If you have known already, Tokyo pass the very controversial ordinance, Bill 156, which is also known as the “Nonexistant Youth Bill” that have strong support. However, this bill has been called an act of censorship and an apocalypse for the Anime Industry as a whole. While I think the bill is overblown by a certain tabloid blog in the Anime Blogosphere, I still think that this bill is very destructive to the industry and it’s an excuse to promote government-sponsored censorship. (Original Image)
Many Anime bloggers in the Anime blogosphere, most notably Valence, Sorrow-kun, TypicalIdiotFan and Gio, have voiced opinions about the Non-Existent Youth Bill. I have also voiced my opinions about the bill on Twitter and clearly against it because I am against all types of censorship.
Before I share my opinions, what is the bill supposed to be? In the translation of the bill provided by DarkMirage, shows something like this:
The criterion as defined by Rule 2, Paragraph 1, Article 8 of the Tokyo Metropolitan Law: Comics, animation and other images (excluding photographs) that improperly glorify or exaggerate, through their depiction or presentation of, acts of sexual intercourse that violate penal laws or sexual conducts or acts of sexual intercourse between close relatives who are legally prohibited from marriage, and as a result may be harmful to the wholesome development of young people and impede their ability to form healthy impressions about sex.
Or in short, the bill above can be summarized like this with the help of Valence:
- The bill applies to all anime, manga and artwork
- Censorship or immediate ban of any illustration of youths under 18 (after revised bill, age consideration is no longer a factor, i.e. applies to all characters)
- Censorship or immediate ban of all harmful materials, i.e. sexually provocative/stimulating/insinuating materials, or materials that support matters such as cruelty, suicide or criminal behavior.
The problem I see with this bill is the vagueness. Since the bill does not clearly say what sexual things are banned, government could basically use this bill to censor anything that is not related to this bill like fanservice scenes (such as pantyshots and bouncing breasts), girls in swimsuits and other things.
I also feel that this bill seems to be way more draconian than before. Basically, it’s a ban on most of the Anime out there since most of them contain fanservice scenes that violate the bill. Since I pointed it out, this is the major flaw of the bill since anything could make an Anime Studio or a Manga Author get into trouble.
What troubles me is the government’s oppressiveness and controlling the media just to please groups like Feminist Now. In my opinion, they should not be controlling the media just to protect the youth from corruption from the media 1; Japan is not a nanny state and should not be since it is not their responsibility. On top of that, the bill is basically violating freedom of expression and protection of the media. I guess the people in parliament are too worked up with the pressures from the extremist feminists who want to ban all sexualization of females.
Ultimately, the parents should be responsible and control what the children watch, plays and/or read. This ordinance is like the law passed in California that banned violent video games as a result of the Video Game Controversy. No, we do not need laws like that. Instead, parents need to educate themselves on what shows are suitable for their child’s age and check for violent and sexual content. Don’t let the government do it since it’s not their responsibility and they have other problems to resolve.
In short, the bill is a disaster since it bans practically everything since it is unclear. Adult Anime/Manga/Visual Novels already have the 18+ rating, so I don’t see what is the big deal considering that most of these merchandise are restricted. Then again, like with violent video games, there is a loophole that a parent or someone over 18 gets the game for the person. Talking about ratings, I have noticed that shows in Japan do not use a rating system. Instead of resorting to draconian censorship, they could just adopt a rating system that Gio suggested and indicate any content that may not be suitable. This will allow for parental controls that can be used on TVs to lock children out of certain channels and shows. Sadly, they would rather pass this clearly unconstitutional law, which will ultimately hurt the Anime Industry instead of implementing a ratings system.
In conclusion, I don’t actually see why government or anyone wants to practice censorship. I have noticed a trend lately with WikiLeaks and it pops up again and again. People are overreacting too much, which results in a punitive ordinance you see here. If you don’t like it, just practice self-censorship and do not ruin it for everyone else. Censorship will only hurt the ideas that the authors, directors, artists and writers want to convey. The parents also need to be more accountable for what the children watch, not the government. It has been proven many times that when government steps into this censorship, it will always be unconstitutional or repeal at the end. So in the end of the day, they must be the boss and tell them not to play or watch objective shows and games since it’s the only effective solution.
- Just to be clear, I am against violent sexual acts like rape and exploitation. ↩