|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Leering at Lolitas legal, but nonetheless loathsome 2007,06,11
Shukan Bunshun 6/14 By Masuo Kamiyama
Japan, acknowledges Shukan Bunshun (6/14), has a well-earned reputation as a "Rorikon Taikoku" (a country with a world-class Lolita complex).
Although new and tougher laws cracking down on kiddy porn have been put into force, legal aspects of this business proliferate.
These include publications such as deluxe coffee table books containing photo collections of young females in a variety of suggestive poses, and DVDs showing them in motion --- clad in dresses or bathing suits, of course, but still satisfyingly suggestive to aficionados of "U-15," i.e., under 15 years old, as pubescent females are referred to by some.
The annual market for such products, which are completely legal and sold openly, is estimated in the neighborhood of 17 billion yen.
On May 27, a group of 25 males converged at an unspecified Osaka location to participate in a "Satsueikai" (photo shooting session), in which the models were all females of primary school age.
Most of the men, the magazine reports, were in their 30s, with the rest in their 20s and 40s.
The arriving participants registered and each paid 8,000 yen.
The session began from 10:30 a.m. at a large and mostly deserted public park, upon which the grinning cameramen assembled around the girls with whom they were most infatuated.
They then began taking turns snapping away in a determined manner, without speaking to each other or to the girls.
For those wishing to arrange for a one-on-one shooting at a later time, appointments could be arranged to meet the girls, at which time, a fee of 50,000 yen plus incidental expenses would be charged.
Expenses would include transportation and meals, including costs for the girl's accompanying parent.
The girls themselves showed remarkable composure, standing as images of unruffled innocence while as many as 10 strange men armed with cameras surrounded them and began snapping away.
Just as the morning session was ending, the group was approached by three policemen, one of whom said, "We received a complaint that you guys are photographing girls in the nude."
As the president of production firm that organized the event explained the procedure to the cops, an elderly man rolled up in an electric wheelchair, and informed them, "I'm the one who called the police."
"These guys are flaky!" ranted the man.
"Okay, the girls might not be nude, but there's something suspicious about the way they're ogling and photographing them."
Observing nothing illicit, the cops departed and after lunch the venue moved to a photo studio.
On the set, one of the photo subjects wearing a middie blouse school uniform was asked to raise both arms over her head, and the hem of her blouse rose up to expose her bare belly, upon which the photographers could be seen leering with lusty lechery, sighs Shukan Bunshun.
The president of the production company says he has between 20 to 30 girls signed up with his outfit, ranging from 4 years old to high school age.
The mother of a 10-year-old girl modeling at the day's event was clearly turned off by the experience.
"Many parents see these shooting sessions as a stepping stone to show business and are resigned to having to put up with it. But some of these guys strike me as sleazy. I wouldn't speak to them."
The reporter then asked her how she feels about the prospect of her own daughter being treated as the object of some man's desire.
"Certainly there are going to be people who view the photos that way," she replies candidly.
"But unless you can accept that's the way things are, you won't be able to land any modeling jobs."
"We see all kinds of parents at these things," the session organizer explains.
"Some are infatuated with the idea of nurturing their daughters into a showbiz career. Others just want some nice keepsake in the form of well shot photos. Sometimes at interviews, a parent will even bellow at me, 'How much are you going to pay us!!?'"
The morals of grownups, Shukan Bunshun concludes grimly, leave a lot to be desired. (By Masuo Kamiyama,contributing writer)
June 11, 2007