japanese culture link of the day
I learned something today. Any anime fan knows about hentai --the Japanese word for "perverted," it can mean anything from a teasing flash of a female character's panties to explicit pr0n. A common theme in hentai pr0n is schoolgirls being ravaged by demons or aliens with multiple, tentacle-like appendages; La Blue Girl (alternate site; FAQ) is a prime example. (I've never been into it myself, but I can also say that it isn't the most bizarre thing I've ever seen.)
Today I learned that depictions of tentacle sex is a theme in Japanese art dating back to at least the 18th Century (who knew?). This ivory carving (circa 1770) shows a pearl diver being, er, entangled by an octopus.
Here's the site's description of the carving:
A girl diver (ama), wearing nothing but a grass skirt is being ravished by an octopus. The creature's tentacles ensnares her legs and two of them curl about her breasts. She is making a token resistance but the arc of her neck, her hair tumbling down her back and the expression of pleasure on her face indicate her real feelings. Any ambiguity over the matter is dismissed when the piece is closely examined: it is possible by locking between the parted tentacles of the octopus, to see that the skirt by no means completely covers the girl, and that the embraces of the mollusc are far from displeasing.
Japanese art has always delighted in depicting women pearl divers being embraced by octopuses. Generally they are shown warding off the creature's blandishments but with this example the suggestion is that she is enjoying its attentions.
The same Japanese culture site also depicts an erotic carving of the lightning god Raiden getting a bath from a Japanese maiden, something I doubt you'll see in a Mortal Kombat game any time soon.
Update: Destroy All Monsters has just posted a news item I wrote on the subject.