The University of Manchester in England and the peer-reviewed scientific journal Qualitative Research have launched an investigation into a research article written by a doctoral student. student who described how he masturbated to Japanese comics depicting young boys for three months.

Karl Andersson, a visual anthropologist and Ph.D. student at the University of Manchester, sparked controversy last week after his research paper, titled “I’m Not Alone – We’re All Alone: ​​Using Masturbation as a Method ethnography in research on the shota subculture in Japan,” began circulating on social media.

The paper was published in Qualitative research April 26.

In his article, Andersson noted that he started to masturbate after “hitting a wall” while researching shota, a Japanese pictorial genre that depicts young boys in a sexualized way.

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In this research note, I will recount how I implemented an experimental method of masturbation on shota comics, and how this participant observation of my own desire not only gave me a more embodied understanding of the subject of my research , but also got me thinking about loneliness and ways to combat it as driving forces in self-published erotic comics culture,” Andersson wrote in the nearly 4,000-word article.

The Ph.D. student provided graphical details of his methodology over a three-month period. He wrote about his self-imposed ban on regular pornography, sex, and other forms of “sexual relief.”

Andersson also noted that he lived alone and had recently single from a long-term relationship. He speculated that “these factors probably contributed to my willingness and eagerness to explore this method”.

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For a period of three months, I masturbated only to shoot comics. For this purpose, I would use doujinshi and trade volumes that I purchased or received during fieldwork in Japan,” Andersson wrote.

After each masturbation session, I would write down my thoughts and feelings – a kind of critical self-reflection – in a notebook, along with details of what equipment I had used, where I had done it, at what hour and for how long,” he continued.

Outrage quickly spread online after a surfer on Mumsnet, a popular London-based internet forum for parents, shared the article and called it a “doctorate jerk off”. Meanwhile, Twitter users called out Andersson and those responsible for posting his article.

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Why should hard-working taxpayers in my riding pay for an academic to write about his experiences masturbating with Japanese porn? Conservative MP (MP) Neil O’Brien tweeted.

How was a description of the author masturbating to images of young boys peer-reviewed and published? » another surfer wrote.

Following the backlash, the University of Manchester announced that it had launched an investigation into Andersson’s research paper after raising significant concerns and complaints.

The recent publication in Qualitative Research of the work of a student, now enrolled in a PhD, has raised significant concerns and complaints that we take very seriously,” a spokesperson said in a statement. The Guardian. “We are currently conducting a detailed investigation into all aspects of their work, the processes surrounding it and other issues raised. It is very important that we examine the problems in depth.

Similarly, the editors of Qualitative Research have also issued a statement online, writing, “On August 9, we began investigating the publication of the article ‘I am not alone – we are all alone: ​​Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on the shota subculture in Japan,” published earlier this year. We are continuing our investigations and will carefully review all guidelines from the Publication Ethics Committee and ensure that all actions taken comply with COPE standards.

A spokesperson for UK child protection charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) also raised concerns about the article’s publication and endorsed the statement. ongoing investigation.

The fact that this research has been published in a peer-reviewed journal is very concerning, and it is right that the universities and publishers involved investigate,” the spokesperson told the Guardian. “All research and research publications must be subject to proportionate but rigorous ethical rules. review, including strong backup checks. »

In his University of Manchester profileAndersson wrote that he is a “Ph.D. student studying how subcultural comic fans in Japan feel desire and think about sexual identities, particularly as they relate to fictional and real-life realities”.

He also noted that his Ph.D. the research is “funded by the School of Arts, Languages ​​and Cultures”.

Andersson received his Master of Arts in Visual and Media Anthropology from the Free University of Berlin in 2020 and his Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics from Stockholm University in Sweden in 2003. His film “Unreal boyswhich tells the story of “three young men in Tokyo [who] explore the limits of fantasy through the comic genre shota,” premiered at the 17th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in Belfast on July 28.

Image selected via Karl Anderson