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Multiple authors on the net have pointed out that a lot of the sex in hentai is, or appears to be, non-consensual.

From here: http://magicalgirlproject.tumblr.com/post/91661244454/porno-month-reflections-why-so-much-rape-in

I watched 20 hentai over the course of June/July, and looking back over them all, I’m left with one frustratingly unanswered question:

[WHY IS THERE SO MUCH RAPE IN HENTAI?!?]

Why is rape so ubiquitous in hentai, why is it so inescapable, and why do so many of [these hentai that I've watched] focus exclusively on rape, with maybe one token consensual scene or sometimes none at all? It’d be like if 90% of the porn made in Belgium featured a buttplug scene — it’s weirdly specific and implies there’s some kind of cultural thing going on that I don’t yet understand.

Also, note this: http://www.hongfire.com/forum/showthread.php/431127-Why-does-hentai-have-so-much-violence-rape-towards-women.

A commenter on the first article claims these 'rapes' are not as non-consensual as they seem:

ninfadelagua said: The average porn scene does seem rapey, even if it isn’t extreme (no hitting/scratching/biting) there seems to be a trend of women acting like they are resisting a lot and the men in the porno keep going and prey on them sexually (for hetero porn).

This implies that the 'victim' enjoys the rough sex and is 'resisting' as part of the 'game', sort of like how tsundere pretend to hate the person they actually love.

Which leads to Not If They Enjoyed It Rationalization: which says:

Turns up often in Hentai, Boys Love Genre and Fanfiction. A lot.

In other words, the claim is that this, in some sense, doesn't count as rape because the purported victim enjoyed the experience.


Is this actually what's going on? What is about Japanese culture that makes reluctant sex, which looks non-consensual to Western eyes, so common in hentai?

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    s/rape/hate & s/hentai/"the world" – ton.yeung Jun 15 '15 at 1:50
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    I think there's some merit asking how consent works differently than how we, in the West, works and how it's portrayed in hentai. I don't think the question as it stands nor does the link provided would invite a healthy discussion on this, however, as it not only suffers from broad generalization, but may also be a tad bit inflammatory. I'd like to explore this question further and I would recommend to reword the question and provide a better starting point than what you have now. – Frosteeze Jun 15 '15 at 8:13
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    @Torisuda the consensus seems to be that discussing about hentai in a "scientific" and tasteful manner is okay. Which is why I urge the asker here to make it more tasteful and "scientific." meta.anime.stackexchange.com/questions/21/… – Frosteeze Jun 15 '15 at 8:21
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    @Malandy The reason why I bolded consent is that, in my experience of reading and watching hentai materials, a good chunk of them is not rape if put in certain cultural contexts. Similar to how a tsundere say they like you if they say they don't care about you. It looks like rape to us who don't know the culture, but remember that rape is all about lack of consent and usually in better translated romantic h-mangas, the character would say "stop!" and followed by "no don't stop, I meant slow down." In other words, the question should be about consent, not about the ubiquity of rape. – Frosteeze Jun 15 '15 at 16:04
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    I agree with @Frosteeze. Instead of focusing on rape/porn you could indeed change it to consent and probably get similar answers. Something along the lines of why many Japanese characters (in movies/manga) act cold and pretend to dislike something/someone, while in fact they really like that thing/act/person. Why constantly harassing a person out of love is considered appropriate and sometimes even part of the seduction process. Every culture has a different definition of what is appropriate, so I think you misclassify lots of situations as rape/harassment, while in fact they aren't at all. – Peter Raeves Jun 15 '15 at 17:37
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Note: Some references have been excluded here for PG reasons.

There's a few layers to this question.

Firstly, this isn't a hentai-specific thing. Lots of Japanese non-animated porn contains rape. This is a cultural thing spanning more than just anime.

The main reason as some people have pointed out to you is that it sells. But let's go a little further into why that demand exists.


As you may know, Japan is suffering from increased sexless-ness and has one of the highest sexlessness rates in the world.

In 2005, Durex, the world’s largest condom maker, conducted a Global Sex Survey (see www.durex.com/en-jp/sexualwellbeingsurvey/documents/gss2005result.pdf) involving 317,000 respondents in 41 countries. The survey found that Japanese had the least sex in the world, at 45 times a year — far less than second-from-bottom Singapore (73 times a year), and even farther from the world average (103 times a year, meaning twice a week).

The reasons of this are many - although there is no agreed consensus on the exact causes. Some of these reasons likely include:

These cases are amplified by the application of surrounding businesses. Japan has a large sex industry sector - There are more than 12,000 sex-related businesses in Japan with big companies like Hitachi (devices) and many small companies too specializing in particular niches. Many of these are relevant to couple's engagements, but a significant portion of products are made for solo purchases.

enter image description here

Some doll adverts claim you'll never want a girlfriend again.

That's not to say that there isn't a large couple's market - in Japan there are many Love Hotels and S&M Clubs that you can visit with your partner.

On the mention of S&M, Non-standard sexual behaviour is not as taboo as it is in the West (especially America & the UK). Bondage for example is occasionally incorporated into fashion trends and there are many specialized shops for it around the country. There are many other specialized stores and services available for those who seek it. Famously, there are the infamous used underwear vending machines that have created many stories for Western newspapers.

You can also read the rest of my answer about Where the lolicon genre came from which covers that large area of fetishization.

And fetishization isn't a new thing, there are many lewd woodblock paintings from older Japan, such as Diver and Octopuses - a tentacle sex scene from 1 814.

So, non-consensual ( at first :| ) isn't particularly striking as a fetish when seen with all Japan has to offer (More.)


So from the above section we know that the Japanese have a large fetish scene anyway - and that sex rates aren't that high. But that doesn't specifically answer your question - so let's keep going. Bear with me!

Going back to Herbivore Men. These men range from actively shunning women (sometimes preferring 2D women) to being disinterested or resigned to their fate as a single man.

enter image description here

As of September 2010, 36% of Japanese men between the ages of 16 and 19 perceived themselves in this way. Additionally, two surveys of single men in their 20s and 30s found that 61% and 70%, respectively, considered themselves grass-eating men.

This scarcity of female interaction can often manifest as idolizing women - which can be seen in idol obsession and other aspects of japanese culture. The appeal of rape for herbivore watchers is then in attaining something that is not attainable normally - even if it is played out onscreen rather than in real life. This is a large reason motivation behind many real life rapes aswell. There's a certain unsavory culture in many areas that blame the victim for rape situations - somewhat empathizing with the rapist. These beliefs are also contributory rationale for some rapists. Raping unfortunately isn't always restricted to acted situations on TV however, and Japan has a significant amount of (mostly unreported) rape charges. Unwarranted sexual advances can be seen in the establishment of female only carriages on rail lines after many groping allegations.

And on a more hentai-specific note, I don't know if many people who would willingly do it with a sea monster. Why are tentacles prevalent in anime? is possibly of interest.

Further reading:

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    Oh, wow... so much info! ... Nice! – Malady Jun 16 '15 at 23:21
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    It might be my personal interpretation, but this answer seems pretty focused on males raping females, instead of person raping person. There are many JAVs out there that feature strong women forcing sex with males, so to me it feels like there must be more to it? I might be wrong though. Or would the "herbivore men" concept and male idolization fit girls too? – Peter Raeves Jun 17 '15 at 20:14
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    @PeterRaeves I think that's the main direction that appears, but yes, there is the reverse also. However, I think that usually takes more of a female domination perspective rather than non-consensual rape though. This also stems from "herbivore men" being mostly submissive personalities and finding dominant females attractive. – Toshinou Kyouko Jun 17 '15 at 20:21
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    @Peter Raeves, Japan has produced a good deal of tentacle porn in which female characters get raped by non-humans and BL doujinshi with male/male non-consent as well, so versions other than male/female or female/male also have market demographics. – seijitsu Jun 18 '15 at 6:42
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    @PeterRaeves for sure that would be interesting to read also. I however, don't know the answer for that. That's not to say another answer will come along from someone else though. – Toshinou Kyouko Jun 18 '15 at 17:07

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