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SAQ: Why Is Tentacle Porn so popular in Japanese Anime?

Q. Why is ‘tentacle porn’ so popular in Japanese anime? — Question submitted by Seth.

A. Tentacle sex is a bizarre genre of anime and manga in which women are attacked and penetrated by strange creatures with tentacles.

Although most people think it is something that could only have come from the mind of a 20th century illustrator, there have been sexual images involving octopi in Japan for almost 200 years. It all goes back to the famous ukiyo-e artist, Katsushika Hokusai, the same person who gave the world famous paintings such as ‘36 Views of Mt. Fuji’ and ‘The Wave’. Hokusai, like most ukiyo-e artists, supplemented his income by painting shunga, ‘pictures of spring’, which were popular as pornography or used in instruction manuals given to newly-weds.

His famous book Kinoe no Komatsu (Young Pine Shoots) featured a print called ‘The Amorous Octopus’, which showed a giant octopus pleasuring a young pearl diver. While Hokusai’s Octopus paintings were not violent, and the woman in the Amorous Octopus seems to be enjoying herself, this is not the case in modern hentai anime. According to Toshio Maeda, the inventor of the modern genre, he had to skirt Japan’s strict censorship laws since showing intercourse was illegal. Maeda claims that he was just looking for something he could use to represent a penis and came up with the idea of a young girl being attacked by a grotesque monster with tentacles.

The genre became popular because it was as close to showing intercourse as anime could get. ‘Although the current climate allows scenes that are a lot more graphic, tentacle sex has a strong following today in the anime world, Maeda’s ‘pioneering’ work, Urotsuki Doji (Legend of the Overfiend) is considered a classic of sorts. This six hour gore-fest concerns an invasion of the planet Earth by demons from another dimension who have come to prevent an ancient prophecy from coming true and have tentacle sex with as many humans as they can.

Want more info on tentacle porn? Check out The Straight Dope’s discussion of this here