From texts to contexts: the self-regulating body in the Japanese adult video industry

Hoi Yan YAU*, Heung Wah WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Early online date22 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Japanese adult video
  • state of precariousness
  • censorship in Japan
  • self-surveillance
  • state censorship
  • self-regulatory body


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