BBC’s mythologies about Japan

One of our regular readers of 3Yen, Bizarrejapan, posted this interesting-if-a-bit-baudy YouTube video of the BBC documentary program “Sex In Japan” . Of course, you may find its content notsafeforwork, but what is perhaps less safe about it are some of the BBC’s repeating ridiculous myths/urban legends such as 30% of Japanese high school girls are involved in enjo kosei—compensated dating* or that Japan “invented” bondage.**

*As loose as Japanese high school girls may want to be, such a large percentage as 30% simply don’t have the free time to escape their studies to engage in prostitution. The absurd figure of 30% engaged in prostitution was reported in a single super-sleazy tabloid newspaper—it was not a scientific study. A more realistic figure for enjo kosei—prostitution would be 5-8% have tried it a few times.
**The claim the Japan “invented” bondage is just silly. The Japanese have been fond of rope bondage such as erotic of shibari, which was in turn developed from the now-defunct Japanese police/military restraint techniques of hoj┼Źjutsu from the 1700s. However, The Greeks had forms of bondage play 3,000 years ago and of course the novel “Fanny Hill,” published in 1749, has a bondage with flagellation scene (meaning it was a practice in that period).

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

5 thoughts on “BBC’s mythologies about Japan”

  1. You have to remember that the program was made in early 2000 right around the height of the enjo kosei fad so the figures aren’t exactly the myth you are portraying them to be.

  2. >>You have to remember that the program was made in early 2000 right<< I was here in Japan for the past 20 odd years and that “30% high school girls are hookers” has never been accurate. The SINGLE flawed study that is quoted in the BBC report came from tabliod newspaper conducting interviews taken of FEWER than 30 girls at ONE Japanese high school. The more interesting fact is most Japanese young women have seriously considered “mizu shobai” (literally the “water trade” meaning the sleaze industry) as a possible/easy/interesting way to earn money.

  3. what’s interesting is that not only BBC took that info as a valuable piece of information but a whole lot other TV shows, books, “serious” newspaper articles in the West did the same thing. I guess that’s how you create an “urban myth”…

  4. I found this site totally by accident when I was searching for Japanese “t-backs” (g-strings). I hear the best things in life are accidents though and this site is no different.

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