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Shotacon (Shota Complex) is a term used to describe either the sexual attraction to the pubescent or prepubescent male form (ages 9-17 or younger) in fiction and/or an individual (male or female) possessing such a sexual attraction and/or desire. The term is also the name of a genre of manga/anime that caters to such interests by showcasing male characters that possess pubescent or prepubescent forms and mannerisms. The term derives from the character Shotaro Kaneda of the series Tetsujin 28-go (1956).

Although young male characters have existed in anime and manga since the media's creation, Tamaki Saitō (a Japanese psychologist, critic, and shota historian) writes that shotacon as genre and character type developed specifically to be attractive was originally formed in the early 1980s as an offshoot of the yaoi (boy love) genre. Saitō suggests that the shotacon character model was adapted by writers who were influenced by the rise of the Lolicon genre; using the same design cues as the lolicon genre for their characters, where character designs feature an inclination for "innocence" and "cuteness" to appeal to their readership/viewership. Essentially creating "young girls with penises".

While a prevalent genre and character stereotype in manga and anime today, shotacon (as well as other erotic fetish genres in the industry) have come under scrutiny numerous times in relation to sexual crimes and resulting media censorship in Japan.


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  • Paula (a Hachishaku-sama), Saki (an Elder Devil/Succubus) and Abul (a Sphinx) are unabashed shotacons.
  • The leader of Rachnera Arachnera's tribe is revealed to have a shotacon complex as she remained unfazed by the various bodies of adult men around her in the onsen (and in fact seemed rather annoyed by it) until a guy with boyish features literally fell into her bosom.
  • Thanks to Arbatel abducting them into a High School simulation, Aluca, Garu, Vikk all have boyfriends who are still in high school while they are fully grown adults. As they seem to be continuing their relationships outside of Arbatel's illusionary world, some might consider their relationships to be "shotacon" in nature, particularly if their boyfriends are not in their final year of high school.
  • In a study that summarizes the "paedophilia attraction" (1), it is described that, psychologically, sexual preference/attraction amongst humans (male and female) does not change as an individual get older, but simply expands to include new attractions. In other words, if an adolescent (male or female) finds themselves attracted to another adolescent, they will remain capable of being attracted to other adolescents even as they grow older and their sexual attraction expands to include an attraction to older individuals. Additionally, on a biological scale, males and females are most attracted to individuals who are around the sixteen years of age mark due to the process of natural selection making this age the ideal age, biologically, for reproduction.
  • In ancient Japan (pre-1868), it was socially acceptable for boys between the ages of 10-20 to be sexually desired by and have sex with adult men and women and also young girls their age. Boys in this age bracket were known as "Wakashu" and were known for their "youthful, feminine beauty". They would also dress in female kimono and practiced Geisha arts like flower-arranging or samisen. Wakashu were effectively considered a third-gender that both males and females could form (temporary) relationships with without breaking taboo (as public homosexual relationships between adults (men and women) were frowned upon (although it was not an arrest-able offence)). Wakashu boys were identified by how their hair was cut with a small shaved portion at the crown of the head and long forelocks at front and sides. After their coming of age ceremony at age 20, wakashu became "adult men" and were forbidden from relationships with other adult men (although they could now start pursuing Wakashu boys if they desired). By the late 1860's, when Japan began mimicking the social moors of the west, the Wakashu "gender" was abolished and homosexuality in all forms became an arrest-able offence. A term for the age bracket of boys between 10-20 later became known as "shonen", with the subject and imagery of young men/boys with extreme feminine beauty later becoming known as "bishonen".
    • It is unknown whether adult men and women were allowed to also publicly form relationships and have intercourse with girls between the ages of 10-20, however, as the era was known for sexual fluidity and apprentice geisha, courtesans and prostitutes began their professions around this age bracket, it is entirely possible that adults could form heterosexual and homosexual relationships with adolescent girls as well.

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