Overseas support for Japanese artists and industry people is important!

I’ll be attending Tokyo Metro Assembly person Kurishita’s meeting about the youth protection bill at Akihabara on Sunday. I’ll be one of the guest speakers.


If English speakers want to pass over support for industry people fighting this bill, they are welcome to send them my way. Too many Japanese people only hear negative opinions from overseas about maintaining freedom of expression in anime and manga and video games, so any feedback will be appreciated.

But please note. My presentation will be only 10 minutes long, so I may not be ble to introduce a lot of voices.

It would be nice if I could lay some counterpoints against those overseas that make claims like the following:

On virtual child pornography and Japan:

“Pseudo-photographs are constructed photographs, often very cleverly done with great technical sophistication, using digital reconstruction techniques to create an image that is not a photograph of a real person, or of real events. However, while the production of such material might have been a technological challenge a few years ago, this would not be the case today. With the advent of software packages such as Adobe Photoshop, the majority of us would be able to create quite complex digitally altered images. The prediction that as computeraided animation and 3D computer graphics become easier and more accessible there will be a growth in animated child pornography, wholly constructed as computer images, has become a reality, although it is unclear what impact this might have on the availability of such image distribution.

One of the primary producers of such imagery is Japan where there is a huge market in manga, and other forms of animation, that many believe are sexually exploitative. A report in the UK’s Guardian newspaper (Guardian, 2008) suggested that sexually explicit comics account for a large proportion of Japan’s Yen 500 bn manga market, with many featuring schoolgirls or childlike adults being raped or engaged in sadomasochism.”

-from Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online – A contribution of ECPAT International to the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 25-28 November)、p.17-20

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12 Responses to Overseas support for Japanese artists and industry people is important!

  1. Michelle C. says:

    I feel that this issue covers much more than what I can say for it, but aside from the law attempting to limit the freedoms of artists in Japan, there is a much larger problem to it that stuck out to me when I first read about the Japanese government investigating various eroge games and hentai so many months before.
    If the law is passed, that would mean many titles that feature sexual situations involving underage or underage-looking characters being banned, much like or if not the same as the recent law passed in the United Kingdom. I imagine many titles that are fairly popular at the moment, such as the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga for example, would be caught under this law as being offensive. However, series such as this make large amounts of money and also have large amounts of merchandise that bring in millions of yen to the companies involved with it. This could cause an economical rift in the manga and anime industries that could have many negative effects to those who work in it.
    Another problem that I also caught is the sheer backlog of series the government would have to comb through. Not only would they have to look into more recent titles, but the law would also result in the ban of many older titles, even ones considered classic such as Keiko Takemiya’s Kaze to Ki no Uta. There are literally thousands of manga that have been released in the market, as well as many unofficial and unlicensed doujinshi that may contain elements unfitting to the law. The same could also be said for the number of h-games, but I believe that this differentiates from that problem since manga isn’t a niche genre.
    That’s really all I can say on it, but I’m wishing the best of luck to the artists and writers willing to defend themselves.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      Thank you about your concern. I’m sorry to be so slow to answer the comment.

      The economic argument is one of many, but the welfare of children is much more important. And yet, very little information supports the contention that limiting all minor’s exposure to sexual material makes people safer and kids more healthy.

      Regarding going after old material, laws and ordinance only apply to material that is newly printed, unless it specifies an outright ban on possession, which is not the case here.

  2. Brandon Deen says:

    A fictional murder is not illegal. Fictional depictions of theft are not restricted. Imaginary drunk driving results in no legal action. Why should any other work of fiction be treated differently? It should not.

    Freedom of expression is a human right. It is not debatable.

    Also, it is ridiculous to claim that computers have given majority of people the ability to create sophisticated and realistic images. Hollywood movie studios spend MILLIONS of dollars and thousands of hours *trying* to create realistic images. The resources, skills, and time required to create realistic images are out of grasp for everyone but the biggest of movie studios.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      I agree. There is a lot of misinformation out there.

      Much of Japan does not creat “virtual child pornography” since the vast majority manga and anime relies on hand drawn artwork.

  3. grace says:

    Thanks for all the detailed updates and information on this issue. Good luck to all mangaka, industry folks and supporters to get this bill defeated! I hope your speech/presentation goes well this weekend. It’s a shame to think the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt. wants to stunt imagination and freedom of expression — while I understand there are valid concerns over child pornography and exploitation, it makes no sense to target fictional material. The government needs to focus on 3D illegal and criminal activity like human trafficking and domestic violence, not the 2D characters or scenarios we read in our manga, watch in anime or play on our playstations.

  4. Joy says:

    Hi. I think what you are doing is really great. I can understand the concern that they have but I think they are going about this the wrong way. There are too many real life child pornography to mess with this kind. I think that in a lot of ways manga artists are already being cencored. Doing this will bring down lots of trouble on them. If they really think the manga and others are wrong then what about books? Everything you see in them you can find in books. So if they take this away, what is next; The written form? If you think about it, if this passes them what about people’s drawings? Like fanart and just original paintings. I mean if you look back into the art history you will find lots of child pornography. Will they later condemed them too? I would like to say more but I really suck with words. Thank you and I wish you the best of luck in speaking for us all!!!!!

    • dankanemitsu says:

      Laughably, they say books are okay because it requires intellect to read, while even children can read manga and understand everything.

      Even if a novel is harder to read, there is nothing stopping one from writing easy to read novels too, so this makes no sense what so ever.

  5. Mike Craig says:

    Hey, Dan!

    I wish you luck with your speech!

    I’ve been a Manga/Anime fan most of my whole life.

    Manga and Anime are Japan’s greatest contribution to the world. iI have no qualms whatsoever about sexuality in the Otaku culture. A nude form, a panty flash, even Shizuka-chan’s bath scenes in “Doraemon”, etc. are all beautiful to me!

    I think what the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is doing is messed up!

    Freedom of expression IS a basic human right for everyone. And no should have the right to take it away! Not Governor Ishihara, not Agnes Chan, not UNICEF, not the LDP, NO ONE!

    So count me in!

    Freedom is BEAUTIFUL! Censorship ISN’T!!

    Thank You!

  6. Bill Ng says:

    Censorship has always been a problem. It always will be. There are too many “concerned” people who don’t realise what they are “concerned” about. Have these people even read the works of the artists? Do they even think about the issues themselves? Or are they just being pressured by angry puritans?

    Why bother censoring fictional images that hurt no one? I’d rather see the money used in pushing this bill being put to better use. Use it to get rid of REAL child pornography, not some simulation that’s a form of expression. Censorship is pointless, criminal and incredibly stupid, all it does is limit freedom of speech/expression.

    Dan, Thanks for what you’re about to do, I wish you all the best in your presentation!

    I’d write more but I’m extremely tired…. it’s 4am in australia.

  7. linger says:

    Regarding perceived foreign opposition to lolicon, etc: “The most ignorant bloc of people is frequently the loudest.”

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

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