HAVE CARTOONS LEGITIMISED PAEDOPHILIA IN JAPAN?
Last month I went to the London Comic Con convention at the Excel centre to hang out with a bunch of other people who are into fantasy, video games and other things that the Japanese tend to do very well.
It’s billed as an event for all ages and free entry is offered to children, so I was expecting to spend most of my day taking photos of people dressed as sailor girls and browsing Dragon Ball Z merchandise. Which I did. But I also stumbled across a veritable sleaze-pit of explicit material involving very young-looking girls – illustrated porn pillows, mouse mats, posters, comics and DVDs – at stalls all over the event. I mean, manga and anime have always been associated with provocative school girls of unspecified ages – think Misty in Pokémon – but these were that without any of the subtlety, plus actual sex and the occasional bit of rape. Which isn’t particularly great when adults are doing it to each other, and even worse when it involves characters that look young enough to still be playing with Polly Pocket.
None of the preteen hentai smut was hidden away in mucky, pokey corners of the show, either – it was littered throughout the event, which created a scene I’ve never had the pleasure of coming across before: a trough of ageing perverts browsing cartoon kiddie porn next to a bunch of children queuing up for a Dr Who DVD signing. It was like I was trapped in some “edgy” art show devised by a person who still thinks art is capable of shocking people.