[Breaking News: Exclusive Preview of An Idiot's Guide to Tokyo's Harmful Books Regulation is now on ANN]
Here is a long awaited update to what’s going on in Japan. If you want to skip ahead to the meat of the news in this blog, skip down to where the artwork appears.
Bill 156 passed the Tokyo Assembly on December 15th of 2010 and the Office of Youth Affairs and Public Safety, the department responsible for implementing the new policy stated recently that they have no intent on getting any input from neither the industry people nor even Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Evaluation Panel, the body that is delegated to decide a book is harmful or not. It would appear that Tokyo’s enforcement wants to cast the widest possible net using the new powers that have been granted to them.
To recap, even prior to passage of Bill 156, Tokyo already has the power to designate anything too sexually stimulating for minors OR too sadistic for minors OR too likely to cause criminal acts among minors OR cause suicide among minors as “harmful material”, and force such material to be treated as adult only material.
With the passage of Bill 156, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have the additional power to restrict any manga, anime and video games (but not live photography works) that feature any sexual acts that would violate criminal codes or Tokyo ordinances OR sexual depictions between close relatives who could not legally get married to be treated as adult material IF they are presented in “unjustifiably glorified or exaggerated manner.”
Note that criminal acts not only include rape and molestation, but certain relationships between minors and adults, all forms of prostitution, indecent exposure, and other sex-related crimes as well. The text of Bill 156 does not recognize differences in the setting of the story (sci-fi, fantasy, and / or alternate reality) nor if the story takes place in a different historical period nor different geographical location. From now on, authors of general audience fiction of manga, anime and video games must keep in mind all the codes, ordinances, and laws specified by Tokyo and Japan’s law books if they wish to depict any sexual acts. The degree of sexual stimulation will not be a factor for the provisions added by Bill 156.
To see complete details of the bill, go here.
Publishers have long instituted self-regulator policies designed to keep hard core sexually explicit material out of the hands of minors by using adult only labels on the covers of such books(most commonly recognized as the yellow ellipse with the word 成年コミック meaning “adult comics” written inside it). With regarding some manga magazines that are considered to be “mildly sexually stimulating” that are sold in convenience stores, while the magazine itself does not have an adult only warning, the magazines are sealed closed using tape to make sure children do not have access to its contents unmonitored. The provisions of Bill 156 will not target material specified in the provisions described above. Bill 156 provisions are aimed toward general audience publications.
While Tokyo Governor Ishihara and Tokyo’s Office of Youth Affairs and Public Safety seem to feel that the debate is over and its now just a matter of dismissing the alarmists and implementing policy, many of us Japan beg to differ.
Takeshi Nogami, Takaaki Suzuki, and myself have launched our first attempt to counter Bill 156 through a medium that many fans of anime and manga are familiar with–doujinshi manga.
『サルでもわかる都条例都条例対策 ～Monkey Business～』 or An Idiot’s Guide to Tokyo’s Harmful Books Regulation will be released on the 3rd day of the winter session of the Comic Market, taking place on December 31st of 2010 at the Tokyo Big Site in Ariake, Tokyo.
Takeshi Nogami’s doujinshi publishing circle is “Firstspear” and the booth will be at the Comic Market on the 3rd day (Friday) at booth number M-12a in the East Hall.
Please note that this is an all ages doujinshi. There are no overt sexual depictions in the book. Bill 156 can’t touch us.
Takeshi Nogami is a manga author with over a dozen commercial books published and some of his more recent books include Sailor Suits and Heavy Tanks, Lua of the Seas Under the Moon and he is also the co-author of Moeyo! Sensha Gakkou (“Moe Tank School“), one of the first books that started the military moe boom of recent years.
Takaaki Suzuki is a veteran in the animation production scene in Japan and he’s worked on numerous anime series such as Strike Witches, Last Exile and Gun Sword, as well as writing novels and articles regarding military history.
If you want to know what Dan Kanemitsu’s being doing these dozen or so years, go to the bottom of the page here. Yes, I’ve done a few things in the past as well.
The manga has been translated into English by yours truly and I have also written three Japanese articles in the publication. English versions of the articles will be available in this blog for all to read once the book is released in Japan.
The three articles are:
– Political Activism as a form of Fan Activity
– Why did the Nonexistent Sex Crimes Bill pass while the Nonexistent Youth Bill was defeated.
– Overseas Perspectives on Japanese Manga and Anime
The manga is a parody of Even a Moneky Can Draw Manga created by Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma, but you won’t miss much even if you don’t anything about the original manga. We just take the format that Aihara and Takekuma established and ran with it. The whole premise of the book is how you can rework the individuals that were instrumental in passing Bill 156 into amazing and entertaining stories.
We’ve adapted moe storylines, BL storylines and even shonen manga storylines in the style of Fist of the North Star to creatively interpret the motivations behind why Bill 156 was so adamantly advocated by the Governor and his allies.
And since we really didn’t like having our ugly faces showing up in the manga all the time, we’ve replaced ourselves with female renditions to make it easier on your eyes. Yes, that’s me with long blond hair and huge boobs. No, I don’t look like that at all. I wouldn’t mind if I did, of course.
The book will also be available through doujinshi consignment shops such as Torano no Ana, Comic Zin and Takeshi Nogami’s official mail order service, but none of these outlets accept overseas mail order requests.
We’ve poured a lot of effort into the book, and we have even included a provision that says you have our permission to share our efforts with your friends, but please, don’t make money off of what we’ve worked hard to provide to you. If you wish to reward us for this effort, please buy this book at Amazon.co.jp. It should be fairly easy to do.
We would like to think of ourselves as the Primus Pilus, the vanguard formation of a military force in the field of battle, in the conflict over Bill 156. How well a counterattack can be carried out is entirely dependent on how others will back us up and follow up with their own efforts, so keep it going! Governor Ishihara’s press conference on Dec. 24th mentioned how he was frustrated at how much letters he was getting from teens who he felt misunderstood the purpose of Bill 156. I don’t think there would be any major misunderstandings if you’ve been reading my blog.
If you’re interested in seeing more of the books that Takeshi Nogami and Takaaki Suzuki have worked on, visit here. Many of the books have been translated into English by myself.
For more information regarding where and when the An Idiot’s Guide to Tokyo’s Harmful Books Regulation will be available, visit the sites below:
Nogami’s Comic Maket information page
Nogami’s intro to the book
Nogami’s blog entry regarding the book
One small correction in the manga needs to be made. I noticed this just today.
Stay warm and have fun this winter!
PS: I realize many are asking for the FAQ on Bill 156, and I’ll try to get to it as soon as possible. I’ve just been busy with working on this project.