Researcher Kimi Rito commented on the cultural impact of hentai manga

Kimi Ritoauthor of the book “The History of Hentai Manga“, participated in a recent interview where he talked about his work, the history of hentai and the fight for the medium to be taken seriously as an area of ​​academic study. «As an erotic art medium, hentai manga has a unique visual language that is easily recognizable to anyone who has participated in it. The tentacles, the transverse anatomical plane, the variations of the iconic expression ahegao: erotic manga has developed a set of motifs, symbols and images that have been formed and evolved throughout the life of the medium.» writes the presentation.

Researcher Kimi Rito commented on the cultural impact of hentai manga

«“The History of Hentai Manga” focuses on the development and evolution of expressions unique to erotic manga, which are often different from those seen in general manga. It also covers their origins, differences, and how they were distributed in society. The book also contains several interviews with creators who invented these fundamental expressions. All in all, it is a book that should help the reader better understand the history of hentai manga through the invention and evolution of these visual expressions.», Rito describes his work.

«Japan is currently experiencing a manga research boom, with people studying a wide range of topics within Japanese comics. However, hentai manga is very little studied, and finding an expert in this field is quite rare. Even in Japan, where pornographic manga has developed widely, it has only recently begun to be a topic of investigation. I have always been a huge fan of hentai manga. I’ve long enjoyed these works, but when I began my own research to learn more about their appeal, I was surprised by the lack of coverage on the subject.», he commented when talking about his inspiration.

In the preface, Rito mentions about the large number of reviews for general manga, as opposed to the lack of reviews for erotic manga. In the interview he deepened more on the matter: «The Japanese edition of “The History of Hentai Manga” was designated as a harmful book in Hokkaido. Although it is an academic book, it was considered pornographic and treated as harmful to minors. This is equivalent to saying that a medical book that features illustrations of genitalia is also porn. The bigger issue, however, is that the body that decides which books are considered “harmful” made the decision without keeping proper records or publicly stating why they were considered so. Many people continue to have an ingrained belief that adult materials are “disgusting”, “unworthy of study” and “worthless”. The Hokkaido case was a clear example of these pressures. Also, around the world there are more and more people criticizing hentai, especially without any proof. So, this is another reason why I think hentai research should go further.».

He also commented on his extensive collection of erotic manga that also served for the publication of his book: «I think I have the largest collection of hentai manga magazines in the country. My selection of bishoujo publications, in particular, is extremely extensive. The digital materials I have archived have accumulated more than 20 terabytes of data. Therefore, for my research, I have been able to make good use of all this source material and have been able to easily follow the changes in the actual use of hentai manga expressions. Also, since hentai manga has many unique visual expressions, even when viewed from a global perspective, I had a lot of questions as to why those expressions were created!».

He also pointed out the currentwar against censorship” that is taking place within the hentai manga industry in Japan, which has led the authors to explore other horizons (like the tentacles): «I think it surely would have been different without the history of restrictions. However, this does not necessarily mean that it would have been a good thing for hentai manga. I cannot deny that a sense of ingenuity and creativity has developed due to the restrictions placed on the expressions of eroticism. Additionally, readers can also improve their literacy within those same constraints. Censorship can restrict these expressions, but it cannot stop people’s desire to enjoy the erotic. However, excessive regulation is a problem. A heavy hand will lead to behavior similar to that seen during prohibition in the United States. Instead of legally imposing restrictions, I believe we should recognize free speech, openly discuss problematic speech, and apply appropriate restrictions over time. An excess of freedom does not make hentai manga free».

He also commented on how Western distributors tend to downplay (or censor directly) the erotic aspects of manga and anime content in “an attempt to give legitimacy to the medium“: «In Japan, manga and anime have become a popular form of entertainment for everyone, regardless of age, from children to the elderly. There are works that everyone can enjoy, while there are manga and anime mainly for children and those that are only for adults. So, in Japan, we don’t usually draw a clear line. Ultimately, it is the consumer who decides what he likes. However, in Western societies, where manga and anime are still considered children’s entertainment, I think the question of whether the Japanese method should be adapted is complicated.as it will vary considerably based on local culture, religion and other social norms. I think that modifications may be unavoidable, but I would like the original perspectives to be respected as well».

Source: Crunchyroll