University under fire after student publishes PhD about masturbating to comics of 'young boys'

11 August 2022, 11:09 | Updated: 11 August 2022, 11:14

Karl Andersson researched the 'shota' genre of Japanese comic books which centre around prepubescent or pubescent male characters depicted in a 'suggestive or erotic' manner.
Karl Andersson researched the 'shota' genre of Japanese comic books which centre around prepubescent or pubescent male characters depicted in a 'suggestive or erotic' manner. Picture: Twitter

By Sophie Barnett

The University of Manchester has come under fire after a student published a "PhD in masturbation" which documented his experiences of sexually pleasuring himself while looking at comics featuring drawings of "young boys".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Karl Andersson was researching the “shota” genre of Japanese anime which centres around prepubescent or pubescent male characters depicted in a “suggestive or erotic” manner.

The Sweden student's PhD, which was first published by the University of Manchester in April, involved three months of masturbating to the comic books and making notes on each session for "research".

He said he used dōjinshi and commercial volumes that he had bought or been given during fieldwork in Japan.

In the 4,000 word essay, which Mr Andersson says was funded by the university’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, he gives graphic accounts of his sexual habits.

In the abstract for his project, Mr Andersson decided he wanted to “understand how [individuals] experience sexual pleasure when reading shota”.

Read more: Increase investment or face fresh windfall tax, govt to warn energy firms at No10 crisis talks

Read more: 'Exceptional' risk of wildfires as Britain faces heatwave that could be worse than 40C weather in July

He said: “It was necessary to be diligent enough to abstain from the ‘milk and muesli’ of porn during this experiment, in order to see what happened to my body on a long diet of ‘fish and miso soup’.

“I happened to live alone during this experiment, and I had newly become single after a long relationship - these factors probably contributed to my willingness and eagerness to explore this method.”

His paper was published in the Journal of Qualitative Research under the title: "I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan".

The publishing of Mr Andersson's report has sparked backlash amongst Conservative MPs and members of the public, who branded the research a "PhD on masturabtion".

Conservative MP Neil O’Brien asked: “Why should hard-working taxpayers in my constituency have to pay for an academic to write about his experiences masturbating to Japanese porn?

“The non-STEM side of higher education is just much too big, producing too much that is not socially useful.”

Others claimed the project was "illegal, unethical, and simply not a scientific paper".

"Should be revoked immediately, while you suspended from academia forever," a PhD student wrote.

Another added: "Utterly disgusting."

A spokesman for the university said: “The recent publication in Qualitative Research of the work of a student, now registered for a PhD, has raised significant concerns and complaints which we are taking very seriously.

“We are currently undertaking a detailed investigation into all aspects of their work, the processes around it and other questions raised. It is very important that we look at the issues in-depth.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Damage can be seen to a front window law enforcement officers work the scene of a shooting at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Ark

Three killed and 10 injured in shooting at supermarket in Arkansas

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Spanish police reject help from Lancashire Constabulary as desperate search for missing Brit Jay Slater continues

Kemi Badenoch has warned that Labour will reverse Brexit

Keir Starmer will 'reverse Brexit' if Labour wins election, Kemi Badenoch warns

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Owner of flat where missing Brit Jay Slater was staying in Tenerife spotted him 'walking fast' up dangerous ravine

Labour is said to be drafting options for wealth taxes

Labour 'draws up plans for wealth taxes' in bid to 'unlock' funds for public services

Nigel Farage said that the West had provoked Putin into invading Ukraine

'We gave Putin an excuse': Nigel Farage says the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Just Stop Oil plans major disruption to summer holidays with private jet stunt just the start

Two charged after Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed private jets with orange paint at Stansted Airport

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Tories raise less than £300k in second week of election campaign, as over three-quarters of all donations go to Labour

File photo of passengers boarding an Easyjet plane

Chaos as Easyjet kicks 26 men off flight headed from the UK to Portugal for 'disruptive behaviour'

Bardia Shojeifard

'Outwardly normal' teen killer with 'worrying interest in knives' posed with huge blade before murdering Alfie Lewis, 15

Police were called to a property at Shorncliffe Road shortly after 3pm on Sunday

Pictured: Baby girl mauled to death in Coventry dog attack at family home

Public schoolboy guilty of attempted murder after vicious clawhammer attack on sleeping staff and students ahead of 'zombie apocalypse'

Public schoolboy obsessed by 'zombie apocalypse' guilty of claw hammer attack on sleeping staff and students

PC Idominik Efeotor raised the issue at the annual State of London debate

'The people who investigate the officers are the problem’: Black Met officer hits out at disproportionate treatment in disciplinary process

Salisbury Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess

Former spy and daughter may give evidence at Salisbury poisonings inquiry

Rishi Sunak has urged voters not to let Labour 'waltz into office'

'Don't let Labour waltz into office', Sunak tells voters as Brits may not 'ever' be able to get them out of power

Exclusive
Starmer says eco mob 'needs to feel the full force of the law' as he slams 'pathetic' Just Stop Oil

Starmer says 'pathetic' eco mob 'needs to feel the full force of the law' as two charged for private jet stunt