[NOT SAFE FOR WORK] Technology and Pornography: How Virtual Reality is Combining Two of Japan’s Defining Industries.

Disclaimer: No products mentioned in this post were used for subjects of research.

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A week ago, My father called me.

He took some time out of his schedule and talked for an entire hour. He was excited, though slightly anxious and terrified. He talked about a new business venture that could give investors a 300 to 1 return, and that the industry is growing at such exponential rates that basically anyone who wants of the pie now can grab it now.

He ended that whole spiel by telling me that he’ll never work in porn.

When news of possibly commercial Virtual Reality reached Japanese ears, part of its porn industry must have lit up overnight. The country’s sex and video game industries has had a long collaborative history of “dating” and “experiential” simulations, games and programs that can simulate various degrees of feelings of a significant other in different ways.

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Shop stocked with Dating Simulations in Akibara. Photo by Danny Choo on Flickr

The technology that was developed specifically for sex has existed for a long time, and it’s unsurprising from the size of its sex industry that Japan has been the industry’s forefront. However, Virtual Reality was brought into the mix recently when a strange video started trending on Youtube: Warning, this is EXTREMELY not safe for work.

Japan’s history with combining the two industries could be traced back to the Eroge: a sort of choose-your-own-adventure kind of text computer game, but with porn. This new technology is a brand new opportunity for members in this industry, as it will be able to provide its consumers with an even more immersive experience, driving up the value of the entire industry in return.

Mere months after the bizzare video above was uploaded, Tokyo-based The Japan Times published the story Porn makers want sexual fantasies to become virtual realitiesKento Yoshida told The Japan Times that the technology “opens up a whole new horizon for people with sexual fantasies,” and “for instance, if people harbor a desire for abnormal or illicit sex, fulfilling that desire may be difficult or risky in real life, to say the least. But VR can make it all possible.”

It’s also interesting to consider that Japan has a huge problem with its declining population. it’s population has shrunk by one million people since the last five years.

Think about it. There are a million fewer Japanese people today than there were in 2012.

The entirety of Japan’s sex industry was scrutinized in detail by Vice in 2013, when they sent reporter Ryan Duffy to Japan to check out everything from hostesses,  cuddle clubs, to even prostitution ran by the Yakuza, Japan’s crime syndicate. By the end of the bizzare but ultimately enlightening experience, Duffy came to a single conclusion.

“The Japanese, who are so used to commodifying everything, have managed to distill each part of a human relationship into a buy-able package,” said Duffy, “with dating, marriage, and eventually babies falling to the wayside.”

After I was done laughing, I told my dad that he should do what he feels is right. I also relayed him a bulk of the information I wrote about in this post. I told him that Virtual Reality is going to make it big in the porn industry, and that he could either take a large piece of the pie now, or never have to tell strangers that his largest investment came from the pockets of lonely Japanese men.

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