A PHD student has sparked outrage after he revealed that he masturbated to Japanese comics featuring young boys in the name of research.
Karl Andersson described how he pleasured himself for three months to explore subcultural Japanese comics at the University of Manchester.
But the student is now under investigation for the disturbing revelation that can be found in his research paper.
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Karl says he masturbated to the same topic and referred to it as his "research participants" and made notes after each session.
He commented: "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."
According to his thesis, the material named shota, is a genre of erotic comics that includes "young boy characters in a cute or, most often, sexually explicit way."
The University of Manchester have confirmed that they have received "significant complaints" that they were "taking very seriously".
Visual anthropologist Karl added that he hit a wall while conducting interviews with participants as he found it difficult to ask certain questions.
He has published the thesis called 'I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan' in the Journal of Qualitative Research.
He said that he had recently gone through a break up which probably contributed to his "eagerness to explore this method."
The research stated: "For a period of three months, I would masturbate only to shota comics. For this purpose, I would use d*jinshi and commercial volumes that I have bought or been given during fieldwork in Japan.
"In short: I would masturbate in the same way that my research participants did it. After each masturbation session I would write down my thoughts and feelings – a kind of critical self-reflection – in a notebook, as well as details about which material I had used, where I had done it, at what time, and for how long.
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"I would not be allowed to have any other sexual relief during this 'fieldwork' in my own sexuality: no regular porn, no sex with another person, no fantasies or memories – it had to be shota every time."
The student said the research has "not only gave me a more embodied understanding of the topic for my research but also made me think about loneliness and ways to combat it as driving forces of the culture of self-published erotic comics."
The 4000-word paper, which was published in April, has faced backlash from shocked social media users and was subsequently shared on Mumsnet.
The "unspeakably grim" paper has since been branded a "PHD for "w*****g" for its extremely explicit content.
One person said: "This is pushing the limits of my commitment to academic freedom."
While another commented: "How did this get past Manchester University's ethics process? Masturbating to images of children and writing it up for public consumption does not seem ethical to me. This is hugely disturbing."
Karl discovered that he masturbated most to the material when he interviewed people about "their relation to shota comics, what kind of shota they like, how they see themselves in relation to the story, how they engage with shota concretely (how they read or draw it), what shota gives them and so on."
He said he decided to pleasure himself after the interviews would stall, reports Daily Mail.
"I tried to inquire about the details of these masturbation sessions, but it was hard to know what to ask, and the conversation sometimes stalled," he said.
"In addition, it would have been impossible for me to grasp how the intellectual reasoning, for example, of entering an alternative past, was connected to the bodily sensation of masturbation without me 'doing it' myself."
A University of Manchester spokesperson told the Daily Star: "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.
"While that investigation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time."
Karl Andersson has been contacted for comment.
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