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Thalia Harris
HIST 468
April 10, 2012
Essay #3
Essay #3
The fetishization of the female body in manga and the prolonged
infantilization of children used in Japanese sexual education leads to voyeuristic
sexual commodification and dysfunction. According to Allison’s article titled, “A
Male Gaze in Japanese Children’s Cartoons, or, Are Naked Female Bodies Always
Sexual?” there is a constant integration of nude female images and shounen1 manga
and anime, in various contexts. Most contexts consist of a female character being
exposed in some way to a predominantly male crowd, and usually exhibits
embarrassed emotions as a result. (Allison, 29) However, in this situation the
female is usually never touched or groped—I assume the reason would be that the
animators want to maintain the idea of actual genital copulation to be strictly
refined to a marital, procreative context.
This ideal is upheld by the current Japanese sexual education curriculum, as
noted in Fruhstuck’s article “Debating Sex Education”. One main concept of Japanese
sexual education—as voiced by founder and director of Japan’s first Medical School
for Women, Washiyama Yayoi—was that “masturbation was ‘the most terrible
ailment related to the sexual instinct’” and should be kept within the confines of
procreative marriage in order to avoid “fatal consequences”. (Fruhstuck, 62) Yubara
Motomichi, the head of the Tokyo School of Music wanted to discuss “sexual desire
in a way that would ‘not embarrass’ young boys and girls”. (62) These methods of
teachings did not teach children how to understand and work with their sexual
desires. Instead, they positioned sexual desires as relentless forces to be
suppressed and restrained. Therefore, when lack of instruction for self-sexual
management is coupled with voyeuristic sexual commodification such as no pan
kissa2 or mizu shobai3 and integrated images of nude women—a generation of youth
whose sexuality is rooted in aggression (Allison, 34) is produced.
The positioning of the body as inherently sexual not only places women in an
internalized state of vulnerability. The lack of misinformation in sexual education
for both males and females places males as self-affirmed sukebei4 and women as
tools of sex without sexual consent. I pose the following questions:
Would revision of shounen manga help with sexual frustration and confusion
of teenage youth?
Shounen- young boy, youth
No pan kissa- no pantii kissaten, or no panties coffeeshop, in which all the femal
workers wear no underwear
mizu shobai- subsidized dating
sukebei- lewd, lecherous, horny old men
How far should authority take the fear-mongering method when teaching
children about sex?
Does the commodification of sex lead to sexual perversion and indecency?
Why or why not?
Does a voyeuristic sexual business provide a safe space for women, since
they are not being touched?