Japan is popular for many things, like their industrial sector and their rich culture and traditions. However, like everyone else in the world, we can’t help but imagine huge anime titties when Japan is mentioned in a conversation.

As you might already know, the Japanese have a booming sex and porn industry, with unique quirks that set them apart from mainstream porn. This is especially evident in the animated pornographic content that they produce. The characters are drawn in the traditional anime style, but often with exaggerated body parts and bizarre plots. This is what we all call “Hentai”.

Hentai, which is short for hentai seiyuku, literally means unusual perversion. The term was first popularized in Japanese psychology journals in the Meiji era and later adopted by pornographic magazines. To the rest of the world, hentai is the general term used to describe anime and manga pornography. But in Japan itself, hentai isn’t considered a genre the way English-speakers do. In fact, all pornographic content is advertised as “eromanga” or adult manga, the word hentai is rarely used.

Erotic art has always been a part of Japanese culture. “Shunga”, which is a Japanese term for erotic art traditionally made with woodblock prints. This dates back as far as the early 18th century. Depictions of both normal and perverse sex were commonplace. A popular example of the taboo art is ‘The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife’ which shows a woman having sex with 2 octopi.

Unfortunately, shunga works were suppressed and indirectly banned. This led to a decline in their popularity and appreciation, and they eventually died out when pornographic pictures were introduced in the late 19th century. After World War II, these traditions got revived with the boom of manga. In the 1950s, the publications that created hentai started out by including homosexual and fetish topics and eventually introduced BDSM.

Given the history of erotic content in Japan, it’s easy to see why they love their hentai. But why so?

Sex sells

Despite a seemingly conservative culture, Japan ranks second globally in the amount of money spent annually on adult entertainment. This shows that the Japanese are more willing to splash the cash despite there being tons of free porn available. The hentai industry has capitalized on this with extensive merchandising. There are many dedicated stores offering a variety of content such as body pillows, figurines, and posters.

It has fewer censorship issues than regular porn

Japan has very tough censorship laws requiring pornographic content to be at least partly censored. That defeats the whole point of porn. However, crafty hentai artists often find ways past the censorship by using alternate depictions of the censored content. In fact, the popular genre, tentacle hentai, owes its existence to this. Artist Toshiro Maeda, looking to escape censorship, used tentacles in place of penises and birthed a genre.

Hentai has more variety

From the typical to the extreme and downright ridiculous, hentai has it all. Due to the nature of the medium, there are fewer limitations and artists can depict all sorts of fetishes and body types.

The Japanese prefer locally made content

The Japanese tend to be particular in their tastes and hardly consume porn from other countries. In fact, the most popular searches are “Japanese”, “hentai” and “Asian”.

Many young Japanese aren’t having sex

Despite the popularity of porn in Japan, many Japanese youths aren’t actually having sex. In fact, nearly half of them are virgins. Some have blamed it on porn but it’s not that simple. A combination of long work hours and a prudish culture means many don’t have the time and opportunity to have sex. This has led people to turn to porn and hentai in particular to satisfy their desires.

The combination of these factors has created a flourishing sex industry in Japan with every kind of product or service available. In a country with fetish shops and love hotels, hentai remains ever popular amongst the Japanese youth as well as one of the nation’s biggest exports.