January’s Final Denouement: The secrets of incest and childhood friends.

My first Final Denouement comes from two commonly used tropes that seem to perplex people to no end. What is the dual appeal and popularity of childhood friends and incestuous siblings to Japan? I propose that while these are hardly the same fetish they both tap into a very similar cultural desire. This makes them oh-so-popular with the Japanese but very odd to the Western audiences.

Japanese society promotes a very formal culture. There can be countless barriers between casually meeting people let alone dating. How many times in anime and manga have you seen people be reluctant to use someone else’s first name despite having know them for the longest time? A recent Anime 3000 podcast makes it clear that while they are opportunities and venues to get to know people better in Japan, overall the Japanese tend to value and protect their privacy from strangers. These barriers are not strictly Japanese, it is just that they can be stronger and more culturally enforced in Japan.

Opportunities to circumvent these barriers are especially appealing to the socially awkward. A way to instantly have a connection to someone without having to go through the complicated social dance could be extremely appealing to someone who has two left feet with such matters. It would be an ideal dream to know someone that would let you bypass these social barriers. To be instantly on an informal level with someone that would easily promote a more intimate relationship is the magical appeal of the childhood friend or the sibling.

The childhood friend is a person you have know all your life therefore you can instantly talk to them as an equal. The childhood friend is known before the tricky politics of gender relationships have formed in your head. Before the wall that separates men and women has become concrete. So when both friends awaken to sexuality there is this open bond that formed naturally without any of the messy complications of adult relationships. The sibling exists in an even more familiar and barrier free existence. Incest also has the added taboo factor which might turn away some but actually attract others.

These two factors then become understandably attractive. The socially inept do not have to change who they are or attack a seemingly unbeatable foe. They just have to be themselves and can still connect with someone romantically. This is not totally running into a realm of fantasy but it is a wish for a simple answer to a more complex problem. I would equate it with wishing to win the lottery. Fun to think about but horrible to put any amount of concrete hope into.

5 thoughts on “January’s Final Denouement: The secrets of incest and childhood friends.

  1. TheDigitalBug says:

    Actually, childhood friends are also quite attractive to westerners as well, but probably not as much due to less social barriers.

    On another point, most of the time when hentai is involved, the sister or mother no longer has any blood relation and uses such plot mechanisms as adoption, marriage, and the younger childhood friend who always calls the protagonist “oniichan”.

  2. Sheentaku says:

    The sibling incest simply appeals to only children, which in Japan there is alot of. See to me it dont seem as creepy as I am a only child.

    I always wonderd if a socially inept otaku could gain social skills and then get normal relationships like Train man.

  3. Carl says:

    It’s not like the average Japanese plans their day around Shinto myths, any more often than the average American consults the book of Genesis. But consider how Western culture might view this theme if it said in Genesis that after the heavens and the earth were separated, the rest got created after Jehovah got busy with his sister. That’s more or less the Japanese creation myth, the story of the siblings Izanagi and Izanami. So again, while myth is one thing and real life is another, as an idea or concept it has ancient roots in Japanese culture; it certainly wasn’t invented by eroge ^_^

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