Could Japanese cartoons teach your child sex ed?
Japanese anime leaves Disney in the dust when it comes to tackling serious subjects. But can both family-friendly and teen-aimed anime actually help young people with social skills and life lessons around sex, love and relationships?
We were fascinated to discuss the overlap of sex ed and anime with Joanna Pekacka, an animation and visual effects student at the University of Lincoln. She interwove some of our comments into her February 2020 dissertation entitled How Japanese Anime Can Support Cognitive And Psychosocial Development By Exploring Mature Themes And How Censoring Adolescents Can Hinder Them From Learning Important Life Lessons/Social Skills.
In the Acknowledgements she wrote: To the lovely ladies at Outspoken Sex Ed. Their work helps so many people, and I hope that, if even a little, my theories and questions will have inspired them to consider my views and love for anime as worthy of using to support the already amazing work they do
Here we talk to Joanna about anime, parents and sex ed (the quotes in italics are from her dissertation)…
1) WHAT ANIME TAUGHT ME
In the West childhood is viewed as a time where you’re waiting to grow up and have independence. In Japan childhood is a time of freedom and self-exploration.
The Slice of Life anime genre, otherwise known as naturalism, commonly follows the lives of ordinary characters, usually students, through unordinary set of events. Characters have to wind through difficult challenges whilst managing their academic and social lives. The romance genre is popular as well, often based in a school environment.
Anime gave me the confidence and understanding that sex and the human body are nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. That is something I w