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Shotacon ( Japanese シ ョ タ コ ン , shotakon ), often abbreviated as Shota ( シ ョ タ , shota ), in Japan denotes the fixation on cute underage boys, a person with such fixation or works that are aimed at those people. Outside of Japan, Shotacon is established as a more general term for Japanese works, particularly manga and anime , that depict boys in suggestive or erotic ways who are just before or after pubertyare located. Older figures who have a very young appearance ( neoteny ) are also included.

The term is used analogously to Lolicon , which describes the fixation on underage girls.


The word 'Shotacon' is a short syllable word derived from Shōtarō Complex ( 正 太郎 コ ン プ レ ッ ク ス , Shōtarō konpurekkusu ). 'Shōtarō' is a reference to the young male character of the same name Shōtarō ( 正 太郎 ) from the manga Tetsujin 28-gō by Mitsuteru Yokoyama from 1956–1966. Within the manga, Shōtarō was a shrewd, self-confident detective who always found criminals. As the story progressed, he found numerous close friends, in whose environment he stood out as a bishon because of his cuteness . Ultimately, this led to the fact that his name established itself as a term in fan circles and was interpreted as a cipher for affection for underage boys.


When exactly and where the term developed in its current form is not clearly understandable. The earliest mentions, however, can be found in the reader's reactions to a detective story by Edogawa Rampo . In this, the boy Yoshio Kobayashi was part of the Shōnentanteidan , a group of young detectives who are comparable to the Baker Street Irregulars from Sherlock Holmes . He has a strong bond with the adult, unmarried and in many of Edogawa Rampo's protagonists Kogoro Akechi, with whom he has moved in in the meantime. This non-sexual, but intimate, relationship between a boy and an adult is said to have had such a powerful impact on Shotacon's following.

According to Tamaki Saitō, today's Shotacon Dōjinshi community is said to have largely formed in the 1980s and has roughly as many female as male followers. In addition, he suspects the origins in the Yaoi genre with its predominantly female readership. Over time, however, the movement is said to have been influenced by the lolicon and thus also attracted a male audience. For this reason, a distinction is sometimes made according to the background. Shota (con) is still used for homosexual relationships , while heterosexual relationships with female partners of the same age or older are increasingly referred to as Straight Shota .

"... shota texts by female yaoi authors are structurally identical to yaoi texts, while shota by male otaku clearly position these little boys as young girls with penises."

- Tamaki Saitō : Otaku Sexuality

As a genre name

The term is viewed as a genre name in both Japanese and Western fan culture and describes nearly all works that focus on underage boys with a sexual background. The definition ranges from pornographic to slightly suggestive, romantic or even completely non-sexual works. As with the Lolicon , the Shotacon focuses on kawaii (cuteness) and moe . As a result, Shotacon themes can also be found in a large number of non-erotic works, although it is found more often in Shōjo works than in those aimed at a male audience. An example of this is the popular manga Loveless , which is about a relationship between a twelve-year-old student and a twenty-year-old man and the attainment of sexual maturity is symbolized by losing the cat's appendages ( kemonomimi ).


The works are usually published in anthologies , some of which are published monthly . Nevertheless, there are always Mangaka that publish their works in individual editions ( Tankōbon ). Most of the works are published as dōjinshi at events that are mostly held annually. For example at the Shotaket ( シ ョ タ ケ ッ ト , even transcribed as Syotaket ), an annual convention that was founded in 1995 by a group of male artists. In 2008 the event had about a thousand regular visitors and works by about 200 different groups of artists were on display.

Works aimed at a female audience are very close to the Yaoi and are therefore also published in general Yaoi anthology magazines. Magazines that specialize in Shotacon, such as Shōnen Romance, are rarer . Works aimed at a more male audience can also be found in general seijin magazines (pornographic magazines for men), but only make up a small proportion of the published works. It is the same with magazines that are aimed at a homosexual audience and cover a wide spectrum. But here, too, there are some magazines that are specifically dedicated to Shotacon. An example of this is the magazine Shōnen Ai no Bigaku , which is dedicated to the representation of relationships between male partners.

The subject is taken up again and again in mangas and animes aimed at a broad audience, but rather serves the fan service and mostly uses slightly (homo) sexual allusions with a humorous background. An example of this is the manga and anime Kanokon , in which the protagonist Kōta Oyamada, portrayed very young, is repeatedly seduced by the older Kitsune Chizuru Minamoto, who is in love with him . The hentai anime Boku no Pico ( ぼ く の ぴ こ ) was released as OVA in 2006 , which the producers themselves described as the first Shotacon anime. The OVA was successful enough that it was supplemented by three sequels. Contrary to the claims of the producers, however, there was already a pioneer in 2004. An OVA, based on the eponymous Erogē Enzai , was published, which also included sexual intercourse between underage boys.

Criticism and censorship

Opinions regarding the genre differ widely and are roughly split into two camps. On the one hand, it is claimed that Shotacon, like Lolicon, would encourage actual child abuse. However, the opposite side points out that there is no comprehensible evidence for this and that recognized sources tend to suggest the opposite. Sarah D. Goode, however, does not see the genre as subject to the same level of criticism as the Lolicon would. As a possible cause, she lists the Yaoi genre, which is also less criticized, and shares the opinion of Ian Martin, who sees the analogous tendency in fanservice that sexual allusions to female characters are more likely to be criticized than allusions to male characters.

"Bishounen, who are required to be kawaii (cute) regardless of age [which] often make [s] them look younger than their assigned age ... explain ... why BL / yaoi work may also feature non-consensual, underage (shotacon), and incest themes, and hence why they may well run afoul [of child pronography laws] "

- Aleardo Zanghellini : Boys Love 'in Anime and Manga

Nevertheless, the genre is always in the limelight and the legal situation in many countries is unclear and contradictory. For these reasons, many publishers shy away from publishing Japanese works of this genre and therefore limit themselves to Yaoi and clearly adult-looking characters. The English translation of the manga Naichaisō yo ( 泣 い ち ゃ い そ う よ ) by Mako Takahashi , which was published under the English title Almost Crying , is seen as a first foray into the American market . Although it contained love relationships between underage male characters, it dispensed with any representation of sexual content.


  • Aleardo Zanghellini: Boys Love 'in Anime and Manga: Japanese Subcultural Production and its End Users . In: Continuum: A Journal of Media and Cultural Studies . tape 23 , no. 3 , June 10, 2009, p. 279-294 , doi : 10.1080 / 10304310902822886 .
  • Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, Dru Pagliassotti: Boys' Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre . McFarland, 2010, ISBN 978-0-7864-4195-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jason Thompson: Manga: The Complete Guide . Del Rey, 2007, ISBN 978-0-345-48590-8 , pp. 501 .
  2. a b c d e Saitō Tamaki: Otaku Sexuality . In: Christopher Bolton, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., Takayuki Tatsumi (eds.): Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams . University of Minnesota Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8166-4974-7 , pp. 236 .
  3. ^ A b Sarah D. Goode: Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children: A Study of Paedophiles in Contemporary Society . Taylor & Francis, 2009, ISBN 978-0-415-44626-6 , pp. 28-29 .
  4. シ ョ タ ケ ッ ト の 歴 史 . (No longer available online.) Studio SYO, archived from the original on July 27, 2009 ; Retrieved November 29, 2012 (Japanese). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ Mark McLelland: Male homosexuality in modern Japan . Routledge, 2000, ISBN 0-7007-1300-X , pp. 134, 138 .
  6. Theron Martin: Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Wolf. In: Anime News Network. July 31, 2010, accessed November 29, 2012 .
  7. Christopher Michael: Animated Discussion: An unsettling evening of candour at a Japanese jabber joint. In: The Walrus. May 2007, archived from the original on October 12, 2007 ; accessed on June 25, 2015 .
  8. Tony McNicol: THE ZEIT GIST: Does comic relief hurt kids? In: The Japan Times . April 27, 2004, accessed November 29, 2012 .
  9. ^ Milton Diamond, Ph.D. and Ayako Uchiyama: Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan . In: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry . tape 22 , no. 1 , 1999, p. 1-22 , doi : 10.1016 / S0160-2527 (98) 00035-1 , PMID 10086287 ( [accessed January 6, 2008]).
  10. ^ Ian Martin: Perfume "Fan Service ~ Prima Box". In: The Japan Times . March 14, 2008, accessed November 16, 2012 .
  11. Aleardo Zanghellini: Boys Love 'in Anime and Manga: Japanese Subcultural Production and its End Users . In: Continuum: A Journal of Media and Cultural Studies . tape 23 , no. 3 , p. 279-294 , doi : 10.1080 / 10304310902822886 .
  12. Dru Pagliassotti: Reading Boys' Love in the West . In: Particip @ ions . tape 5 , no. November 2 , 2008 ( [accessed November 29, 2012]).