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The other day, I was at my friend’s house, and we were watching an adult movie about lesbians. Actually, that is not quite true: we were just watching TV, and suddenly, a commercial came on that featured some very pretty young girls kissing each other in an extremely sexual way. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I think the idea was that they were passing chocolate to each other “mouth-to-mouth,” but of course, it looked like they were kissing.

As you are probably aware, I know next to nothing about popular Japanese culture, but my friend told me that these girls were from a pop group called AKB-48.

“Why are they kissing each other?” I asked?
“It’s just a commercial,” he replied.

Actually, I have heard of AKB-48. Some people might think they are quite new, but in fact, the music company have been trying to promote the concept of AKB-48 for a long time. When I used to watch American Idol many years ago, the TV station was trying to push AKB-48 by having them comment on the acts after the show. Their comments were about as idiotic as you would imagine, and I always turned off when they came on. Anyway, I never heard any more about them, so I thought they had disappeared, but now, apparently, they are really big.

Having said that, I believe that the members of this “group” keep changing, so it is not really the same group at all. From what I have read on the Japan Today site, I also understand that many of the “fans” of this group are dirty old men with a fetish for young girls, which is, I guess, why they have made a commercial showing them kissing each other.

As many of you are mothers of young children, I was wondering what you think about this. Do you think these people are appropriate role models for 12- and 13-year old girls? Do you think commercials like this should be shown on public television?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

44 Comments

  1. noriko on Monday May 14th, 2012 at 01:26 PM

    Hi David, it’s a great to find your new blog!I think this is a good idea to move here.
    ALC’s blog was good, but I was used to this system(write your name, email address, put a code, then required).
    Hi everyone, how are your weekend?
    Hi trmr, thank you for the greetings and sorry to reply too late…

    First of all, I hate passing food “mouth-to-mouth”,because it would probably passing germs with food to others. So that I have never tried doing it to my son.

    Anyway,
    >Do you think these people are appropriate role models for 12- and 13-year old girls? Do you think commercials like this should be shown on public television?

    I’m not interested in these kind of groups,but I don’t think they should be the role models for teenagers.
    If one of them would be a great actresss/singer and need to express something special(messages,etc) to the puplic,they can be approved.
    As a mother, idols should be bright, want them to be “clean “.



  2. YU on Monday May 14th, 2012 at 04:48 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    >which is, I guess, why they have made a commercial showing them kissing each other.

    Your guess is correct.

    I saw some of AKB members and the producer of this advert interviewed on TV just before it was aired for the first time.

    Apparently, this commercial is actually aimed at “male” AKB fans, the producer wanted to feel them as if they were kissing their favorite AKB member seeing they are kissing each other.

    > Do you think commercials like this should be shown on public television?

    To tell the truth, I didn’t see any indecent in this advert. Because I’m a woman?? Or because AKB are very pretty, but not really sexy??

    Anyway, I don’t think that Japanese people are serious for protecting children from pornography. You can see a lot of transgender talents appearing on TV and talking whatever they like every day, even in prime time !!
    It might be a proof that Japan is getting tolerant for any kind of “gender”, and I don’t think it is a bad trend.
    However, sometimes their comments or behavior exceed our torelance level. I have nothing against for sexual minority, and I find transgender talents very funny, but I think they should mind their language at least when they perform on TV programs in the time zone when children are still awake.

    Bye for now !



  3. Tomo on Monday May 14th, 2012 at 08:38 PM

    Hi Erica,
    Nice to have you with us:)

    Hi David and everyone,

    You surprised me, David. I was relieved that it was just a commercial of AKB-48! Do you see that commercial as an adult movie about lesbians?? My reaction is the same as your friend’s. It’s just a commercial. I don’t find any problems with this. They(producers or photographers) often use this kind of way to attract fans, especially ones of the opposite sex. It would be disgusting if they were actually kissing, but passing chocolate to each other is okay for me as long as they are dressed properly. Has anyone seen one of their promotion videos of “Heavy Rotation”? I was very surprised that they were only in sexy underwear. I think they went too far.

    I’m not interested in AKB-48 at all, but my daughter loves the group, their songs, fashion, hair style, and everything. It seems like they are “hot big sisters” for her. My niece used to like the group too, but she seems to have moved on to a new group of Johnny’s pop stars, which I can’t tell who is who anymore…

    I have to cook dinner for my husband.
    See you soon,

    Tomo



  4. amo on Monday May 14th, 2012 at 09:17 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    As for the topic, I haven’t watched this commercial so I can’t say anything about this. I don’t watch Japanese TV programs so often. Even so, I have heard their songs but I am not interested in them at all. I have never been interested in those kinds of girls groups But as Tomo said, they are popular among girls.

    I haven’t had my dinner yet so I got to go,
    Bye for now,
    amo



  5. Anne on Monday May 14th, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Sorry to say, I haven’t seen the ad yet, so I’m not sure what the ad is like, but I guess it’s just one of the commercials.

    It might be one of the strategies that Mr.Akimoto, a director of the group, intend to sell the group. He has been creating these kinds of groups for many years,right?
    I’m not interested in AKB 48 at all, but I understand members of the group need to do various kinds of things to survive the entertainment business and some of the things might go too far.

    David, I’m wondering if one of the person was a handsome guy(man), what image did you have?
    Is the point “two girls” moving candy from one person to another? Or is the point “two girls” are teenagers not adults?

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  6. YU on Monday May 14th, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    My son loves AKB-48. He likes pretty young girls very much.
    When “Heavy Rotation” was in heavy rotation on radio or TV, my son remembered the lyrics perfectly.

    > Johnny’s pop stars, which I can’t tell who is who anymore…

    When I was a teenager, I wondered why my parents couldn’t say who was who, but now….I became just like them. Johnny’s pop stars all look the same to me. hahaha….

    See you !



  7. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    Hi Anne,

    I think the problem for me is that the commercial is so overtly sexual. Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed it! I’m sure I could happily sit and watch it for hours! I just don’t think it is an appropriate thing for young children to be watching.

    It’s true that they are just passing chocolate from mouth to mouth, but the way they do it makes it look like they are kissing. It’s obvious that the whole thing is designed to titillate older men, which I find a bit disturbing. Maybe it’s just a cultural difference, or maybe I’m just getting old, but I cannot imagine a commercial like that being allowed on TV in the UK.



  8. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Hi YU,

    You said your son likes AKB-48 a lot, and I was wondering – how about your husband?



  9. Anne on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 08:34 AM

    Hi David,

    I just watched two ads from the web.

    > the whole thing is designed to titillate older men—-Yes, I agree with you, but not only for older men but also young men. It certainly grabbed AKB men’s fans attention.
    This is one of the images of this group. I thought the advert looked cheesy and was not beautiful. I guess if two women act that scene in a different way beautifully, the image would be different. Oh, the point is off the track,though…

    I’m not sure if a commercial like that should be allowed or not because I’m accustomed to seeing these kinds of advert.

    By the way, I also read and article about AKB 48’s advert on Japan Today. As you can imagine, there were over 250 comments!

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  10. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Hi Anne,

    What concerns me (and most of the readers on “Japan Today”) is the sexualization of children. Do we really want nine- and ten-year old girls learning how to sexually excite men by watching their idols do it on TV? Of course, this is a big problem in the West as well because of hip-hop stars. There have been all kinds of stories in the media recently about girls as young as 10 sending naked pictures of themselves to boys. They thought it was “cool” and “grown-up” because they saw their idols parading almost naked and dancing in a very sexual way on TV. Of course, it is so easy for them to do it nowadays because of mobile phones. There was also a story about a famous singer whose boyfriend made a video of them having sex on his mobile phone and then posted it on the Internet.

    Anyway, if you are a mother of a young girl, how would you feel if she and her friends decided to imitate the AKB-48 commercial in a park? Can you imagine the kind of men who would gather around to watch them? What about if they did it in school? Would you feel happy with male teachers and students watching them do that?



  11. Tomo on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Hi YU,
    >My son loves AKB-48. He likes pretty young girls very much.
    When “Heavy Rotation” was in heavy rotation on radio or TV, my son remembered the lyrics perfectly.

    Your son is adorable! The song was very popular among children too, wasn’t it? I saw some girls at my daughter’s school sing and dance the song at their school festival. They were lovely:) Speaking of school festivals, I also saw some boys sing and dance a song of AKB in a girl’s uniform at my son’s high school festival. They were not lovely, but very funny. The audience laughed out loud!

    >When I was a teenager, I wondered why my parents couldn’t say who was who, but now….I became just like them. Johnny’s pop stars all look the same to me. hahaha….

    I know exactly how you feel!(lol)

    Hi David and everyone,

    >Do we really want nine- and ten-year old girls learning how to sexually excite men by watching their idols do it on TV?

    It sounds a bit strange to me to see that commercial in that way. 変な目で見すぎているような気がします…。

    >There have been all kinds of stories in the media recently about girls as young as 10 sending naked pictures of themselves to boys. They thought it was “cool” and “grown-up” because they saw their idols parading almost naked and dancing in a very sexual way on TV. Of course, it is so easy for them to do it nowadays because of mobile phones.

    I think the problem here is their parents. I don’t think elementary school children need a mobile phone. If parents let their children have one, they should check what the kids are doing with it.

    >if you are a mother of a young girl, how would you feel if she and her friends decided to imitate the AKB-48 commercial in a park?

    I wouldn’t be happy, but I can understand that they want to imitate pop idols.

    >Can you imagine the kind of men who would gather around to watch them?

    No, I cannot imagine that men would gather around a park to watch them. Are there so many perverts everywhere in Japan? Do I have to worry like, “This man might be a pervert” all the time??

    >What about if they did it in school? Would you feel happy with male teachers and students watching them do that?

    My daughter’s teacher is a man, but I don’t think he would get excited if he saw 8 or 9 year-old girls kissing. I would feel differently about this if my daughter was in high school, though.

    Hmmm I don’t understand why it’s okay to kiss in public in Western countries but not this commercial. Does it just happen in America or movies?

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  12. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    変な目で見すぎているかもしれませんが、

    I don’t think that is the case. The people who made this commercial designed it specifically to sexually excite men. (Trust me on this – I am a man!) Young girls see AKB-48 as role models, and naturally, they want to imitate them.

    I have never met your daughter’s teacher, and I hope you are right that he would not get excited, but how about if 15- and 16-year-old girls started doing this? You will just have to take my word that most men would be excited by that, which is why this commercial was made in the first place.



  13. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Regarding your question about how many perverts are out there, I have noticed something very surprising in Japan:

    In the UK, I have never met a girl or woman who has had experience of being flashed at or touched by a man in a public place. In Japan, I have never met a girl or woman who has not had that kind of experience. Is that just me, or is that a fair statement about the experience of women in Japan?

    As for the kissing issue, people do kiss in public in the West, but I have only seen women kissing like that commercial in public once in my life. I had to go and have a lie down afterwards! I’m afraid that men get very excited by women kissing each other, and I can assure you that is not just my opinion. For women, that commercial might just be silly or cute, but for men, it is most definitely sexual.



  14. rinko on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 02:14 PM

    Hi David and everyone.

    I’m glad to join your new blog!

    >Do you think these people are appropriate role models for 12- and 13-year old girls?

    Well..I’m not a fun of AKB at all and even can’t identify each of them.Actually I don’t have any negative view about them because they are just “typical Japanese idole”who are emphasized “kawaii”in the unique outfits and dancing. I can understand there are lots of funs not only among men but also among young girls.They have kind of big power that cheeres and fascinates many peopele.

    That’s why the commercial of this topic disappointed me so much.

    >Do you think commercials like this should be shown on public television?

    I don’t think it should be at all.
    When I saw the commercial for the first time I thought it’s too much (やりすぎ)to show to the public and I really doubted there was any advantage for the company of sponsor.
    Just after that, I saw the news that there were lots of complaints against the commercial from the public to the company and it might be stopped soon. So I thought it had already been held up. Is it still on air now??

    Have a nice day everyone!



  15. YU on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 04:23 PM

    Hi Tomo, David and everyone,

    My husband likes AKB-48 too.
    He can say who is who. He watches their programs, such as AKBINGO every week.
    I hope he isn’t a dirty old man with a fetish for young girls. By the way, he’s 8 years younger to me, so AKB generation might be possible objects of his romantic interest…

    > I’m afraid that men get very excited by women kissing each other, and I can assure you that is not just my opinion

    I asked him this morning, “Did you feel anything sexual with the commercial?”.
    “No. If they had kissed a man, I might have felt in different way.”, he replied.

    I’m not sure if he tried to hide his indecent aspect or he told me the truth, but he is a man.
    I wonder if he needs viagra….

    > I’m not sure if a commercial like that should be allowed or not because I’m accustomed to seeing these kinds of advert.

    I agree.
    And I doubt that they are more perverts in Japan than in the West because they are sexually excited by seeing those kind of commercials or what idols do on TV.
    In my opinion, men will anyway imagine sexual things even if idols wear clothes properly. And the more their sexual desire is suppressed, the more indecent they become.

    Most German women wear a tank top without wearing a bra in summer. When I saw it at first, I was at a loss where to put my eyes. Some of them enjoy “topless” sunbathing in the park, but it seemed to be a very natural thing to both men and women in Germany.

    I don’t think Japanese men are especially lecherous, but Western people are more accustomed to seeing those scenes on a daily basis, so that their sexual desire is more controlled.

    Bye for now !



  16. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 04:48 PM

    I just saw that another child has been hit by a car and killed in Osaka. There doesn’t seem to be any end to these accidents. According to “Japan Today,” the driver’s only excuse was that he didn’t notice the group of children he crashed into while they were walking across a pedestrian crossing! As usual, I suspect mobile telephones. I hope the police check his phone records to find out whether he was using it as he was driving.



  17. YU on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 05:04 PM

    Hi rinko,

    >Just after that, I saw the news that there were lots of complaints against the commercial from the public to the company

    Were there?? I didn’t know that!

    > and it might be stopped soon. So I thought it had already been held up. Is it still on air now

    Apparently, the commercial has been banned as of March 25.
    I’m a mother of a 3-year-old son, but seem to be insensitive to those kind of matters.

    See you !



  18. YU on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 05:44 PM

    Hi David,

    Do you know that recent home delivery service drivers answer the calls from costomers directly?
    Apparently, they have started the service in order to deliver the parcels to us as soon as possible.
    I wonder if they always stop the car and answer the calls, as they pick the phone whenever I call.

    If I can remember correctly, you can drive and talk on the mobile phone, as long as you use “handsfree car kit”?? Or am I wrong?
    Even it is allowed to do so by law, I don’t think it is a good idea to do something else while driving.
    Drivers should concentrate his/her attention on only driving.

    Car navigators stop showing TV programs automatically when cars start. I think the same kind of function should be installed on mobile phones.

    Bye for now !



  19. Tomo on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Hi David,
    >I hope you are right that he would not get excited,

    You don’t need to hope that because I trust him 🙂 He is older than me and has two daughters. I think it all depends on how you look at children/girls.(I mean, 異性として見るかどうか) If he looked at his students like that, I wouldn’t let my daughter go to school!

    >how about if 15- and 16-year-old girls started doing this? You will just have to take my word that most men would be excited by that, which is why this commercial was made in the first place.

    I don’t blame men for getting excited by that. It’s a natural reaction, isn’t it? It’s okay as long as they can control the excitement and behave themselves.

    >In the UK, I have never met a girl or woman who has had experience of being flashed at or touched by a man in a public place. In Japan, I have never met a girl or woman who has not had that kind of experience. Is that just me, or is that a fair statement about the experience of women in Japan?

    Oh…, it seems that Japan is not as safe as I thought…

    >I’m afraid that men get very excited by women kissing each other,

    Do they?? I asked my husband about this, and he said young boys or “otaku” get excited by that commercial, but most adult males will not. He says it’s disgusting(“kimochiwarui”) to see women kissing each other(He personally doesn’t like lesbians.) and that he would get excited if he saw a man and a woman kissing passionately. It seems that commercial is not good enough to excite him. 笑

    Hi YU and rinko,
    >Just after that, I saw the news that there were lots of complaints against the commercial from the public to the company

    I read the news about it, too. I was a bit surprised by that.

    >Most German women wear a tank top without wearing a bra in summer. When I saw it at first, I was at a loss where to put my eyes. Some of them enjoy “topless” sunbathing in the park,

    You are kidding!! Is it okay to do that in the park??? …The AKB commercial seems to be nothing compared to this. Maybe we should be more open to reduce the number of perverts in Japan?! ( just joking! 笑)

    Good night, everyone!

    Tomo



  20. Tomo on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Wow, we can use 絵文字 here!!



  21. David Barker on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Hi Tomo and YU,

    So your husbands told you that they do not get excited by this commercial? Hmmm, I have my own opinion about that, but I think I had better keep it to myself! (LOL)

    Actually, I went to Germany when I was in my twenties, and I must admit that I was a bit shocked by all the topless sunbathing in the parks. I cannot imagine that happening in Japan!

    I think it is just a question of what you are used to, though. I remember going back to the UK after my first two years of living in Japan and being really shocked to see people kissing in public. Even though I grew up in that environment, I had become used to Japanese cultural norms. When I went to San Francisco (many years ago), I nearly fell over the first time I saw two men kissing. After I had been there a week, though, it didn’t bother me at all.

    In the case of this commercial, I guess a lot of Japanese people must have felt the same way as I did, and I’m glad to hear that it has been banned.

    PS Tomo – How do we write 絵文字?



  22. Anne on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    >how would you feel if she and her friends decided to imitate the AKB-48 commercial in a park? —-If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t want her to imitate this image and learn how to sexually excite men. However, these kinds of idols appear on TV every day. If these were not allowed, I wonder what Japanese entertainment business would be like. Anyway, I think all of them are created from the viewpoints of men not women. I thought myself that ad tacky and distasteful, but men might fancy that. I also think that is similar to the image of some genre of manga and anime.

    > rinko, I saw the news that there were lots of complaints against the commercial from the public to the company and it might be stopped soon. So I thought it had already been held up.—Yes, I saw this news on Japan Times,too.

    Happy Birthday, David♪♪

    I hope you’ll have a great day!

    See you soon,

    Anne



  23. Fumie Yuhi on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 05:31 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I like the new design of BTB Press. It’s stylish!

    I had never seen the commercial so I searched and watched it on the net. I think it’s OK. I personally felt it’s just cute. But if it sexually excite men, these kind of adverts should not be approved.

    > Do you think these people are appropriate role models for 12- and 13-year old girls?

    I don’t think they are appropriate role models. They are just idles which young people copy their fashion, make-up. Role-models should be people whom people respect for.
    Japanese TV shouldn’t air any sexual explicit scenes, expressions during golden hour. They are not appropriate for children. I often hear commedians saying sexually implying jokes on variety shows when my children are watching. I’m always scared how should I answer if my youngest asked me what does that joke means?

    Regarding David’s statement about there are more cases of women becoming perverts’ victims in Japan, it is quite shocking!
    I’m a fan of English TV dramas and I see quite often couples are kissing and cuddling scenes. I wonder if these programs are aired during prime time when children can watch them. I’m guessing that kissing is more natural thing in the West. I have to skip the scenes not my children watch them.

    Happy Birthday, David!☆
    Many happy returns of the day!

    Fumie



  24. Tomo on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 06:04 AM

    Happy Birthday, David!! 🙂 (← I just typed a colon, a hyphen, and a bracket(a smiley face), and it turned into 絵文字!)

    > Hmmm, I have my own opinion about that, but I think I had better keep it to myself! (LOL)

    Ha ha, that’s a good idea. I can be fooled :-p

    >I think it is just a question of what you are used to, though.

    I think so, too.

    Anyway, I hope you have a great day!!

    Tomo



  25. Lily on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 08:43 AM

    Happy Birthday, David!! ♪♪♪ Nice new blog 🙂



  26. admin2 on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Thanks for all the birthday messages. I’m feeling very old. From today, 50 is closer than 40 for me 🙁



  27. Amica on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    David, Happy Birthday 🙂

    Amica



  28. David Barker on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Thanks Amica. Hope things are going well with the singing.

    Hi Lily. How did you write the musical notes in your comment?



  29. amo on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    As I said, I haven’t watched the commercial but two girls kissing, reminds me of t.A.T.u.. If I remember correctly, they were popular in the UK. I remember they were kissing each other when they were singing.

    >but I cannot imagine a commercial like that being allowed on TV in the UK.

    Can I ask you something, I am always wondering this issue, if this kind of commercial is not allowed on TV in the UK. How about music videos? I remember that one of their(t.A.T.u.) videos was sensational at that time. Those kinds of music videos are not allowed on TV in the UK? or is it only commercials? By the way, I bet you love that video(lol)

    Hi fumie,

    >I’m guessing that kissing is more natural thing in the West. I have to skip the scenes not my children watch them.
    I am not a parent so I don’t need to worry about this kind of thing when I watch TV, but I don’t think I would do that even if I had children. My parents never covered my eyes, when I was a little and watched TV with them.

    Hi everyone,
    I took a day off today instead of Sunday shift. I am going to have a massage so I am off.

    Bye for now,

    ☆Happy birthday David☆
    I as sure you are still young at heart 😉

    amo



  30. amo on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Hi David,

    If you type おんぷ in Japanese, then press transform(変換) key, you can see ♩, ♫,



  31. YU on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 01:30 PM

    Is today your birthday?
    Happy birthday, David !! 🙂

    > Hmmm, I have my own opinion about that, but I think I had better keep it to myself! (LOL)

    Ha!Ha!
    I think men like you are much better than “otaku” or lecher who doesn’t seem it and doesn’t talk about it(むっつりスケベ). I’m joking !

    > You are kidding!! Is it okay to do that in the park???

    I’m not kidding you, Tomo!
    Not only German women, but also women from some European countires seem to enjoy doing “topless” sunbathing. Really !!

    There were a beeeauuuuutiful young woman from Ukraine and a young Chinese guy in the class when I was in German language school before uni.

    One day, our teacher asked about our weekend plans.

    The Ukrainian woman said, “I’m going to the park to do sunbathing.”
    The Chinese guy asked her, “Sunbathing?
    It isn’t good for your skin.”
    She said, “Why?? I love sunbathing! I don’t wear a top when I do it.”
    He said, “What!!?? You mean, topless?? Which park, what time are you going?”
    The Ukrainian woman got so angry about him and said, “I won’t tell anything to lecherous men like you !!!”

    Now I wonder what an exciting German class I was belonging to…!!

    Joking apart, I think this is again a cultural difference between Asian and Westerner, as David said. I understand why the Chinese guy got excited so much hearing her plan.

    By the way, did any of you watch “なかよしテレビ”(Fuji TV) last evening? In the program, Matsuko Delux mentioned, “In the old days, the regulation against pornograhy in Japan wasn’t as strict as it is now, and “nip-slip” videos used to be daily events on TV. But strangely, sex crime rates have been increasing and children start having sexual intercourse at earlier age today.”

    I thought she/he!?(Matsuko) was right to some extents. Of course, I don’t think children should watch pornography on TV or other media, though.
    We should protect children from pornography, but surplus regulation could lead children to become more curious about sex and aware of it earlier, I feel.

    Bye for now !!



  32. rinko on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 01:37 PM

    Hi YU, Tomo and Anne.

    Thank you for your imformation about the news that the commercial has been banned.I didn’t check it by myself…

    Hi David.

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m sorry I didn’t know today is your birthday but I will never forget it because today is the birthday of my beloved son , too!

    Have a nice day everyone!



  33. David Barker on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 03:40 PM

    Hi Amo,

    I think the difference between music videos and commercials is that commercials are more strictly regulated. There is an organisation called the Advertising Standards Authority. If a lot of people complain about a commercial, it is often banned. I am quite sure that the AKB-48 commercial would never have been allowed. Having said that, some music videos are also banned. I think one of Rihanna’s videos was banned a couple of months ago because it was deemed to be too sexually explicit. By the way, thanks for the info on emoji ♪



  34. amo on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 07:26 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for answering my question. I got it and I can guess what video of Rhihanna’s was banned.

    >thanks for the info on emoji.
    My pleasure, anytime:)

    amo



  35. Tomo on Thursday May 17th, 2012 at 08:58 AM

    Hi YU,

    >Not only German women, but also women from some European countires seem to enjoy doing “topless” sunbathing. Really !!

    Wow, wow, wow!! What a shock!! I have seen some women enjoy topless sunbathing at a beach on TV before, but I didn’t know it was a very natural thing. I don’t blame the Chinese man’s reaction. If he had said that jokingly, I would have laughed with him. I guess my husband would have the same reaction, or he might say, “I like sunbathing too. Can I join you?” jokingly. (LOL)

    >“In the old days, the regulation against pornograhy in Japan wasn’t as strict as it is now, and “nip-slip” videos used to be daily events on TV. But strangely, sex crime rates have been increasing and children start having sexual intercourse at earlier age today.”

    I didn’t watch the program, but I also think she(he) has a point there.

    >We should protect children from pornography, but surplus regulation could lead children to become more curious about sex and aware of it earlier, I feel.

    I afree with you. I think there is a difference between “protecting” and “hiding everything.” I guess secrecy generates more interest and curiosity. As a mother, I often wonder what age is appropriate for children to start sex education. Western countries are ahead of Japan, but thinking about the problem with teenage pregnancy, it doesn’t seem to be working out.

    Have a good day, everyone!

    Tomo

    PS David, it seems like you have learned to use emoji;-)



  36. YU on Thursday May 17th, 2012 at 01:12 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    > I don’t blame the Chinese man’s reaction

    If I had said, “I don’t wear a top”, the Chinese guy would have reacted differently, like “Heeee.
    Good for you!”, I guess. 🙂

    > If he had said that jokingly, I would have laughed with him.

    I agree, but he said that seriously…
    I still don’t understand why the Ukrainian woman needed to say “I don’t wear a top”. I guess that was a favorite trick of her temptating men.
    Have you ever heard that Russian(incl. former Russian countries) are very popular among some European men?

    > I didn’t watch the program, but I also think she(he) has a point there.

    His/her comments are often very convincing.

    > As a mother, I often wonder what age is appropriate for children to start sex education.

    Should it be taught by parents or by teachers?
    What do you think?
    I cannot imagine me teaching it to my son.
    Can you do it yourself?
    My parents didn’t teach it to me.

    In my case, I learned it at health and physical education class in school. I guess most of the students had already known how to make a child and how to avoid pregnancy then, though….

    Bye for now !



  37. David Barker on Thursday May 17th, 2012 at 02:07 PM

    Actually, I admire a lot about the Japanese approach to sexuality. The whole topic has been poisoned in my country by the interference of the church. There are no places like “Soaplands” in my country, so women sell themselves on the street. Most are drug addicts, and they lead very dangerous lives. For hundreds of years, the church has been trying to tell people that sex is “dirty” and “a sin,” so most people grow up thinking of it in that way. Until very recently, children were taught that masturbation was a sin, and that if they did it, they would go to hell forever. What kind of thing is that to tell a child!

    I (and many people like me) are sick and tired of having the moral standards of our country decided by people who believe in fairy stories. I watched a programme on TV the other night about the child abuse scandal in Ireland. The man who is now the leader of the Catholic church in Ireland was appointed many years ago to investigate the abuse of a young boy by a priest. This man decided to interview the boy alone without his parents, and after he had heard his story, he made him sign a document promising that he would never tell anyone again. The boy gave this man the names and addresses of two other children who were being abused, and the man decided to do… nothing! Those two children continued to be abused for another 6 years until the priest was finally caught. I do not think members of the Christian religion (and particularly the Catholic church) are in any position to be dictating morality to the rest of us.



  38. YU on Thursday May 17th, 2012 at 08:47 PM

    Hi David,

    > For hundreds of years, the church has been trying to tell people that sex is “dirty” and “a sin,” so most people grow up thinking of it in that way.

    It is interesting. People grow up thinking of sex in that way, but the people are the result of the “dirty” act. Priest is a person, they are there because their parents “sinned”. Or priests are set something else but “a person” in the Catholic Church?

    > The boy gave this man the names and addresses of two other children who were being abused, and the man decided to do… nothing! Those two children continued to be abused for another 6 years until the priest was finally caught.

    I’ve heard of it on TV news.
    Which century do they live in?
    I guess “the Church” has been an untouchable world.

    “Sexuality” is one of the “worldly desires” in Buddhism. In old days, Buddhist priests and monks didn’t have sexual intercourse throughout his life. But now, they marry and have children.
    A classmate from my junior highschool was a son of the chief priest at a Buddhist temple.

    > I do not think members of the Christian religion (and particularly the Catholic church) are in any position to be dictating morality to the rest of us

    I don’t think all the members are that immoral, but there seems no doubt that a series of sex scandals have all resulted in a loss of credibility for the church within your society.
    I hope the victims(boys) will recover from mental damages soon.



  39. Tomo on Friday May 18th, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    Hi YU,

    >Have you ever heard that Russian(incl. former Russian countries) are very popular among some European men?

    Oh, really? I didn’t know that. To be honest, it’s difficult for me to tell apart Russian, European, or American…

    >Should it be taught by parents or by teachers? What do you think? I cannot imagine me teaching it to my son. Can you do it yourself?

    Hmmm, I think both, but as you know, it’s not easy for parents to do it. I feel uncomfortable to talk about it with my children, especially with my sons. Actually, that’s not my job but my husband’s. I haven’t taught anything about it to my daughter yet, but I guess that would be my job.

    When my oldest son was in kindergarten, I was having my second baby, and he asked me this question “Where does a baby come from?” Of course, I couldn’t tell him the truth, so I gave him a story of “kounotori.” As he grew up, he began to doubt the story, and he asked me the same question again, but I couldn’t answer it properly. When he was in the third grade, students had some kind of sex education at school, and they watched a video of “Where does a baby come from?” Parents watched the same video when we had a meeting, and I was very shocked. It was animation, but it showed exactly how to make a baby, so I thought to myself, “Do they need to learn this already?? Isn’t it too early?!” I was very surprised and felt uncomfortable, but I guess I should be thankful for that class because my son never asked me that question again.

    Hi David,
    I may be wrong, but what the church tell people sounds like “If you did this(or didn’t this), you would go to hell forever.” I can’t believe that the man decided not to help the poor children! That is a real sin, isn’t it?

    >For hundreds of years, the church has been trying to tell people that sex is “dirty” and “a sin,” so most people grow up thinking of it in that way.

    You said “has been trying”, so it means the church still hasn’t change their way? I think what YU said is very true. They are there because their parents “sinned”. There seems to be a lot of contradictions.



  40. Fumie Yuhi on Friday May 18th, 2012 at 09:01 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    Your son’s school show video about how to bear a child to third grade students! That’s too early. I asked my fourth grade son whether he has ever seen such video or not. He answered he didn’t remember. Maybe sex educations are depend on each school.

    Fumie



  41. YU on Friday May 18th, 2012 at 09:50 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    > When he was in the third grade, students had some kind of sex education at school,

    Oh, recent children get sex education so early?
    If I can remember correctly, I think I learned it in junior highschool.

    > It was animation, but it showed exactly how to make a baby, so I thought to myself, “Do they need to learn this already?? Isn’t it too early?!”

    I thought so at first, but recent children physically grow up much quicker than before, so it might be the appropriate timing for them.

    > I was very surprised and felt uncomfortable, but I guess I should be thankful for that class because my son never asked me that question again.

    Your son is smart.
    I guess he has learned what it is from the class.
    I think he would become a nice guy.
    (女の子を泣かせない、女の子を大事にする、と思う)

    Bye for now !



  42. Tomo on Friday May 18th, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Hi Fumie and YU,

    He had that class at his old elementary school. The school was the newest and something like “a model school” in the city, so if they wanted to try something new, they would introduced it at the school first. I’m not sure if they still have that class or not. Apparently, third graders at my daughter’s school don’t watch a video like that, but they are going to learn about a man’s and a woman’s bodies this year. When my daughter saw some pictures(絵) in the textbook, she said, “Ew! It’s gross!!” …I guess it’s not easy to teach children these kinds of things, even for teachers.

    >I think he would become a nice guy.

    Thank you:-) I hope so!

    Have a nice day, everyone!

    Tomo



  43. David Barker on Friday May 18th, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Hi YU and Tomo,

    The church’s answer to the problem of making children is that sex is not a sin if you are married and if the purpose is to make children. That is why the Catholic church opposes contraception (because if you use contraception, the purpose of having sex is not to make children), a policy that has led to countless deaths and misery around the world. Of course, marriage used to be completely controlled by the church, so what they were basically saying was, “Sex is a sin unless you get married. By the way, we control marriage, so you have to join our system and do as we say, or you will go to hell forever.” It makes me sick to even think about it, quite frankly.

    Re the sex education of children; a friend of mine’s wife recently had a baby, and both of her other children (I think they are about six and four) were there to watch their mother give birth. The baby’s name is Fumino, and as their mother was giving birth, the children were watching and shouting, “Come on Fumino! Ganbare!” I was quite surprised to hear about this, but my friend said it is quite common in Japan now. Anyway, those children certainly know where babies come from!



  44. YU on Friday May 18th, 2012 at 02:39 PM

    Hi David,

    > that sex is not a sin if you are married and if the purpose is to make children.

    I see, but that sounds sophistry to me…

    > That is why the Catholic church opposes contraception (because if you use contraception, the purpose of having sex is not to make children), a policy that has led to countless deaths and misery around the world

    There was an Irish teacher at an English conversation school I used to go long time ago. He told me, “I have eleven siblings.” I was very surprised and asked him,”From same parents?” “Yes, recently my parents had got divorced finally, though.”
    He added, “Until very recently, people couldn’t divorce in Ireland”. I can remember I was very surprised to hear about this.
    I didn’t ask him further questions, but I guess he had many siblings because his parents were Catholic and didn’t practice birth control. I might be wrong, though. I’ve heard that Catholic is majority in Ireland.

    > I was quite surprised to hear about this, but my friend said it is quite common in Japan now.

    Yes, I think it is quite common in Japan.
    Apparently, the main purpose is not children to understand where babies come from, but rather them to be aware of having a new family member and to nurture their brotherly love.

    Bye for now !