Pornography in Asia

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Pornography in Asia is pornography created in Asia, watched in Asia and as one or more genres of Asian porn displayed and consumed in other parts of the world.

East Asia[edit]


Internet pornography was outlawed in the People's Republic of China effective 2002, when state censors issued guidelines requiring that all websites remove any pornographic material.[1] The government started a crackdown in 2004, which included the jailing of a woman.[2]

Since 2008, the production of pornographic films has been banned by state censors, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television's prohibition on pornography has been complete, and the government has shown no signs of changing course. Directors, producers, and actors involved in pornographic films have been barred from competing in any film competitions. Any film studio found in violation may have its license revoked.[3] As a result of this regulation and censorship, adult films and media can only be obtained through the Internet and on the black market. Possession of pornography is punishable by up to 3 years in prison, a fine of CN¥ 20,000, or up to life imprisonment for large underground distributors.[4] In 2010 China shut down 60,000 pornographic websites according to Reuters, arresting almost 5,000 suspects in the process.

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, pornography is illegal if sold or shown to children under 18 years of age, if it is publicly displayed (except within the confines of and only visible from inside a "bona fide art gallery or museum"), or if it is sold without being wrapped completely with an "easily noticeable" warning stating that the material may be offensive and may not be distributed to minors.[5]


In Japan, fetish pornography has a panoply of variations, ranging from well-known bukkake to tamakeri.

As in Europe, photographs of nudes are not uncommon in the mainstream media. In the 1970s and 1980s, the strongest prohibition was against showing pubic hair or adult genitalia. Imported magazines would have the pubic hair scratched out, and even the most explicit videos could not portray it. Starting around 1991, photobook publishers began challenging this ban to the point where pubic hair is now fairly well accepted. Close-ups of genitalia remain proscribed. In 1999, the government enacted a law banning photos and videos of naked children, which were a fairly common sight in mainstream media before that time. Manga and anime remain largely unregulated, although large publishers tend to self-censor or specify that characters are at least 18 years of age.

The 1960s, in Japanese pornography, was the era of the independent Pink film. In the years since the end of World War II, eroticism had been gradually making its way into Japanese cinema. The first kiss to be seen in Japanese film—discreetly half-hidden by an umbrella—caused a national sensation in 1946.[6] Nevertheless, until the early 1960s, graphic depictions of nudity and sex in Japanese film could only be seen in single-reel "stag films", made illegally by underground film producers such as those depicted in Imamura's film The Pornographers (1966).[7] Nudity and sex would officially enter the Japanese cinema with the independent, low-budget softcore pornographic films which would come to dominate domestically produced films in the 1960s and 1970s.[8] These films were called eroductions during the early 1960s, but are now more commonly referred to as pink films.[9] The first true pink film, and the first Japanese movie with nude scenes, was Satoru Kobayashi's controversial and popular independent production, Flesh Market (Nikutai no Ichiba, 1962), starring Tamaki Katori.[10] Katori would go on to star in over 600 pink films throughout the 1960s, earning the nickname the "Pink Princess".[11] In 1964 Tetsuji Takechi made the first big-budget, mainstream pink film, Daydream. Takechi would remake Daydream as Japan's first theatrical hardcore film in 1981, starring Kyoko Aizome.[12]

North Korea[edit]

Both domestic and imported works of pornography have been available in North Korea since recent decades.[13] Producing, distributing, importing and watching pornography is illegal.[14]

Possession of pornography became widespread among elites during the late 1990s. Political and army elites are the most active consumers of pornography. Locally produced pornography initially appeared during the reign of Kim Jong-il. A typical North Korean-made pornographic film involves nude or scantily clad women dancing with music.[15]

Importing pornography to North Korea is harshly punished. Pornography is sold openly on the China–North Korea border regardless of regulations.[16] Despite attempts to curtail circulation of imported pornography, most of the pornography watched in North Korea is currently made abroad.[15] A significant part of pornographic media in circulation consists of Chinese bootleg recordings of poor quality.[13]

There is no access to foreign pornographic websites from within North Korea.[17]

North Korea has ratified the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[18] However, there are currently no laws to combat child pornography.[19]

South Korea[edit]

Pornographic websites, books, writings, films, magazines, photographs or other materials of a pornographic nature are illegal in South Korea, although the law is not regularly enforced. Distribution of pornographic material can result in a fine or a two-year prison sentence. Since 2009, pornographic websites have been blocked by the South Korean government. In 2012 the Ministry of Public Administration and Security released statistics that cited 39.5% of South Korean children having experienced watching online pornography, with 14.2% of those who have viewed online pornography reportedly "wanting to imitate" it.[20]


In Taiwan the public display of adult material is strictly prohibited. The National Communications Commission (NCC), Taiwanese media regulator does monitor and categorize the level of media and public material into four levels. Thus adult material for sale is not seen in authorized shops, but only in small and hidden places. Due to the lack of copyright, adult content produced in Taiwan has stayed in the form of "WebCam Chat". Prostitution is illegal in Taiwan. The Taiwanese government has planned to set up a zone for prostitution.[21]

Southeast Asia[edit]


Due to the high number of expatriates in this country, pornography from various regions such as the Americas, Africa and Europe are easily available in retail shops known as 'kedai runcit'. It is illegal to sell to minors, and it is illegal to produce pornography unless for personal use.[citation needed]


Pornographic material is prohibited by law from the KUHP, the law controlling pornography concerns over the potential danger of criminal offence by pornography as well as preventing under age citizens exposed to pornography. Suggestive materials in Indonesian media are rare. Current laws prohibit the selling and buying of pornographic materials. There is a Undang-Undang Anti-Pornografi (The Law of Anti-Pornography), but this has become controversial as it is seen to objectify women, and it can affect the local culture including some traditional art.[22] What was concerned in that RUU such as child abuse is already recognized in KUHP (Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana).[23]

Pornography in Indonesia is prohibited in terms of creating, distribution, selling, and rental of explicit materials. On October 30, 2008, the People's Representative Council passed Bill against Pornography and Pornoaction, which is aimed at preventing pornography on widespread Indonesian media. A controversial element of the bill was the definition of pornography.[24] In 2010 the anti-pornography law was challenged but Indonesia's Constitutional Court upheld the ban and stated that the law's definition of pornography was clear and did not violate the constitution.[25]

The broadness of the law has concerned practitioners of sensual regional traditions such as the nightclubs in Bali, West Javan jaipong dance, and New Guinean penis gourd wearing.[26]


In Malaysia, it is illegal to sell or possess pornography. Possessing pornographic material is subject to prosecution with a maximum punishment of five years in prison and RM50,000 (US$13,292 or £7,374) in fines.[27]

The Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 subjects all offline media (such as newspapers, television, and radio stations) to licensing regimes granted at the discretion of ministers. However, the Communications and Multimedia Act of 1998 pledged the Malaysian government to refraining from censorship of the Internet. Nevertheless, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the main regulatory authority of information technology and communications industries, prohibits online content that is "indecent" or "obscene".[28]

Condom shops selling sex toys and many sex-related products are illegal in Malaysia. There are shops selling them in towns and cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.[citation needed]


Any kind of pornography is illegal in the Philippines. This is due to the influence of conservative Christian groups, such as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and churches, mainly the Roman Catholic Church, among other institutions.[29] The current law does not specifically outlaw webcam-sex websites based in the Philippines. Law enforcement is light, and pornography is available often through black markets and the Internet. There are some urban areas that are known to publicly various kinds of pornographic films.[30]

Despite the existing laws, some reports claim that the porn industry in the country is now earning around $1 Billion annually, making it the 8th largest porn industry in the world and the 4th in Asia. This also means that it currently holds the top rank in the whole Southeast Asia, despite the fact that almost every month, the country's Optical Media Board (OMB) confiscates hundreds of thousands of counterfeit VCDs and DVDs. From January to September 2008, the OMB has confiscated 4,807,012 CDs costing 1.4 billion ($29,400,000; based on the prevailing peso-dollar exchange rate on September 17, 2008).[31]

Since January 14, 2017, several porn sites including Pornhub and XVideos have been blocked in the Philippines upon the order of President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his Republic Act 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Law.[citation needed] However, there are a few Internet service providers in the country which still allow access to these websites.[citation needed]


Visiting pornographic websites and viewing their content is not an offence or crime in Singapore.[32] However it is deemed illegal to provide and/or supply any form of pornography from within the country.[33] It is also an offence to be in possession of pornographic material.[34] The 39-year-old Yangtze Cinema, which was probably the only theatre on the island to primarily screen softcore films in the city-state, also closed its doors on 29 February 2016.[35]


Pornography laws in Thailand prohibit all types of pornography. Production, distribution and possession with an intention to show to the public are criminalized. Possession for personal use is legal. The law enforcement is relatively light. Other forms of pornography such as yaoi and hentai are illegal but are common over the Internet.[citation needed]


Pornography is illegal in Vietnam and enforcement against it is strict. According to legislatures, pornography harms Vietnamese standard values.[36]



In Azerbaijan in accordance with article 3 of the Media Act of December 7, 1999, the "pornographic materials" are defined as works of art, photographic reproductions of paintings, information and other materials the main content of which is the crude and undignified depiction of the anatomical and physiological aspects of sexual relations. Pornography in Azerbaijan is easily and cheaply obtainable in Baku, although not in most other places. Pornographic images, either printed or recorded may cause problems when crossing the border. Taking the soft-core materials should have no problems, but Azeri borders guards can require a few extra euros.[37] Meanwhile, the legal activity to combat child pornography is governed by 1998 Rights of the Child Act, 1999 Media Act, the Plan of Measures to Solve the Problem of Homeless and Street Children and the National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.[38]

Central Asia[edit]


The legal status of pornography is uncertain, but Kazakhstan does not block pornographic websites and it is not an offence to access it at home. However accessing Internet pornography at corporations, businesses, or any workplace is prohibited in Kazakhstan.


Even though the legal status of pornography in Turkmenistan is unknown, a law, passed on January 1, 2015, banning citizens to access pornography on the Internet[39] suggests that pornography is definitely illegal in Turkmenistan.

South Asia[edit]


Pornography is illegal in Bangladesh since 2012 by enacting the pornography control act.[40][41][42]


In India, possession or watching of pornographic materials is completely legal, but distribution of pornography is prohibited and incites several penal provisions.[43] But, enforcement is extremely lax and pornographic materials are easily available in public places. Softcore pornography and hardcore pornography movies/photos are easily accessible through magazines, DVDs, or Internet. Buying and selling sex toys is illegal; nonetheless, sex toys are sold at select places in India.[44][45]

Pornographic films in India are referred to as Blue Films and are available virtually anywhere; especially in areas where illicit material is already being sold. Despite the illegality, stores selling X-rated material are abundant in major cities, advertising openly and rarely are the laws enforced in this case.[46][47] In 2010, the Bombay High Court ruled that watching pornography in private is legal.[48]

Child pornography is illegal ("child" is defined as a person under 18) to possess, produce (in terms of electronic copies), or to distribute and is labelled as crime. Section 67 of the "Information Technology Act" deals with "publishing obscene information in electronic form". This law has been interpreted to criminalize posting of pornographic content online. Accessing of "obscene" content within one's privacy is legal. The IT Act was amended by the Parliament in 2008, and Section 67B was inserted, which criminalizes browsing, downloading, creation, or publishing of child pornography. Therefore, while it is legal to watch adult porn, it has been made illegal to watch child porn.[49]

On August 1, 2015 the Government, under the BJP Party, requested ISPs in India to ban 857 pornography sites; however, the ban was lax in nature and pornographic materials from the sites in question could still be easily obtained.[50] The ban was lifted two days later due to widespread protest on social media. Instead, the government plans to focus more attention to blocking sites that host Child Pornography.


Pornography is illegal. It is not easily accessible, and the Government has put a 100% ban on websites containing such material since November 2011.[51] The list of banned pornographic websites is updated on an ongoing basis.

Sri Lanka[edit]

The laws against pornography in Sri Lanka are strict. Under the Explicit Literature Ordinance, sale or possession of pornographic material can be classified as illegal. The production of local pornography is strictly illegal.

Child pornography is considered to be illegal under the National Child Protection act and the punishments are very severe. Child pornography possession, production and distribution is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, severe fines and in some cases, even forfeiture of property. This act covers the rights of children, but not pornography per se. Therefore, the same act cannot be used as an anti-pornographic law.[citation needed]

In the year of 2009, The government banned more than 100 local and international porn sites and nearly 80 Sri Lankan porn stars were arrested by the local authorities. They were all sentenced to fines, community service and prison sentences up to 2 years.

Middle East[edit]


In Iran pornography is illegal. However, due to widespread Internet access (in particular, downloading programs) and the existence of a large-scale black market in Western films, pornography is called "super film." In Iran, a law was passed in mid-2007 by parliament but still required approval of the Guardian Council, producers of pornographic films face execution if found guilty.[52]


Pornography in Israel is legal. Pornographic films in Israel began to be produced in the 1990s, but most of the films were shot in the early 2000s. Any kind of child pornography is strictly forbidden (under the age of 18).[citation needed]


Distribution of pornography is illegal in Jordan. However, Internet pornography isn't blocked yet due to lax censorship. Many Jordanians wanted all pornographic websites to be blocked.[citation needed]


In Lebanon, the production and distribution of pornography films are illegal. Regulation of Internet pornography is relatively light.[citation needed]

In September 2011, four members of a criminal ring involved in the sale of pornographic films were arrested by Lebanese authorities. The men, of Lebanese and Syrian nationality, had been promoting the sale of unlicensed copies of pornographic DVDs in different areas of the country, particularly Jbeil, north of Beirut, where they were apprehended. The men were referred to the relevant authorities, with the case investigated to uncover the remaining members of the ring and anyone else involved in the distribution of the pornographic films.[53]


In 2008, Hamas have attempted to implement Internet filters to block access to pornography in the Gaza Strip.[54][55]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia bans all forms of pornography due to Islam's opposition to pornography. In 2000 Saudi authorities said that they were "winning the war against pornography on the internet".[56]


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