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Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Passes Censorship Law

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Shintaro IshiharaThe Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has passed a law that will restrict content for manga and anime.  The law amends the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance and requires the industry to regulate anime or manga that “unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate certain sexual acts.”  Voluntary self-regulation begins April 1, 2011.  Restrictions on sale or rental take effect on July 1st.

The bill was first rejected but Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara insisted he’d push the legislation through after some revision.  This legislation specifically targets anime and manga and exempts real-life photography.  Ishihara who’s playing “think about the children” games also hates the gays, stating:

Gays are appearing on television no problem.  Japan is going way unchecked.  I’m doing this with a sense of duty.

Some speculate this is the first step for greater censorship.  Ishihara has made other idiotic statements, not just limited to gay bashing.  From Kotaku:

Regardless, this is hardly the first time Ishihara shot off his mouth. Here is a man who was sued for calling French a “failed language”, a man who referred to Korean-Japanese and Taiwanese-Japanese as sangokujin, a man who blames Chinese and Africans for increased crime and a man who denounced The Rape of Nanking as “fiction” created by the Chinese in a Japanese magazine.

But of course what would a politician be without hypocrisy mixed in with their actions.

In 1955, a 23-year-old Ishihara won Japan’s most prestigious literary award with his novel Season of the Sun. The book depicted the country’s post-War rebellious youth culture: gambling, fighting and having sex. In its day, the novel’s frank depiction of sexuality shocked readers — yet, here Ishihara is decades later trying to tell other artists what they can and cannot do.

A film was made in 1956 staring Ishihara’s brother.

Ten of the largest companies, Kadokawa Shoten, Shueisha, Kodansha, Akita Shoten, Hakusensha, Shogakukan, Shonen Gahousha, Shinchosa, Futubasha and LEED, announced that they will boycott the Tokyo Anime Fair as a result of the new law.  Ishihara chairs the executive committee.

As The Comics Journal points out it’s still legal to possess child pornography in Japan, live-action or illustrated.

This is take two of the Comics Code here in the United States in 1950.  The “regulations” forced the closures of many companies for their depictions and material they covered.

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Categories: Random

Author:Brett Schenker

Brett is a political consultant who resides in Arlington, VA. He grew up in Cleveland, OH and Buffalo, NY and attended the University at Buffalo, majoring in Political Science. Since then Brett has made his mark on politics working in various positions such as a Legislative Staffer for the Erie County Legislature, Special Assistant for Senator John Kerry, as the Database Administrator for Forward Together PAC, Deputy Internet Director for Chris Dodd for President, and Internet/Database Director for Virginians for Brian Moran, and Email Deliverability Czar for Salsa Labs. In 2007 Brett formed 5B Consulting providing his expertise on database solutions, new media and email strategy. He's a long time geek, reading comics since he was a child and learning to spell his name on an Atari 800. When he's not working, he's reading comics, playing video games and relaxing with a nice cup of tea. You can follow him on Twitter @bhschenker


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  1. Tokyo Law Leads to Censorship « Graphic Policy - February 7, 2011

    [...] retailers are definitely self-censoring the sale of manga after the passage of a revision of The Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youth to expand the definition of “harmful publications” and to give the Metropolitan Tokyo [...]

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