(That’s “Comic Book Legal Defense Fund“.)
When it comes to censorship I’m kind of split. On the one hand, there are things so vile that I wish they never existed, especially stuff that as a Christian I find blasphemous (a label I don’t throw out as often as you think). On the other hand, I believe in freedom of expression and that people have a right to follow their vision.
What I strictly oppose is the government deciding (beyond age restrictions as who can obtain it) what is allowed to exist and what isn’t. Child pornography I oppose because of the damage done to the child, but so far it sounds like they’ve done a poor job regulating that due to overrestricting. I really haven’t followed it.
In a previous article I discussed having issues with shows like Dance in the Vampire Bund, a manga and anime that features the heroine, a millennia-old vampire in the body of a nine-year-old, running around naked and that I found this disturbing.
It’s the issue of censorship, but this time the Japanese government may have gone one step too far, if these two Anime News Editorials from Marzgurl is any indication.
The first one discusses a new Japanese law that may have curtailed even the unobjectionable materials of certain manga and anime. If you thought the FCC was wrong to get mad about the Super Bowl halftime shenanigans, wait until you hear this.
Coming down against art depicting, for example, eight year olds acting in a sexual manner I can get behind, so long as it’s people swinging the proverbial hammer. (BW Media Spotlight does not condone bashing people with real hammer just for producing questionable art. And we all know I’m the only one here.) I’m more concerned, however, about using actual eight year olds than some freak drawing an eight year old doing these things. THAT’S when the government should step in and arrest people.
It sounds like here that it’s only anime and manga, or your laymen, cartoons and comics, that are affected. (And possibly video games if Marzgurl is right.) Could they be carrying things a bit to far? Well, I haven’t seen the actual bill but it certainly sounds like it, and I trust Marzgurl to actually read it with an open mind before going ape slag on it.
Either way, the following video really doesn’t give that Japanese governor a positive outlook. Think Jack Thompson hosting E3.
I’m not sure what this governor is thinking. Holding a panel to discuss his point of view and listen to anime/manga fans? That would make sense, provided both sides (that includes the otaku–if you go and have the opportunity to confront him please voice your concerns like mature adults, or otherwise you just end up proving him right, which a number of gamers don’t seem to realize when they go on the offensive the wrong way) are up for an open and honest discussion.
From what he said according to the first video, however, I’m not sure he is willing to have an open discussion any more than Democrat lawmakers during the health care reform debate. (Sorry, call it like I see it.) So why not only show up at the Tokyo International Anime Fair but run the place? That’s not going to win him any points with fans or creators but he doesn’t seem to care. It doesn’t sound like he’s extending an olive branch so much as throwing it in the faces of the creators and otaku. He should probably rethink his approach.
So how badly WILL this law affect Japanese entertainment media in the future? Only time will tell. Please don’t go into this with knee-jerk reactions, however. If this is an issue you feel strongly about, then by all means stand up and let your voice be heard. But get the facts, keep an open mind but don’t be afraid to have an opinion. Censorship should be done the old-fashioned way…when the public condemns it and finds a better alternative. (This is why the “Anime Content Expo” is a good idea.) That’s what BW is all about, and it will keep the discussion from getting ugly. And I have a feeling it’s going to get Wertham/Thompson ugly up in here.
- Tokyo passes manga restrictions (bbc.co.uk)
- Tokyo’s “Anti-Anime” Bill Sparks Convention Wars (escapistmagazine.com)
- Manga Artists Rebel at Restrictions (online.wsj.com)
- Japanese manga publishers threaten to boycott festival (telegraph.co.uk)
- Japan comics industry to fight new under-18 rules (reuters.com)