Perhaps more so than in any other country, the line between Japanese teeny pop and porn has a tendency to get very blurry indeed. During my time as a journalist in Japan, I had the dubious pleasure of interviewing Marshmallow 3D, a group of adult actresses who aimed to make the Oricon Chart their own. That didn’t happen, and they were soon found auctioning off gropes to fans for charity. Elsewhere, the group known as Ebisu Muscats is made up entirely of “celebrity” porn stars, if you can imagine such a thing.
This week’s latest internet outrage concerns a promotional image for the vast girl group known as AKB48, until now best known for having 48 individual members. While they’re reasonably well-known in South East Asia, they’ve yet to achieve Psy status, and so it seems – rather than try for their own infectious “Gangnam Style” number 1 – they’ve tried shock tactics instead, and trekked several miles into tasteless territory in the process.
The image depicts a reasonably buxom, topless member of the group (Tomomi Kasai) being groped by a child. Published last week in Young Magazine, the shot has prompted outrage across the Japanese media, with some Japan observers suggesting that the magazine will fall foul of Japanese decency laws.