Child Safety Bill Could Cripple Anime Industry

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Child Safety Bill Could Cripple Anime Industry

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A bill before the Tokyo government that aims to promote the "healthy development" of children by excising "illegal" sexual acts in media could completely gut the anime-and-manga industry as we know it.

Here in the United States, the videogame industry is facing what has been called its "single most important challenge" at the US Supreme Court in the form of a law that would make it illegal to sell violent videogames to children, effectively saying that games are less worthy of First Amendment protection than any other form of media.

In Tokyo, publishers of anime and manga (that is, animated works and comic books) as well as videogames are facing a similar fight - and they're losing.

Like the Californian videogame law, it's not hard to imagine that Bill 156, which passed the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) this week - also known as the Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths - comes from a good place. Bill 156 is borne from prior attempts by the government to stamp out sexualized depictions of virtual children in anime, manga and games, i.e. lolicon (short for "lolita complex"), only it casts a much wider net in the interests of protecting children.

Unfortunately, much of the language used is so vague that it could gut the anime and manga industry entirely. For instance, Bill 156 includes provisions that would classify any work as adult (i.e. pornography) if it "features either sexual or pseudo sexual acts that would be illegal in real life, or sexual or pseudo sexual acts between close relatives whose marriage would be illegal," if the depictions glorified and/or exaggerated the act in question.

Anti-censorship devotees may already be shaking their heads, but a lot of people might be going, "Okay, so what? What's wrong with that?" If the Tokyo government wants to keep material including sexual depictions of rape, incest or pedophilia out of the hands of children, isn't that a good thing? A lot of that stuff is pretty messed up, right? The problem, again, lies in the language used - for instance, under this law, the provisions regarding "marriage" would not just include incest, but homosexual relationships as well.

Furthermore, the bill would end up restricting any content which is "considered harmful to a minor's mental health regarding sexuality," which is an awfully vague condition. Essentially, it would give a Tokyo government committee the power to classify any potentially-sexual material as adult, relegating it to the proverbial back room of stores.

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It's all the stranger (and more worrisome for the industry) that this bill specifically exempts things like photography, live-action film and TV, and novels. In other words, while a live-action production of Nabokov's Lolita would theoretically be fine under the law, an animated adaptation would be able to be classified as pornography.

What makes this even stranger is that in Japan as in the US, the government already regulates hardcore pornography to keep it out of the hands of youths. In fact, this bill has absolutely nothing to do with materials that are already classified as adult works. The only things affected by these provisions would be anime, manga and games depicting these issues, but not in a manner sexually explicit enough to be classified as porn.

In other words, this bill wouldn't cover the infamous RapeLay, but could potentially cover things like the groundbreaking Neon Genesis Evangelion (two words: hospital scene) or even "magical girl" shows that imply nudity on underage characters during transformation sequences. One could hardly classify long-running action manga Berserk as hentai, but under this bill the sexual scenes would make it vulnerable to reclassification - and in Japan as in the West, many retailers will opt not to stock adult material entirely. It could also hamstring entire genres that deal with same-sex romance (and given statements by Tokyo governor Ishihara calling gays and lesbians "deficient," this may be intended).

While Bill 156 will only affect the Tokyo area, given that the vast majority of anime and manga makers are located in the area around Tokyo, it could still have a potentially critical effect on the industry.

Naturally, the bill has faced harsh opposition everywhere outside of the Tokyo government. The Tokyo Bar Association and the Japan PEN Club have both opposed the bill, with the former criticizing it for unclear terminology and its use of the term "exaggerated" (since manga and anime are by their nature exaggerated), and the latter claiming that the bill could "warp the freedoms of speech and expression."

The strongest opposition, however, comes from manga and anime publishers themselves (understandably). The major publishers in the "Big 10" including media giant Kadokawa have announced intentions to boycott the Tokyo Anime Fair (link NSFW), despite Governor Ishihara's claims that the event would "prove a place where the Japan can proudly showcase the charms of its animation industry to the world." Meanwhile, Shueisha, publisher of Shonen Jump - the serial magazine containing famous titles like Bleach and Naruto - affirmed its support for its writers and artists, and urged them to create works that would "blow [the legislature] away."

Japanese Prime Minster Naoto Kan also expressed concerns about the issue - specifically the Big 10's boycotting of the Anime Fair - in a blog post. While the promotion of healthy development in the youth was important, wrote Kan, it was also important that "Japanese animation [was] broadcast to a global audience."

This is way too huge an issue to comprehensively cover in one news post - further reading is recommended at places like Japanator and Dan Kanemitsu - but one thing is certain: Fans of anime and manga may find the industry irrevocably changed as a result of this bill.

Or, the companies could just pack up and move to Osaka. That could happen, too.

Update: Bill 156 has officially passed. Preliminary self-regulation will begin on April 1 2011, with the law going into effect on July 1.

(Source: Dan Kanemitsu)

(Supplemental Information: Japanator, Sankaku Complex (NSFW), AnimeNewsNetwork)

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Fuck child safety. The last thing this world should be concerned with is the safety of its children. Especially in regards towards what they see in the media. That's the parents problem.

EDIT: My bad, I'm an idiot. Ignore post.

RUINER ACTUAL:
Fuck child safety. Natural Selection. The kid who swallows too many quarters doesn't get to make more quarter-swallowing retards.

This sums up my feelings 100%

Why is everyone so geared towards censorship lately?

I really want to know. Because I just don't get it. What's even more baffling is the general public's apathetic attitude towards it. No one cares.

Daystar Clarion:
I fucking called it! If Americans hate anything more than socialism, it's children experiencing great stories if they so much as have any kind of flesh in them. They're breasts, not the damnation of your children's innocence.

You realize that Tokyo is not actually in the United States, yes?

John Funk:

Daystar Clarion:
I fucking called it! If Americans hate anything more than socialism, it's children experiencing great stories if they so much as have any kind of flesh in them. They're breasts, not the damnation of your children's innocence.

You realize that Tokyo is not actually in the United States, yes?

Sorry, I believe I misread. Apologies.

RUINER ACTUAL:
Fuck child safety. Natural Selection. The kid who swallows too many quarters doesn't get to make more quarter-swallowing retards.

^
This, but iwth more elegance.

Its hard to do something like this, because for the most part you have the generational gap. It used to be that things today are more violent then they were for our parents. yes, that is true, you cant really argue against it. But now you're doing a similar motion in the opposite direction. This is like saying that you shouldnt have pokemon games because pokemon use fire attacks, whihch cause burns. Or how picking up an item on the ground you find is considered stealing. Its for a long time be said pokemon is nothing but a tool for children to use to teach them how to fight each other with their pets (think dog fighting).

Besides, you have a company that was built on these things. ANime always pushed the boundries because it was fictional. If you wnat to do this, you have to ban books detail war in school, or the news where it shows people dying or dead. Kids should know from their parents teachings right and wrong. Not from a bill that will cripple one of Japan's chief exports. I honeslty dont see them keeping htis when tehy see the way that sales and profit from anime being "toned down" or all together stopped disappear.

Also of note is Ishihara is just kind of an all around bastard in general:
- Claims Rape of Nanking never happened
- Said in a interview for a women's magazine "old women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin"
- Believes that a Korea under Japanese rule would be justified

WTF?! Goddammit censorship... Ah well lets see how many ways the anime industry finds around this. I'm guessing there's a few

Also don't you think "cripple" is a bit strong a term? They'll find a way around it, its hardly gonna destroy anime and manga forever

John Funk:

Daystar Clarion:
I fucking called it! If Americans hate anything more than socialism, it's children experiencing great stories if they so much as have any kind of flesh in them. They're breasts, not the damnation of your children's innocence.

You realize that Tokyo is not actually in the United States, yes?

Well....not yet. *shifty eyes*

The Wykydtron:
WTF?! Goddammit censorship... Ah well lets see how many ways the anime industry finds around this. I'm guessing there's a few

Also don't you think "cripple" is a bit strong a term? They'll find a way around it, its hardly gonna destroy anime and manga forever

More likely it'll be stomped flat by public outcry and cash changing hands. A bill that potentially bans most Miyazaki movies, Dragonball, One Piece, Evangelion, and Keroro Gunso, among many OTHER series that not just nerds, but much of the Japanese public devours makes this roughly the same as if the American government tried to ban Star Wars. Shit just isn't going to work.

Okay seriously, this is bad, very very bad!!! Is there ANY way at all we could stop this?

RUINER ACTUAL:
Fuck child safety. The last thing this world should be concerned with is the safety of its children. Especially in regards towards what they see in the media. That's the parents problem.

This. I'm sick and tired of giving up things I enjoy as an adult just so you can feel like your brat isn't being corrupted at a young age. He/she still is, by the way...that's what middle school does to you.

I haven't been the biggest anime fan as of late, but if this bill passes, I can't help but feel like a small part of me will die.

Plus, the fact that Berserk is one of the greatest comics ever made, and having this bill get in the way of its artistic freedom aswell as labeling it as common porn is a fucking crime against humanity.

I'm not a big a fan of the government pulling shit like this, especially when it isn't based in fact. Japan has really low rate for rape and pedophiles, clearly stuff like anime or games are not making things a problem. The government just wants to force people to only watch and play what they want, just because they feel they don't like it, not based on fact, at the expense of those involved in the industry.

Wow, this is horrible. Even more so because Japan doesn't have the love of free speech that the US has. They're a much more conservative country (and that's saying something).

Although I guess that unless similar things sprout up elsewhere in the country manga makers will just move to Osaka as the newspost implied. Tokyo will just be kissing goodbye to taxes on one of its worldwide industries.

Here's hoping it comes to nothing though. I know nothing of how Japanese politics go so I can only hope.

Japan keeps taking one step forward and two steps back. They allow lolicon material to be sold, but censor out genitals in live action pornography.

I for one don't think it will pass though, it's too major a change that will affect two of their largest industries.

FredTheUndead:
Also of note is Ishihara is just kind of an all around bastard in general:
- Claims Rape of Nanking never happened
- Said in a interview for a women's magazine "old women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin"
- Believes that a Korea under Japanese rule would be justified

That second one can't be true, I'm not even going to look it up...

It'll be interesting to see how this'll have an affect on Japan's economy. Anime/Manga/games are pretty large pieces of that, and if they essentially cripple them, they're fucked. Japan's economy isn't exactly doing so well right now, so this'll really screw it over.

This thing actually started out as an anti-loli bill. And has now mutated into this... thing. Just ridiculous. I guess they're going by the "anything that remotely resembles it is as bad as it."

Also, fuck that governor. People like him seriously piss me off.

FredTheUndead:
Also of note is Ishihara is just kind of an all around bastard in general:
- Claims Rape of Nanking never happened
- Said in a interview for a women's magazine "old women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin"
- Believes that a Korea under Japanese rule would be justified

Which Korea? Cause the North could use a small tuning up and mellowing out, buti think any country would be good to run it.

This wins my vote for "most shocking news of the week". If you told me someone was trying to brand non-pornographic anime as pornography and made me guess where, I'd probably name every country in the world before I finally guessed Japan. I mean, that's like if America banned........... OK, what are we known for in other countries besides being fat?

RUINER ACTUAL:
Fuck child safety. The last thing this world should be concerned with is the safety of its children. Especially in regards towards what they see in the media. That's the parents problem.

THANK YOU!!!

Seriously, I am so sick and tired of the powers that be thinking it's their responsibility to protect children from questionable material, when in reality, the parents need to get off their fucking asses and monitor what their children watch and play for a fucking change. Why does the government feel it needs to butt in to this kind of stuff?

FredTheUndead:

The Wykydtron:
WTF?! Goddammit censorship... Ah well lets see how many ways the anime industry finds around this. I'm guessing there's a few

Also don't you think "cripple" is a bit strong a term? They'll find a way around it, its hardly gonna destroy anime and manga forever

More likely it'll be stomped flat by public outcry and cash changing hands. A bill that potentially bans most Miyazaki movies, Dragonball, One Piece, Evangelion, and Keroro Gunso, among many OTHER series that not just nerds, but much of the Japanese public devours makes this roughly the same as if the American government tried to ban Star Wars. Shit just isn't going to work.

If they ban Miyazaki movies, I will make myself catch on fire, Human Torch style, and destory one hell of a lot of shit.

And I severely hope you are right about this not working.

I honestly don't think this is that bad. I've been to Japan, and it's true that you can walk into almost ANY convenience store and find disturbing porn. Both in manga, and photograph form. I can enjoy porn if it depicts two people being intimate and having normal sex, but the depictions of women in both anime and video doing so much disgusting shit is really offensive. I'm sure Japan would be a better society if they didn't have so much material with women being dominated and horribly sexualized in their anime and manga.

For Example, (This is quite a sexually explicit example, be warned)

When I was in Japan, I was horny one night and borrowed a porn video from a Japanese friend titled - "Dream Shower." I figured - "Ok, this is probably about some people in the shower having sex, right?" But I was horribly wrong... In the video, there were a bunch of different scenes, all scenes featured one naked Japanese woman and about 10 or 12 naked Japanese guys. The guys would chase the woman all over the house, until they finally caught her, and then one would do her on the floor while the other 10+ guys were jerking off all over her body and she would be totally cum-soaked. get it? "Dream Shower." It didn't end there either, then there were two girls they made eat different things, vegetables and stuff, out of each others' assholes for a half hour (I forwarded the video of course, didn't wanna watch that shit for a half hour)!

I don't know how much they pay Japanese women to do porn, but it must be a lot because that video had some of the worst things I've ever in my life. It puts American S&M porn to shame. I've also seen things equally as bad, or stupider, in Manga and Anime. All of the weird tentacle sex scenes are just stupid as hell. Japanese guys should respect their woman more, it's no wonder the women don't wanna marry those guys and their population is declining terribly.
It would be better to ban all porn like that in Japan.

Steve the Pocket:
This wins my vote for "most shocking news of the week". If you told me someone was trying to brand non-pornographic anime as pornography and made me guess where, I'd probably name every country in the world before I finally guessed Japan. I mean, that's like if America banned........... OK, what are we known for in other countries besides being fat?

John Wayne and James Cagney.

ResiEvalJohn:
I honestly don't think this is that bad. I've been to Japan, and it's true that you can walk into almost ANY convenience store and find disturbing porn. Both in manga, and photograph form. I can enjoy porn if it depicts two people being intimate and having normal sex, but the depictions of women in both anime and video doing so much disgusting shit is really offensive. I'm sure Japan would be a better society if they didn't have so much material with women being dominated and horribly sexualized in their anime and manga.

For Example, (This is quite a sexually explicit example, be warned)

When I was in Japan, I was horny one night and borrowed a porn video from a Japanese friend titled - "Dream Shower." I figured - "Ok, this is probably about some people in the shower having sex, right?" But I was horribly wrong... In the video, there were a bunch of different scenes, all scenes featured one naked Japanese woman and about 10 or 12 naked Japanese guys. The guys would chase the woman all over the house, until they finally caught her, and then one would do her on the floor while the other 10+ guys were jerking off all over her body and she would be totally cum-soaked. get it? "Dream Shower." It didn't end there either, then there were two girls they made eat different things, vegetables and stuff, out of each others' assholes for a half hour (I forwarded the video of course, didn't wanna watch that shit for a half hour)!

I don't know how much they pay Japanese women to do porn, but it must be a lot because that video had some of the worst things I've ever in my life. It puts American S&M porn to shame. I've also seen things equally as bad, or stupider, in Manga and Anime. All of the weird tentacle sex scenes are just stupid as hell. Japanese guys should respect their woman more, it's no wonder the women don't wanna marry those guys and their population is declining terribly.
It would be better to ban all porn like that in Japan.

You very obviously didn't read about the actual bill or the guy proposing it. Go do so before talking about asian porn.

....i really don't have much of a problem with this?

*shrugs*

the anti-homosexuality was the only thing to make me think "that's a little close-minded" but that's 'cause i live in Massachusetts.

wow japan trying to censor up sexual anime stuff. That seems kinda backwards to me

NOOOOOOOOOO! Negima! isn't finished yet! This bill would kill it dead! Waaaaaaahhhh! Bad bad bad idea. Gutting the industry is an understatement.

EDITED DUE TO ME MISREADING PLEASE DISREGARD ANYTHING THAT WAS SAID IN A QUOTE
O.T. now that I have better understanding (a little slow in the head needed clarifications)I feel that censorship is bad and feel this guy is acting like every other political asshole we see and he's homophobic so really he's on my list of people to hate

I've seen this already in another thread, but this explanation now is making me somewhat more worried. My thoughts - the only hope that the media giants in Tokyo will have now is if they up sticks and move to other cities in Japan to continue producing this kind of content. While I'm all for the regulation of actual adult content, this sort of vagueness is posing a massive threat to the industry in general, but also to Japan's economy (they make a hell of a lot of money from anime and manga and the like, after all, as well as the profits they get from exports to other countries like the UK and USA...). And besides, a lot of non-adult stuff might end up affected by association, which they haven't thought of. For example, the anime of Fate/stay Night doesn't have any of the sex scenes or anything like that, that were in the original games the series was based on. Yet because the games do have such scenes in them (not even anything really bad or explicit, either), they could be reclassified, and by association the relatively safe-for-work anime could potentially be affected and reclassified too, causing more problems further down the line.

In short: The lawmakers in Japan really need to consider the massive harm they're doing to their own culture, and their own economy, before making a decision. If that fails to sway them, then the producers of most anime and such will have to move to other cities, otherwise they won't easily survive. It's a shame, but sadly, that's just how it is...

The Random One:
Wow, this is horrible. Even more so because Japan doesn't have the love of free speech that the US has. They're a much more conservative country (and that's saying something).

Although I guess that unless similar things sprout up elsewhere in the country manga makers will just move to Osaka as the newspost implied. Tokyo will just be kissing goodbye to taxes on one of its worldwide industries.

Here's hoping it comes to nothing though. I know nothing of how Japanese politics go so I can only hope.

Isn't the US going through a similar thing though? Through games anyway...

I agree with Shinji though that this bill is going to get in the way of artistic freedom, and while Japan has created some dark content over this last century, they've always had the freedom to do so.

I still don't think this will pass. There is probably a score of sexual content on television for children to access, as well as the internet.

I'm getting tired of the Government trying to do parents' jobs for them.

Parents need to start taking responsibility, and stop blaming the media, tv, video games, etc. for their failures.

Won't someone please think of the children

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I wonder who decides what's bad and what's not, probably some over-reactionary prudes

Golem239:

John Funk:
The major publishers in the "Big 10" including media giant Kadokawa have announced intentions to boycott the Tokyo Anime Fair (link NSFW)

anyone else find this just weird it just seems off I mean looking at some of the stuff they produced you think they would be hurt by this bill (even though manga would get hit harder than anime but still)

That's kind of the point. The bill would enable the Tokyo gov't to label anything they don't like as "harmful to minors." This isn't a fight over smut, it's about censorship.

Seriously, I asked this in the other thread, what does this mean for a potential 3rd season of Strike Witches?

Oh, and also, this legislation is too broad, too reaching. The material that is pornography is already classified as such and this leaves all anime and manga open to being restricted for anything that anyone thinks might possible be sexual.

...Governments outlawing Anime?

Golly! This is swell! When are the rest of the nations of the world gonna adopt this policy?

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