Translated News, Interviews, Blogs, and More From Japan's Other Side

A Case for Mosaic Part 1

My Dearest Desire Original Writing - Original Japanese Date: January 1st, 2014
English Translation Published: June 1st, 2014

The type of mosaic or pixelation used in Japanese AV is one of extreme controversy due to the blocking of genitals but is it necessarily a bad thing?

Japan has an interesting history flirting with the more amorous side of life. Prostitution, legal for as long as history spans, was shut down soon after the war to the point where even possessing materials considered obscene would result in fines for some and even worse for the truly unlucky. Of course, with every supposedly iron-clad rule, loopholes aplenty exist.

To this day, paid intercourse between a prostitute and a John is still illegal. Brothels advertising penis-vagina intercourse services are quickly disposed of. Again, loopholes exist.

Numerous loopholes.

There is no doubt that the emergence of strange and bizarre Japanese erotica has its roots in skirting around the prostitution laws set forth by foreign powers. How do you think the idea of hentai tentacle porn came about? If actual intercourse is proscribed, then a priapic substitute is in order.

The same loopholes used to bypass the draconian obscenity laws in animated print have been used and to some extent, gradually exploited: early adult Japanese photography often featured models with armpit hair in a clever way to avoid showing pubic hair. A viewer seeing a woman's armpit hair could imagine it being something naughtier.

The trend of these types of 'hair nudes' hit their peak in the 1980's but as times progressed and elsewhere in the world adult erotica became even more liberated, the Japanese viewers wanted more. 'Hair nudes' soon became the key word to reference photo albums featuring actual pubic hair and fortunately, armpit hair became a thing of the past.

Mosaic has followed a similar path.

Showing genitals has always been a no-no for adult fare in Japan. Even productions that are not overtly erotic in nature are regulated by the same set of laws—back then and now. Genitals of both genders cannot be shown unobstructed. Once upon a time, even showing them with pixelation was essentially forbidden, but the laws centering around what can and can't be shown have steadily been relaxed—all off the books of course.

Viewing Japanese AV movies from the late 90's and early 2000's showed the tail-end of the dark ages of Japanese mosaic. Pixelation was thick and covered nearly everything 'down there'. Traveling towards modern times, technology improved (or studios just became more daring) and the degree of 'blur' lessened. What once was incredibly large and blocky chunks of mosaic became smaller 'form-fitting' obstructions that allow the viewer to see more and more.

Nevertheless, appreciators of Japanese AV from abroad have learned to deal with it. Once upon a time, finding a movie released out of Japan without mosaic was rare. In fact, these movies usually were just titles starring total amateurs and not the big name AV stars fans so truly love. Fortunately, on the front of uncensored movies, a growing number of Japanese AV stars still in their prime are agreeing to star in titles that are released sans mosaic.


To be continued...

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  • Moose Foster said:

    Personally I am not a fan of using mosaics. A woman's vulva and pubic are beautiful. Every female has one. Why the big deal? If the mosaics were discontinued I am positive that that Japanese porn would become even more popular than it is now. I know that I would enjoy the videos so much more. 99.99999999999999% of the people living on this planet are the result of a man and a woman having sexual intercourse. A perfectly normal thing. Nothing dirty or obscene about it. My vote is to discontinue using mosaics.

    September 12th, 2014 - Reply

      • My Dearest Desire replied (September 12th, 2014):
      • I think having mosaics overall is *not* in everyone's best interests, but you can't deny it adds a bit of fantasy. Having the actor's genitalia blurred makes it easier to imagine you're the one doing the deed.


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