Rant about Visual Novel genitalia censorship

Recently I can’t help but notice that an increasing number of our members don’t know how to appreciate visual novels properly any more. It can’t be helped, can it. So many are new here, some don’t even know Japanese yet. I realise full well that it is probably futile to try and make myself heard over the din of the washed masses, impossible to stem the tide of the puri-tani-fying main stream … and yet I must try. For there is one topic dear to my heart about which [confusion is running rampant](https://www.madghosts.com/u/Marklord13), and I can no longer stand idly by while a vocal minority actively spreads fear, uncertainty, and doubt. That topic is …

Mosaics

As you probably know, graphical depictions of genitals in Japanese visual novels are as a rule enhanced with a mosaic [[examples](https://imgur.com/a/5yjTjdm), obviously NSFW, faces have been obscured to avoid spoilers].
O, how often have I heard the words “mosaic” and “censorship” uttered in the same breath among the English-speaking fandom, as if they were one and the same? That misconception among misconceptions, propagated by hapless fans who are in turn catered to by ruthless localisers. Whether the latter truly don’t know any better either or whether they’re just happy to milk their marks dry pushing an inferior product, I do not know, and it matters not. What matters is that nothing could be farther from the truth.

One popular explanation for the existence of mosaics in Japanese visual novels, all the more attractive because of how plausible it is, is that otaku artists *cannot possibly* paint genitalia, for the simple reason that none have ever seen any. To that I say from personal experience that no matter how many superfluous stone one may have, one can always inspect one’s own equipment with the help of a simple mirror … such as the Yata no Kagami, which is one of the legendary [Three Sacred Treasures](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Regalia_of_Japan). Coincidence? I think not.
Hares and horns, we have ubiquitous 3D porn now, and all manner of anatomically correct dolls, Dutch and otherwise, realistic down to the uncanny valley. There is simply no shortage of suitable models nowadays.

No, the mosaic enhancement is applied not to censor the artwork, nor out of ignorance, but to best bring out its sublime beauty; the men and women who valiantly watch over this process are not censors, but preservers and protectors of that most subtle aesthetic that is so quintessentially Japanese. They are no more butchers of Japanese [erotica](https://www.madghosts.com/r/visualnovels/comments/s3etyq/learning_to_appreciate_visual_novels_mosaics/#fg) than the immortal members of the Académie Française are butchers of the French language.
The Japanese are proud of their erotica, so proud that certain standards and and an extra—external, independent—round of quality assurance has been enshrined into law, that is all.

It is well known that Japanese H artists are masters in a [centuries-old tradition of erotic painting](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunga), one and all. But did you know that only the heads (家元 iemoto) of its six most prestigious schools1 are allowed to apply the mosaic enhancement? They do it by hand to this day. Why d’you think HCGs, and Japanese visual novels in general, are so expensive?
At first glance all mosaics may look the same, but each school actually has its own technique, handed down in secret from head to head since time immemorial. It’s fairly easy to tell the schools apart once you know what to look for; those in the know can tell at at a glance which master applied a mosaic during which of his creative periods2 and so on. In addition, all authentic mosaics contain a brief coded comment3 on the season and weather of the day4.

The mosaics serve a vital function: to keep the delicate balance of the composition. It’s obvious when you think about it. If the mighty meat stick(s) and moisten’d meat curtains were shown as they are, why, they would dominate the image, disturb the harmony of its visual stimuli, so carefully and deliberately arranged.

You might be familiar with the concept from Japanese cuisine. The idea there, too, is to bring out each ingredient’s natural flavour, no more. The perfect dish features a flavour profile that is at once well-defined and complex, yet subtle and subdued to the point that a less refined palate may be forgiven for declaring it tasteless. Balance is key. Intense (濃い koi) flavours on the other hand are given short shrift by Japanese [epicureans](https://www.madghosts.com/r/visualnovels/comments/s3etyq/learning_to_appreciate_visual_novels_mosaics/#fg)—they’re either outright mentioned as a negative or with the qualifier that a bite or two (or a sip, as the case may be) will be quite enough, thank you.
Defacing the original art by tearing off the mosaics is like going to a three-star restaurant and adding more salt to each dish before even tasting it at best (pudding included), and dumping a bottle of hot sauce over everything you eat at worst.

The mosaic is what elevates a HCG to high art in the first place. Without it, why, it’d just be *vulgar*. Who wants to look at angrily swollen red fleshy … I mean, yuck! Don’t talk to me about cultural differences, either. This sort of thing has a long tradition in Good Christian art. It may lack finesse and transparency, but the idea—and organs—behind the familiar fig leaf are the same without a doubt.

I mean, it’s understandable from a localiser’s perspective. By shipping mosaic-less HCGs they get to avoid the exorbitant royalties that are due on each and every mosaic, for the much more modest cost of pulling an intern who was loose-lipped enough to let slip that he might have a girlfriend off Twitter duty and sitting him in front of Microsoft Pain. However, why any reader would prefer such a literal hack job over the work of a mosaic master is beyond me.

Another consideration is that the appreciation of mosaics will deepen your understanding of the Japanese language. In fact, it’s the closest you’ll come to knowing Japanese without ever studying Japanese. This is because kanji are not of Chinese origin, as is commonly believed. In truth the kana came first; only once the first mosaic masters thought to apply their intricate art to them were the kanji born.

I hope you found this article informative, a light in the darkness of low-effort content. Go forth and refine your prostate so you too may bask in mosaicen glory. Thank me later.

I am the above。

#Rant #Visual #genitalia #censorship

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  1. Recently I can’t help but notice that an increasing number of our members don’t know how to appreciate visual novels properly any more. It can’t be helped, can it. So many are new here, some don’t even know Japanese yet. I realise full well that it is probably futile to try and make myself heard over the din of the washed masses, impossible to stem the tide of the puri-tani-fying main stream … and yet I must try. For there is one topic dear to my heart about which [confusion is running rampant](https://www.reddit.com/u/Marklord13), and I can no longer stand idly by while a vocal minority actively spreads fear, uncertainty, and doubt. That topic is …

    Mosaics

    As you probably know, graphical depictions of genitals in Japanese visual novels are as a rule enhanced with a mosaic [[examples](https://imgur.com/a/5yjTjdm), obviously NSFW, faces have been obscured to avoid spoilers].
    O, how often have I heard the words “mosaic” and “censorship” uttered in the same breath among the English-speaking fandom, as if they were one and the same? That misconception among misconceptions, propagated by hapless fans who are in turn catered to by ruthless localisers. Whether the latter truly don’t know any better either or whether they’re just happy to milk their marks dry pushing an inferior product, I do not know, and it matters not. What matters is that nothing could be farther from the truth.

    One popular explanation for the existence of mosaics in Japanese visual novels, all the more attractive because of how plausible it is, is that otaku artists *cannot possibly* paint genitalia, for the simple reason that none have ever seen any. To that I say from personal experience that no matter how many superfluous stone one may have, one can always inspect one’s own equipment with the help of a simple mirror … such as the Yata no Kagami, which is one of the legendary [Three Sacred Treasures](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Regalia_of_Japan). Coincidence? I think not.
    Hares and horns, we have ubiquitous 3D porn now, and all manner of anatomically correct dolls, Dutch and otherwise, realistic down to the uncanny valley. There is simply no shortage of suitable models nowadays.

    No, the mosaic enhancement is applied not to censor the artwork, nor out of ignorance, but to best bring out its sublime beauty; the men and women who valiantly watch over this process are not censors, but preservers and protectors of that most subtle aesthetic that is so quintessentially Japanese. They are no more butchers of Japanese [erotica](https://www.reddit.com/r/visualnovels/comments/s3etyq/learning_to_appreciate_visual_novels_mosaics/#fg) than the immortal members of the Académie Française are butchers of the French language.
    The Japanese are proud of their erotica, so proud that certain standards and and an extra—external, independent—round of quality assurance has been enshrined into law, that is all.

    It is well known that Japanese H artists are masters in a [centuries-old tradition of erotic painting](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunga), one and all. But did you know that only the heads (家元 iemoto) of its six most prestigious schools1 are allowed to apply the mosaic enhancement? They do it by hand to this day. Why d’you think HCGs, and Japanese visual novels in general, are so expensive?
    At first glance all mosaics may look the same, but each school actually has its own technique, handed down in secret from head to head since time immemorial. It’s fairly easy to tell the schools apart once you know what to look for; those in the know can tell at at a glance which master applied a mosaic during which of his creative periods2 and so on. In addition, all authentic mosaics contain a brief coded comment3 on the season and weather of the day4.

    The mosaics serve a vital function: to keep the delicate balance of the composition. It’s obvious when you think about it. If the mighty meat stick(s) and moisten’d meat curtains were shown as they are, why, they would dominate the image, disturb the harmony of its visual stimuli, so carefully and deliberately arranged.

    You might be familiar with the concept from Japanese cuisine. The idea there, too, is to bring out each ingredient’s natural flavour, no more. The perfect dish features a flavour profile that is at once well-defined and complex, yet subtle and subdued to the point that a less refined palate may be forgiven for declaring it tasteless. Balance is key. Intense (濃い koi) flavours on the other hand are given short shrift by Japanese [epicureans](https://www.reddit.com/r/visualnovels/comments/s3etyq/learning_to_appreciate_visual_novels_mosaics/#fg)—they’re either outright mentioned as a negative or with the qualifier that a bite or two (or a sip, as the case may be) will be quite enough, thank you.
    Defacing the original art by tearing off the mosaics is like going to a three-star restaurant and adding more salt to each dish before even tasting it at best (pudding included), and dumping a bottle of hot sauce over everything you eat at worst.

    The mosaic is what elevates a HCG to high art in the first place. Without it, why, it’d just be *vulgar*. Who wants to look at angrily swollen red fleshy … I mean, yuck! Don’t talk to me about cultural differences, either. This sort of thing has a long tradition in Good Christian art. It may lack finesse and transparency, but the idea—and organs—behind the familiar fig leaf are the same without a doubt.

    I mean, it’s understandable from a localiser’s perspective. By shipping mosaic-less HCGs they get to avoid the exorbitant royalties that are due on each and every mosaic, for the much more modest cost of pulling an intern who was loose-lipped enough to let slip that he might have a girlfriend off Twitter duty and sitting him in front of Microsoft Pain. However, why any reader would prefer such a literal hack job over the work of a mosaic master is beyond me.

    Another consideration is that the appreciation of mosaics will deepen your understanding of the Japanese language. In fact, it’s the closest you’ll come to knowing Japanese without ever studying Japanese. This is because kanji are not of Chinese origin, as is commonly believed. In truth the kana came first; only once the first mosaic masters thought to apply their intricate art to them were the kanji born.

    I hope you found this article informative, a light in the darkness of low-effort content. Go forth and refine your prostate so you too may bask in mosaicen glory. Thank me later.

    I am the above。

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