Eyeball-licking fetishism, also known as “oculolinctus” or “worming”, was reported to be a popular way of expressing affection or inciting sexual arousal in Japan. Rumors began circulating that doctors were warning of serious risks of virus conjunctivitis, other eye infections, and even blindness

According to the Japanese website Naver Matome, the oculolinctus craze in the country among young lovers had resulted in a significant increase in eye-infection cases.

It was said that Naver Matome had picked up reports claiming a Japanese school had noticed children coming into class wearing eye patches, with reports of twelve-year-old children at the school engaging in “oculolinctus”.

The British newspaper The Guardian reported the oculolinctus trend being inspired by a Japanese emo band “Born” in a music video.

Reports of an outbreak of eye infections among Japanese schoolchildren that had become linked to a so-called eyeball-licking fetish appear to have been false. According to Mark Schreiber, from The Japan Times, it was a hoax.

Schreiber got in touch with two ophthalmological organizations in Japan, a university professor, and an organization representing school doctors. He asked them about the alleged eyeball licking incidents and eye diseases.

In an article in a trade publication to foreign correspondents, No. 1 Shimbun, Schreiber wrote “None of them had the faintest idea of what I was talking about. None knew anything about the rampant spread of disease.”

The majority of journalists in the USA and UK picked up the story from Shanghaiist, which has online translations of Asian journal articles in English.

According to Schreiber, the story originated from Bucchi News (resource no longer available at bucchinews.com), a subculture enthusiasts’ site. Schreiber added that Bucchi News has a dubious reputation for accuracy.

Several western newspapers wrote about the eyeball licking craze in Japanese schools, including the Huffington Post, The Guardian, CBS News, The Telegraph, and The Daily Caller.

Written by Christian Nordqvist