban was lifted when Nagisa Oshima prevailed over the obscenity charges at his trial for his film ''In the Realm of the Senses''. Though not enforced, the lifting of this ban did not apply to anime and manga as they were not deemed artistic exceptions. Alterations of material or censorship and banning of works are common. The US release of ''La Blue Girl'' altered the age of the heroine from 16 to 18, removed sex scenes with a dwarf ninja named Nin-nin, and removed the Japanese blurring dots. ''La Blue Girl'' was outright rejected by UK censors who refused to classify it and prohibited its distribution.
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In 2011, members of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan sought a ban on the subgenre ''lolicon'' but were unsuccessful. The last law proposed against it was introduced on May 27, 2013 by the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komei Party and the Japan Restoration Party that would have made possession of sexual images of individuals under 18 illegal with a fine of 1 million yen (about US$10,437) and less than a year in jail. The Japanese Democratic Party, along with several industry associations involved in anime and manga protested against the bill saying "while they appreciate that the bill protects children, it will also restrict freedom of expression". The law was ultimately passed in June 2014 after the regulation of ''lolicon'' anime/manga was removed from the bill. This new law went into full effect in 2015 banning real life child pornography.

Demographics

According to data from Pornhub in 2017, the most prolific consumers of hentai are men. However, Patrick W. Galbraith and Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto note that hentai manga attracts "a diverse readership, which of course includes women." When it comes to mediums of hentai, ''eroge'' games in particular combine three favored media—cartoons, pornography and gaming—into an experience. The hentai genre engages a wide audience that expands yearly, and desires better quality and storylines, or works which push the creative envelope. Nobuhiro Komiya, a manga censor, states that the unusual and extreme depictions in hentai are not about perversion so much as they are an example of the profit-oriented industry. Anime depicting normal sexual situations enjoy less market success than those that break social norms, such as sex at schools or bondage. According to clinical psychologist Megha Hazuria Gorem, "Because toons are a kind of final fantasy, you can make the person look the way you want him or her to look. Every fetish can be fulfilled." Sexologist Narayan Reddy noted of ''eroge'', "Animators make new games because there is a demand for them, and because they depict things that the gamers do not have the courage to do in real life, or that might just be illegal, these games are an outlet for suppressed desire."

Classification

The hentai genre can be divided into numerous subgenres, the broadest of which encompasses heterosexual and homosexual acts. Hentai that features mainly heterosexual interactions occur in both male-targeted (''ero'' or ''dansei-muke'') and female-targeted ("ladies' comics") form. Those that feature mainly homosexual interactions are known as ''yaoi'' or ''Boys' Love'' (male–male) and ''yuri'' (female–female). Both ''yaoi'' and, to a lesser extent, ''yuri'', are generally aimed at members of the opposite sex from the persons depicted. While ''yaoi'' and ''yuri'' are not always explicit, their pornographic history and association remain. ''Yaoi'' pornographic usage has remained strong in textual form through fanfiction. The definition of ''yuri'' has begun to be replaced by the broader definitions of "lesbian-themed animation or comics". Hentai is perceived as "dwelling" on sexual fetishes. These include dozens of fetish and paraphilia related subgenres, which can be further classified with additional terms, such as heterosexual or homosexual types. Many works are focused on depicting the mundane and the impossible across every conceivable act and situation, no matter how fantastical. One subgenre of hentai is ''futanari'' (hermaphroditism), which most often features a woman with a penis or penis-like appendage in place of, or in addition to, a vulva. Futanari characters are often depicted as having sex with other women, but many other works feature sex with men or, as in ''Anal Justice'', with both genders. Futanari can be dominant, submissive, or switch between the two roles in a single work.

Genres



See also

* Cartoon pornography * ''Dōjinshi'' * E-Hentai * List of hentai anime * List of hentai authors (groups, studios, production companies, circles) * List of hentai manga * ''Panchira'' * Uniform fetishism * :ja:アダルトアニメ ("Adult anime nimation)

References



Further reading

* * Buckley, Sandra (1991). Penguin in Bondage': A Graphic Tale of Japanese Comic Books", pp. 163–196, In ''Technoculture''. C. Penley and A. Ross, eds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. . * McCarthy, Helen, and Jonathan Clements (1998). ''The Erotic Anime Movie Guide''. London: Titan. . * *

External links

* {{Film genres Category:Adult animation Category:Adult comics Category:Anime and manga terminology Category:Japanese pornography Category:Japanese sex terms Category:Pornographic animation Category:Pornography by genre Category:Sexuality in anime and manga Category:Sexuality in Japan