Is incest Japan’s latest literary craze?

Is incest Japan’s latest literary craze?

TOKYO —

Japanese “light novels” are a type of short and often serialized young adult novel that are usually heavy on dialogue and light on narrative depth. The growing popularity of light novels has made them common choices for manga and anime adaptations, such as the Haruhi Suzumiya series.

One of the more popular light novel series in recent years is “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute,” which tells the story of a normal high school student who finds out his prodigious younger sister is actually a closet otaku, obsessed with anime and incest-themed adult computer games…

It’s probably less unwholesome than it sounds (at least by Japanese standards), and the point is that the series has become so popular that it has spawned an anime and manga series as well as several video games.

It has also seemed to usher in a new craze of light novels about the relationship between normal older brothers and their not-so-normal little sisters.

That’s totally wholesome…right?

Here is a list of 12 titles of “little sister”-themed light novels planned for release through mid-October. See covers in the photo below.

1. Little Sisters, Don’t Hit On Me! (Catch phrase: “A scramble between twin sisters for their favorite older brother becomes a total mess!”)
2. My Little Sister Can Read Kanji (Volume 5)
3. My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (Volume 11)
4. My Little Sister Who Is Popular With Girls and Me Who Suffers (Volume 5)
5. My Little Sister is a Light Novel Goddess (Getting meta up in here!)
6. My Little Sister is Mad Because My Girlfriend Came Onto Me?
7. I Know You’re My Brother but as Long There’s Love it Doesn’t Matter, Right? (Volume 7)
8. Little Sister Complex (Volume 3)
9. My Childhood Friend and Little Sister Have Delusional Daydreams in My Fantasies
10. There’s No Way I Can Be Empress of a Parallel Dimension!
11. One of These Girls is My Little Sister!
12. I Tried Controlling My Rebellious Little Sister With the Power of the Devil King

So what is it about stories featuring borderline (overtly incestual?) romantic relationships between young men and their little sisters that appeal to middle and high school males, the primary light novel demographic?

To be honest, we have no idea. We don’t even know if that’s still the primary demographic for these sort of stories, though we would like to believe that these sort of stories are representative of what most light novel readers are into.

If anyone can offer some insightful opinion regarding this trend, please feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Source: 2UTen

RocketNews24

  • 12

    KariHaruka

    Obviously the person who wrote this article has never looked into Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai. Yes in the plot Kirino is interest in the little sister incest games however she finds the thought of incest in real life disgusting and she finds it disgusting when Kyosuke tries to care about her. In this series there is no incest moments between the siblings nor is it hinted that they fancy one another.

  • -1

    Akemi Mokoto

    There is a difference between anime and reality people. But I don't have an issue with either one having incest involved(if it is sibling incest and legally consensual). I am not going to be some judgmental moral-man and say what a brother and sister or sister and sister is wrong. Why? It's not. There is no real reason to say it is other than false morals. Mind your own business people. Oh, and as I said: There is a difference between anime and reality.

  • 6

    DeDeMouse

    This article is very highly bias.

  • 3

    Tamarama

    Akemi Mokoto

    I am not going to be some judgmental moral-man and say what a brother and sister or sister and sister is wrong. Why? It's not. There is no real reason to say it is other than false morals. Mind your own business people.

    I probably shouldn't have bothered to read this article, but I did. And it brought me to your comment, which I absolutely disagree with. In almost all modern societies there are laws against it and historically in almost all societies, it was universally taboo. There are some examples of it, but not many. And for good reason. Apart from the potential health risks to the offspring I find it quite abhorrent and morally reprehensible, personally. Certainly not fodder for a sexually questionable comic genre in a society that consumes them voraciously

  • 6

    TokyoGas

    Just wait until the brother/sister romantic hotel getaways start being advertised. That will get fingers flying.

  • 8

    yasukuni

    Yeah, it's sick - so guys are fantasizing that their sister is fantasizing about them.

    But, I have to own up that I found those titles funny.

    " I Tried Controlling My Rebellious Little Sister With the Power of the Devil King"

    Maybe I can use the Power of the Devil King on my rebellious wife...

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    Stop being attracted to anime characters.

  • 2

    RJP35

    Apart from the potential health risks to the offspring

    Tamarama, this may come as a shock, but not all sex results in offspring. In fact, people who don't want to make offspring can have lots of sex and never make a child.

    But you know what? People who are not blood related can still create children with genetic damage. Is anyone stopping them?

    I find it quite abhorrent

    Well isn't that special? The same argument was used against gays for centuries. Its not kosher.

    and morally reprehensible, personally.

    You are certainly welcome to your morals. But no one is welcome to force their morals on others. And its another argument that was used against gays for centuries. Not kosher.

  • 5

    gaijinfo

    The alleged weirdness in Japan as discovered by a shocked gaijin strikes again.

  • -5

    GW

    Definitely some pretty warped stuff

  • 2

    Tamarama

    RJP35

    Tamarama, this may come as a shock, but not all sex results in offspring. In fact, people who don't want to make offspring can have lots of sex and never make a child.

    But you know what? People who are not blood related can still create children with genetic damage. Is anyone stopping them?

    Wow, thats an insightful and compelling argument. I've learnt so much.

    Well isn't that special? The same argument was used against gays for centuries. Its not kosher

    Is this article about homosexuality? No.

    But just so we are clear on this, you are saying incest is perfectly normal and acceptible behaviour? You think it's OK, right? I mean, you are protected by the anonymity of the electronic internet here, so let's hear it. You see nothing wrong in using it as subject matter or a thematic thread in popular literature? You would be happy for your kids to read it and consider it themselves?

  • 1

    kaketama

    Little sister things are not so new in Otaku culture. They might be more popular about 10 years ago and are already a genre. Even Wikipedia explains that. http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%90%8C%E3%81%88%E5%B1%9E%E6%80%A7

  • 0

    Tamarama

    RJP35

    Is there any reason you chose not to answer this question? -

    But just so we are clear on this, you are saying incest is perfectly normal and acceptible behaviour? You think it's OK, right?

    Correct. If you see something wrong, why? You fear it would be commonplace?

    Would I fear it would become commonplace??!!! Are you joking?! You actually believe that most reasonable siblings are not only sexually attracted to each other, but would start to have sexual relationships on a regular basis if only we were a little more sypathetic to their poor, repressed plight?!

    But nor would I be upset or stop them. I would discuss it with them and let them choose for themselves.

    This, simply put, is astonishing. Are you actually thinking about what you are writing right now? There are very good reasons why some aspects of life are prohibited to the young. Smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex etc are all legally off limits to minors because they aren't physically or emotionally mature enough to make an informed choice about their decisions. Noticing that your sister is developing breasts, or developing in other areas might arouse your curiosity but it doesn't mean it is right for you to make advances towards her simply because you are curious or you want to. The collective wisdom of society steps in to guide children to make the 'right' choices when their sense of judgement is not sufficiently developed to do so themselves. That is protecting them at a time of confusion and vulnerability and it is based on a collective wisdom developed over a long period of time based on a consistent set of judgements about what is 'best' for us as human beings.

    It is not 'ugly, selfish, opinionated'.

    It is wise.

    It's good counsel for the young and vulnerable.

    This isn't an issue of rights - it's an issue of responsibility. You are clearly confused between the two.

  • -2

    bicultural

    The only people reading this stuff are single, middle-aged, only-child, male otakus in Akihabara.

  • -3

    lucabrasi

    I don't have a sister, but I bet I'd be a little bit in love with her if she existed.

  • 0

    oberst

    it's not new..................they have adult shows in Japan dealing with all sorts of incest scenerios..........father/daughter, brother/sister, mother/son, mother/daughter ( haven't seen father/son YET, thank goodness for that omission ). Pick your poison.

  • 0

    It"S ME

    Agree, not the latest craze, neither in Japan nor overseas.

    Just watch "Sensational Janine" or a whole lot of similar movies.

  • 3

    Lowly

    My response to the article is that, no, this is not at all a new trend, maybe there is a certain manga that happens to be popular right now but it is not unusual.

    And that if KariHaruka, first poster is right, that the writer didn't do any research, and is just making stuff up.

    From a completely non-scientific survey of the ppl I've known here, (and take into account I have probably only talked about incest very rarely), most jpns would be similar to Americans in terms of numbers of ppl who think incest is a little "kimochi warui". However, probably jpns will be less likely to want to get in somebody's business and say "you are morally reprehensible", (which is what Americans would be more likely to do, and we see it here a little in these comments), and therefore publishing this manga is less of an "event" than it would be in America.

    But why all the hatred and rejection? I have heard of brother/sister marriages where the two ppl wanted to live together, they just liked each other and unfortunately their love would not be accepted (most especially by their families) and they had to move far away and live secret lives. This just seems too bad to me. Let them live their lives. (this is different by the way from sexual abuse. Just because they are related doesn't make it sex abues. Just because they are not related doesn't mean it is healthy.)

    I personally always thot it would gross for a brother and sister to be together. But I remember I had a big crush on my cousin growing up. Since I was little I thought she was the coolest thing in the world, and when we went thru puberty I thot so even more. Nothing ever happened with us, but looking back I can't think of it as anything other than natural that I had a crush on someone close to me.

    So if a friend came up and said "my wife is my sister", what should I do? Sneer and spit in his face? Never talk to him and joke behind his back? What would you do?

  • -1

    yasukuni

    For the record I think this literary craze is sick. It's the last thing Japan needs.

  • -1

    tsurubushi

    Yasukuni, You certainly got your popcorn's worth, eh?

  • 0

    suske7

    in my little sister cant be this cute it is revealed early on they are only related by marriage.

  • -2

    ndj1979

    First off I want to say I'm from the Western Civilization, (America). I get the "Japan Today" in my email and I enjoy reading everything that it has to offer. I am not by any means one of those Americans who push there ideals and morals on someone else. I am a 33 year old student studying the old world and someday would love to move to Japan. I'm a Cultural Anthropology student. Even over here in my country incest is a taboo, and in some instances there have been ppl who have a sexual relationship with their younger sister. But they are only related by marriage. Their might be a few who are blood related, who live in areas where there is not much of a choice.(because they are already related to everyone in that area.) I personal don't agree with incest, but who am I to judge what anyone does!! Also on another note I watch a lot of Japan's anime, and I let my kids watch it also. If it showes no actual sexual scenes than what is the harm in it. Then their is times when I was in high school I was hooking up with my little sisters friends. Which was frowned apone.... Now I have read a lot of the other comments and I'm not quit sure why anyone brought up the remarks about the gay communities, as far as I'm concerned that has nothing to do with this. Again what happens behind your closed door is your business!!! Not mine not anyone's. Unless your government comes in and finds it not suitable.

  • 0

    yasukuni

    @Turubushi. lol

    I just like popcorn

  • 3

    Tama Dorema

    Such a biased article. I think the person who wrote this should research on the matter by themselves before asking for help from the commentators. It's terrible to see that people try to judge something even when they openly admit that they lack enough information on the matter. This article makes people have misguided images on the media. Not cool and not funny.

  • 4

    Frungy

    Meh, there's a niche market for nearly anything in Japan. If I searched I could probably find more novels and manga about hot Panda sex... ... don't google that... seriously, I did and now I have to go and bleach my brain.

    Umm.. back on topic. A dozen or so titles on incest doesn't mean that all of Japan is into incest, it's just another small market in Japan. I remember last year sometime there was an article about a video full of young girls and all they said was, "onii-san" (big brother) while looking cute. I doubt it was a best seller, but doubtless there were sufficient people who bought it to make it worthwhile for the publishers.

    So... yeah... meh. Who cares. Some people get off to these novels. Some people also get off to "two girls, one cup" (seriously, do NOT google this). It doesn't appeal to me, but it appeals to some people.

  • 1

    YuriOtani

    The writer is the article is harsh and judgmental. Just took a quick look at the translations and not the real thing.

    Frungy, goggled both of the terms, learn something new every day.

  • 2

    ryougi23

    You're taking the whole incest thing to literally.

    To understand the "incest craze", you need to remove the incest and look at the character relationship, and then you'll understand the core that appeals to the subset of the male demographic that is enjoying this sort of stuff.

    You get the relationship where the older male acts as a pseudo-authority figure and provides guidance to a younger inexperienced, vulnerable, adorable female that often cares a lot for the male, dots on him and is reliant and dependent on him even if she denies it, eg. a tsundere (but this point of appeal is a whole nother story).

    Even the LN/anime highlighter in the article makes a point of this; Kirino is shown fawning over adorable imotuous in her VN games as she puts herself in the shoes of the protagonist. BTW, in the aforementioned series, the protag develops a romantic relationship with a different girl, not his sister Kirino.

    Sexual overtones are just the cherry on top. Sex sells and everyone knows this. The targeted demographic are young men who are horny, almost to a fault.

    Why incest?

    Taboo themes can be interesting and titillating to the right person, not just because of incest, but just because it's something forbidden.

    In the shows themselves the incest is a short cut to easily setting up this sort of relationships. How else would a young guy get to be an authority figure to a younger female?

    I once read that imouto anime is made for guys who don't have a little sister, and I agree with that. Those who are not actually into incest are detached from that aspect and focus on the fantasy of the sexualized relationship of dependence and caring after the girl.

  • 1

    Alex Einz

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incest_taboo

    Read up a bit, every society has pro-incest and against-incest laws, today the taboo is largerly due to fake religious mind rape, although the due to the high risk of worsening the gene pool children as a result of incest are not recommended.

    Anyway, anyone has the right to do what they want behind their closed doors

  • -2

    Crystalyle

    This manga and adult video game stuff. It may or may not be what the article says it is. However there's a very simple negative thing to point out here. Comic books and the word "incest" shouldn't even be in the same sentence.

    It's the industry's fault for allowing the word to be associated with their product. Why do people believe it so quickly? Well, maybe it's because Japan's moral compass keeps spinning around and around, WTH?

    Some of us know the stories but the truth isn't allowed on a site like this. If we as bloggers started airing the dirty laundry there would be no doubt.

    I think this article is GREAT btw. It's a good warning for parents. Avoid the manga.

    P.S: Family court in Japan does not view incest as the wife cheating and it is not considered abnormal behavior but rather support for her son. Ask your lawyer if you don't believe me.

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Yuri, you are lucky! You can read all of this dirty stuff in the original Japanese version!

  • -9

    m6bob

    Absolutely not saying it is right, but incest is really cutting edge stuff even for Japanese manga. In fact is it so wrong that the Japanese authorities should step in.

  • -7

    tokyokawasaki

    To all the freaks that get off on this perverted drivel, grow up and start acting your age..

  • 6

    YuriOtani

    m6bob, why should the Japanese authorities do anything? None of it is against Japanese law.

  • 3

    Joseph Garrett Baxter

    Taboo themes can be interesting and titillating to the right person, not just because of incest, but just because it's something forbidden.

    This was right on the mark. This is why this stuff sells. People want something different from the norm and taboos bring up excitement. Japan overall is a very normal country so this taboo manga stuff helps some people adapt to the normal life.

  • -4

    smithinjapan

    ndj1979: "Again what happens behind your closed door is your business!!! Not mine not anyone's. Unless your government comes in and finds it not suitable."

    Why is it suitable for the government to tell you what you can do if it's not anybody's business?

    Anyway, this kind of manga is only the tip of the iceberg, there are HEAPS of porn, both anime and real, that involve sisters and brothers, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters in Japan. When a buddy of mine left Japan to go back to his home nation he left me a pile of porn which I subsequently threw away because it was so vile -- one was a game show in which a blind-folded father had to guess who his two daughters were by having sex with a bunch of young girls. Incest isn't the 'latest trend' in Japan, it's been a sick fetish for quite some time.

  • -1

    Frungy

    YuriOtaniSep. 10, 2012 - 11:09AM JST m6bob, why should the Japanese authorities do anything? None of it is against Japanese law.

    I agree. It's not my cup of tea, but censoring this sort of harmless erotica will do no good and a lot of harm. First they'll ban incest novels, then any novels containing any sex, then anything that doesn't agree with the official government position (e.g. "Nuclear power is good! Nuclear power is safe!! Be happy and productive citizens!!!"). No thank you, I'll simply exercise my right not to buy or read these novels, in order to protect my right to read what is important.

    ... and before anyone whines that this is a riduclous "slippery slope" argument, I've lived in a country where something precisely like this happened. Amoral organisations like governments have no place policing morality. You don't like it? Don't buy it. If enough people don't like it then it'll go out of business. Capitalism is a form of democracy.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Frungy: "... and before anyone whines that this is a riduclous "slippery slope" argument,..."

    It's a ridiculous slippery slope argument, and that doesn't change based on where you've lived and what happened there, sorry. I'm not for banning this kind of thing; it's sick, and not my cup of tea, but if it makes middle-aged men sexually satisfied then fine. You could look at it the opposite way, though, in terms of slippery slopes; you allow this to pervade society, along with the graphic rape comics and porn, then what else should we allow? necrophilia comics? rape of animals? necrophilic rape of animals? What is too extreme?

  • 2

    Bartholomew Harte

    I don't think reading this tripe will make sisters & brothers jump in the sack, but kids are curious about many things,including thier sexuality. this is one big Nothing story. in the ideal world Parents teach thier kids right from wrong (Mine Did!)I wouldn't press the"Panic Button" just yet!

  • -2

    lostrune2

    Hahaha, the only proper ending for these LN stories is for the little sister to be pregnant or run over by the bus!

  • -1

    Konsta

    ...

    1. My Little Pony Can't Be This Cute (Volume 11)
    2. My Little Pony Who Is Popular With Girls and Me Who Suffers (Volume 5)
    3. My Little Pony is a Light Novel Goddess (Getting meta up in here!)

    ...

    I don't know what is healthier, tbh...

  • 2

    Frungy

    smithinjapanSep. 10, 2012 - 12:48PM JST You could look at it the opposite way, though, in terms of slippery slopes; you allow this to pervade society, along with the graphic rape comics and porn, then what else should we allow? necrophilia comics? rape of animals? necrophilic rape of animals? What is too extreme?

    Except that all the research shows that victimless pornography like comics and manga does nothing to raise the incidence of people acting out these fantasies in real life, and there's some research that shows it reduces the incidence of people acting out their fantasies in real life.

    Thus your slippery slope argument is disproven, whereas there's a lot of evidence of censorship spinning out of control. In short SmithinJapan, you're entitled to your opinion, but I'm also entitled to point out when you're dead wrong.

  • 2

    Lowly

    Sorry Cristalyle,

    The definition of comics is "one possible artistic medium" not "stories for small children".

    THere have been adult comics (meaning both complicated, mature story lines AND sexual in nature) ever since comics were invented.

    You don't have to be interested or like it, but don't proscribe what others choose to make/read, or what the "industry" does.

  • 1

    Konsta

    I am pretty sure that if "Little Sister" in these comic books refers to underage school girls, it would not be allowed in Europe. On the other hand, if a little sister is 18+, I do not see any problems for adult consumption.

  • -3

    LH10

    o..m...g... i hope the japanese NEVER cross that line in real life.

  • -2

    cwhite

    old old stuff, this has been around for millennia.... humans love to touch forbidden fruit. However I do believe the majority of these manga is step sister and brother and non-blood related.

  • -2

    HonestDictator

    Incest should only stay in the fictional world although it unfortunately does exist in reality.

    I probably shouldn't have bothered to read this article, but I did. And it brought me to your comment, which I absolutely disagree with. In almost all modern societies there are laws against it and historically in almost all societies, it was universally taboo. There are some examples of it, but not many. And for good reason. Apart from the potential health risks to the offspring I find it quite abhorrent and morally reprehensible, personally. Certainly not fodder for a sexually questionable comic genre in a society that consumes them voraciously

    I completely agree with this. There is an article floating around somewhere about the health issues that are arising in the UK about Pakistani or Palistinian immigrants marrying too close in family lines in order to keep the bloodline "pure" and their offspring having continuous birth defects.

  • 0

    iceshoecream

    Well, not long ago was released a DVD with young girls (don't remember if underage) posing in underwear saying "onichan" in many different ways, sexy ways. And if I remember correctly, the JT article stated that the description printed on the DVD said it was intended for those lonely guys who never had a little sister.

  • -1

    ka_chan

    Obviously the writer has no supporting evidence for his claim nor does he have a clue. As already mentioned "My sister can't be cute this cute" is probably a mistranslation. It should be more like "My sister, this cute, no way!". There are much better examples; Yosuga no sora and Koi Kaze. The subject has been seen before for example in Marmalade Boy(1995) and in the Korean drama Winter Sonata(2002). When I saw Winter Sonata, it seem to be a rip off of Marmalade Boy so some extent. These were more mistake belief incest stories and are used as devices to twist the story. Today is more possible that two people could fall in love and they were 1/2 siblings and may never know it. Because of the stupid laws in Japan, it is possible for a biological sister and brother to marry if a child of an affair is married to the chiild of the actual family. For example, if neighbor A has an affair with neighbor B and a child is produced, the child is not considered the child of the biological father but the husband. If the two family kids grow up liking each other and marries, it would be legal since according the Japanese law they are not related even if they have the same biological father.. This may help explain why this kind of story has been around for some time. And in Japan, it is legal for first cousins to marry. It was true in some states in the US until after Jerry Lee Lewis.

  • 0

    LH10

    @HonestDictator

    ugh good to know lol its true about the birth defects thing. something about too many of the same genes/dna is bad.

  • 0

    HonestDictator

    Well, if people drop the "religious" morality behind incest, they end up getting faced with the scientific/laws of nature aspect of it. Ah how I love this planet!

  • 0

    Ray Arief John Nayoan

    i am new to Japan Today, and quite surprised... Even though i think this is an interesting article, i hope the writer of this mini article really wrote this as an open article and not generalizing in order to create sensation.. anyway, i appreciate the writer's thought on parring the 'light novels' and 'manga' as literature. the wirter go even as far as using it as an indication for japanese 'literary craze'! awesome :-) Looking forward to more qrticles such as these.

    But i look forward for articles that doesnt base itself solely from the title of the work discussed within the articles... i mean we really cant judge a book by ots cover, right? especially if you write that judgement on an article in a site such as Japan Today. At least, read what you write about a little mr.Simonich. You dont have to read the complete set, but if you could describe what the story really is so we can really grab asense of what the title is about that would be great. As a creator myself, i hate it if my work is written half assed by anybody.

    Peace.

  • 0

    s0beit

    There are some examples of it, but not many. And for good reason. Apart from the potential health risks to the offspring I find it quite abhorrent and morally reprehensible, personally.

    Well, nobody cares about what you think. I personally find all forms of sex abhorrent and morally reprehensible, so I guess you should be banned from doing it by threat of jail time. Of course, I'm joking, but people think the same thing about gay people and they can get along just fine.

    About the "potential health risks to the offspring", unless you fully support eugenics I don't see how you can be morally consistent. There's plenty of people who shouldn't be having children due to potential health defects, nobody stops them. The point is moot, anyway, when you consider that they can just use contraception. If they're legally consenting adults you have no place in telling them what to do.

  • 0

    tenetchat

    I am new to Japan Today. first I see the comments are reflecting the views of many from Japan and America. I am from India. I feel views of Jpn ppl and Indian ppl are same in this topic. Incest is not a new one even in our Indian culture but as it is forbidden. It is also attracking a niche market in Japan and other parts of the world to gain from attraction of doing or wishing to do things which are supposed not to. I also agree with - Again what happens behind your closed door is your business.

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