Recently I attracted the following comment

Judging from your other questions, I think you are thinking that kind of things too much in the context of Japanese. In several of your questions, you mention sexual things, genital, or prostitution.

While I mentioned prostitution in comments, the only questions I think the comment is referring to are:

  1. Why is the honorific o used for the bathroom?
  2. Was desu and masu originally geisha-speak?

In the former, my curiosity was piqued by お being used for toilets. While trying to research the topic, I came across a page that claimed, inter alia, that お was used in front of "female anatomy" (my exact words).

In the latter, there was a claim from a tv show about Japanese that the desu/masu form originated from a certain profession.

In neither case was I seeking out sexually focused material. I didn't even state what a geisha does.

I'd understand that you probably wouldn't put "vagina" in a primary school's Japanese textbook, but that's not this site's sole audience.

Should I have handled these two questions differently? Should I have hidden one purported example of how お is used? Should I have not asked about desu/masu at all, because of the profession it originated from?

Likewise, in Would I have 牛乳 or ミルク with my cereal? , should I have avoided mentioning that certain words for milk may be slang for breasts? Is it better that I use slang for breasts rather than ask whether or not something is slang for breasts?

Also, is Origin of onsen term "wani" (which was asked subsequent to the comment above) inappropriate?

  • @sawa: how was my partner question about prostitution?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 2:11
  • Your question about partner is not about prostitution but is sexual. I moved my comments to a question.
    – user458
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 2:45
  • I will remove my relevant comments that you mentioned.
    – user458
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 4:15

2 Answers 2


No. There should be minimal to no censoring. As long as you're not offending anybody or your intention is not to then I do not see anything inherently wrong. When learning a language I do not believe that one should only learn everything that's politically correct and ignore "possibly offensive material".

This site is first and foremost a language learning facility. I believe that we are capable of putting aside irrelevant arguments on what's politically correct or not and just focus on the learning of vocabulary and usage patterns (including learning which usage patterns are crude and which are "perverse" and which are "safe for everyday use").

As long as the questions asked do not express a strong opinion supporting or denouncing any particular "perverse" topic, I believe them to be inherently neutral and open for discussion.

  • 1
    This questions is not about censorship. Censorship is obviously bad. “Self-censorship” is obviously necessary. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 13:11
  • 1
    @TsuyoshiIto. "Self censorship" is a subset of "censorship". I am of the opinion that they are obstacles to effective learning and exchange of ideas. With proper circumstances and intellectual capacity there is little to no need for censorship. However I also understand that censorship in itself is a highly debatable topic and there are strong arguments for both sides. Except that I tend to favour the more idealistic outcome (which I can only say to be true for myself though I invite others to share my opinion if they would).
    – Flaw Mod
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 14:05

I frankly don't think this belongs on Meta (or anywhere outside of chat), since you are clearly trying to air out your grievances with other users (in an annoyingly passive-aggressive public way)... But since it is here, let me answer:

No, you shouldn't "self-censor about sexuality", but you should definitely self-censor, period.

While your questions are generally on-topic and within the scope of JLU, I personally think many of them hang on a very, very thin thread... and sound more like an excuse to broach some vaguely Japanese-themed topic. Whether it is sexuality or anything else is rather irrelevant, but I must admit it gets irritating when half the new questions for the week are along the line of "why does this kanji contain this radical" etc.

I have no idea what may be the actual reasons pushing other users to comment negatively on your posts, but I must say I wished you sometimes tried to shoot for quality over quantity a bit more. That being said, this is just my personal opinion, so feel free to ignore it: this why we have a voting system.

  • Can you expand on paragraph 3 a bit further please?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 5:21
  • No. As I just wrote above, I don't even think this really belongs on Meta. I think I have expressed enough of my position here.
    – Dave
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 6:17
  • 1
    @Dave Why do you think this shouldn't be in Meta? It seems the right place to discuss about such things, actually.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 16:25
  • @Alenanno: Meta is the place to discuss general things having to do with JLU, not airing out personal issues with other users (not that it hasn't stopped others in the past)... If anything, chat is the right place.
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 8:31
  • @Dave But it's also the place to discuss about problems concerning the community, not just the Main site. I'd say that you shouldn't say "who" you had a problem with publicly, ok, but I see this as a nice place to discuss problems concerning the community.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 10:33
  • 2
    @Alenanno: if the problem is a community problem (eg. a common behaviour or something that many people have issues with) then yes, this is the place. If this is one person having an issue with another person (or two others etc), then it's a personal issue and should be dealt directly in the chat, not on meta (with or without naming of people involved). That being said, it is meta and certainly more flexible than main, so whatever...
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 10:54
  • "You should definitely self-censor, period." - I completely and always disagree with that statement.
    – Kdansky
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 9:16
  • @Kdansky Right. Self-censorship in the context branched by OP (which you probably, wilfully or not, misunderstood) is basically the difference between civilised society and me trying to hit you over the head with a blunt object because you annoy me.
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 9:53
  • Sorry for jumping in, but what's wrong with "why does this kanji contain this radical" questions if those happen to be what kinds of questions are asked?
    – user1316
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 20:06
  • @Kdansky: about your complaint regarding my "jokingly advocating the use of violent": 1) this is particularly hilarious given your initial remark in support of "no self-censorship" 2) I seriously wonder if you tried to actually understand what I wrote, or just jumped at the mention of the word "hit over the head"...
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 21:00
  • @LucasTizma: this was badly formulated, in that there are certainly ways that such a question could be constructive (with the right kanji and radical). In most cases, though, repeatedly asking why a radical is in a kanji (that is only there for pronunciation purposed), gets rather pointless.
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 21:02

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