The Lull Between the Storms – 2011 Update

Hello everyone. I’m sure you are wondering what’s been going on in Japan. I have mostly good news.

Our book sold damn well at the Comic Market. 1000+ copies in less than two hours is pretty good, I’d say. We sold out of An Idiot’s Guide to Tokyo’s Harmful Books Regulation very quickly so we have already started a second printing. I’ve made some corrections that I wanted to make, and the second printing should be getting out in a week or so.

While this might sound surprising, we are finally breaking into the black with the second printing. We wanted to make the book as accessible as possible, so we kept the price low. We were pretty sure the book wouldn’t lose money, but we’re glad its actually taking off. Also we hope that the popularity of the book will inspire others to engage the subject, and looking at what’s been coming out from even commercial books, signs are encouraging.

My translation will come soon. I’m sorry for the delay, but I’ve been swamped with work and issues I’ve put on hold for too long. Family, friends, and work do need to be addressed from time to time. I’ve taken care of most of it, so I should be able to pump out the translation within this week, if all goes well.

If you wanted to read the main article that many of you are interested, you can still read it on ANN here:
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/editorial/2010-12-28

I’ll be providing translations to two more articles and countless small spot illos this week.

What’s coming next? Some interesting developments regarding OYAPS and Bill 156 is in the works. It seems Tokyo City Hall is still in shock about the continued opposition to the bill’s passage and they are trying to figure out how to proceed. They can’t back down from the bill that’s already been passed, but they don’t want to make their relationship with the industry any more rocky than it already is. The problem is the industry continues to remain on sold footing on their desire to repealing or curtailing the bill, and popular discontent is only increasing. But if OYAPS backs down, then their power and authority will look impotent, so they are in a lose-lose situation.

Of course things are rosy for the industry either. The chilling factor has already started to ripple through, and now novels (exempt under Bill 156) have started conducting more self-censorship. The chilling effect is not pronounced in the major league manga publications, but signs of its effects can be seen in numerous places, some of which you might not have expected.

While the next eye of the storm will be the upcoming gubernatorial elections in the spring, you can expect plenty of ruckus will continue. I’ll try to pick up on those as soon as possible.

I will be doing a presentation on comparing Japanese doujinshi and US APA’s and zine culture next week, so I need to get ready for that as well. Finally I have a chance to put all those old fanzines and minicomics from the late 80’s and early 90’s to good use!

This entry was posted in censorship, doujinshi, events, harmful material, news, nonexistent youth, public morality and media. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to The Lull Between the Storms – 2011 Update

  1. Peter Kim says:

    Glad to have you back. I’ve heard some rumors that 80% of Japanese people are Against the Bill. Is that a fact?

    I couldn’t buy the book, because I live in Thailand but I will be waiting for the translation.

    • Shira says:

      That was incorrect, it was voted by 6399 people. How can 6399 people show what a city with millions of people think?
      I don’t blame you though, I made that mistake too. But fact is, most older people who vote on the election won’t care about the ban, maybe some will but I doubt it will make an effect.
      I’m not a japanese so I’m not sure but most old people don’t care about anime, manga, or games because they thought it is harmful to children. Even if 80% is against the ban, we can’t be sure that they will not vote Ishihara in the next election. But we can wish though. At least I did

  2. Mike Craig says:

    Hello. Nice to hear from you again.

    About Bill 156, after a new law or an amendment to an existing law is passed, isn’t it supposed to go through something called ‘judicial review’ in the courts to see if doesn’t conflict with the Constitution?

    I just looked it up. How long dose it take in Japan?

  3. Twisted_edhe says:

    Hi Dan,

    I’m pretty curious about that as well. Hope you can explain that as well.

    Keep up the good work and thamls fotr the update!

    Kind regards.

    Twisted.

  4. Dextro says:

    There’s something I don’t get: couldn’t the industry solve the problem by suggesting something like the PEGI or ESRB for manga/anime/etc? By introducing a solution of self-regulation the industry could probably get the government to back down without loosing face but I’m not that familiar with Japan so take this as just a random gaijin opinion. :)

    • Alvaro says:

      You kidding! That’s the equivalent of the Comic Codes in America. Look at where the Comic book industry is here. That’s the last thing we need.

      Speaking of such, the comic codes have been pronounced officially dead. Hope this spikes up a revival for them. =)

  5. Surrealism says:

    Hey Dan, thanks for the update. Also, I’ve read some of your Tweets in Twitter. You’ve mentioned that there are more book regulation laws in other parts of Japan than Tokyo, even after Bill 156. Can you list those already-existing regulations that are in other parts of the country?

  6. Ibaraki says:

    Hi there, it’s my first time commenting here now…

    I’m an artist-in-training, and also the usual, delusional ‘I want to make manga’ type of person. So when this issue hit, both the fan and the artist in me did react disapprovingly. I wanted to contact some of the mangakas that I read, including a duo, whose name I won’t reveal, that I have met once in Japan to tell them that I support them and continue their work. But, I was not sure if it was OKAY to bother them, and other mangakas about this…
    I read that some of the mangakas were told not to ‘worry about this,’ but at the same time I worry that because of this ban and restriction, the stories that they write and draw out will suffer anyways despite that… Not to mention, it will be the publishers AND a mangaka’s editor who will painstakingly decide if the script and ‘name’ (rough storyboard) are in violation of this ridiculous ‘law.’ How are the mangakas feeling right now currently? Is it too late to still show some words of encouragement and support?

    Also, on a happier note, I was in Sendai during the near ends of December and a few days of January, which would be when the Winter Comiket was happening. I managed to go to Toranoana and request your circle’s doujin with the help of my uncle (who is also a fan of anime and manga too!), since my speaking in really advanced words in Japanese suck… (and yes, I am Japanese also, but a Japanese-American…). I was worried that they would not have it in stock, but was happy that they did and immediately purchased it. Great to see that there is a second printing happening and better translations. At least the first one will be seen as a collector’s item someday, hehe.

    And, thank you very much for keeping a lot of us up to date on this issue! We really appreciate it a lot!

  7. DVD says:

    About the bill and forced self-censorship, there is hope that the central goverment will force the prefecture to change its mind with their Law Revision.
    just look!
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110107a7.html

  8. Shira says:

    Good luck for your presentation, but what do you mean self-censorship in novels? Can you give an example? Thanks.

  9. mika-chan says:

    Thans Dan for the update, hope the uproar in japan will turn in true action and they take down the bill, expecially with the upcoming spring election.

  10. DVD says:

    By the way, here’s a signature website for opposition against the bill.
    http://www.shomei.tv/project-1663.html

    Its over 200,000!

  11. Nando says:

    >The problem is the industry continues to remain on sold footing on their desire to repealing or curtailing the bill

    >Of course things are rosy for the industry either. The chilling factor has already started to ripple through, and now novels (exempt under Bill 156) have started conducting more self-censorship.

    Could someone please provide me some clarification for these two statements? I am left a little confused by them because they sound contradictory. If the white flag is already being waved and the industry is surrendering, how can they also be steadfastly trying to get rid of those same rules?

    I just hope that this contradiction is merely nothing more than a poor choice of words or an unclear statement, and not a sign that we’re all being played as fools.

    • Nobody says:

      You know the industry is not a single entity, right? That it’s made up of multiple companies / authors / etc? It is not difficult to see how some companies would continue their opposition to the bill, and some would simply give in. What’s promising in this case is that there is still opposition. Apparently the norm is for Japanese companies to just give in.

      “Played as fools”? *rolls eyes*

    • Surrealism says:

      The second statement by Dan had nothing to do with the companies in the anime/manga industry.

      Dan’s saying while Bill 156 is aiming to regulate anime/manga/video-games…Novel companies have started self-censoring, even though novels, real life photos and movies (non-anime movies) were clearly exempted from the Bill.

      He’s saying while the anime/manga industry’s companies are resisting, unrelated parties like novel companies are already getting paranoid on the Bill, despite the fact the Bill cant touch them.

      • Nando says:

        I can see that now. I was initially confused by how it was worded, but your information helped clarify it for me.

        Thank you for your kind response.

  12. Michael Tanzer says:

    Proud of you Dan!!! I knew you could do it!!! Omedetou!!!

  13. fanta says:

    ブロッキングについての意見をイギリスのNGO団体が募集していますが、
    サイトが英語のため内容がよく分からないようです。

    サイトに何が書いてあるのか、意見を送るにしてもどう英作文すればいいのか
    そう言うのが分かるように解説してもらえるでしょうか。

    表現規制について少しだけ考えてみる(仮) 【パブコメ】IWFがブロッキングに関する意見を募集中!【児童ポルノ規制】
    http://otakurevolution.blog17.fc2.com/blog-entry-1395.html

    Strategy 2010/11 | Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
    http://www.iwf.org.uk/accountability/strategy
    – IWF DRAFT STRATEGIC PLAN OUTLINE
    http://www.iwf.org.uk/assets/media/accountability/strategy/Plan%20for%20consultation%20December%202010.pdf

    Complaints Processes | Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
    http://www.iwf.org.uk/accountability/complaints

  14. DVD says:

    By the way, I readt rumors that the bill is having a lawsuit for violation of “Chapter III of the Japanese Constitution”. You can read the tweeters send by google.

  15. Zedrich says:

    Seems like my campaign to decommission this broadstroked censorship law is having slight effect, but this just is not enough. There has to be a definite sign that this law will be taken down, out, shredded and burnt, leaving no traces whatsoever. Before July.

    As I predicted, whole lineups of anime that is not even sexually explicit in any way whatsoever were affected, and even publishers have gone and made another event in utter rebellion (well done, too).

    One of the things that just bugs me is that it seems like the consumers / readers / viewers in Japan are NOT DOING ANYTHING AT ALL. (Well it’s either that.. or they’re working behind the scenes like Anonymous would be doing to take this law down, and if that were the case, score one for the fans and the otaku/s who contributed to it.) Although, IMHO they should emulate the Philippines for once and do the People Power event that kicked dictator Ferdinand Marcos out of his presidential seat. During martial law status.

    Another is the fact that this law singles out fictional material in certain forms only, and not all forms of entertainment and literature (books, live action TV shows and films are not affected..??) Let me guess, Ishihara, you wanted to get your rape novels published and sold faster… (Google this fact as he has indeed written such material – and now you know why his sponsoring a censorship law on select media seems too fishy to ignore)

    Truth to tell, i have been campaigning against this law as much as i could, with the same speech on this post i made earlier in this thread, with edits for language, of course. (Pretty much everywhere, too… IRC chatrooms, other forums, chans, IM rooms, etc. The list goes on..)

    I hope we, the people who may not be Japanese or live in the country but appreciate their media and forms of entertainment more or less, can contribute to the cause.

    • Mike Craig says:

      The Japanese people are known to be PASSIVE.

    • David says:

      “Another is the fact that this law singles out fictional material in certain forms only, and not all forms of entertainment and literature (books, live action TV shows and films are not affected..??) ”

      Yeah, that’s a biggy. A lot of people are reading this (especially in combination with the vague wording of the law) to mean the bill is less an attack on “immoral content,” and more an attack on anime and manga in general.

    • Gatucaman says:

      Too late, the law Has Been Passed.

  16. DVD says:

    I found a page from the “Japan Association for Freedom of Expression”, Who dedicate to protect human rights(mostly children and women), but they also seem to acknowledge the issues with regulations that seem to restricts freedom of expresion(even if they know the distibution of child pornography) .

    http://www.jafoe.org/

  17. Valence says:

    Sweet。 Going to check it out, but apologies in advance, I can’t buy the doujin. . . .

    Anyway, Bill 156 really displays this profound sense of ignorance for human rights. Have they no right to free speech and expression?

  18. Gatucaman says:

    whta really bugs me and i wanna know, is whats going to happen to Japanese Fan=Art?.

    Specially Erotic Fan-art (like the ones on Pixiv)

  19. Mike says:

    Anyone else heard the “divine punishment” comment by Ishihara about the quake?

  20. lorddivides says:

    I tried saying this earlier, but seems it didn’t go through, so I’m just gonna try reposting the condensed version: I’m very much grateful for these explanations of the situation.

    Bill 156 really did upset me when I first read about it. I’ve calmed down a bit about it (and certain recent events have kinda helped put things in perspective, not that that’s exactly a good thing…), but being able to read these blog posts about it and better understand what’s going on still helps keep me calmer about this… and for awhile they were one of the few things standing between me and metaphorical insanity XD.

    So yeah, bottom line: Thanks.

  21. Mike Craig says:

    The Anime Contents Expo has just been cancelled! What a disappointment! Stupid quake!

    • DVD says:

      But by any chance of the resulting radiation reduction, There still some hope of reopening for the first week of april.

While I may not be able to respond to all comments, I always welcome feedback. Thank you.

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