A PhD student of Japanese Studies at Manchester University (UK) recently published a paper in Qualitative Research, which has been condemned in the media and is now being investigated by the university and by the journal. Two things have caused offence: the research method (masturbation); and the material used during masturbation (shota, a Japanese genre of self-published erotic comics that features young boy characters). I don’t object to the “research method” as such. I can think of a different context where masturbation may be appropriate, e.g. when a sexologist or a neuroscientist is doing research on the phenomenology of orgasms. Then, it might be helpful to know what it is like to have an orgasm. But I think in order to understand shota culture it isn’t necessary for the researcher to jerk himself off, so in this context the “research method” is inappropriate.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: