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While Pharrell’s breezy tune is steeped in the idioms of American hip-hop and dance culture, the video for “It Girl” comes from the world of Japanese —obsessive fans of anime, manga, and video games.
The very same phrase is also splashed in Japanese across the canvas of Mr.’s 2011 painting “Okay!!
,” which features a girl dressed in a traditional schoolgirl outfit jubilantly lifting a leg to flash the viewer.
A Japanese term derived from the English phrase “Lolita complex,” lolicon describes a fascination with cartoons of very young-looking girls engaged in varying degrees of erotic behavior.
(The word can be used to describe both the genre and its aficionados.) What can really confuse non-Japanese is that lolicons, who exist in large numbers in Japan, actually prefer illustrated art over real or photographic portrayals of girls, a predilection that’s known as a “2D complex.” This one-step removal from reality is the genre’s key feature, and it’s what keeps lolicon legal—if still, as non-fans note, “creepy.” Almost all of Mr.’s work is related to lolicon; in a 2007 interview, he described his efforts as a sort of safety valve, “releasing my fantasy world through my work instead of acting it out in real life.”Lolicon is the dark matter of Japanese pop culture, infusing everything from best-selling comics and animation to the nation’s ever popular girl groups. Indeed, the very term is something of a four-letter word in Japanese, virtually synonymous with pedophilia.