June 5, 2007

Cute little Asian girls

Filed under: asia,China,culture — Kim @ 5:18 pm

A recent post over at Sinocidal has this charming depiction of a prototype modern Chinese chick…

You little minx. You teasing little tart with your pink mobile phone plastered with stickers of you and your gal pals in silly poses taken at the local photo booth arcade and festooned with dangling Hello Kitty charms. You in your shorts worn with black stockings that run up to mid thigh and your t-shirt with cutesy but bizarre English phrases splashed across your budding chest. You’re 23 but you look and act 16 all while living with mommy and daddy and going to your mind numbing day job

Which strongly reminded me of my early impressions in Japan.

I went to Japan to teach at a small private university, near Tokyo Disneyland, and was quite taken aback in the beginning by the difference between Japanese uni students and their English (and Hungarian) counterparts. They seemed immature and innocent, and the girls especially so.

So I wrote a rant which I am hereby offering for your inspection and for your cross-cultural comparison with China. Dozo/Qing…

Have you ever wanted to blow up Disneyland and kick Mickey Mouse in the balls? If you’re a well-adjusted individual then of course you have. But this kind of healthy reaction to the hype and sickly sweetness of the Disney dream seems to be lacking in Japan. Even cynics and tough guys lap up Disney here. The culture of the cute, of which Disney is surely the most successful exploiter, is big in Japan.

Puppies and babies and the like are popular the world over, of course, and only the grumpiest of cynics would remain unmoved by cuteness. A little bit of cute can be…well, cute. But in Japan it is all too often much too much, like adding ten sugars to a mochachino.

It’s the women who bear the brunt of it, it’s the young girls who at birth are chucked in at the deep end of this pink and sparkly (Disney) sea. Japanese shops are stuffed with Kitty Chan, Miffy, and Disney characters. The average girl’s bedroom is stuffed with fluffy toys, and her mind is stuffed with cute.

Many Japanese young women are cute to the point of appearing seriously retarded to Western eyes. These J-girls wave with both hands, say “bye-bye” in squeaky baby voices, and run with turned-in-toes and spacky knock-knees as if they were still 6 years old. The average specimen will have innumerable little photos (purikura) in which their dappy smiles and raised two fingers are digitally fringed with brightly cheery images, and kitschy figures will dangle from their mobile phones – often so many its a wonder how they carry them. Journals I get as a teacher are adorned with smiley faces and cutesy cartoon stickers, and I teach at a University.

Japan is a cocoon in which Japanese girls are cosseted and coddled to an extraordinary degree. Outside of Japan is dangerous, so best not to go… hearing bad news is upsetting, so best not to read the newspapers. Jaunty J-pop has maybe the world’s most banal lyrics. The occasional sarcasm and cynicism that does crop up in the culture will fly right over their pretty little heads. All of which adds up to a thorough infantilisation of the Japanese young female, and all of which makes her the perfect construct for late capitalism: the type of person whose main hobby is shoppingu.

But look around a little and you can find a subculture that is reacting to and brutally subverting this culture of the cute. It is a male thing, of course, and it is in every high street conbini (convenience store) and video store. It is Japanese porn. J-porn can be split into two main types, one involves real women and one involves Manga figures, and it is the Manga porn that is maybe the more disturbing.

Mainstream Manga is enormously popular with the teenage consumer and is populated by feisty young crew-cut boys playing their hearts out at various sports and cutesy little girls with wide eyes and delicate bodies who simper around. With Manga porn, it is middle aged salarymen who are the main consumers, so what happens to cute little Manga girl when she’s subjected to a lusty male gaze? Brutal defilement, in case you’re unsure. Where else in the world, I wonder, can you walk into a corner shop and flick through rows of comics that depict teen – and pre-teen looking – girls being tied up, tortured, beaten, and raped? Sometimes by men, and sometimes by aliens with intruding tentacles.

In most pornmanga there is so much lovejuice spurting from every orifice that the pages seem to squelch. It is pornsex taken to comic extremes and that is what manga can uniquely do perhaps. It would seem that the sight of a young girl covered in come is something that really appeals to the Japanese consumer of porn. Perhaps it’s cute. In a genre known as bukkake, a woman is tied up or held down and squadrons of salary men will cover her with come.

What is all this juice and all this joy?” asked Gerard Manley Hopkins of the coming of spring and the rising of the sap of sexuality. So in manga, what is all this juice and all this pain? A subversion of procreative sexuality where there is never any impregnation because the semen is splattered all over the body and there is no pleasure for the female, only pain.

Well, it’s not exploiting women because these are only lines on a page, after all, but isn’t it degrading to everyone to have endless images of women being trussed up and savagely violated for sale in the local high-street store? This kind of thing is a part of the adult video market too, and Japanese porn-actresses certainly earn their money. The average video store will have a very large porn section and if you indulge in some “anthropological research” and rent a video, then it’s odds on you’ll hear a lot of high pitched squealing that sounds more like pain than pleasure and be treated to a lengthy gang-bang rape. The women cry dame (don’t) and yammette (stop), but usually end up enjoying it.

Here, of course, Japan is not so unusual….de Sadean tastes and nasty porn can be found easily enough in Europe and America, but in Japan all this sicko-male brutality is in symbiosis with the sickly sweet female cuteness.

And it’s not just the occasional otaku type, it’s mainstream. My small commuter town in Japan has no less than 7 adult video/sex shops. One of the mainstream video stores has an entire upstairs section devoted to porn.

Simone de Beauvoir would bring in “the gaze” here. The male (media) gaze is what turns the Japanese woman into an infant or a rape victim. I mean, on a very simple level, women don’t get raped unless men are around, and most women won’t try to act cute/retarded unless men are around. The male stare, the male gaze. The lascivious look and the approving attitude towards lovely little girls with sweet smiles and empty heads.

The mixture of the cute and the cruel can be seen as two extremes that have become intimately connected. Cold cruel Yang beating up on cute and cuddly Yin. Sex and Shopping. Shopping for fucking. Fucking the shoppingu. All part and parcel of a profoundly patriarchal and thoroughly materialistic society.

Old rant over.

Reading this again with the wisdom of a few more years I can see how sweeping it is in its generalisations and how downright silly it sometimes is, but hey, it’s a rant. And I wasn’t that happy in Japan for the first few months so I needed to get some stuff off my chest…to unbosom myself…and I needed to get a girlfriend! I ended up with my Chinese wife, we met in Tokyo during my second year in Japan.

Now I’ve been in China a few months I feel China is going that way a bit. More porn, more cutesy stuff, more money, more materialism.

More Japanese.

That should wind up the nationalists a bit 😉


  1. Dude, you’re like the anti-me!
    I met my Japanese girlfriend here in China.
    And you met your Chinese wife in Japan.

    Well, you would be the anti-me, if I didn’t want to kick mickey mouse in the balls too.

    But yeah, the cute-factor in China is definitely on the upswing.

    Comment by Rick — June 5, 2007 @ 11:33 pm

  2. The question is: what happens to those tentacle monsters after they rape Japanese schoolgirls? Are they overcome with feelings of guilt and remorse, or do they eventually settle down with a nice girl and gain a job in middle management? Research needs to be done!

    Comment by Meursault — June 6, 2007 @ 2:32 am

  3. @Rick Hello there anti-me, maybe you’ll move to Japan soon then. And as for your new site feature, well I do like your site but I won’t buy you a pay-pal beer, how about a real one over at The Tin Whistle/anywhere someday? With Alex the webmeister as well I hope.

    @Meursault You’re right, and that kind of research would probably get sponsored by a gender studies department, but you have to be seriously kinky to get into one.

    Comment by Kim — June 6, 2007 @ 8:36 am

  4. Hey Kim, Real beer counts for sure.
    And yeah, we might be making a move across the water after a year or so. Not entirely sure.

    @Meursault: I’d love to spend just one day inside your head… 🙂

    Comment by Rick — June 10, 2007 @ 9:30 am

  5. There can be only one true response to that blog!

    Decapitated head squeeks, “moto cho dai!!!”

    Now, there has to be a fair amount of disney porn out there.. why haven’t I seen any? Ah, check the bottom drawer.

    Rant on buddy,

    Comment by Craig (aka #1) — June 11, 2007 @ 4:55 pm

  6. Speaking of gender studies departments, here is an informative interview:


    Comment by Commander Stubblefield — June 12, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  7. this world sux too much sex NOTHING IS EVER RIGHT OVER HERE WHY WERE WE BORN?! dumbassedness…stupid, gross, UGLY…Go…i’m not gna say anymore >_>;;;

    Comment by e-monsterX — December 27, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

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