While that headline could be taken two ways, it appears that Japan is not quite the land of anything goes that we thought it was, as Kyoto police are giving so called “lolicon” manga greater scrutiny:

An official of the Kyoto police juvenile section said, “Intercourse involving children under 13 is in violation of the criminal law. Lolicon manga may stimulate similar crimes in the real world, so we can’t leave this situation unattended. We are going to warn the parents through these labels. This is not a restriction of the “freedom of press” since the act of labeling is not banning the publication of the books itself.”

As you can see, the Japanese reaction is not to ban the material but to label it, which may still strike many as odd.

In another story from ComiPress, police are checking bookstores for comics whose interiors covers may be far tamer than the contents. Again, they seem to have the opposite problem of what we have.

Both links via Dirk.


  1. “As you can see, the Japanese reaction is not to ban the material but to label it, which may still strike many as odd.”

    Every time I did the ethical case study on censorship vs. protection of the innocent, labeling has always come up as the best compromise. It does not infringe on the rights of the creator to have a freedom of speech. It does not stop an adult from reading whatever they want. But it does give parents the ability to protect their children.
    This whole debate really flared up with the Tipper Stickers on albums, but Dee Snider was wrong. Labeling the music as explicit doesn’t hurt the music (if anything, there’s been plenty more explicit music created since then).
    Entertainment in general would do well to set out a clear and defined ratings system. My friends and relatives that are parents prefer the TV system, of all things, as it not only tells their recommended age, but why said program got that recommendation.

  2. I think you need to edit that last paragraph.

    “In another story from ComiPress, police are checking bookstores for comics whose interiors may be far tamer than the contents”

    That sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It should say something like: “Police are checking bookstores for comics whose interiors are far less tame than their covers”. The article the link points to makes that clear.

  3. Yeah, in spite of my own aversion to warning labels, back in my younger years, I’ve seen a lot of evidence that indicates that there’s actually more explicit content now, at least in part, because there are warning labels for it now, since it apparently emboldens the creators of such content by providing them with a much more effective legal defense against their critics – ie. “Hey, we did everything we could, to let you know that this book/magazine/CD/DVD/movie/television show was not for kids, so anything that happens after that is not our fault!”

    Indeed, I’ve seen more than a few conservative media watchdog groups condemn warning labels, for that very same reason, since their real objective is not to shield children from such content, but rather, to deny the right of such content to exist.

  4. The problem with Warning Labels is it affects the books as they’re being produced. If “adult” rated material is selling better, than a publisher will insist that unnecessary nudity, swearing and graphic violence be ham fisted into the work in order to meet the label and get the better sales.

    Or if “PG” rated stuff is doing better, they’ll insist some stuff be toned down which can (in some cases) really hurt the work. Sometimes the censoring is really dumb too. Felching Heck folks.

    Ultimately people want ratings because some material out there is bad for kids and they want to protect them. Usually after ratings are put in place, there ends up being less material for kids to enjoy. Teens and Adults who were perfectly fine reading all ages material, decide they don’t want to read stuff labeled for kids. They gravitate towards the ‘adult’ stuff.

    And kids usually don’t like it either. The adults (parents, schools, libraries) might like it and buy it for them. IF they’re lucky the kids will enjoy it too. Usually they’ll just find some way to enjoy the forbidden fruit, either via an older sibling or the internet.

  5. whose interiors may be far tamer than the contents

    Is this the correct word? The link suggests they are looking for books whose covers may be far tamer than their contents.