Lolicon Manga: A Death Kiss Essay
Lolicon Manga – A death kiss I. Introduction On this time last year, when you enter a book shop or a convenience store, you can easily find an area full of manga with images of little girls, around 11-13 years old, nude or half nude. But now, this kind of manga almost disappeared in Tokyo. This is the result of an act that was signed on December 2010 – Bill 156 of The Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths. This act restricted manga/anime with sexually provocative depictions of fictional characters who appear to be under 18 years of age.
In other words, it placed an end to the lolicon manga, which used to a part of Japanese manga that gained billions yen a year. Moreover, due to some details in the act (that will be explained later), other kind of manga will be affected also. II. Overview of the Act 1. The Tokyo Government has the authority to control the access to information of minors by their cell phone through the filtering provided by cell phone service companies; and also the guardians have to supervise and administer internet usage of minors.
Any manga, animation, or pictures (but not including real life pictures or footage) that 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, where such depictions and / or presentations unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate the activity in such a way that they would impede upon the formation of a healthy ability for judgement regarding sexuality of youth and there by be detrimental toward the healthy development of youth. . Publishers that have over 6 works deemed to be harmful material within a one year period by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government shall be subject to referral to their respective self-regulatory bodies for addressing the repeated offenses. Any further breaches within the following 6 months, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have the authority to release the name of the company to the public, and the Governor will have the authority to issue opinions and evidence to support that opinion. III. Process
According to Juvenile Guide, a non-profit organization in Kyoto, half of the pornographic animation products in Japan each year, which means around 1000 titles, feature schoolgirl characters. In March 2008, UNICEF had a statement urging Japan to tighten the law of child pornography; however, this was not considered carefully by the government at that time. In February, 2010, the Metropolitan government submitted a bill included a ban on sexualised depictions of “nonexistent youths” that appeared to be under the age of 18.
This proposal was criticized by many manga artists as well as the publishing industry, and was rejected by Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in June. Shintarou Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, also admitted that the bill’s language needed revision. However, the supporters for lolicon manga cannot be happy for a long time. In November 2010, a revised edition was presented, which did not use the vague term of “nonexistent youths”. Instead of that, the bill applied to all characters or material that is not necessary meant to be sexually stimulating.
Another section of the revised bill would allow the government to directly regulate the above images if the depicted acts are also “considered to be excessively disrupting of social order” such as rape. However, the bill does not regulated mobile site or downloaded content as it only affected publications such as books and DVDs. And this time, the bill had passed a vote of Tokyo Assembly and has taken full effect from June, 2011. IV. Impact on the society
According to UNICEF Japan and Russia are alone among G8 countries in not banning possession of child pornography. “Japan, a major player in information technology, is left uncontrolled, meaning children both here and around the world are suffering sexual exploitation for the sake of child porn,” UNICEF said in a statement. It can easily be seen that children will grow more mentally healthy without the existent of pornography. However, the earlier law already had banned the minors from purchasing products that had inappropriate contains.
Moreover, the new act only regulated books, DVDs and did not affect the online contents. As the result, minors still are able to expose with these kinds of production. There are many different arguments about the connection between lolicon animations with sex crimes. CASPAR, a Japanese non-profit organization claimed that this kind of manga/anime/games encourage crime, while Galbraith, professor of Tokyo University, as well as many other cultural critic such as Hiroki Azuma, Akira Akagi, etc. rgued that lolicon represents an artificial sexuality, turning away from “three dimensional reality” and redirecting sexual energies towards “two dimensional figures of desire”; and restricting sexual expression in drawings or animated games and videos “might actually increase the rate of sexual crime by eliminating a harmless outlet for desires that could motivate crime”. Nonetheless, there is not any research conducted after the releasing of the act.
V. Publishing industry and Mangaka’s reactions Right after the revised edition of the bill was presented, there was a huge wave of objections from publishers, mangaka and other supporters. Japanese writer association PEN Club and also Tokyo Bar Association have all spoken out against the bill, saying that it violated the freedom of speech and allowed government intrusion into people’s private lives.
There were several meeting held for opposed this bill, including a press conference between many famous mangaka (such as Fujiko Fujio A (Doraemon, Kaibutsu-kun), Tetsuya Chiba (Ashita no Joe),…) and the Administration Office of Japan Democratic Party (DJP); a conference by journalist Daisuke Tsuda with mangaka Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina), scholar and critic Hiroki Azuma and members of Japan Association of Magazine Publishers. They were also be able to collect 150,000 signature from mangaka, producers and other people working in the industry as well as manga readers.
Ten publishers announced that they would boycott 2011 Tokyo International Anime Fair – TAF (which later was cancelled due to the massive earthquake in Tohoku area) because ironically, The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is part of TAF’s executive committee, and Tokyo Governor Shintarou Ishihara, who was the leading advocate of the bill, also served as the chairperson of the committee. These publishers are the biggest and most powerful publishing companies in Japan, known as Comikku 10 Shakai, including Kadokawa Shoten, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kodansha, Hakusensha, etc.
However, despite the lost that might happened to the fair, in an interview, Ishihara almost laughed at the boycott and said “If they are that angry, then just don’t come. ” VI. Criticism Lawyers from Tokyo Bar Association stressed that while the bill was amended to remove the term vaguely controversial “non-existent youth” which was used to determine the image of the character that should be prohibited, but now continued to use a vague term “hyperbole” to the prohibited products. They indicated that manga, anime and other forms of media are already exaggerated.
The three unions of mangaka – The Japan Cartoonist Association, Copyright Network for Comic Authors in the 21st Century and Manga Japan – published a joint statement, in which they argue that the new bill would violate free speech rights by expanding the scope of the proposed rules earlier. Specifically, these groups confirmed that the term “unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate” is too vague and unclear; added that these rules would deprive the present abundance of manga and anime. This act will probably seriously hit manga industry and decrease its profit. Even when the bill had not been issued, some publishers already efused manga that take place in school or have uniform-wearing characters. On her twitter, mangaka Shouko Takaku complained “Today my editor talked straight to me: ‘Because of the Tokyo bill, please don’t continue to draw high school students’. If we are forced to follow this bill, I may be even not allowed to draw school uniforms. ” She also said that the new bill would only accelerate the recently decline of manga/anime industry. The unreasonable fact here is that the bill only banned animation images, and left the actual photo shoot, real porn and other live-action forms unaffected.
This can be understood as an offensive attack in ‘otaku’ culture, because Tokyo governor Ishihara and his subordinates had shown their otaku-discrimination through many statements, for example “Those freak otaku must have problems with their genes”. Ishihara even had shown to be a homophobia, by saying “Not just about children. We sometimes even have homosexual scenes on TV. Japan is becoming more and more excessively disorder. ” The act also received many opposes also because of Ishihara – the leader of the ‘purifying Japanese society’ campaign’s hypocrisy.
He argued that lolicon manga would badly affect the youths and would increase the crime rate, therefore ruin the society. However, he himself wrote and published several novels, all about sex crimes, and there were records about copycat crimes that appeared similar to his novels. VII. Conclusion Like prostitution, lolicon manga is considered immoral; however, we must admit that they can never be completely eliminated. Moreover, the act’s target is just A-M industry, which seems unreasonable and unconvincing.
It may be better if instead of trying to ban it, which is impossible, the government should tighten the law to control and manage those kinds of products, to keep the minors away from reading or watching them. Or maybe, if the government still wants to forbidden pornography, next time, they should choose a better leader, who had never write sex novels or give out discriminated statements. Terms: – Manga: Japanese comics – Mangaka: Comic authors – Lolicon manga: comics that portray sexual attraction to younger girls or boys – Otaku: manga/anime/game lovers.
References: “UNICEF says Japan failing to control child porn” – Reuters (March 11 2008) http://uk. reuters. com/article/2008/03/11/oukin-uk-japan-pornography-idUKT20430220080311 Dan Kanemitsu blog http://dankanemitsu. wordpress. com/ Anime News Network http://www. animenewsnetwork. com/ Wikipedia http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Lolicon Sickos-Alliance: ‘The ups and downs of the Japanese loli-banned law’ http://www. sickos-alliance. net/anime-news/nhung-thong-tin-moi-nhat-xoay-quanh-bo-luat-doi-quan-ly-anime-manga-o-nhat-update-15-12 (In Vietnamese)