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Unformatted text preview: imaginations and their skill with the brush, they are
able to craft scenes of both “normal” and deviant sexual activities that
leave very little to readers’ imaginations.
Erotic art has a long tradition in Japan. Woodblock artists in the Tokugawa period, for example, produced great quantities of erotic prints,
called “spring pictures” (shunga), that are fully explicit and show men
and women in every conceivable—and some inconceivable—position of
intimacy. Some prints depict people with oversized sexual organs; others
show them engaged in sex with animals. In Japan today, public display
of spring pictures is generally suppressed. But the spirit of spring pic- 348 Culture in the Present Age tures lives on in the work of the many manga artists who have been influenced by them.
Science fiction, violent action, samurai stories, sports—these are
among the standard fare of boys’ comics. Although recently some of this
fare has also been served up to girls, the style and subject matter of girls’
comics have always differed greatly from those of boys. At one time,
girls’ comics (whose artists now are almost all women) were concerned
exclusively with romance and love, and these subjects remain the basis
for nearly all comics for girls. In girls’ comics the main characters are
always depicted as young, with pretty, innocent faces, and huge, dreamy
eyes. Many look more Caucasian than Japanese (the West being viewed
in this regard as a place of romance), and they live in a total fantasy
world to which Japanese girls appear to be especially attracted because
the customs and mores of their country have kept them largely segregated from boys through at least the teen years.
In girls’ comics, in particular, homosexuality, bisexuality, and crossdressing are common, and boys and girls are often, if not usually, androgynously portrayed. A taste for the androgynous has deep roots in Japanese culture....
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13