|Kabushiki gaisha, Close corporation|
|Founded||25 March 2005|
|Japan and 41 other countries|
|Products||Masturbators and related products|
|Revenue||JPY 2,200,000,000 (2012)|
Number of employees
Footnotes / references|
Tenga (Japanese: テンガ) is a Japanese brand of male masturbation aids by the company of the same name. Masturbation aids (masturbators), personal lubricants, and other related products are sold under this brand. The company's masturbators have been noted for their design aesthetics unexpected for a sex toy, and have received an industrial design award.
Tenga Inc. (有限会社 典雅 Yūgen Gaisha Tenga) was established on March 25, 2005. The Tokyo-based company is headed by Koichi Matsumoto (松本光一), who used to be an auto mechanic. The first line of products (Tenga Cups) were released on July 7, 2005. Following the implementation of Companies Act in 2006, the company changed its type to kabushiki gaisha and continues its operation as Tenga Co., Ltd. (株式会社 典雅 Kabushiki Gaisha Tenga).
The word "tenga" (典雅) is a classical Japanese adjectival noun meaning "righteously arranged and elegant", typically used to praise the beauty of a kimono or buyō (Japanese dance). This name was chosen to counter the public image of adult goods, and with an aim to create high-quality products with new ideas.
As of 2011[update], 28 employees work in the company (including the board of directors), with 8 of them female. One of the directors is Masanobu Sato (佐藤雅信), who is responsible for the company's Overseas Business Department. Sato is a Masturbate-a-thon champion who achieved a world record for the "longest time spent masturbating/male" in 2008 (9 hours 33 minutes). In 2009, he extended his own record to 9 hours 58 minutes. He has been participating in the competitions using a set of Tenga masturbators of his own.
Tenga offers several product categories. Disposable "Cup" series which are intended for one-time use only (which can be reused if washed correctly), "Flip" series that split open to be easily washable and reusable, compact "Egg" series which resemble Easter eggs and stretch when in use, and "Tenga 3D" series which are intended to be reversed when not in use, showing its geometric patterns. Other accessories include lotions (lubricants), electrical "Tenga Warmers", and "Hole Warmers" (a stick-shaped hand warmer that uses supersaturated sodium acetate).
Design and functionality
Unlike other products of the same kind, Tenga does not intend their products to be a replacement of human vagina. Erotic or sexual imagery are deliberately avoided in the product design and advertising. The products and their packaging are designed by a consumer goods stylist retained by Matsumoto. They typically feature solid colors of red, white, black, or gray, and have been described as "stylish" and as "Apple of the sex toy industry." The design also has an added effect of lessening the embarrassment in potential customers. The company has explained the motive behind this approach as to "[do] away with the obscene imagery" to focus instead on design, technology, and functionality, and to "project an image of hygiene." They also try to detach "pleasure gained through stimulation" from "substitution of sexual intercourse" and focus only on the former. One of their product "Rolling Head Cup" is as an example for this, where the bellows in the middle allow for the top of the product to be swiveled around in a movement that is not analogous to sexual intercourse.
Tenga Cups are equipped with a valve to control the internal pressure of the unit when inserted. A vacuum-like atmosphere can be created, which creates suction on the penis. Matsumoto claims that some of their products are among the first masturbation aids in the world that do not use sponges or polyurethane. Instead, the interiors of Cups, Eggs and Flips are fabricated using elastomer; with the 3Ds using an Ag antibacterial form of said material.
In the lineup's first year (2005), 1 million units were sold. Since then, cumulative sales have reached 19 million units of masturbators sold worldwide (as of 2012[update]). Japan accounts for about 80% of the sales, where 13,000 units are sold daily. Tenga is a relatively well-known brand in Japan for a masturbator, with its brand recognition rate exceeding 55% among males in their 20s, and approximately 47% among males in their 30s.
The remaining 20% of the sales are divided among 41 other countries, most prominently the United States, Spain, and China. Counterfeit products which resemble Tenga have been reported in China, ranging from products which only mimics the color and tone of the original package design to a product that is virtually indistinguishable from the original.
A one time use and disposable masturbation cup. It comes in a variety of sensations designed to imitate real life experiences. Each sensation is also available in soft and hard varieties, as well as a US version which features a longer depth cup.
Tenga Flip Hole
A reusable masturbation sleeve and case. It comes in four different colors; white, black, red and silver. Each color offers a different sensation with different inner sleeve lining. The flip hole is designed to be easy to use and clean including the ability to air dry after use. The Flip Hole can be used up to 50 times. Tenga also released a new version of the flip hole called Flip Air, however it was discontinued in spring 2012.
The 3D range lies somewhere between the Tenga Cup and Tenga Flip Hole, both in product and price. It is a reusable sleeve available in 5 different textures/sensations. The sleeve can be turned inside out after use for easy cleaning and drying. Similar to the Flip Hole, the 3D can be used 50 times before disposing.
The Egg is a super stretchy and elastic egg shaped masturbator. There are 13 different textures/sensations and are designed to fit all sizes due to its elasticity. The Tenga Egg is designed to be used once only and is marginally cheaper than other Tenga products.
Tenga's first attempt at a couples vibrator, the VI-BO is a vibrating orb that fits into 5 different 'covers'. Each cover features a different color and shape which allows use of the orb in various ways.
This was not the first time that Tenga was considered for an award in product designing. In 2006, Tenga passed the first round of screening for the Good Design Award by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization, but was excluded before the beginning of the second screening due to it being determined as "ineligible" by the judging committee. The award did not give specific reasons why it was not eligible, but third-party writers have speculated that the sexual nature of the product was the reason for the exclusion. Matsumoto criticized the decision saying that Tenga is but a manufacturing company, and the decision "tramples the passions of manufacturing industries."
At least two independent groups in Japan have put Tenga products to clinical usage. Kobori et al. at Dokkyo Medical University have applied Tenga for ejaculatory dysfunction studies. Imai et al. at Seirei Hamamatsu General Hospital have used Tenga on a number of patients suffering from intravaginal anejaculation or post-prostatectomy dysfunction.
In their paper, Kobori et al. gave the following reasons why they chose to utilize Tenga for their purposes:
- They are in widespread use and can be bought in general variety stores or bookshops
- They enable a constant grip pressure to be maintained
- The lineup offers three different standard levels of stimulation (hard, standard, soft), enabling support for various cases
- They are disposable and hygienic
- They do not have decorative imitations that resemble human vagina, and their designs are suitable for medical use
- The manufacturer and the distributor are well-known
In 2008, comic artist Butcha U (ブッチャーU bucchā yū) drew a picture depicting the masturbators as fictional girls (a form of moe anthropomorphism). The concept was given the Hōsai Tsuruoka Award (鶴岡法斎賞) from Japan Otaku Awards 2008 (日本オタク大賞2008). Tenga Co., Ltd. gave permission to make this concept into a commercial project; and in 2010, the concept was expanded into an electronic comic series titled Tengirls, published by Sony Digital Entertainment Services Inc. (a subsidiary of Sony). The story features a team of girls resembling the Tenga products, who fight against crimes and disasters that occur in a near-future city.
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- Ogiue 2011, p. 215.
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- "【中国発】偽アップルストアだけじゃない！あのTENGAのパチモノも大増殖中" [From China: Not only fake Apple Store! Counterfeit Tengas seeing rapid proliferation]. Weekly Playboy News. Shueisha. July 28, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- Former AV actress endorses Tenga’s Iroha masturbation machine for women, The Tokyo Reporter, March 18, 2013
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- Ōbayashi, Yoshihiko (March 16, 2012). "TENGA 3Dシリーズがレッドドット・デザイン賞（Red dot award:product design 2012）受賞" [Tenga 3D series receives Red Dot Award: Product Design 2012]. Mifdesign Antenna (in Japanese). Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (August 28, 2006). 審査対象外商品について [Regarding a Product Ineligible for Screening]. Good Design Award (in Japanese). Archived from the original on February 12, 2007.
- Matsumoto, Koichi (August 26, 2006). グッドデザイン賞についてのお知らせとお詫び [Notice and Apology Regarding the Good Design Award]. Tenga Official Blog (in Japanese). Tenga Co., Ltd. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- "グッドデザイン賞アダルトグッズはＮｏ！１次突破も…" [Good Design Award says no! to adult goods despite passing first screening]. Zakzak. Sankei Shimbun. August 25, 2006. Archived from the original on November 30, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- Kobori, Yoshitomo; Sato, Ryo; Ashizawa, Yoshio; Yagi, Hiroshi; So, Shigehiro; Arai, Gaku; Okada, Hiroshi (December 30, 2009). "射精障害患者に対する Masturbator を用いたリハビリテーション" [Rehabilitation for ejaculatory dysfunction with using a masturbator]. The Japanese Journal of Impotence Research (in Japanese). 24 (3): 355–357.
- Imai, Shin; Yoshida, Masashi; Yoneda, Tatsuaki; Kudo, Shinya (2011). "男性不妊・性機能外来における Masturbator (TENGA) の臨床的使用経験" [Clinical Usage of Masturbator (Tenga) for Male Sterility/Sexual Function Outpatient]. The Japanese Society for Sexual Medicine Chubu Conference (in Japanese). 21: 30.
- Butcha U (March 21, 2008). "TENGIRL!". ERO-BLO (in Japanese). Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- Otaku Awards Executive Committee (January 8, 2009). "Japan Otaku Awards 2008" (in Japanese). Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- "TENGIRLS(テンガールズ)公式ホームページついにオープン！！" [Tengirls Official Website Opens!] (in Japanese). Sony Digital Entertainment Service. February 4, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- "TENGIRLS" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- The TENGA Research Committee (2011). TENGA論 ～マスターベーションを解放した男たち～ [TENGA-Ron: The men who liberated masturbation]. Takeshobo. ISBN 978-4-8124-3905-0.
- Ogiue, Chiki (2011). セックスメディア30年史: 欲望の革命児たち [Thirty Years' History of Sex Media: Revolutionists of the Libido]. Chikuma Shobo. ISBN 978-4-480-06606-0.
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