Internet of hentai

| Sex Columnist

Hentai, in Japanese, is a word generally indicating perversion. Literally, it means “abnormal attitude,” or in slang, “weirdo.” It is not a kind word. Rather, hentai is an insult, not always referring to sexuality. However, in the United States and other Western countries that have popularized the term, hentai explicitly refers to a type of pornography, usually involving Japanese cartoon figures like anime or manga. They are always depicting bodily exaggerations or impossible sexual scenes only achievable through animation. Though many Wash.  U. students have probably never viewed this type of pornography, it is relatively prevalent on the internet and remains an essential fixture in the world of fetish porn. From advertisements to pixilated image links, if you are a porn viewer of any kind, the presence of hentai is unavoidable.

Hentai can be in the form of movies, comic strips or drawings, featuring either homosexual couples, heterosexual couples, or sometimes, ambiguously sexed characters—usually somewhat like men—called bishonen. In a common hentai video, the viewer will notice a few things: larger than possible—even with plastic surgery—breasts on women (Bakunyū), whale-sized penises on males and transsexuals, tentacle projections used in erotic performance, incredible amounts of sperm often covering whole rooms,  hermaphroditic characters with enlarged female and male parts (futanari), and/or Lolita/amateur characters (lolicon). Clearly, the English construct of hentai goes beyond Sailor Moon’s cheerleader skirt and enhanced breasts hidden—arguably—well under her uniform.

Although hentai has been traced back to the Japanese erotic pictures (shunga) in 1300, the rise of its popularity is wholly due to the Internet age. When you decide to battle the all-seeing eyes of Student Technology Services and type in your most frequented erotic Web site, or if you are just feeling frisky and command a generic Google search for “sex,” most likely any sexual Web site you click on will link to hentai, and thus link to sources of stolen DVDs or VHS tapes from Japan. Even if you don’t click that particular link, it’s there: an anime character who might be female, drawn for the pleasure of the fetish’s fans and more. Some will click, some will enjoy. Its recognition will continue to spread as its Internet presence remains so strong. Whether you have already heard of hentai or not, it’s something to be aware of in the age of new media. It will find you!