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Wednesday, 6th February 2013
In General Japan News,

Japanese residents disturbed by naked statues

Residents of Okuizumo in the Shimane Prefecture of Japan have reported being unnerved by replicas of Michelangelo's David which have appeared in a large public park in the town.

A local businessman donated the statues, which also include a five-meter tall copy of the artist's impression of Venus de Milo.

Yoji Morinaga, a town official, suggested that a number of residents are concerned that the naked statues may be offensive or upsetting to the area's younger occupants.

"Some people apparently said the statues might not be good for their children [and others] have told the town's assembly members that toddlers are afraid of the statues because they are so big and they appeared unexpectedly over the summer," he said.

It seems that people are unused to seeing such sculptures and this could account for the negative response they are eliciting from some locals. Mr Morinaga explained that residents have never seen anything similar and he suggested that "perhaps people were perplexed" by them.

Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun stated that some residents were so upset by the nude sculpture they asked if underwear could be put on to save everyone's blushes.

Attitudes towards nudity are not clear cut in Japan. Onsens are hot springs which can be found across the volcanic country and provide visitors with a place to bathe. It is believed that the water has healing properties and it is generally accepted that people attend these baths without swimsuits.

They are a big tourist attraction but it is the Japanese themselves who often talk about the benefits of so-called naked communion or hadaka no tsukiai. Many believe that it is only in this atmosphere that people can dispense with normal social convention and truly relax.

So it would seem that nudity has its place in Japanese culture and is widely accepted when kept within the confines of certain activities. Issues arise only when people are confronted with it out of context.