comic of Shintaro Ishihara circulating in Japan

Re-visiting the posts from a couple of days ago regarding the impending vote on restricting the sale of anime/manga products because of “harmful” or seedy content, apparently that bill has passed.

Japan Probe posted an extensively detailed update describing the decision, with links to articles from The Wall Street Journal and the Telegraph. Check out all three links above to get all the information.

Here’s an excerpt from the WSJ article: The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Wednesday enacted an ordinance that vastly expands a law meant to restrict people younger than 18 from purchasing or flipping through manga depicting rape, sex crimes, incest and “sexually explicit acts and graphic images that are not acceptable morally.” By making previous rules broader and more clear, the Tokyo government will have the authority to deem more manga as “unwholesome books,” which restrict where and how they can be sold.

I’m not too familiar with Japanese manga distribution, but I do know that placing restrictions on and classifying books/magazines/comics as “unwholesome” implies some kind of societal standard, which is obviously something that people don’t always agree on. There isn’t a universal sense of “acceptability” regarding art, so judging anime and manga products on the basis of “wholesomeness” seems a bit controversial.

And, of course, the big Japanese manga companies planning to boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair think so as well.

This is a big issue, and will undoubtedly stir up headlines on a daily basis for a few months to come. So stay tuned.

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  1. One could also argue that Snuff Videos are “art”, and that they should be legal, even though it involves killing people. Prohibiting people under the age of 18 of purchasing porn, even if it’s cartoon porn, is fine by me.

  2. Good points.

    I used quotations around “art” since it is somewhat subjective, and since anime/manga are so divisive in certain circles, depending on one’s perspective and interests.

    Personally, I think the scope of these new restrictions are a good thing, as it is best to not allow young impressionable kids that easy of access to these materials, but I do see why the issue is a controversial one.

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