Student who published PhD about masturbating to comics 'of young boys' faces police investigation for child porn offences

8 September 2022, 01:03

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 Emma Soteriou

Police have launched an investigation into child porn offences after a student published a PhD about masturbating to comics 'of young boys'.

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Karl Andersson published a "PhD in masturbation" which documented his experiences of sexually pleasuring himself while looking at comics featuring drawings of "young boys".

The police probe will establish if the University of Manchester student broke child pornography laws by publishing the research paper.

He was researching the "shota" genre of Japanese anime which centres around prepubescent or pubescent malex depicted in a "suggestive or erotic" manner.

The Sweden student's PhD 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 he said was funded by the university’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, Mr Andersson gave graphic accounts of his sexual habits.

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

Speaking at a House of Commons Education Committee hearing, Nalin Thakkar, the University of Manchester's vice-president for social responsibility, confirmed that the university was working with the police for the investigation.

Professor Thakkar said the incident highlighted a "blind spot" in terms of certain types of research at the university, according to MailOnline.

He also admitted to the committee that no checks were carried out before accepting Mr Andersson, who is believed to have had a history of publishing sexually suggestive pictures of young boys in gay publications in Sweden.

Meanwhile, under UK law, it is illegal to possess indecent images of children under the age of 18.

The University of Manchester is conducting its own investigation into Mr Andersson as well as his PhD supervisor, Dr Sharon Kinsella, who also specialises in "Lolita complex subcultures".

Mr Andersson claimed that after conducting interviews and carrying out surveys, his research hit a wall, leading him to copy his participants by only masturbating to shota comics and noting down his thoughts and feelings.

He said he did so for three months while banning any other type of porn or sex.

Professor Thakkar said the university "completely understands and shares the deep concerns raised by the public".

He also said he could not "see any benefit" to taxpayers in pursuing the research area, but accepted it was not his area of expertise.

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