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769: íTwas the Night Before Christmas in Japan
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541: Developmentally challenged
By D. Bracken Dibert

What lies beneath

X-rated Japanese movies give a blurry view of sex

D. Bracken Dibert is a photographer and traveler who teaches English in Tokyo

You know what I’m talking about, right? No, not Seinfeld re-runs or the latest Coronation Street, but genitals. Yes, those things we all have dangling, or not, between our legs, but which cause great embarrassment and anxiety in our so-highly-developed cultures.

I’m not trying to be a perv or anything—really!—and I’m not just talking about porn; it wasn’t even porn that that made me want to write this, but a mainstream film. (More about that later.) I know genitals are not always the prettiest things in the world, but they do have a certain charm, and it just bugs me to see them with a mosaic or some other such obstruction blocking them out.

I’ve gathered from my recent attempts to get a date that there really is something to this whole graying of Japanese society thing. Japan needs an influx of cute little babies to keep the economic wheels spinning with youthful vigor and to keep grandma and grandpa from having to punch a clock until they are 90. The problem is not that Japanese kids aren’t having sex—they are and at younger ages than ever—but I’m not so sure they really know what they’re doing. Perhaps if the offending mosaic, which not only kills the mood but often looks unerringly like some kind of lost scratch ‘n’ sniff, were removed, the kids might have a better idea of what they are getting into.

I’m not guaranteeing this would help increase the birthrate, but what have you got to lose, Japan? I do believe that being able to see a few strategically placed condoms might actually encourage safe sex in a country where it seems woefully lacking. I know that some things should be left to the imagination, but this is one area where I beg to differ.

In Japan, I can find racks full of magazines and manga and movies aplenty. Can I find one that will show me the labia majora? Sorry, impossible. Ten-tentacled space aliens doing weird things to a schoolgirl? Sure, aisle 5, rows 1-6. A clitoris? No can do, but if you’d like a nurse to dance on your testicles—blurred out of course—you can live that fantasy in aisle 2, next to the hot-springs spy cams. You get the idea. Just don’t get too many because you might think you’re missing something.

Americans may well be some of the biggest hypocrites when it comes to sex and the body, I know, but that’s not what I’m getting at here. If I want to rent Titanic with what’s-her-name’s breasts cut out at Mary the Mormon’s vid’ shop, I can. If I want to go down the road to the big chain store that just wants my money to see the uncut version, that’s cool too. And if I want to scoot down to Billy Bob’s to pick up Titanic Genitals uncut and uncensored, well, I can do that too.

Japan and its people seem so open and healthy about sex in many ways, yet there’s not a vagina or penis to be seen in any “legal” publication that I’m aware of. I’m not advocating hardcore porn with the evening news or even having it available at the local convenience store, but I also don’t think sex is something to be ashamed of. I can’t think of another country where the suggestion of sex is more blatant than here, so why are intercourse and genitals off-limits? If I can get unsolicited Lolita porn in my mailbox and see seductively posed, half naked women on the train, not to mention the seriously kinky comic books I’ve peeked at over shoulders, then why on earth can’t I see some plain Jane sex?

Particularly in light of the Internet, which now really makes the obscenity rules so simple to circumvent, I cannot fathom why Japan keeps up this ridiculous farce. In fact, I can’t imagine why this convention ever existed in the first place…

Oh, that’s right. I said at the beginning that I wasn’t only talking about porn didn’t I? Sorry, got carried away.

What set me off was watching Seven on DVD the other day and noticing that when the big fat guy was in the morgue for his autopsy, he had a will-o’-the-wisp floating over his genitals. Now, while I have to admit that seeing a big, fat, dead guy’s schlong is not my thing, neither is having someone decide for me what I should and shouldn’t see.

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