Note: Has anyone worked out where QueerClick get all these 'onsen' pictures from? I bet there's a forum or group somewhere, where the original photographs posts hundred of these pictures? The above question is being asked on the Yahoo Group [YMNA2] - Young Men's Nudist Association. So I have offered my own answer.
It's an interesting 'research' question, and one that is particular relevant to me since I live in Japan and visit onsen from time to time, and an all-male gay sauna pretty regularly. I have also posted these pics from Queerclick (giving them full credit) on my Gay Asian Man porn blog
(David (atitlan) can remove the link to this blog if it's not allowed. But I do not have any commercial advertising on any of my blogs, and always give the source of where the photo came from EVEN when all I know is what site or group has distributed them.)
Therefore, since I do visit 'onsen', I wonder when my own naked self in a Japanese hot springs bath/resort may appear somewhere on the Net - without my permission. P.S. I have dozens and dozens of photos depicting my own nudity that I've uploaded myself to various sites over the years, but those were given out with my recognition of the risks.There is also a few other possible explanations for where these originated.
One of the large gay porn sites and gay porno producers may be selling off these kinds of photos as their commericial material. They could be actually stills or videos collected from video surveillance cameras located in the onsen resort and then leaked or sold to a porn company. The men in the photos (participants) don't appear to even know that their photos are being taken. Japanese act very differently when they are being
photographed (nude or not). I have hundreds of candid photos of Japanese guys clowning around and attempting to cover themselves all the while putting on sometime outlandish stunts and gags while undressed partly or fully in the company of their male peers. I find it keenly interesting to observe and have written and shared photos and blog anecdotes about this homoerotic behavior many times (elsewhere).
So ... someone could be a subscribing member of one of those sites or is making still digital photos from the video footage or taking them from a subscription only website inside Japan. Photos depicting clearly visible photos for male and female (frontal) genitalia are illegal in Japan in any form or any media. That's the reason there are 'mosaic' coverings over the penises.
Another possibility is that anyone can make a contribution for photos to Queerclick through its Sticky section of their website. In fact, they ask for submissions and give out an email where viewers can send them.
In Sticky there are some regular contributors - one of whom may actually living in Japan and taking the photos himself (covertly). I couldn't pass as Japanese (being a middle-aged caucasian male) so taking photos of nude guys in the onsen or public baths or saunas would most likely be frowned on and a cause for being banned.
Many of this series of photos appears to be taken from the same location. (Note: the photo in the upper left seems like a genuine private photo (or at least NOT intended for gay male porn sites). Often, hot spring resorts and mineral baths have outdoors pools (and sometimes ornate Japanese gardens), therefore, it could possibly be easier to someone to hide behind a huge rock or tree in the garden and get these shots without being seen.
While it doen't have any direct connection, I learned something about onsen and how public baths have evolved in the Japan during the last 10 years.
Lastly, I just learned recently that there are actually 58 location in central Tokyo alone where you can bath in hot mineral spring bath (although the water may be piped or trucked in for some of them, it's still natural spring mineral water, without being added artificially (or so they claim). The chief mineral in most all of them is salt. Some of them have equal or greater salinity than sea water.
I went to one of them the other night about 9:00pm since the price is greatly reduced for night time visits (open from 9am to midnight), and I was impressed by the relative spacious facilities (huge vaulted ceiling), various types of baths and temperatures, and a nice outdoor rock bath (rotenburo). No.. I did NOT bring my camera or cellphone. But there were some nice looking men - ages ranging from college kids to 30s salarymen, and nice-looking men in their 40s or so. It's pretty stimulating when a 20-something comes and lies down naked next to you in the reclining bath.
These are guys not 'gay' at all (or at least visibly), and these are basically like the old public bathhouses prevalent from feudal times until the mid-60s and 70s where the owner sat at the entrance to take the few yen, and could watch both the men and the women as they undressed and put their clothes in the lockers.
Nowadays, Japanese men and women might go as a family and then separate into the two side of the onsen building. Sometimes you can hear the women talking and laughing on the other side, but I have found that men who use these onsen type ofuro (baths) in the city usually come alone, and therefore don't converse easily with strangers. In the case of onsens in resort areas, urban dwellers usually go in groups of 2 - 15 men on a excursion with friends or a company retreat, so there is much more camaraderie, boisterous conversation, and sometimes a little sexy antics - especially if alcohol has been consumed for their entering the bath.
The exception at the urban onsen might be the wet steam sauna. Although it was quite big and could hold 30-40 bodies, and there were more people in it than in the rest of the baths at any one point, most people sat on the tile slabs nude and just relaxed. It was fun to get a nice view of several nude Japanese men in repose together
Maybe this says that (some) Japanese men at the bath were simply wanting to loose weight in the sauna, but it also might means that there is more of the naked body visible others when everyone is not sitting immersed in hot water, so that why more men had gathered there.
I could go on about the gay baths and saunas, but as you expect, those are pretty much similar to the ones in any country (I assume - since I haven't been to ones everywhere), but I have seen quite a lot.
Dare to stay bare for those who care,