December 2, 2008

Sick Japanese Porn

Filed under: culture,Japan — Kim @ 3:39 pm

This is a warning. The following post contains descriptions of a truly disturbing nature. Those of faint heart or weak stomach should cease their perusing here.

Veteran travel writer Paul Theroux has a new book out called GHOST TRAIN TO THE EASTERN STAR On the tracks of “The Great Railway Bazaar”. In which he more or less retreads the trail of the book that kicked off his writing career “The Great Railway Bazaar”. Age has not mellowed him much and Theroux is still an outspoken and grumpy guy who doesn’t pull his punches. Here is a part of a good review from The Times

he reserves his distaste for China and, to a lesser extent, India. He quickly flees the former (“ugly and soulless, China represented the horror of answered prayers”) but retains a sickened fascination for India, which he perceives as trapped between hypermodernity and medievalism.

Also, now that Theroux is a Grand Old Man of Letters, he has a fair few celebrity literary friends to hook up with on his travels. One of these is the deeply cool Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and here’s another extract from The Times review…

In one of the book’s more eyebrow-raising scenes, Murakami and Theroux embark on a tour of Tokyo’s sex industry. The two authors stroll around, examining gag-balls, dildos and French-maid outfits. It is unclear how often the Japanese author indulges in such sightseeing, but for Theroux it is integral to the travelling experience: “a country’s pornography offers the quickest insight into the culture and inner life of a nation”. Tokyo, it seems, is all about bondage with schoolgirls (“young women whom . . . nerds could dominate”)

Well, I’ve written before about the Japanese porn scene and what I think it says of the yin-yang dynamic in Japan. But anyways, when I was living there, one of the first things that surprised me was how much porn was around. I lived in a small commuter town near Tokyo and not only were there 3 porn shops but every video store (5 of them) had a substantial porn section. Indeed one of them had a whole upper level dedicated to the hard stuff. But it wasn’t just the quantity that was surprising, it was the kinkiness and the cruelty. An awful lot of J-porn caters to the rape fantasy and is pretty violent and/or weird. And since I left Japan I occasionally take a peep at some Japanese porn sites to keep my finger on the pulse (so to speak) of what those pervy Japanese are up to. Well, I can hardly bring myself to watch some of this stuff (no really) but a few sites give descriptions of the films, and these are often hilarious/disturbing. How about this for an example of some real sick porn:

Mayura Hoshitsuki and Yuka Osawa are truly kinky girls. Here, together, they push every boundary to the extreme engaging in vomit-enema play! They splash vomit over each other and drink each other’s puke before administering vomit enemas to each other, engaging in lesbian sex, throat-fucking and a threesome. This film includes some of the most extreme sequences in the history of Dogma such as ‘Direct Consumption of Vomit-Juice in which a rubber tube is inserted into the stomach in order to drink bile direct from the body. In ‘Vomit-Enema Play an enema syringe full of vomit is injected into the rectum. And, finally, the most dangerous and deadly of all, ‘Drinking A Cocktail of Vomit and Shit Juice’. The point at which all inhibitions and moral sense is destroyed becomes a revelation of ultimate eroticism!

Hmmm…surely some mistake with the last word of that review! Maybe “vileness” or “absurdity” might be closer. Call me quaint, but it seems to me that vomit enemas, drinking bile direct from the body, and ‘Drinking A Cocktail of Vomit and Shit Juice’ is closer to a revelation of gratuitous depravity than “ultimate eroticism”.

And how about this squirm inducing review of a J-porn film with the charming title: “Make me a Urinal”

This is pretty much nothing but non-stop pissing. The girls in this movie open their mouths and the men just piss in them. This one girl swallows so much piss that I can’t understand how someone would do that or want to. If you like pissing movies (I don’t) this is a must have. Just a word of warning, there is this scene at the end that is just so sick and wrong that I had to fast forward it because I didn’t want to watch it. The Japanese porn industry does some of the most depraved and sick things there is.

But anways, that’s porn for ya! Give the punters what they want!

Although I wouldn’t quite go along with Theroux in saying “a country’s pornography offers the quickest insight into the culture and inner life of a nation” I guess there is some kind of strange “car-crash of the psyche” fascination to be had from some of this twisted Japanese porn. Of course sick porn is not unique to Japan, but I do occasionally hear Chinese say that the Japanese are a rather strange and cruel people. And some of the J-porn titles do hint at more than just being kinky or gross…the following two J-porn movie titles suggest they are about getting thrills from traumatizing people.

Widow Raped in the Mourning Ritual

Shark Raped Deep Wound to the Mind

Hmmm….disturbing stuff. But are the Japanese just more honest in catering to absolutely every fetish, or do they actually have a more twisted side to their national psyche?

I’ll end with a couple of quotes; not that they necessarily provide an answer to that question above, but they do provide evidence for one side of the case quite well. The first is from a Japanese porn director called Tanaka:

“The Japanese audiences,” Tanaka explains, “like darker and immoral themes, more so than the upbeat, action porn films found in the U.S.”

And the second is from a rant about Japan by British TV critic and journo AA Gill. He had a trip to Japan, didn’t like the place, and really let rip in a now quite notorious piece. Here are a couple of paragraphs:

I started off this journey by saying the Japanese were weird. Well, weird is an observation, not an explanation. By the end, I was absolutely convinced that the explanation is that they are not eccentric, not just different, but certifiably bonkers. Japan is a lunatic asylum built on a hideous history, vile philosophy and straitjacket culture.

And

I want to finish back in Hiroshima. After the war, the survivors of the atomic bomb were ostracised. People would hire private detectives to ensure that prospective spouses weren’t from Hiroshima. So the survivors lied and hid their guilty secret and trauma. Imperfect, embarrassing and tainted, they should have died. It’s the absence of the western idea of love – of brotherly, charitable love or sensual love, that finally explains Japan’s appalling, lunatic cruelty.

This is by no means the whole story and I am aware that I am not “being fair” to Japan, indeed I like Japan. But anyways…anyone want to argue back?

August 7, 2007

Why Japan ought to give me a Peace Prize

Filed under: asia,Japan,politics — Kim @ 6:27 pm

I’ve been an English teacher for a fair while now and over the years I’ve come to realize that one of the things that goes along with the job is being an ambassador for my homeland of England.

I realise that may sound a tad pompous, but what I mean is that in my experience a worryingly high number of people -and perhaps especially Asian people – will tend to form an opinion about an entire country and culture based on a couple of people they have met, and in extreme cases on a single random encounter with a complete stranger. So, whether I like it or not I am, to an extent, “representing England” out here in the far flung Orient.

And also, of course, I get a fair few questions from curious students asking me to explain this, that, or the other about England or Britain. They are usually sensible questions and sometimes thought-provoking…and occasionally totally off-the-wall. One Japanese university Freshman, for example, asked me “Do you have trains in England?” and I had to double check if she knew what she was asking and she did and had no idea why it was a strange question. Ho hum.

In any case, I am not a particularly proud Brit, otherwise I would live there I guess, but I do think it’s a reasonably civilized and definitely interesting country and when asked I always try to do my best to explain it -warts and all- to Johnny Foreigner.

All of which being a preamble to the fact that it has come as a bit of a surprise to me lately to find myself acting as an ambassador and apologist for Japan!

I had no idea until I came here how much dislike and often outright hostility many Chinese still feel towards the Japanese. And what surprises me most perhaps is that its the young who seem to get het up the most. I mean, I imagined they wouldn’t care so much about events that happened so long ago. I’ve often heard it mentioned that for young Chinese the events 18 years ago in Tiananmen are just too distant to remember….so why do they fixate on “what Japan did to my country” all those years ago?

Of course part of being young is having a cause to get excited about and part of being a nationalist is hating your enemy, and young Chinese come across as quite nationalistic to me. It’s the summer holidays now and in my part-time job at private school the little darlings are getting some extra English improvement in. So, when I have a class with a few youngsters in and introduce myself by saying that I have lived in Japan, or whenever Japan comes up in any discussions, I know what’s coming when one of them gets a spark in their eye and asks me “Do you like Japan”? I guess they are hoping I say “no I don”t” but from several experiences in the last few weeks I absolutely know they are waiting to tell me how much they dislike Japan.

Now, I lived in Japan for 3 years and liked it. Not unreservedly of course, for example I found many Japanese difficult to get to know and often a little bit too clannish and up their own arses about being Japanese. But, by and large, they are undeniably a polite, upbeat and helpful bunch and I felt welcomed and happy there. But also, even if I had had a shit time in Japan I would still challenge Chinese anti-Japanese comments because it’s basically ignorance and lazy nationalism.

So that is why I get a bit stroppy myself with some of these young Chinese with anti-Japanese characteristics. When they ask me if I like Japan I lay it on a bit thick with my praises of Japan. I like to watch their surprise and indignation when I say how friendly and kind and funny I found Japanese people to be and how much I think they would also get to like Japanese themselves if only they would put their prejudices aside and talk to some young Japanese people. And then I ask them if they actually know any Japanese at all, and they invariably don’t. So how can you say you don’t like them if you don’t know them then, I ask. I then tell them my wife is a proud Chinese but that doesn’t stop her from liking Japan and having Japanese friends.

Just occasionally the argument gets into deeper waters if they go on to mention how they hate Japan because “Japan refuses to apologise for what they did to China” and the Yasakuni shrine, high school history textbooks, comfort women etc etc comes up. This is a tougher one because it is well known that some Japanese politicians and nationalists refuse to apologise and indeed don’t think they have anything to apologise for (the twats) but I point out that every country has nationalists and in a country with freedom of speech (Japan is better than China in this respect I tell them) you have to put up with stupid nationalists spouting off their hate-based, half-baked, ignorant opinions. I then point out that actually many Japanese history teachers/academics/journalists do teach/write that the Japanese invasion of China was “a bad thing” and that many Japanese are apologetic about their recent history. This is true in my experience.

The Japanese are conformist in many ways, but there is definitely much more public debate going on over there about the pros and cons of teaching nationalism/patriotism in schools than is allowed in China.

And for the occasional arseholes who won’t listen to anything I’m saying I deal the killer blow by saying (lying) that I much prefer Japanese food to Chinese food because Chinese cooking is too greasy and oily.

Shock! Horror! Denial!

“Hey”, I tell them, “I’m only joking! You guys don’t seem to have a good a sense of humour as my Japanese students.”

Actually, not all my students by any means are anti-Japanese (I’d say it’s about 50-50) but the more vocal ones usually are and that is why I feel a duty to argue against them when I can.

Now can I have my Peace Prize please, Mr Abe?