A top British university is investigating a PhD candidate’s paper on his use of ‘shota’ manga FILE PHOTO. A stairwell of the Whitworth Building at the University of Manchester. ©Loop Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A student at a leading British university has published a research paper, in which he detailed his experience of masturbating to a type of Japanese erotic manga that sexualizes underage boys. The university and the peer-reviewed journal that published the study are investigating the matter following online backlash.

The University of Manchester and Qualitative Research journal are probing the publication of work by PhD student Karl Andersson, which was titled “I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan.”

Andersson claimed he researched “shota” manga to explore “whether or how sexual desire for fictional boys is connected to sexual attraction to actual children” – a question he said aficionados of such content sometimes expressed.

His method was to masturbate to examples of this genre and log his sessions over three months, according to the paper. Andersson said he didn’t have sex with other people during his research, and didn’t consume other kinds of pornography. He noted that living alone was beneficial to the project. (RT)