(Editor’s Note: Reader discretion is advised throughout)
A Chinese company has trademarked the phrase “Ahegao,” and is reportedly attempting to forbid hentai publisher Fakku from selling merchandise featuring the phrase and artwork.
According to a tweet by founder and CEO of Fakku Jacob Grady, a trademark for the term Ahegao has been filed by Chinese company Shenzhen Guangcai Trading Co., Ltd for use as clothing.
“A Chinese company named Shenzhen Guangcai Trading has trademarked the word “Ahegao” while using STOLEN ARTWORK and is trying to get @FAKKU to stop selling the ONLY 100% official merch
We are going to fight it. But please stop buying bootleg items.”
Fakku has been selling official “Ahegao” merchandise including apparel and gift wrap; featuring art by Victim Girls hentai artist Asanagi.
For those unfamiliar, the term is Japanese slang for excessively exaggerated facial expressions during an orgasm; such as the tongue hanging from the mouth, drooling, and eyes rolled back or with distorted pupils.
This first appeared and was popularized in hentai doujin. The word (アヘ顔 in Japanese) comes from アヘアヘ (“aheahe”, the onomatopoeia for panting) and 顔 (“kao”, or face).
As the use of ahegao gained popularity in hentai, some began to post collages of just the faces from these doujin, leading to “Ahegao hoodies” and other apparel around the mid 2010s.
However these were typically homemade, and without the permission of the original artists. It was not until hentai artist Asanagi collaborated with Fakku in 2018 that any Ahegao merchandise could be considered “official.”
According to the Trademark Electronic Search System made available by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Shenzhen Guangcai filed the trademark for Ahegao back in 2018 for the purpose of: “Caps being headwear; Coats; Corselets; Corsets being underclothing; Cyclists’ jerseys; Hoodies; Hosiery; Jerseys; Pants; Scarfs; Shoes; Skirts; Sweaters; Swimsuits; Tee shirts; Trousers; Vests”.
These would fulfill most types of clothing, including the sort that Fakku has been selling up through now. As stated above, Grady intends to fight the trademark filed by Shenzhen Guangcai.
It is worth noting that many anime conventions have begun placing restrictions on con-goers wearing Ahegao apparel. This is despite the fact some of these restrictions have occurred at conventions where 18+ material is regularly sold, or Fakku themselves being in attendance.
We will keep you up to date here on Nicchiban as the situation with the “Ahegao” trademark continues to evolve.
Image: Fakku (Editor’s Note: The preceding link is Not Safe for Work. Reader discretion is advised)