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  1.  (9306.1)
    From Game Informer

    I'm not too up on anime anymore, but apparently Tokyo is the seat of anime production and sales, and they're banning all "violent" and "sexual" material from being sold in normal anime and manga outlets. I get the feeling that this is akin to Hollywood restricting the sales of PG-13 and R-rated movies to the "adult" sections of movie stores. What does Whitechapel think about this? Unnecessary nannystating by Tokyo lawmakers? The death of the anime industry? "Who cares, let's all set up shop in Kyoto"?
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
    ...I wasn't aware that anime was all sex and violence?

    Also, your link does not work for me.
  2.  (9306.3)
    Some of the terms they're naming in the law are extremely restrictive. The problem with everything being considered a fetish in Japan is that EVERYTHING IS CONSIDERED A FETISH IN JAPAN. The depiction of little girls is in that bill, and "violence" refers to criminal activity as well. A

    Also, my bad. Something must've gone wrong with the html. I'll fix it.

    EDIT: fixed it (for me, at least...)
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
    Kotaku coverage here

    Not that this is in any way a serious point but: I mean, look, I'm pretty strongly against censorship (although shota/loli creeps me right the FUCK out), but I really can't help but crack up about the folks crying that the entire BL genre is in danger if Rape Is Love isn't a legal plotline anymore. I mean, come on. That's hilarious.

    Ahem [responsible grown up hat on], but yes. Censorship is sad.
  3.  (9306.5)
    God forbid Japan just amend the constitution to allow depiction of genitalia so that pornographers would stop inventing nazi alien demon tentacle VS delicate skillgirl fetishes.
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
    This is pretty good coverage too. Prime Minister is unhappy.
    In his first personal blog entry since becoming prime minister, Naoto Kan states:
    “There is another topic I would like to talk about concerning [the strength] of the Japanese brand. Currently there are concerns over the possibility that the Tokyo International Animation Fair could be cancelled due to controversies related to the healthy development of youth issues. Healthy development of youth is an important issue. At the same time, it is important that Japanese animation is broadcast to a global audience. I urge all parties involved to try to work toward preventing a situation where an international animation fair cannot be held within Tokyo.” ... According to what is stated on Naoto Kan’s blog, this is the first time he is writing an entry himself on a subject that concerns him. Every other entry is written by his staff. The blog entry also talks about discussions he had with rice farmers in Yamaga Prefecture, but he ends his first personally written post on worrying about if next year’s Tokyo International Animation Fair takes place. ... Now the Prime Minister is personally expressing his concerns over what’s happening.
    "We strongly distrust the position of Governor Ishihara and (Tokyo) municipal authorities, which lacks respect for comics and animation creators," the group said in a statement.
    Wife seems amused. She thinks Ishihara is good for Tokyo - but the bastard is a hater and Nanjing Massacre denier.
  4.  (9306.7)
    Ahhhh c'mon Japan. Even your beloved Ozamu Tezuka had some crazy violence/rape tales in his body of work (see: Ode to Kirihito). Also, gekiga-ka sometimes features these themes, but in an adult serious type manner. Think of some gekiga as true crime stories - it has some social value.
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
    Look at the single most popular anime still running today: Naruto and Bleach. Both are violent. Are these gonna go kaput do you think? Heck no. I'm not an anime fan but just because these won't be in sale in most shops by traditional means does not in any way equate to the sales not happening at all.
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
    its not going to happen.

    whats they should worry about i how anime is cannibilzing
    itself, everything seems to be bits of something else.

    Paprika being an exception, but you get my drift..

    heri mkocha
    • CommentAuthorALE
    • CommentTimeDec 16th 2010
    two words:
    fucking retarded.

    IIRC correctly it was policy instituted by the US in postwar Japan that led to the big "no junk on display" laws, it's less restrictive than it used to be, but still a big taboo.

    Another fun tidbit; all that shit we think is weird about Japan? Most japanese think it's weird too.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2010 edited
    The BBC are reporting this not as a blanket ban, but a ban on the sale of this material to minors.
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2010
    BBC is trying to be fair - but the big ten publishers in Japan are not amused. Laws to protect minors already are in place - this is a weird metropolitan Tokyo ban than seems anti-freedom and anti-homosexual in scope due to its primary author being a right wing nutter.
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2010
    Event to counter Tokyo anime fair to be held during same period

    TOKYO —
    Eight animation-related companies skipping the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011 to protest the Tokyo metropolitan government’s tightening of sexual expressions in comics and animations will organize an animation event during the same period when the Tokyo fair is held in March.

    The companies, including Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co, will hold the Anime Contents Expo on March 26 and 27 at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, east of Tokyo, they said as the organizing committee of that event in a press release.

    Kadokawa Shoten publishes the ‘‘Haruhi Suzumiya’’ juvenile novel series, which has been turned into a popular cartoon and TV animation series.

    The eight companies in the counter event’s organizing committee also include animation production firms of such popular animation series as ‘‘Naruto,’’ ‘‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’’ and ‘‘Pocket Monsters.’‘

    The organizing committee will ask other companies that will boycott the Tokyo fair to take part in their event.

    The Tokyo fair, whose organizing committee is chaired by Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara, will be held March 24 to 27 at Tokyo Big Sight convention hall.

    Ishihara, commenting on the moves of withdrawal from the Tokyo fair, has said it does not matter and the event will go ahead with whoever shows up.

    The amended Tokyo metropolitan ordinance toughens regulations on the sale of ‘‘manga’’ comic books and ‘‘anime’’ containing ‘‘extreme’’ depictions of sexual acts.

    It calls on the industry to regulate itself to prevent those under 18 from purchasing or accessing comics and anime containing depictions of rape and other sex crimes and those ‘‘unduly lauding or exaggerating’’ incest.

    © 2010 Kyodo News.
  5.  (9306.14)
    I've been reading about this too and it's interesting, although I think it's hard to work out how things will end up, and it's not just as simple as saying "Grrr, censorship bad!"

    For one thing there's the vagueness that every article mentions. The most scaremongering articles point out that this means that the reach of the new law is restricted to basically whatever the government inspectors decide is bad. That kind of ability to stamp down on anything they feel like is a terrible idea - as far as censorship goes - but it really sounds like nothing new in the realms of Japanese lawmaking. There is so much grey area in Japanese legislation already it's astonishing, and it often seems to come down to the personal decision of whoever's in charge of that case.

    BUT a lot of other articles focus on the more easily stated goals, like restricting the sale of adult manga to adult sections of bookstores, banning books which glorify rape, incest, sex with underage girls... I find it very hard to see that as the end of hentai. In fact regulating those things seems like a pretty good idea to me. Then again, some people think that it sure as hell won't stop there, with restrictions continuing to relatively tame fetishes because of the vague, catch-all nature of the law. That's something I'd be worried about, the ol' slippery slope of censorship.

    Really I think it's always nice to see people up in arms about censorship, but there's so much slightly conflicting information flying around that it's hard to work out exactly what will happen. I mean, the article that Sparky quotes up there says - "It calls on the industry to regulate itself..." which... I don't think I've read anywhere else, but is perfectly possible and not as scary at all.

    The first link in this thread was interesting, because it mentioned that the law will be overseen by Amakudari. I guess that's another possibility - Tokyo needed more Amakudari positions to set retired bureaucrats up in, so they had to find something else that wasn't being regulated yet. That's a kinda joke I suppose.
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    Governor Ishihara is a bad loon. The response makes Tokyo's Prefecture look both ridiculous and impotent. This is very local politics with terrible international reach. It's like "we want more tentacle themed 'straight' rape porn" but don't want Gays or women to have their own brand of dehumanizing perversions.
  6.  (9306.16)
    On the whole, I agree with MagicSword! on this - there is a problem in the clarification of what Japan's new regulations are, and, indeed, the definitions of what they are trying to regulate. It doesn't seem that unreasonable that hentai be restricted to those 18 and older - but then, how do you distinguish between hentai and anime that happens to have sexual material? The sex scene in Evangelion was unmistakable, but not explicit or gratuitous; would it be banned? Sexual themes are an important part of any coming of age story, and it would be unfortunate to deny them to such a large part of their audience by making them "adult only."

    Violence is another problem. Most anime have some aspect of violence, and while it might be easy to distinguish the child-friendly fighting of Naruto to the more realistic and frightening Samurai X, there's a lot of gray area in the spectrum between them. The question remains - how do we judge? Is it better to err on the side of safety, or freedom?
  7.  (9306.17)
    @ stsparky: I think that's a perfect way of summing up Ishihara, and I thoroughly agree about the industry response too. I was quite amused by one of the articles that noted that Tokyo is the biggest city in Japan, and if manga publishing was driven out of Tokyo... would there be enough room for them elsewhere in the country? I would say - yes of course there bloody would. As much as the idea of all these adult manga companies and artists packing up their stuff and moving to Osaka amuses me, I don't think that's ever going to happen.

    Of course, this is just Tokyo, right? Does the Tokyo metropolitan government cover Yokohama and Chiba and so-on? And then you get into the issue of what other prefectures will follow Tokyo's lead.

    Your other point is hitting on what I'm finding difficult about the whole thing. I do think that if they're picking and choosing things like gay porn, female-oriented porn etc. to crack down on then it's awful and pointless. But I can't clearly see that from everything I've read about it, and I DO think that Japan should crack down on adult material involving minors (and I know that it's almost a joke to say that considering the feet-dragging they've done over actual child-porn issues, but still). I'm not arguing in favour of this bill, which seems badly thought out and is probably driven by very dubious motivations, I'm just saying that they need something.

    Zetsumeisan makes a great point about the place of sex in coming of age stories, and I would think that's why they throw in this vague line about 'glorifying' such themes. And it may be impossible to find a fair arbiter to say what's ok and what's not ok in situations like this, but I still think you need some kind of legislation. It's fair enough that everyone assumes any new censorship powers will be abused by the authorities, but it's possible that they could find a balance. Probably not with this bill, but...
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2010
    Ishihara wrote the 'defining' coming of age story for his generation in 1956. These days, he is on record for being a doddering old hate monger. Problem is - the Japan POV is normally very local.

    I would love to see a migration of creators and publishers up and leave Tokyo. It would be a big hit. Folks commute in two hours anyway. ...

    The laws that protect publishers, kids and retailers already existed. This new law was thought already defeated, but was somehow revived and passed. Therefore, Ishihara is using this for something more sinister like an attack on media he deems offensive.