Officials in Japan have repeatedly ordered down an HIV awareness billboard, citing a peek of underwear as the reason.
It’s a little ridiculous, since the Shinjuku district is home to lots of other heterosexual sexy-time establishments. Hostess clubs, sexy female robots and naughty massages all abound. But a scrap of cartoon fabric in service of public health? SHUT IT DOWN!
Someone even went so far as to modify the art. They put pants on one character so that the underwear was just peeking out. The modification was probably made by someone at ViiV or their ad agency. ViiV is a pharmaceutical company that was using artist Poko Murata to promote their HIV treatments.
It’s a real shame that the billboard is likely going to disappear — and might have come down already. It depicts some happy, shame-free gay relationships in a way that’s really open and welcoming. Gaymanga identifies some of the diverse types of men in the art: a gachimuchi (????) central figure, a middle-aged “ossan” (????), a chubbier “debu” (??) figure, even a couple of bishonen boys. No black guys, though. (?????????????)
We’re including a few of Murata’s other works below. Even though Shinjuku residents can’t see them, at least we can browse them online.