Almost everyone has heard of hentai, but very few people actually know what it really means and its origins in Japanese society. The word itself has a long history of varied definitions, but generally describes a person or action that is considered sexually abnormal. Hentai is, in essence, a sub-genre of erotic literature that covers an extremely broad range of animated sexual content considered fantastic and perverse, such as gang-rape or bizarre sexual partners.
Origins of Hentai
Hentai has its origins in “hentai seiyoku”, which translates roughly as “abnormal sexual desires”, that was a known branch of human sexuality during Japan’s Meiji Period in the late 19th Century. Modern hentai can trace its roots back to the earliest days of manga, the name for Japanese comics, which in turn have their roots all the way back in humorous comics drawn in 12th Century Japan. The earliest modern manga dates from just after WWII, when new-found freedoms of expression found their way into comic form, and hentai soon followed on this train of open expression in comic form with an investigation of various Japanese sexual taboos.
Modern hentai now encompasses an enormous range of drawn pornography ranging from comics to television series to full length films. The subjects of hentai are equally broad, and include incest, rape, homosexuality, bestiality, monsters and almost everything that is imaginable having to do with sexuality.
You can find hentai either online or in pornography stores and sex shops, and some hentai manages to qualify enough as a comic or art form that it can be found in shops that do not focus strictly on pornography, though it will usually be in an adult section and/or enclosed in a plastic casing so that minors cannot access it. Some hentai is extremely popular, and many people use it as their main or only source of pornography.
The Laws and Social Norms Surrounding Hentai
Like all pornography, hentai faces varying acceptance in different countries, jurisdictions and communities. Some people consider it a harmless form of self-expression or sexual exploration, while others consider it fuel for sexual violence and exploitation. Hentai is generally legal anywhere that pornography is legal, and falls under the same general laws, regulations and social norms. However, since hentai is drawn and does not involve actual people, it often pushes the boundaries of what is considered socially-tolerable pornographic imagery.
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