There is a subtle misconception professed by more people than less, that the (in)famous shunga woodcut, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, is a direct forerunner to Japanese tentacle hentai and live action squid porn. Westerners often misconstrue this image as some sort of excavated evidence of the sick sexual psych of Japanese culture. As if a single 19th century piece of antique erotica is the pill that takes an entire society on an immediate, well lubed luge ride through Satan’s bowels, straight into a toilet bowl full of modern day “WTF Japan,” hashtags.
Don’t get me wrong, no matter your cultural perspective, Japan is historically repressive, but it’s not until post WWII Hiroshima, that you find a traumatized country that is STILL in need of therapy. But to use this one woodcut as a historical link to the state of modern Tokyo kink, is like saying a single Mayan relief is proof that UFOs once ruled the sky.
Humorless western missionaries, who couldn’t fathom the idea of sex mixed in with magical folklore, forever tainted this odd image. That’s it. The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife isn’t a cultural forerunner to modern hentai, it’s a direct inspiration by one specific modern artist, who spawned the genre as we know it.
Instead of outright banning smut in the 20th century, Japan introduced a series of bummer stipulations. No visible genitals, pubes or recognizable penetration. In the west, censorship laws were fought and dismissed, but in Japan, the laws stayed in place and the interpretation continues to be politely subverted into the expression of strange fetishes, and warped rationalizations.
In 1986, shit went next level. The manga artist, Toshio Maeda released a series called Urotsukidōji, or Legend of the Overfiend. In1989 it was released as an Anime series. This groundbreaking manga & anime featured a surreal censorship loophole inspired by The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, a loophole that forever spun Japanese culture into a very creepy rabbit hole.
“What if… instead of a guy with a penis… it’s just a monster with a dozen ten foot long, crotch morphing, teeth studded squid tentacles, that power washes blood as ejaculate?”
“Are there any pubes?”
“Pubes? No way, the monster’s raping a 12-year old in the ass. School kids don’t have pubes.”
“Oh, well then go right ahead.”
And hentai as we define it today was born.
I remember watching the Urotsukidōji anime for the first time. My eyes dried from a lack of blinking. Up until then, Racer X or fucking Star Blazers was as crazy as it got. This was my first and strongest “WTF, Japan” moment and I’ll never feel it so intensely again.
Urotsukidōji opened the floodgates. Tentacle rape became it’s own genre and shit just kept getting weirder and darker with hentai– bakunyū, futanari, Lolicon. (Google that shit.) In the real world it progressed into Bukkake, 2 Girls 1 Cup and the ultimate nightmare, don’t you dare click that link, scarred for life cause you can never unsee it once you’ve seen it- Genki-Genki.
But I believe that there’s a second misconception about tentacle porn. I will be probably the first dumb ass to directly make the assertion that Genki-Genki is not tentacle porn, is not even porn at all, but is actually in fact… performance art.
I’m firm that this is art, even if Daikichi Amano, the sole producer of Genki-Genki, insists that it’s not.