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If you try to google "hentai definition" most result would define hentai as a Japanese genres of manga and anime with sexually explicit images and plots. But Wikipedia explains it otherwise:

In Japanese, the term describes any type of perverse or bizarre sexual desire or act; it does not represent a genre of work.

Internationally, hentai is a catch-all term to describe a genre of anime and manga pornography.

And from this question we know that the word hentai never means anime porn in Japan.

No, hentai is a typical "英製和語" that has gained a totally different meaning outside of Japan. It never means anime porn in Japan.

From that question, OP mentioned that it was originated from 4chan, but from some comment on that question, the word it self was already in use for Japanese animation porn long before 4chan.

So how come non-Japanese refer to anime and manga pornography as hentai? And when did it start?

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    Relevant reading: intersections.anu.edu.au/issue12/mclelland.html – кяαzєя Oct 31 '17 at 10:25
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    hentai generally means pervert. It's the difference between that changes the meaning. So if we see hantai as an adjective to describe such works we tend to do the same or go as far as making it the genre of mentioned works. – Henjin Oct 31 '17 at 15:15
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As mentioned by Krazer, A Short History of 'Hentai ' by Mark McLelland provides an excellent in depth analysis of the word's origin.

For people who do not want to read such a lengthy article, its gist is :

Since the Meiji period, the use of the term hentai has had a parallel history in both science and psychology, but the sense that hentai communicates of something being unusual or abnormal comes from the latter.

It was first used in the middle of the Meiji period in the context of the developing science of psychology to describe disorders such as hysteria as well as to refer to paranormal abilities such as telepathy and hypnosis.It had the connotation of something outside or beyond the normal.

Although the term originally circulated only among medical specialists, by 1917 it was being popularised via such journals such as Hentai shinri [Abnormal psychology]. However it did not have any particular sexual connotations in this context. Hentai's sexual reference was to come not through its connection with hentai shinri but through its juxtaposition with another, related term, hentai seiyoku or 'abnormal sexual desires'.

The technical term seiyoku or 'sexual desire' was introduced into Japanese via German sexology which began to be translated by medical doctors such as the army physician and novelist Mori Ōgai from the middle of the Meiji period.The notion of hentai seiyoku or perverse or abnormal sexual desire was popularised via the translation of German sexologist Krafft-Ebing's text Psychopathia Sexualis which was given the Japanese title Hentai seiyoku shinrigaku [The psychology of perverse sexual desires].

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