On the Tokyo Youth Ordinance (Bill 156)

I’m sure everyone has heard about this already. From ANN:

Full Tokyo Assembly Passes Youth Ordinance Bill

Having let it pass me by ever since the full details of the bill appeared late last month, I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading over the last few days. But the reaction on many forums, news sites and blogs over the last few days suggest that most people haven’t. This is rather unfortunate, as Dan Kanemitsu notes, for misinformed coverage and uninformed rants will only provide fuel to the people behind this law, potentially enabling Governor Ishihara to push his agenda further than it should go.

I have yet to organise everything I’ve learned about the situation, but for the moment, I suggest the following starting points:

For readers of Japanese:

AX Live 39 is also somewhat balanced and briefly mentions one of the main reasons WHY this law has been passed (~20 mins in “there is stuff out there…like dangerous rape…excessive violence”), but please note that it is NOT a ban. It is a law calling for regulation, and what is worrying most commentators is that the wording MAY give Tokyo leeway to expand its scope to anything they disagree with. As such, Governor Ishihara’s often discriminatory attitude gives great cause for concern.

A lot of my sources and quotes will probably come from Dan Kanemitsu’s blog. For those who don’t know, he is a respected translator working in the anime/manga industry. However, I will also attempt to find and, if necessary, translate other points of view, as far as I am able.

Of course, you don’t have to take my point of view. All I ask is that you try to understand the background and implications of the situation, and be reasonable about your own response.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

7 Responses to On the Tokyo Youth Ordinance (Bill 156)

  1. Pingback: And yet another perspective « HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

  2. Is it just me or is this just another bad case of the wrong types of people taking charge when it comes to the issue of responsibility?

    That bill highlights what some people are made of. I posted my thoughts about this, which you can read at:

    With what’s going on nowadays and what mangakas & publishers are doing, this will be a war.


    • karice says:

      I’m not sure what to think yet, because I haven’t had much time to look it up, and a lot of the information the average Western fan is getting is filtered twice. Once through the Japanese media, and then again through the translators that bring it to us. Whilst Mr. Kanemitsu is better than most others, his choice of wording (in translation or otherwise) shows a definite bias, and given what I’ve realised and looked up recently, I’m not entirely sure he understands the political background behind the way the law has been worded.

      I’m slowly trying to form my own opinion based on what I find, but I think the real problem at present is that a lot of people are forming opinions based on things taken out of context.


      • You actually bring up a good point. We do need to find someone who’s for the law, though since the law is somewhat vague, they might have have trouble explaining it cleary. We may have to wait and see in the near future.

        Though an overall consensus would agree that Japan is struggling with the times and catching up with globalization as a whole.

        Have you read Roland Kelts’ take on the Bill? http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/japanamerica-a-cautionary-tale/

        I spoke with him and he told me that he saw the bill coming, just not in the messy way it was made.


        • karice says:

          Now this is what I’m finding frustrating. Existing laws and the language used in them always have a bearing on new laws, and we run the risk of misunderstanding them if we don’t understand where the politicians are coming from. Maybe they don’t have the time, but I wish respected translators/scholars like Dan Kanemitsu and Roland Kelts would looker deeper what everyone’s calling “vague language”.

          Mr. Kanemitsu has pointed out why possession of pornography is still not illegal, but there are a few things I’ve found that he seems to have left out (or is unaware of?).

          For example, I doubt that they’re going after e.g. yaoi (or rather, BL, since yaoi by it’s nature SHOULD already be restricted) just because they don’t like it. The questionable wording in that case most likely results from the fact that incest isn’t actually illegal in Japan.

          The other vague term in question that I’ve looked up, which Mr. Kanemitsu translates as “pseudo sexual acts” has a political history, and would probably be better translated as “what looks to be sexual intercourse”.

          There are also court cases in which “obscenity” has been contested and defined in the Japanese Supreme Court – I skimmed it on the Japanese wikipedia, but haven’t had time to look further or translate anything yet.

          I am probably more on the conservative side, in that I do think that there are things that people shouldn’t publish. I’m not even talking about levels of obscenity here – the stuff I really see problems with are titles like Aihara Miki’s “Teacher’s Pet”, a manga which seems to be saying that ‘rape is ok when love is involved’. This manga was taken off many online hosting sites a few years ago, not because it was licensed or because it was particularly explicit, but because of the themes it seems to espouse. But know what? It was written for 12-18 year old girls. Even if it can’t be proven that reading such stories is damaging in some way to its consumers, I personally don’t think minors should be able to read this kind of title.

          Though whether the law is an effective way to cut down on things like that is another question altogether.


  3. We’ll definitely have to see. I do think that certain manga are just gross. Even certain dating sims creepy me out. The whole issue of “obscenity” in Japan really makes me wonder. I mean, this is the country that came up with mosaics to censor genitalia and tentacle rape.

    That’s what makes Japan so interesting to me.

    I know some people are happy about the law since it will get rid of crappy anime/manga, but people’s definitions of “crappy anime/manga” are different. Some of those series might actually be good or we’ll just get more of them…..


  4. Pingback: An Overview of Japanese Censorship and Obscenity Law at Otaku, No Video

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