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Where does the incest boom come from?

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zk
Post #561761
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7:38 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 19


My apologies if this question has already been canvassed.

There have been the past few years more and more incest manga and anime, not to mention the ecchi/moe stereotype of Japanese boys getting turned on or at least going all wriggly/getting hyped by having a little girl call them "brother". Then you have little girls declaring they are going to marry their father or brother when they grow up.

Where I grew up outside of Japan those sorts of things would not only seem as rare as seeing a "one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people-eater" <--Kudos, if you recognize that song.-, but those sorts of thoughts didn't even ever pop up in our minds.

So, I've been wondering for awhile now, but where in Japanese culture and history does this boom come from? Does anyone have any insights?

EDIT:
While it may become clear to those who have the time to read the first two pages of this thread, I thought it might be good to add a note of clarification to those who are just joining this topic.
I started this thread from a neutral standpoint, that is not to discuss the good- or badness of incest but simply to ask where
a) the recent popularity, albeit in varying degrees, of it in manga and anime came from and
b) to ask if there was any historical background in Japanese culture and sociology for what I saw as a current difference in handling the topic compared with my non-Japanese culture.

Perhaps, I should make clear what I meant for those who do not recognize the song "one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people-eater". Though I am currently no longer living there, I grew up in North America. There we have a children's song called "The One-eyed, One-horned, Flying, Purple People-eater". When using it as a phrase it doesn't have a connotation of indicating and condemning "the weirdo", but refers to something so unusual that you are startled when you see it with your own eyes. Or, at least, that was how the phrase worked when I was a child.

In the posts below, I have gotten my answer in the form of a number of reasons for the current rise in popularity of the theme "incest" and even a few insights as to the historical roots of the theme itself. For more I think I would need to track down a professor or student of Japanese history and sociology, so my thanks again to all those who helped answer my questions. I leave this topic to anyone who wishes to further discuss this, but take my leave now.

Last edited by zk at 10:04 am, Jul 19

TheShawn
Post #561762
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7:54 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 247


I'm by no means an expert on Japanese culture or subcultures, but oftentimes manga has a tendency to move towards the outrageous. As the formerly shocking becomes common within the medium new steps are taken. All the more so if something can be both offensive in concept but cute in practice.

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ssjtomato
Post #561766
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8:01 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 19


I think the same could be said about tentacles, shotacon, and lolicon. I guess when the originals like normal relationships between everyday girls and guys become lackluster. You go as far as you can on the weird meter until your excited again. I mean half a decade ago. A shounen manga called No Bra started the upcoming trap fad in non-hentai manga. The weird thing is it doesn't bother me as much as I that it would. I was more weirded out be the crossdressing then anything. At the end of the day you just have remember nothing in real life looks nearly as glamourous as it does in manga.

Blique
Post #561767
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8:04 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 975


There's an incest boom? I think of it more as culture difference. Like tentacles.

Japanese has honorifics like "onii-san", while in English you'll rarely find someone referring to a sibling as "brother" instead of their actual name. By using an honorific, that sets a status, and that status may be desirable.

For example, I used to think nothing of my older brother, but when I first started seeing anime and manga, I suddenly felt like it'd be interesting to see him in a position of "onii-san" rather than "the guy in the room next to mine".

The people in my life who have honorifics ("mom", "dad", "uncle", "aunt") have a definite status. On the other hand, my brother, who I call by name, is a normal person of equal status and of no particular interest. Once he fits into a "group", he takes on the traits of that group (real or imagined) and becomes more than "just a person".

That's my offhand theory anyway. I know that there are other languages/cultures that call their siblings by honorifics, so you could try comparing and contrasting.

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AceBunneh
Post #561774
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8:38 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 235


Hm..... I wasn't aware of an incest boom, but if I had to say using general knowledge (not specific to any area) then I'd say it comes from two things... Maybe more, but this isn't really a topic I like thinking about for long, sorry..

1. The desire for what one cannot have.. We all know it, and most of us have grown out of it.. But there's just something about what we can't have that makes it all the more desirable.. Forbidden fruit so to speak..

2. Having someone who lives with you (for convenience) who knows you well (can't be helped generally when you're together all the time) is a nice thing.. I mean, someone who's close to you, understands you, and if it's in some incest thing they'll probably like you and may or may not of had a secret crush on you for a long time and secretly knows all your secrets too.. So essentially it's like having someone know all your dirty little secrets, all the dark things you keep about yourself hidden from everyone but yourself known, and they accept you for it and love you regardless.. And perhaps are willing to go with it even if they don't like it themselves for "love."

It probably falls mostly under those two things.. There's probably more... But that requires deep analytical skills and knowledge which I do not possess.

Honestly I think the things I mentioned could apply to a close lover or stalker also, but stalker brings up the idea of danger and potentially rape (and all those who like incest may not like rape, etc, etc, etc) and getting that close to someone takes time and it's difficult and outside of family whom you're generally forced to be with people generally tend to drift apart rather than putting up with and accepting each others flaws.

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zk
Post #561776
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8:56 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 19


Ah, by "incest boom" I don't mean that such acts and relationships are becoming more common in actual Japanese society, though it might become so, considering that people are influenced to some extent by what they frequently come across in the media.
By "incest boom" I mean the rise in incest-themed manga and anime becoming extremely popular. For example, in the last few anime seasons the was "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute" and then "Listen to Me, Girls. I'm Your Father." and now, I just saw an article that Crunchyroll is going to be streaming a show called "Nakaimo ~ My Little Sister is Among Them!"
This got me to wondering just where "incest" without a sicking and/or frightening connotation for some people came from. I started thinking and realized that while it has gotten a boom in popularity recently, you come across traces of it in many different manga and anime throughout the years. For example, in the second season of Clannad Tomoya gets hyped on being called "onii-chan", and there are plenty of shoujo manga and anime where the father objects to the heroine finding a boyfriend or getting married by saying, "Didn't you always say you were going to marry Papa when you grew up!?"

I think you all have made good points, but I am still wondering about the roots of the incest views in Japan. Certainly, it makes sense that in the search for something ever more stimulating they might hit on it such as TheShawn said. That certainly contributed to it's rise in popularity, I think. But, what about all those shoujo manga through the years with the girl promising to marry her family member? Where'd that come from?
And, I think you make a very good point, Blique, but I'm curious where and why does the role of "brother" have a hint of sexuality to it?
And, AceBunneh, your points are also really good ones. I think it quite explains why the non-lolicon part of the incest theme might have started. But, once again where did the encouraging of little girls to declare they will be their father's bride come from?

Japan back into the middle ages was always rather loose when it came to sex and sexuality. I guess, I am wondering if there was some historical thinking that could have possibly acted as the seed for the way incest is handled today in Japan.

I got to wondering all this, because I am really having trouble understanding this concept as something enjoyable, so I wondered where it came from.

jelzin89
Post #561777
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8:58 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 270


I'm with AceBunneh on this.

we are taught incest is bad, so its hot.

people are genetically programmed not to go after people they grew up with to prevent incest, so it makes an extraordinary story. similar to childhood-friends in this respect btw.

furthermore I suspect manga is just that kind of medium where the other side can be heard without causing a riot at once. when the ideas are out they are out and people may get a glimpse of what could go on in people who actually are in an incest-situation. who doesn't like it doesn't need to read it and so on. but of course I can't say to what extend this is pursued in said manga.

@zk
children saying they are gonna marry their parent of the opposite sex is comepletely normal when they undergo their oedipal phase. it's just a part of developement. I suspect it can also wander to other people like siblings in some cases....or the sexy and kind girl next door so to say...

oh and I always felt there was some kind of taboo to speak about taboos in public which softened over the last decades. might have some influence too.

PS: I started writing before you finished your most recent post

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FormX
Post #561778 - Reply to (#561776) by zk
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9:18 pm, Jul 18 2012
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Quote from zk
"My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute" and then "Listen to Me, Girls. I'm Your Father." and now, I just saw an article that Crunchyroll is going to be streaming a show called "Nakaimo ~ My Little Sister is Among Them!"

Note that none of these technically count as incest, which is probably why it's popular.
It has the theme, it may get there, but it's not.

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zk
Post #561779
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9:18 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 19


@jelzin89 That the overal taboo on taboos is softening as a reason for the recent boom, makes sense. I guess this topic is also kind of explaining another question I've had recently, "Why are the depictions of violence in the media becoming more and more gory lately?"

And your answer about children makes somewhat sense, too. I admit that I don't find it as strange if a girl declares she's going to marry the nice friend of her older sibling, but I just have never understood where or how a five year-old got it into her head to want to marry her father. Of course, I realize that a five year-old isn't saying that with any sexual awareness. She just thinks that she loves her father best and you are supposed to marry the one you love the best. But, what I don't get is why it isn't clear to those little girls that you can't marry a family member. I have never heard a little girl in real life or in non-Japanese media make such a statement.

Which, just leaves me still with wondering if there isn't some sort of historical perspective.

@FormX Ah, sorry. You can probably tell. I haven't actually watched any of those. Perhaps I should have clarified it as shows depicting the acceptance of the theme. However, if they are depicting sexual pleasure or stimulation even if it falls short of sex itself, isn't it a matter of degree not whether it is incest or not?

Last edited by zk at 9:23 pm, Jul 18

FormX
Post #561781 - Reply to (#561779) by zk
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9:21 pm, Jul 18 2012
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Quote from zk
I have never heard a little girl in real life or in non-Japanese media make such a statement.

I remember (rather not, actually) insisting on marrying my mom when I was a little boy and I didn't have a sister then but I wanted one so I could marry her. Seriously. I was like two-four though. For the record I'm Chinese.

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AceBunneh
Post #561782 - Reply to (#561781) by FormX
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9:25 pm, Jul 18 2012
Posts: 235


Quote from FormX
I remember (rather not, actually) insisting on marrying my mom when I was a little boy and I didn't have a sister then but I wanted one so I could marry her. Seriously. I was like two-four though. For the record I'm Chinese.

I'm also Chinese (Well, American-born Chinese so I guess that doesn't really count) and I don't believe I've ever cared for anyone in my family enough to want to marry them.. For the record I have no sister.

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zk
Post #561783 - Reply to (#561781) by FormX
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9:27 pm, Jul 18 2012
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Quote from FormX
I remember (rather not, actually) insisting on marrying my mom when I was a little boy and I didn't have a sister then but I wanted one so I could marry her. Seriously. I was like two-four though. For the record I'm Chinese.


Then, if you don't mind my asking, would you say that such thinking in children is not unheard of in the general Chinese culture?

FormX
Post #561784 - Reply to (#561783) by zk
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9:28 pm, Jul 18 2012
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Quote from zk
Then, if you don't mind my asking, would you say that such thinking in children is not unheard of in the general Chinese culture?

Honestly, I wouldn't know.

Now that I think about it, I didn't remember all this until psychology class and Freud.

Quote from zk
However, if they are depicting sexual pleasure or stimulation even if it falls short of sex itself, isn't it a matter of degree not whether it is incest or not?

Sure, again, which is probably why it 'works'. They all have legitimate stories that really don't fit the definition of incest, but if you want to take a stance you wouldn't want to read it (the originals were all novels).
It doesn't help either that it's ecchi and it has those titles.

Last edited by FormX at 9:40 pm, Jul 18

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Tenzen
Post #561785
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9:29 pm, Jul 18 2012
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Well, I´m afraid not being to knowledgeable of the Japanese history or myths...

But if you look at western history (a.k.a. European an the such) there´s a lot of references of marriages into the own family to not loose the purity of the blood, at least in the context of King-Queen...

The same can be said in the birth of the Gods in the ancient myths; like Zeus and Hera, that were brother and sister. This is something that is common in others parts of the world contained in their mythology and legends...

Is not a modern thing, it something that was always there...

And is not exclusive of manga and anime, there´s a lot of books that can be found on this topic...Aside from the fan-based histories that run in the web...

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zk
Post #561786
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9:40 pm, Jul 18 2012
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Hmm, I guess I'm wondering, because although there certainly was some incest in for example Ancient Egypt and Greece as Tenzen said, for several centuries in the America's and Europe, as far as I know incest has had no good connotation, and the genetic barrier to not be attracted to a family member has been pretty strong -and when it wasn't, it lead almost always to abuse-, and it hasn't been common for kids to express the oedipal stage with declarations of marriage. So, I wonder what the development socially was for it to come out different in Japan (at least in it's media). I guess I will have to go ask a professor in Japanese history and sociology if I ever get a chance.

Thanks to everyone who replied. This at least helped clear up why this has suddenly gotten so popular to me.

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