Chapter

Pubic Veilings and Public Surveillance: Obscenity Laws and Obscene Fantasies in Japan

Anne Allison

in Permitted and Prohibited Desires

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219908
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923447 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520219908.003.0007
Pubic Veilings and Public Surveillance: Obscenity Laws and Obscene Fantasies in Japan

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This chapter concludes the hook and is a multilayered analysis of Article 175, the law against obscenity that has remained basically consistent since its inception during Japan's period of modernization. Its injunction against the realistic depiction of genitalia (including pubic hair) seems mysterious given that, under the same law, almost every other sexual or bodily depiction, including sadomasochism and analism, is permitted. The chapter questions the notion of “obscenity” here, tracing how it allows for a very real policing of mass media at the national and public borders of Japan, as well as how it produces pubic fantasies in very particular forms. It concludes that these sexual fantasies which circulate as mass culture wind up protecting and, in some sense, reinscribing a “real” center to the home. Mothers, of course, are the ones occupying this center.

Keywords: Article 175; genitalia; sadomasochism; obscenity; censorship; mass media; sexual fantasy; Japanese mothers

Chapter.  10814 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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