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Japan; The manga censor's day


We’re severely grossed out by hentai, moé and all those other fetishy depersonalized sexual representations that abound in manga and anime, but the new Tokyo ban on selling this material to minors is equally stupid. It’s aimed only at selling raunchy material to minors, and, critics say, will really only end up affecting genres like Yaoi and sjoho.

This article from New Zealand goes into more detail on he thinking behind the current guidelines, and they are pretty much aimed at stopping young folks from doing anything stupid and fun, not stopping perverts. Take this from gynecologist Dr Tsuneo Akaeda, who thinks manga leads to STDs:

Akaeda runs a women’s clinic in Roppongi, one of Tokyo’s famous nightlife districts popular among foreign tourists and ex-pats, and he has seen his fair share of sexual problems among young Japanese.

He puts this down in part to the influence of manga and adult videos.

“Manga only depicts sex as interesting, fun, pleasurable and enjoyable. There is no information about the dangers or risks involved in sex.

“Young Japanese think having an abortion after getting pregnant is a simple solution, but it involves high risk to the women,” he says.

While this all sounds Wertham-like, Dr. Akaeda does acknowledge that better sex education is needed as well. Perhaps in manga form?

  1. “Manga only depicts sex as interesting, fun, pleasurable and enjoyable. There is no information about the dangers or risks involved in sex.”

    Funny, but I remember learning the information of the dangers of sex in high school under Sexual Education. And whatever I didn’t understand I talked to my teacher, or my parents.

    Sounds like a break down in the school system/uncaring parents rather than drawn material.

    Oh, not to nitpick but its Shōjo, not Sjoho.

  2. You know, I’m not generally one to agree with people calling for censorship (even self-censorship), but I actually agree somewhat with the criticism of only showing the fun side of sex. I’m working on a series of porn comics, and I’m making an effort to show that it isn’t all just blissful money shots.

    Of course the flip side of the coin is that most Sex Ed only teaches about the dull and scary sides of sex. For example, I didn’t learn that women had orgasms too until I was like 16 years old, and that didn’t happen in school.

  3. Thank you for highlighting Tokyopop’s Manga Sutra for sex education. I and my husband Tim Perper were the English-language adaptors for volumes 2 through 4, and we did considerable checking to make sure that the sex education material came through as understandably and correctly as possible. Since the manga includes statistics about sexual behavior in Japan, we put in an appendix in each volume with the corresponding USA figures. We’ve both published books about sexuality, and we support the sex education potential of manga and other comics. See for example, Sex Is Fun! Creative Ideas for Exciting Sex, by Kidder Kaper & Josh Lynch (Penguin: Avery, 2010), which is a comics-format manual with no “story.”

  4. Newsflash, porn sex is supposed to be fun and interesting! That’s the whole point! You’re not supposed to use it as a sex education guide.

    Also, this bill will not get rid of the “icky stuff”. It will only restrict content aimed at teenagers and is extremely vague as to what is and is not allowed. So, no more crude sex jokes or panty shots in your teen manga. That’s the sort of stuff it will ban, not the sexy sex. Oh, and no more mention of homosexuality, wouldn’t want the kids to think that’s ok.

    If anything, it will create more smut. Since even a little innuendo could be cause for a mature rating, creators will be tempted to add even more mature content. So teenagers will no long be able to fantasize about other teens, meanwhile adults will still be able to enjoy sex stories involving teens and children.

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