Incest is legal in Japan

Hentais: Animated child pornography is still legal in Austria

Child pornography is prohibited. Most countries internationally agree on this. The portrayal of minors in sexual contexts is considered abuse and is actively punished. But it looks different if the actors in the videos are not real, but animated children. Keyword hentais: Japanese animes that show pornographic content.

Rape and incest

Categories like rape, incest, and "loli" are among the most popular on several hentai websites. The latter stands for "Lolicon", short for "Lolita Complex". This is the term used to describe content that depicts underage girls in a sexual context. Content with young boys, on the other hand, is referred to as "Shotacon". The animated children are mostly between eight and 13 years old. Hentais in the "Rape" category mostly show the abuse of women, often minors, while those in the "Incest" category often show older fathers or brothers who molested their daughters or sisters.

For example, on one of the most popular platforms, the most watched hentai of all time is a scenario where it is legal to rape women. In the second and third place there is content that shows the animated sexual abuse of female persons portrayed as minors.

For people who are not familiar with Japanese anime culture, the question soon arises: Why can such content even exist in such a mass?


In a report, the BBC writes of the massive sexualization of minors in Japan - for example, around 5,000 schoolgirls in Japan work in so-called "JK cafes" where much older men pay them money to spend time with them. After the report was published, the Japanese police announced that in future only girls over the age of 18 would be allowed to serve men in such cafes. As schoolgirls, they would still disguise themselves.

Owning child pornography has only been a criminal offense in Japan since 2015. It was the last member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The decision came after years of international pressure from children's rights organizations. The presentation in hentais remained legal - according to the US business portal "International Business Times", this was also a result of strong lobbying by the industry.

Years earlier, the Japanese government had sought a ban on animated hentais (law for "nonexistent youth"). However, this was not implemented due to high public pressure and criticism from manga and anime creators.

UN is considering banning child sexualization in comics

The United Nations is also considering an initiative to ban hentais, which are minors. A corresponding draft was published in February, which deals with how human trafficking, child prostitution and the spread of child pornography could be contained in the future.

In the proposal, the UN Committee on Children's Rights defines child pornography not only as photographs or videos of real children, but also as "drawings and cartoons". The individual members were able to comment on the draft after it was published - including the turquoise-blue Foreign Ministry under Karin Kneissl (FPÖ) in March.

The proposal met with a lot of headwind on anime fan sites, including in forums that normally deal with anime only, but not with pornographic hentais. The reasoning: They are fictional minors and not real. Real children would not be harmed in any step of the production, so such content should not be treated like child pornography.

State Department: Drawings and cartoons are not real

Austria also shared this opinion. Commenting on the draft, the State Department wrote: "Drawings and cartoons do not show real content, so we do not see the need to treat them like child pornography." The contribution was worked out together with the Ministry of Justice, at the time headed by Josef Moser (ÖVP), as explained on request.

An argument that local child protection associations contradict. "I think that's a little cynical," says Hedwig Wölfl from the Vienna child protection center Die Möwe about the STANDARD. "We live in a virtual world so much that it's just a form of reality." Decades-old figures like Donald Duck or Asterix and Obelix would show that. "With this fantasy world, a limit has been crossed that turns it into a kind of trivialization and trivialization." What is forbidden becomes reality within a virtual space - and thus normality. "From the point of view of victim protection, there is no clear critical perspective on what is shown."

Child protection agency: Hentais normalize violence

In a statement by the Federal Association of Austrian Child Protection Centers, it is said that the content is a circumvention of the ban on child pornography. Managing director Martina Wolf writes that the issue needs to be dealt with more in order to examine the legal framework. Hentais would belittle harmful behavior and normalize violence: "A line is being shifted in the direction of 'Sex with children is normal, can be viewed at any time and not sanctioned' and the inhibition threshold for actually implementing such acts may be lowered." Wölfl sees a need for political action: The criminal law task force, which was set up by the turquoise-blue government, has already tightened the digital space this year. Politicians also have to deal with hentais.

The argument that pedophiles may consume such content instead of seeking genuine abuse has been postponed for Wölfl. Potential pedophiles do not need a "comic-style substitute satisfaction, but a therapeutic offer". Then you can learn to deal with it and to find a socially healthy sexuality. It is known from sex research that pornography does not promote sexuality, but rather reduces it to certain images. "The creativity in acting out is restricted." The argument should therefore be examined: "Does the consumption of such content lower the barriers to real implementation, or is it a substitute act that protects against it? That would be the question that has to be examined scientifically and criminally."

Sex Therapist: Research Needs

A question that is difficult to answer. Both approaches exist in sex research, explains sex and couples therapist Nicole Kienzl. "Unfortunately, we don't yet know which theory applies." Therefore it is necessary to do more research. On the one hand, viewers of such content would find the childlike, lolita-like appearance of the actresses appealing. "In addition, they are drawn in body dimensions that cannot be found in real life," says Kienzl - they are usually large-breasted, with a full bottom and a wasp waist. Often they sigh dreamily or the "innocent" eroticism of the animated girls is emphasized by school uniforms. "That means that the actresses, who not only look extremely young, are sexualized in an exaggerated way." Here again the question arises whether this increases pedophile tendencies or the opposite happens, namely that pedophiles can live out their abnormal "passion" in this way and thus come to rest.

Pedophilia expert and head of forensic rehabilitation research at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group mental health facility, Michael Seto, told Vice that some of his patients would watch child pornography to avoid risking contact with real people. Relating their impulses to the virtual level would prevent them from implementing them in the real world. For others, however, child pornography acts more as an incitement to further acts.

Federal Criminal Police Office: Hentais not an issue

According to the investigators in the specialist department against child pornography at the Federal Criminal Police Office, hentais - for example on the hard drives of alleged perpetrators - are not an issue. In the STANDARD conversation, however, press spokesman Vincenz Kriegs-Au pointed out that pedophile people could watch hentais, as their consumption is not illegal - therefore they would avoid watching "real" films, while the people examined by the department would anyway Committing a breach of law.

In any case, according to Kienzl, it is important not to despise or condemn pedophiles. "However, they are challenged not to live out their sexuality by using therapeutic help," says Kienzl. It is about strengthening their self-confidence so that they are able to live with their instinctual fate. "But also their ability to control so that there are no attacks." (Muzayen Al-Youssef, August 25, 2019)