As Japan gears up for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics, they’re starting to do some tidying up to accommodate for (and impress) their international visitors…

But where do you tow the line before you start interfering with societal structures and norms?

Where is the decision to ban adult magazines in convenience stores coming from?

Giving a good impression to international visitors is an important part of hosting international events. Most, if not all countries, make structural and operational changes to their societies leading up to massive international events. Changes that are important and affect the impressions of the country by international visitors.

How does this extend to p*rn? Direct question – but a relevant one in Japan right now. Historically, convenience stores (“conbini”) like 7/11, FamilyMart and Lawson have displayed adult magazines in their stores. Full display – typically on the magazine rack towards the drinks section. This is changing, as conbinis across Japan are completely removing the magazines from stores. Lawson is the most recent chain to make this commitment, and it’s sparked a debate.

The two sides of the argument

Some are cheering for joy, as they no longer need to see suggestive images or explicit content that they “weren’t planning on seeing”. This argument holds weight, especially when you consider the possible unwilling audience of these magazines – not only adults go into convenience stores, so young children are being exposed to explicit materials. Additionally, the content is overwhelmingly targeted at men with a specific orientation.

Others are taking a slightly different approach – making accusations of white-washing and Japan bowing to Western influence and pressures. This side of the pond is stating that Japan must do as Japan does, and should avoid taking actions for the sake of appeasing their Western visitors.

Remove them the magazines since the overwhelming amount of locals want them removed

At Doot, we tend to side with removing the magazines rather than keeping them on display. Our reasoning is simple, and is taken from a local’s perspective: Japanese people take issue with the adult magazines too – and they have for a while.

Women take issue with the presence of and display of adult magazines in Japanese convenience stores which are almost exclusively targeted at male readers.

Parents in particular are concerned with the content and imagery being exposed to their children. The imagery isn’t subtle with explicit content contained in behind the cover – the front covers alone leave little to the imagination. Opposition to the content is strong among Japanese locals, with or without the influence of Western opinions.

Our opinion?* If you want to consume adult content, do it in the privacy of your own home – not in the convenience store. We support the decisions taken by convenience stores in Japan.

*This is not an endorsement for the consumption of adult content.

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