Adult video bridges the chasm between Japan and China – on porn and sex ed in China (Part 1)

November 18, 2010Jing Gao6 Comments, , , , , , , , , ,

Diplomatic relations between Japan and China have frosted to a freezing point since September after dispute over sovereignty of Senkaku, or Diaoyu, a group of uninhabited islets which is currently controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

If any tie between the two Asian powers is unaffected, it would be the one formed by porn. Last week, Sora Aoi, a Japanese porn star who gained fame in China through bootleg and pirated media products on the black market and the world wide Web, started micro-blogging at Sina, the largest infotainment portal site in China. A large spate of net users flooded her home page. In less than six hours after the launch of her micro blog, her fan base there grew to 129,363 users, outnumbering her Twitter followers. Her post had been re-shared 45,000 times, and had garnered more than 30,000 comments.

Sora Aoi poses for the press at an online video game event in Shanghai, June, 2010

This is not actually her first time to make to the headlines and stir up frenzy. A handful of Chinese stumbled upon Sora Aoi’s twitter page this April. What happened next was a typical example of “Where there is a will, there is a way”: passionate Chinese netizens broke through the Great Firewall, a sophisticated infrastructure Chinese authorities use to fend off Internet content they deem undesirable, including Twitter that features user-generated content, and logged in to follow her. On April 14, an earthquake greater than magnitude 7 struck China’s northwest. Sora Aoi started raising funds to help the victims and called on Japanese to join her. This earned accolade from Chinese netizens who praised her as “an artist reputed for her high calibre, both moral and professional.”

A thirst quencher
It is not an accident that Sister Sora, as Chinese netizens affectionately called her, becomes all the rage in China. China has never legalized production or distribution of adult videos. In fact, many sex-related industries, including prostitution, strip joints, and media products containing any nudity, are outlawed, even though it is an open secret in China that transgressions of some sort, which are enabled by growing social tolerance, lax law enforcement and collusion between the police and illegal businesses, are going on every day. Since a Chinese consumer can hardly find such a thing as Chinese-made porn, exotica from the neighboring country just across a narrow strip of water (A commonly seen diplomatic rhetoric used for Sino-Japanese relations) come in handy.
Some of my male friends, who has to be really close to me and outspoken in the first place to bring that up, advocate for legalization of pornography, using an argument similar to that in favor of marijuana: by legalizing and regulating adult videos, the government acknowledges basic human needs and vindicate pornography viewers, better controls unauthorized products, and increases tax revenue.

I, however, think it is impossible that any one in the ruling class would suggest such a move. It would be an affront to China’s traditional weighty social and family values. It would leave an impression that Chinese society has degraded under the Communist rule. It would be an about-face on China’s continuous vow to purify the nation. Whoever proposes it would likely give a handle to his political opponents for the usurpation of his power, as factional struggle is fierce within the Party and any change of path can be conveniently branded “off-message.”

But younger demographic exposed to foreign culture is no longer ashamed of their porn-viewing habits and openly professes their love of Japanese porn stars such as “Sister Sora,” though sporadic crackdown on yellow culture (Chinese expression for pornography as opposed to “blue” in English) are mounted by the nation’s vice squads to appease the old guard. Authorities aligned itself with the shifting notion of sex by winking at pornography. Sign? A micro-blog account given to Sora Aoi at a state-approved Web portal. Let’s be honest: watching adult video is unlikely to undermine the social stability. So why not throw hungry people a bone?

A mentor
Chinese netizens half-jokingly called Sora Aoi “An enlightening teacher to the youth.” In a sense, many Japanese porn stars do play an important role in sex education where China lags far behind.

Want to learn more about China’s sex education? The second part of the series is coming soon.

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4 comments to “Adult video bridges the chasm between Japan and China – on porn and sex ed in China (Part 1)”

  1. Pervent | November 18, 2010 | Permalink Reply

    China is the biggest fan in porn

  2. [...] – Speaking of porn, I saw on a bus yesterday an advertisement for a computer game starring Sora Aoi, who it would seem has single-handedly (or double-breastedly) kept the fragile peace in Northeast Asia. [...]

  3. Matthew Katin | February 11, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    As far as I am concerned, it is because of the stereotype of most Chinese who are inclined to think that it is obscene to watch a adult video. Actually, most people have watched tons of exotic stuff while they are in a pretty young age. I bet my bottom dollar that you can rarely find a guy who has never watched a adult video in China right now. For some reason, people are now sort of tolerant to what was used to be regarded as a taboo to talk about sex. Look around in campus, you cannot imagine that how many girls get pregnant before marriage. It is also hard to give a standard to distinguish what should be banned in this weird country. Sometimes, a little paradoxical to say that.

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