This paper examines how the Japanese self-regulatory systems that evolved in the aftermath of the Second World War to regulate the sexual content within Japanese films metamorphosed into a powerful state apparatus to create fear and uncertainty for those involved in making adult videos. We depict the history of Japan’s obscenity laws, from their origin as a response to Western imperialism to the self-regulatory bodies created in the post-war period of the American Occupation to maintain the obscenity laws while conceding to American demands for freedom of creative expression. Thus, these self-regulatory bodies originated to mediate between two antithetical Western imperial requirements in a state initially wanting to modernize and then democratize. We then examine how the notorious prosecution of the Nihon Ethics of Video Association (Bideo Rinri Kyōkai aka Biderin), the self-regulatory of the adult video industry, brought to a head the contradictions inherent in the state’s deployment of these bodies while revealing a more sinister dynamic of state control.
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- Japanese adult video
- state of precariousness
- censorship in Japan
- state censorship
- self-regulatory body