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Child porn outlawed in Japan, manga okay

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Japan — along with Russia the only G8 country not to ban the possession of child pornography, has bowed to international pressure and has taken steps to do just that. According to the Guardian piece just linked, there’s still an exemption: manga and anime. According to the piece, Japan is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of child pornography and the second biggest consumer after the US.

Though they welcomed the new law, child welfare campaigners said they were dismayed that the legislation will almost certainly not apply to the huge market in manga and other forms of animation that sexually exploit children.

“We would like the revised law to cover manga, but it is extremely difficult,” Yuka Saito, of Unicef’s Japan office, told the Guardian.

“We keep encountering arguments about freedom of expression, but if the US and other countries can ban that kind of material, why does Japan continue to tolerate it?”


In America, the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that banning drawn representations of child sexual abuse was unconsitutional. However the Child Protection Act of 2003 did make possession of such material an offense, a law that has not yet been tested in the Supreme court. Legal opinions differ on whether the law would stand up.

Legal or not, it’s fucking creepy.

Comments

  1. “the huge market in manga and other forms of animation that sexually exploit children”

    They’re not children, they’re drawings. No children are exploited in manga, nor in animation.

  2. But yeah, still kinda creepy. However, the laws are there to protect actual children, not to prevent people from getting creeped out.

  3. Yeah, that’s the logical distinction here. Bear in mind that we’re talking here about criminalising possession, not just manufacture. Whatever it may say in that article, plenty of countries draw a distinction between possession of photos and videos (in which case you’re indirectly inciting actual assaults on real children, by providing a market for it) and stories, drawings etc (which are merely offensive). Such things might fall under the general obscenity laws, but those are targetted at distributors, not just customers.

  4. snoid says:

    Comment deleted by editor.

  5. Comment deleted by editor

  6. snoid says:

    James, I apologize to you, it was wrong of me to make a point in the way I did, sorry. I’m a big asshole sometimes.

  7. Well, that was constructive.

  8. And it’s a bad point, anyway. That argument only works if you assume that everything falls into one of two categories: “Things I approve of” and “Things I think should be banned.” And it should be obvious on a moment’s reflection that that simply isn’t the way it works in a democracy.

  9. I personaly remember finding child pornography in Tokyo, at Akihabara. I was walking in the streets parrallels to the main one and there were various stands where people were selling gadgets, videos, etc.

    My eyes got attracted by a stand where there were funny dvds about parodies of famous anime characters in sexy situation.

    Then, I moved to the right and just saw a dvd cover picturing a child being molested by an adult. As I could not believe my eyes, I saw other dvds showing the same stuff, and even one where there was clear picture of a male child getting sodomized by an adult !

    Then, I decided to take a few snapshots of it to report it, but two men rushed to me and we entered into a fight. Then a few policemen arrived and took me to the mini police station. I though I could explain myself, but they threatened to sue me instead.

    Being a Lawyer and knowing the infamous japanese prosecution system, I decided to let it go.

    It was 5 years ago only ! In tokyo in one of the main streets of Akihabara !

  10. Torsten Adair says:

    In a democracy, the pronoun is WE. What do WE find offensive. What must WE do to protect others from getting hurt.
    Democracy works best with an educated and engaged populace. Usually, extremes of opinion are averaged out and the general consensus prevails. Sometimes the average is the lowest common denominator.
    Political change is measured in small steps over generations. Nuclear disarmament, environmentalism, gender equality… Japanese society is extremely homogeneous and resistant to outside influences. Eventually, they might follow the other countries. Or they may decide that within their country, child pornography has no or little harm upon their society, or that the pictures help abate actual sexual abuse. I do not condone it, but I respect their democracy.

  11. Bartholomew Fair says:

    You know snoid, I wouldn’t like it if someone drew a picture of my wife getting shot in the face, but somehow I don’t think that justifies banning art that depicts someone getting murdered.

  12. Having said all we have said above, however, we could still say tthat there IS an element of creepiness to the particular manga comics that feature teenage schoolgirls, coincidentally drawn so they happen to show their panties in panel after panel.

    I don’t mean the tentacle motif, just the, uh, well, school type ones.

    Oh, okay, they are meant to be read by teenage boys. Oh, okay, but aren’t they still bought by adults?

    If these were books of photos, and not cartoony big eye drawings of the teen girls, it would invite a whole different interpretation.

  13. Once again, I am sorry, but a country where you can find pictures of children being sodomized by adults has a problem ! And these children are victims.

  14. This is one of the main reasons that I won’t ever buy any Manga or Anime that hasn’t been vetted in some way – whether by reviewers or a buyer I trust. I have had a few very unpleasant surprises over the years.

    I don’t like porn of any kind – but this stuff is just sick. (I get that adult porn is between consenting adults and none of my business.) It sounds like Japan has some major issues. I believe their age of consent is also ridiculously low – like 10 for girls.

  15. The Beat says:

    I cleaned up this thread a little. Everyone play nice!

  16. MLO: That’s not correct. The age of consent in Japan is 13, but they also have other laws against adults having sex with minors. So in fact, 13 is just the point at which it ceases to be statutory rape and becomes the lesser crime of having sex with a minor. (Unless you’re both teenagers, in which case they just don’t regard it as a matter for the criminal courts.) In practical effect, this is fairly similar to the laws applied in much of Europe.

  17. Age of consent happens to be 14 here in Canada.

    I was quite surprised to find this out. I believe it was mentioned in the media relating to a case before the courts.

    If my memory serves me correctly, the case involved a teen runaway being permitted to make her own decisions regarding consenting relationship with an adult while she was at the age of 14.

    I believe that there is growing support for raising the age of consent to 16.

  18. According to Wikipedia, the age of consent in Canada was raised to 16 earlier this month. However, they also have an exception for couples whose ages are less than two years apart.

  19. There are also differing age resistrictions to different types of sex in Cananda. Sodomy isn’t legal until 18…ect…

  20. The matter of child pornography raises two different issues that can and probably should be addressed separately: The exploitation of actual children in the production of porn, and the whetting of pedophiles’ sexual appetites.

    With regard to the former, there can be no question that those who molest children for any reason, including for the production of kiddie porn, ought to be prosecuted. They should count themselves lucky that they get to have a trial. If I caught someone molesting my kids the perp wouldn’t live that long.

    Drawn or computer-rendered kiddie porn, OTOH, raises different issues. Assuming that actual children were not involved with the production, the only objection that can be made is that by whetting the appetites of pedophiles, such material may encourage these creeps to satisfy those appetites with real children. But then similar objections can be raised against depictions of violence, sexual and otherwise, involving adults, or depictions of many other illegal activities.

    I’m pretty sure that most of us don’t want to go down that path.

    Consider also that a ban against drawings of child sexual abuse cannot, in practice, discriminate between depictions intended to titillate and depictions intended to shock and offend. Suppose an adult victim of child molestation wanted to do an auto-bio graphic story — he or she could be jailed for depicting the very crime(s) committed!

    I find any sort of kiddie porn creepy, but the Supreme Court ruling drawing a clear line between photographic kid porn versus drawings/renderings is the best way to deal with a difficult matter.

  21. The Supremes drew a line between real and virtual, but Congress also drew one between between virtual and drawn. The 2003 legislation banning the possession of “child pornography” made without the involvement of children refers specifically to material that was “indistinguishable” from photos of actual children. It goes on to say, “This definition does not apply to depictions that are drawings, cartoons, sculptures, or paintings depicting minors or adults.” What Congress was trying to do was to head off any legal defense that tried to argue that actual kids were computer-generated, so they were careful (to avoid Supreme Court review) to give a free pass to anything in the nonphotographic visual arts. This means that in either Japan or the U.S., comics/manga of this sort are legal. I understand why people are squicked out by that, but for the sake of free expression, I think that’s the way it should be.

  22. I agree with Mr. Kolchalka. FWIW.

  23. Scott Bieser: “Suppose an adult victim of child molestation wanted to do an auto-bio graphic story — he or she could be jailed for depicting the very crime(s) committed!”

    A VERY good point.
    You can bet something just like that would happen.

  24. Yes, Jason’s right – the UK laws have a similar exception for “pseudo-photographs.” The idea is to avoid the courts getting bogged down in arguments about where a particular photo came from and whether it might have been photoshopped. It allows the prosecution to get a conviction simply by showing that the photo appears on the face of it to be genuine. If they had to prove the origin of every photo, the law would be unworkable.

  25. “Unworkable” is exaggerating quite a bit, because the Photoshop/Poser defense is rarely attempted. But that’s that legislative rationale.

  26. ralph says:

    Re: Marcus ” Scott Bieser: “Suppose an adult victim of child molestation wanted to do an auto-bio graphic story — he or she could be jailed for depicting the very crime(s) committed!”

    –This is already going on in Florida, where many of the prosecutions are of children for making sexual drawings or photos of themselves in its so-called juvenile justice custody system.

    More: The Court of Appeals ruled that two teeanagers that photographed themselves while having legal sex were sex offenders under the kiddie porn laws (police found the photos in a search of the house).

    Canada and Japan will suffer the same.

  27. We are talking about ideas. They are supposedly protected under the constitution of the USA. Balderdash. The US is becoming increasingly oppressive and Europe and other countries truly are aware of freedom. Japan should have never cow towed to US led puritanical paranoia. This is a real market, backed by real people from ALL walks of life. Get used to it.

  28. We are talking about ideas. They are supposedly protected under the constitution of the USA. Balderdash. The US is becoming increasingly oppressive and Europe and other countries truly are aware of freedom. Japan should have never cow towed to US led puritanical paranoia. This is a real market, backed by real people from ALL walks of life. Get used to it.

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