Philosophical study of life, death, and nature
Confessions of a Frigid Man
Section 1: Japan, a great “lolicon” power
1. Japan, a great “lolicon” power
Japan has become a “leading nation” when it comes to lolicon. This country has long been known internationally for its production of pornography featuring young girls. But pornography is not what I want to talk about here. Mainstream television and other media are full of instances in which young girls are viewed sexually to such an extent that the current state of affairs seems to me quite bizarre. Yukiko Hayami has identified lolicon as the “national illness” of Japan (Men Who Cannot Love [Ren’ai Dekinai Otokotachi], Daiwashobō, 2002, p. 40).
In this chapter I will examine lolicon, but this is a problem that is very difficult to discuss. Feminism views lolicon as an illness of adult men. This is of course not incorrect, but in fact it is not only men who are sexually attracted to pretty young girls; I am personally acquainted with adult women who are sexually attracted to beautiful young girls, and it is a well-known fact that young female entertainers acquire many adult women as fans. One young woman told me that other women look at her with sexual interest. Young girls seem to be the sexual targets of both men and women.
It may be assumed, however, that there are significant differences between cases in which men are sexually attracted to young girls and cases in which women feel this kind of attraction. Putting aside these differences as a topic for future inquiry, here I would like to begin by examining, with myself as an example, what occurs in the minds of men like me when they are attracted to young girls.
2 “I” understand how men with lolicon feel
In this book I am attempting to look deep inside myself and examine my own internal sexuality. By dispassionately analyzing what goes on inside myself, I hope to contribute to the elucidation of male sexuality.
When it comes to the topic of lolicon, however, this examination of my own internal sexuality is extremely difficult and painful, because in order to pursue it I must publically acknowledge that I understand lolicon, or, in other words, that I have experienced sexual attraction to young girls. I will discuss this in more detail later on, but I must begin by admitting that I have experienced erotic feelings towards still-innocent young girls around the age of twelve. I am also a professor at a university. For someone even slightly connected to education to openly declare that he is sexually attracted to young girls is one of this society’s greatest taboos.
But this is something I want to publicly admit. I understand the feeling of lolicon. Without acknowledging this, it would be impossible to elucidate lolicon’s internal psychological aspects. Of course, I have never actually engaged in sexual relations with a young girl or attempted to do so. But I cannot avoid acknowledging the fact that, however slight, this kind of sexual interest exists within me.
As I mentioned in Chapter 3, one of the professions that makes it hardest to publicly admit this kind of thing is that of a “teacher” at a school. Even if this kind of sexual interest in young girls exists within a teacher, at school he must act as if it does not, and he cannot discuss it even when he goes drinking with friends. These men’s lolicon swells under this pressure and may eventually erupt in the form of sexual behaviors like peeping or prostitution involving young girls. Of course, I have no desire to defend the men who commit these sorts of crimes. Individuals working in the field of education must indeed hold themselves to a higher moral standard in this regard.
If so, should we then say that “teachers” must not feel sexual attraction to young girls? Or that if they do have such feelings they must bury them deep inside themselves and never discuss them openly with other people? I myself do not have a definite answer, but sometimes I think that our response to these questions must simply be “yes.” But before arriving at this conclusion, I would like to thoroughly clarify the essential nature of the lolicon that existed within me. I would also like you to ask yourself whether there is not even a slight sexual attraction to young girls (or cute young boys) within you, and carefully examine whether you are being entirely truthful when you say “I find them cute but I am not sexually attracted to them at all.”
3 Girls harmed by lolicon men
Here I must note that there are many young girls who are sexually harmed by men with lolicon. There is an extremely large number of women who have painful memories of being molested by strangers or groped on the train when they were young, or who were repeatedly sexually abused by their fathers or other family members. The harm done to these women is indeed great. Detailed accounts of individual cases can be found in the excellent reportage of Takako Yoshida (See Children and Sexual Harm [Kodomo to Seihigai], Shūeisha Shinso, 2001).
As it is difficult to talk about this kind of incident with other people, there are presumably many women who have kept this damage they received as children to themselves and continue to carry it long after they have become adults. Some of the readers of this book may be women who have had this kind of experience, and others may have such individuals among their acquaintances. What will these women think when they read this chapter? Other readers may have a family member who was the victim of abduction by a lolicon criminal. When I imagine these sorts of readers I am reluctant to continue writing this chapter.
But in the end I keep going, because I think that in order to reduce these crimes it is necessary for us to better understand what is happening in the minds of men with these tendencies and how the mechanisms that give rise to these sexual crimes spread throughout society. For the sake of eliminating this kind of harm we must uncover, to the greatest extent possible, what lies buried in the minds of lolicon men. I do not want to conduct this investigation by harshly condemning these men from a distance while turning a blind eye to the susceptibility to lolicon I have within myself.
4 Dividing lolicon into two types
I would like to begin with a bit of clarification regarding the concept of lolicon. Lolicon is a mental state of being sexually attracted to young girls. The word is also used to refer to men who have this mental state (in this chapter I focus mainly on lolicon men).
Here I would like to divide lolicon men into two types. One type actually sexually abuses young girls or pays them for sex. There is nothing to stop us from describing these men as criminals who prey on actual young girls to satisfy their own physical desires. In Men in the Dark [Mænd i mørket] (Tiderne Skifter, 2003), Jacob Billing reports on the actual state of affairs regarding pedophiles in Denmark. I cannot in any sense support these individuals who tear apart the lives of real, flesh and blood children without compunction in order to satisfy their own desires. What I write in this chapter is in no way intended to defend these sorts of men.
The other type of lolicon men is those who feel sexually attracted to young girls but do not actually engage in sexual relations with them. This category includes men who collect photographs of young girls and videos of “idol bands.” Among such men, there are presumably those who are satisfied with consuming only images, those who refrain from engaging in sexual relations with young girls through rational self-control, and those who simply have not yet considered having sexual relations with an actual young girl. The chance that these men will at some point become criminals is of course not zero. There may indeed be this kind of “reserve corps” of sex criminals.
What I want to discuss in this chapter is mainly the second type of lolicon men. They cannot be called criminals, but it is because of them that the “loliconification” of society as a whole continues to progress. Such people may indeed be unimaginably numerous. They include the majority of men who like “idols” [“aidoru” in Japanese; cute young girls, mostly singers or actresses, who appear in various popular media including music, film and television]. I would not deny having belonged to this category myself. I hope that you too will reexamine what exactly your own feelings are as you read what follows. Research has been carried out concerning the psychology of people who commit sex crimes involving children, but up to now almost nothing has been said about this more general form of lolicon. I want to make this my objective here. With this end in mind, I will also discuss the psychology of criminals when necessary, as there is a great deal of overlap between what goes on in the minds of both of these types of lolicon men.
5 How old are the girls on whom lolicon men fixate?
So how old are the “young girls” I have been talking about? In his novel Lolita, Nabokov makes Lolita twelve years old. A website called “Moeeki” has put together a survey of the age distribution of young female anime and video game characters (characters who appear to be young girls). The results show five characters who are nine years old, nine who are ten, fifteen who are eleven, twelve who are twelve, nine who are thirteen, nine who are fourteen, and seven who are fifteen. It seems safe to conclude that popular characters of this type in Japan are mainly eleven and twelve years old, and the age range of girls who inspire lolicon is roughly ten to fourteen. This range extends from the fourth year of elementary school to the second year of junior high school.
It is very interesting to note that on average Japanese girls begin to menstruate at twelve years and a half of age. This almost perfectly fits the age range of girls who are the target of lolicon; lolicon men are fixated on girls who are just beginning to menstruate. In other words, these men could also be seen as impatiently waiting until girls are capable of bearing children. I would like to put this idea aside for now and return to it later.
Here I should note that men who are sexually attracted to girls (or boys) under the age of ten or so are often referred to as “pedophiles” and distinguished from lolicon men. Lolicon and pedophilia are completely different. I myself cannot imagine what kind of feelings or thoughts exist in the minds of pedophiles. I will therefore limit my discussion in this chapter to lolicon, something I can discuss based on my own experiences.
6 Why are they drawn to young girls?
I would like to note at the start that lolicon has been explained as being the result of immature men who cannot have romantic relationships with full grown women seeking to use young girls who are weak and obedient as sexual outlets. There are almost certainly some men who molest or sexually abuse young girls for this reason. This pattern may be especially prevalent in pedophiles who molest young girls who have just started elementary school.
At the same time, however, this does not seem an adequate explanation of the attraction to girls in junior high school or the upper years of elementary school. The teachers and school board employees arrested for buying sex from schoolgirls, for example, are often men who occupy a position of high social status and have families. These men bought sex with young girls while at the same time engaging in sexual relationships with adult women; they cannot be described as immature men who approach young girls because they cannot have a relationship with a full-grown woman.
In 2001, Tokyo High Court judge Yasuhiro Muraki was arrested for paying for sex with girls between the ages of fourteen and sixteen and sentenced to prison by the Tokyo District Court. Muraki was forty-three years old at the time. There is almost no position with a higher social standing than that of judge, and by the normal standards of society Muraki was a very successful man. A few years later, in 2004, a reasonably successful movie director named Akiyoshi Imazeki was arrested on suspicion of paying for sex with two girls aged twelve and fourteen and sentenced to prison by the Yokohama District Court. Why would Imazeki, who had produced a solid body of work as a film director, become involved in child prostitution? He is forty-four years old and therefore belongs to my generation. These men presumably sought out young girls because they were looking for something they could not find in adult women. We must try to clarify what this something is.
7 Is lolicon an “illness”?
The desire to gaze at and admire a pretty young girl you see in front of you is presumably a very normal emotion. However, lolicon men begin fantasizing about going on a date with her, becoming her lover, bringing her home, or making her their younger sister or daughter. As for how far these sorts of fantasies go, they eventually reach the point of wanting to touch the girl and ultimately ejaculate on her.
Put this way, most men would presumably say that lolicon is clearly an illness and something that has nothing to do with them. But what happens if you think about it in a different way? For example, imagine that an adult woman who is “your type” is standing in front of you dressed in a way you find attractive. Upon seeing her, you will presumably feel a spark of excitement and your heart will begin to beat a bit faster. Now imagine you are alone with her on a date. You have dinner, chat while staring into each other’s eyes, and go for a drink. It would not be strange for the idea that if possible you would like to have sex with her to begin to form in your mind. After dinner you take her for a ride in your car, and this is an implicit invitation. You may even want to take her somewhere right away if she doesn’t have any strong objection. You may have an erection at this point. An expectation of sexual intercourse and ejaculation begins to build in the mind of a man in this situation. There are surely few people who would criticize as an “illness” this kind of physical response in a man when it is directed toward an adult woman.
When a woman you find attractive appears in front of you and you notice this and your heart begins to beat faster, I think this is because in some corner of your mind you have a vague feeling that “I might have the chance to have sex with this woman and ejaculate, and it would be great if I could.” Even if you know that there is no way it could actually happen, a fleeting fantasy nevertheless crosses your mind. It is this vague feeling of anticipation that makes a man’s pulse quicken. But since the man is in a slightly excited state of mind, it is hard for him to be consciously aware of this psychological mechanism.
8 What lies at the bottom of the “feeling of excitement”
When a pretty young girl appears before the eyes of a lolicon man, or when he sees the image of a pretty young girl on TV, a DVD, or in a magazine, or even when he views a representation of a pretty young girl in manga, anime, or computer-generated animation, his pulse quickens and he experiences a “feeling of excitement” towards her just as described above. When a lolicon man feels this excitement, it is not as though he immediately gets an erection and wants to take the girl somewhere right away. This feeling of excitement fills his mind and he enters a slightly paralyzed, trance-like mental state; in nearly all cases this is all that occurs.
At the same time, however, when a man has this “feeling of excitement” towards a young girl, he begins to focus a thin, vaporous desire to have sex and ejaculate – a desire so indistinct he himself may not be consciously aware of it – on the young girl in question. This is exactly the same mechanism that operates when a man is attracted to an adult woman. Of course, there are presumably very few men who actually carry out these sorts of acts. But a man may have a vague sense of anticipation in the back of his mind even if he would never actually engage in these sorts of actions. This is the essence of the sexual gaze directed towards young girls.
Lolicon men are men who experience this “feeling of excitement” toward young girls or images of young girls. And I think that at the bottom of this “feeling of excitement” there is a hidden desire, not easily perceived even by the man in question himself, for sexual intercourse and ejaculation. If we redefine “lolicon” in this way, we cannot help but conclude that a truly enormous number of adult Japanese men are in some sense affected by this condition; Japanese mass media, including TV and magazines, skillfully portray young girls in a sexual light, and we are unknowingly being refashioned into people with the mental disposition to take pleasure in viewing them in this way.
Section 2: Adults Who Skillfully Package “Young Girls”
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