Why All Anime Fans Should be Concerned About Bill 156

In the past few days the anime community has been deeply worried by Bill 156, Tokyo’s Youth Ordinance Bill, which has been passed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly with an overwhelming majority and support of both major parties in the chamber. The bill is an updated version of the Nonexistent Youth Bill which was defeated by the TMA back in June. The flaws and issues innate in Bill 156 have been extensively written about, and I particularly recommend reading articles by DarkMirage from Ramblings of DarkMirage as well as those from dankanemitsu of Dan Kanemitsu’s Paper Trail. If you’ve kept abreast of the news as it’s come out, you probably already have a grasp of the issues I’ll be discussing in this article. This is more intended as a starting point for those who don’t know the full background of the story, as well as an explanation as to why we all should be concerned about the nature of the bill, but also a call for calm and a plea to curb some of the hysteria coming out of Sankaku Complex (NSFW), /a/ and other internet forums, and why it may hinder very real efforts to get the bill repealed.

The bill has its origins well before the version that was passed on Wednesday. Its architect, Governor Ishihara Shintarou, is known for his extreme right wing political views, which include xenophobic and homophobic sentiments as well as historical revisionism, with his open denial of the Rape of Nanking. The irony of Ishihara’s advocacy of this bill is that, before he was a politician, he was an author, and his most famous novel, Season of the Sun, is a story of a high school boxing team, which involves instances of underage drinking, fighting, sex and rape. If his story were a manga rather than a novel, it would be regulated by this bill.

The updated version of the bill removed references to “nonexistent youths”, but expanded its scope to include “sexual or pseudo sexual acts that would be illegal in real life, or sexual or pseudo sexual acts between close relatives whose marriage would be illegal”. It also included a proviso that it would not cover novels or “real life pictures or footage”, leaving pundits in little doubt that the bill was geared as anti-otaku, rather than an attempt to fight child pornography, as the Nonexistent Youth Bill was sold to the public. The bill was first made public on November 22nd, and, after an amendment proposed by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan stipulating that “the work’s merits based on artistic, social, educational, and satirical criticism criteria… be taken into account in the evaluation process,” was passed by a committee vote on December 13th. The timing of the announcement and release of the bill was insufficient to gather input from important stakeholders, which lead to a protest from ten major publishers including Shueisha, Hakusensha and Kadokawa Shoten who have vowed to boycott next year’s Tokyo International Animation Fair. The response of Governor Ishihara, who is also on the organizing panel for TIAF: “Then don’t come. They’ll come back crying next year.”

A mediating influence came from Prime Minister Kan Naoto of the DJP, when he wrote on his personal blog (something interpreted by many as a rather strong statement, as, during his time as prime minister, he has left blog posts to his staffers):

There is another topic I would like to talk about concerning [the strength] of the Japanese brand. Currently there are concerns over the possibility that the Tokyo International Animation Fair could be canceled due to controversies related to the healthy development of youth issues. Healthy development of youth is an important issue. At the same time, it is important that Japanese animation is broadcast to a global audience. I urge all parties involved to try to work toward preventing a situation where an international animation fair cannot be held within Tokyo.

The bill has also been questioned on constitutional grounds, as the Japanese Constitution has statements protecting freedom of speech and expression, however, pundits familiar with the Supreme Court of Japan have stated that, unlike in the US, it is generally reluctant to overturn legislation on the basis of unconstitutionality.

The bill itself is a debacle and fails by any measurement of good regulation for the simple reason that, as TypicalIdiotFan pointed out in the last article, it’s uncertain. Its language is ambiguous which lends itself to arbitrary implementation. The bill does not extend regulation of blatant pornography, as that’s already rated 18+. However, depending on how the bill is interpreted, it could threaten a range of popular and critically acclaimed works such as Koi Kaze and Berserk. It is probably more likely than not that works in that vein will not be threatened by the bill, but they’d have to rely on their “artistic merit” to be protected, and this isn’t something which I think should be left to the discretion of a bureaucracy.

Even if such works come under the scope of the bill, it simply isn’t a case of slapping an 18+ rating on them and/or selling them outside of Tokyo, and life going on as normal. The economics of the industry demand that the sale of such works needs to be possible in Tokyo, Japan’s largest economic hub by the length of a street, and at street level vendors, where sale of 18+ material (works which are currently associated with pornography) is restricted, in order for a lot of these works to be profitable. And if these works aren’t profitable, publishers aren’t going to release them.

I'm not a fan of Yosuga no Sora, but I'd never dispute its right to be published.

Works that are much more likely to be affected by the bill include the currently airing Yosuga no Sora (and yes, I was surprised as anyone that it aired on TV largely uncensored). While I can understand the argument why such works should be kept out of reach of very young children, my natural inclination towards anti-censorship leads me to argue for and defend its existence as a published work. To me, an anime like Yosuga no Sora is entitled to come under criticism from a literary perspective, but my personal opinion is that I’d call it “mediocre” long before I’d call it “offensive” or “sexually stimulating”. Again, I don’t feel it’s the place of a bureaucracy to make a decision which would likely lead to it not getting published in the first place. On a market place which should be predicated on freedom of expression, that should be a decision left to individuals… and to parents, with vigilance, in the place of those who can’t yet make that decision for themselves. It’s the sort of anime that would be rated TV-MA in the US, or MA15+ in Australia. I’m not an immense fan of content rating systems, because they too are a form of censorship, but systems with multiple graded ratings are much more preferable to systems such as Japan’s, where everything is either available for everyone, or rated 18+ and regulated as strictly as pornography. As pointed out by DarkMirage, the problem with this idea is that it assumes ages 17 can’t handle the same mature themes as ages 5. I mean, geez, if there’s a time in life where people need to be exposed to mature ideas…

The hysteria among fans is almost as worrying as the bill itself. Sankaku Complex has done no favours for the chances of level headed discourse and reasoned opposition among the wider community with the sensationalist tone of their reporting. They are completely right about the need to be concerned by the potential consequences of the bill (and the story of a yaoi mangaka who was told by her publisher not to draw school uniforms was well worth breaking) but reports that it involves enforced banning of any nature amount to misinformation. An “effective ban” as DarkMirage has described it, is far more accurate, assuming that publishers cower to the bill and take less risks with works containing more edgy themes that would not make money if stocked alongside pornography.

I’ve been following the AnimeSuki Forumsthread on the issue, a place which tends to be more level-headed than some other anime forums and even here there have been pockets of panic and delirium. The bill, it must be made clear, will not kill anime and manga… but it may compromise it. This is the concern! Some posts I’ve seen have appealed to the violent nature of extreme otaku to “off” Ishihara, rather than the democratic process, others have speculated that Miyazaki Hayao secretly supports the bill, pointing to his silence on the matter and his previous criticism of the state of current anime. What an inflammatory load of bullshit! If anime fans want to see this bill repealed, calls for violence and slander are not the answer, and will only make things worse. In this case, the most compelling forces to repeal the bill will come from the group of publishers who are boycotting TIAF, as well as any appeals to the bill on legal or constitutional grounds. Grassroots political pressure will help, but seeing as how otaku don’t tend to be the most politically active group in Japan, I don’t see them making a notable challenge.

A quote from Naom Chomsky is the most fitting note I can think to end on: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like.”

29 Responses to “Why All Anime Fans Should be Concerned About Bill 156”

  1. Interesting overview of the topic. I’m not sure how dearly the Japanese hold freedom of speech, but for our sakes, I hope it’s very dearly.

  2. I’m still not 100% convinced we should be alarmed at all by this. I think the group-induced paranoia has blown this issue totally out of proportion. As you mentioned, /a/, Sankaku Complex, and other internet sites that cater to the fringe, are not helping things at all. Irrationalism has never been a productive method of enforcing change, and running around like chickens with their heads cut off only makes them look worse. Certainly any extreme measures such as violence are completely unwarranted and harmful to any cause that might arise. You discredit the people actually doing good work if the opponents can lump them in with the lunatics.

    As if I needed more evidence that irrationalism is a cancer on society…

  3. Bills like these are usually complete nonsense. They rely all too much on enforcement level, which is equivalent to saying either “let’s put this here in case we ever need to invoke it when our toes are stepped on or people come complaining about the deterioration of morality” or “let’s make the wording just out of reach of specific nitpicks so that if they do end up questioning our enforcement we’ll have already implemented it.” The fear mongers could be right. They could also be horribly, horribly wrong. To make the assumption that you know what’s coming up is an exercise in stupidity.

  4. As a lot of people (such as myself) said, the most probable solutions to the problem presented of questionable content is constant vigilance in the part of the parents, discretion in the part of the minors, and responsible implementation of age restrictions and ratings for content publishers and TV companies. Because these measures seemed inadequate in preventing instances of youth delinquency, the bill was considered for implementation. But the real question is, was there proof that the methods don’t work, well enough to convince the government to take action?

    I’m not really against the law, since it does intend to straighten the youth into becoming good citizens of the country, but the law does need an awful lot of revising. Everything feels so rushed to the point where they wanted it to become law first before they even think of refining it.

  5. I still don’t feel I have a good read on the bill. One one hand, parts of it look completely reasonable, taking illegal sexual activity and moving it to the 18+ area. No real problem with that on my part even though I am sure some of the 16 and 17 age group will find it deplorable as will publishers making money because their work sold more in a “general access” area. So it goes.

    It is the wording about depictions of criminal activity that worry me. I love Studio Ghibli but I don’t want them to be the only vision of the world. Nor do I want children, children approaching adulthood, raised in a moral and psychological vacuum of ‘niceness’.

    The intent of the law is not protection of children but the reduction of a certain portion of culture (otaku) and the increase of a government entities power to constrain creative work.

    I may not like certain works or sexual fetishes displayed in them, but I don’t want to outlaw murder mysteries or psychological thrillers in order to pretend the world is a nicer place than it is for the children.

    And reading/watching something does not automatically turn the viewer into a proponent of that genre or activity. I have read incest novels, both literary and graphic. I have never considered having sex with my sister, either prior, during, or after such encounters, except when discussing fetish works. Can I find the concept of incest sexually stimulating at times? Yes. Do I find the thought of sex with my sibling stimulating? No. Dichotomy there, eh? Life is like that.

    If I read a murder mystery, it does not mean I want to murder someone. If I read a war novel, it does not mean I want to go to war. Owning a copy of the Red Badge of Courage does not make me a war monger any more than laboring through Lolita by Nabakov makes me a pedo, regardless of TIF’s somewhat simplistic view of a reader or watcher to the material they choose.

    Elinaes’s head in the sand approach (they may be right, they may be wrong, we are all stupid for talking about it) or TIF’s “don’t be hysterical, don’t be violent, don’t be too involved” approach strike me as modern day Chamberlains.

    I applaud Sankaku and other forums for letting people say what they feel. I like that a bunch better than stifling their reactions in the name of a so-called more civilized discussion. There is room for both thoughtful discussion and vocalized outrage.

  6. Owning a copy of the Red Badge of Courage does not make me a war monger

    It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I don’t think “Red Badge of Courage” is supposed to incite feelings of war mongering.

    regardless of TIF’s somewhat simplistic view of a reader or watcher to the material they choose.

    I think you missed the part where I was talking about sexual stimulation. The book Lolita is not really supposed to sexually stimulate people into loving little girls. Rape porn, however, is designed to cater to a fetish. Please note the difference.

    Elinaes’s head in the sand approach (they may be right, they may be wrong, we are all stupid for talking about it) or TIF’s “don’t be hysterical, don’t be violent, don’t be too involved” approach strike me as modern day Chamberlains.

    Wow.

    I applaud Sankaku and other forums for letting people say what they feel. I like that a bunch better than stifling their reactions in the name of a so-called more civilized discussion. There is room for both thoughtful discussion and vocalized outrage.

    Okay, now you’re just way the fuck off base, and have pissed me off.

    My article was a plea for rationalism, not a kowtow to the law. I do not care for the law. Nobody should care for the law. The very nature and spirit of the law flies in the face of the personal liberties I hold dear. Do not mistake my asking people to not blow shit out of proportion and act like a pack of frothing at the mouth lunatics to appeasement. You may think that vocal outrage is useful, but it just flat out isn’t. As Sorrow-kun pointed out in his article, there are some people calling for violence against Ishihara. What the fuck is that supposed to accomplish? That’s not even “vocalized” outrage at this point.

    I have no problem stifling any opinion that leads to violence. There is no room for it in civilized society. Promoting criminal behavior when there are perfectly acceptable and more useful options is just fucking stupid. If this is what “outrage” leads to, fuck outrage. I’ll stay “stifled” and rational, thank you very much.

  7. I haven’t decided yet how worried I am about this bill. I’ll admit I’m a little concerned, but at the same time it makes me think of when the ESRB came into being–everyone spent all of their time freaking out, and in the end it really didn’t do much of anything.

    However, I will never support a bill like this. People should be able to choose what they want to look at as long as it’s not beyond the boundaries (as in, I understand why porn is kept 18+). Also, as you said, the bill suggests that people of completely different ages under 18 are at the same level for what they can handle. Maturity is a personal thing. It isn’t even age dependant in my eyes–I’ve been looking at 18+ material for years, and I’m just turning 18 in a week. However, I can handle it because I’m used to it, having always been subjected to it (as in having watched films like From Dusk Till Dawn when I was only 5).

    Besides that, I feel the ultimate decisions should be left up to the parents, NOT the government. It isn’t the government’s place to decide what’s right and wrong for every child.

    That’s my two cents.

  8. @Shadowmage
    Things I’ve seen in recent years make me think that people, in general, in all places of the world, don’t value freedom as speech as much as I wished they did.

    @TIF
    Maybe not “alarmed”, but I still strongly argue that we should all be “concerned”. As you’ve said, we just don’t know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, uncertainty makes for ideal conditions to breed irrationality.

    @Elineas
    The problem with morality laws is that what society considers obscene can change… sometimes unpredictably. Lenny Bruce was convicted in the 60s for saying the word “cocksucker” in his comedic routine. It’s been argued it cost him his life. These days, what comedian wouldn’t say “cocksucker”?

    @Shance
    I don’t see how regulation of media has anything but the most oblique effect on raising “healthy” youths. There are other, more effective ways to do that, which involve social and educational programs and, most importantly, active involvement from parents. Get the kids outside, get them participating in fun group activities, teach them stuff more important than what’s going to be on the final test, teach them how to appreciate nature and cultures the world over, etc, etc.

    @Mesachie
    Discussion is one thing, but there’s an intent behind all the criticism of the bill, and that’s ultimately, to get it repealed. One has to consider what type of language is more useful in getting people on our side. Dan Kanemitsu has discussed the need to fight misconceptions and has pointed out articles in the mainstream English-speaking media which clearly don’t have all the facts, and fail to explain just why the bill has lead to ten major publishers boycotting TIAF. This article was largely written as a response to that. People exposed to just the mainstream media, who don’t have a grasp of all the issues, may very easily side with Ishihara. I’m trying to point out why there are very serious flaws with Ishihara’s means and motives. However, if we’re seen to have sided with people calling for violence and slander (and behaviour that, in general, resembles that of a child that just lost its favourite toy), it’s not going to do much for our chances of getting international support, and ending misinformation surrounding the bill.

    @Arianna Sterling
    The more likely case at this stage is that there’ll be only a slight effect on how publishers conduct business. But again, there’s just so much uncertainty about the bill and what it covers.

  9. @Mesachie

    It is hardly a head in the sand approach. I am merely commenting on the fact that blowing this out of proportion does no one any favors, nor does it influence how they go about implementing it. Instead, it spreads misinformed information and results in foolish conclusions like offing people. Is that something you think we should champion? They’re certainly welcome to express their opinions, but that doesn’t mean I can’t call them stupid. And I’m certainly not telling people not to discuss it, just that they shouldn’t immediately assume whatever conclusion they’ve drawn.

  10. “…they shouldn’t assume whatever conclusion they’ve drawn.” Is that akin to “don’t make any decision since a conclusion is presumably an assumption”? Or “since this will happen in the future, anything we say is an assumption, not a conclusion, and should be talked about in only the most circumspect manner?” Eh?

    TIF, while I respect your anime creds totally, I must leave it at that. There is zero difference between fictional literature and fictional rape porn. None, nada, zilch. People like to imagine there is because it allows them the pretense of superiority. But it is simply a shallow construct of supposed intellectualism, or rather, “What I like is okay, what I don’t is not.” A piece of fiction may appeal to your preferences and in that sense is preferable over another piece of fiction, but they are of the same material, fiction. They cannot be anything other. Rape fiction is still fiction as much as Shakespeare or Thackeray or Nabokov. If any is defensible, all is defensible or none.

    There are many valid reasons for violence in a civilized society unless you have been neutered and given a lobotomy. It is not the first choice of expression, but men of reason, even of genius, resort to it. The petite bourgeois fear it like farmers fear the weather.

  11. There is zero difference between fictional literature and fictional rape porn. None, nada, zilch.

    When was the last time you were asked to read fictional rape porn for a literature class.

    There has always been a difference between porn and literature. The very nature and purpose behind each is so vastly different that they’re not even on the same wavelength. Literature may provoke you, titillate you, it might even make you sexually aroused, but it also is there to provide something other than sexual arousal. Porn does not exist for any other purpose. The reason why pornography has little to no plot, story, structure, or message is such things are irrelevant. Porn exists to only sexually stimulate.

    People like to imagine there is because it allows them the pretense of superiority. But it is simply a shallow construct of supposed intellectualism, or rather, “What I like is okay, what I don’t is not.” A piece of fiction may appeal to your preferences and in that sense is preferable over another piece of fiction, but they are of the same material, fiction. They cannot be anything other. Rape fiction is still fiction as much as Shakespeare or Thackeray or Nabokov. If any is defensible, all is defensible or none.

    When have I said that porn isn’t fiction? Nobody in the TV show Law & Order was actually shot. Nobody featured on SVU was actually raped. Nobody in rape porn was actually raped. The problem isn’t with the existence of the material. The problem is with the person viewing it. A man buys a bar of soap to get clean. A man buys food because he’s hungry. A man watches rape porn because he likes watching people get “raped”. Even if it’s fake rape, it’s still the act of rape that you’re watching the rape porn for. How fucking hard is that to understand? You read a good book for entertainment, or enlightenment, or education. You go find porn to stimulate your sexual desires. In this case, a sexual desire for domination, control, and criminalizing another human being.

    And no, this isn’t some conspiracy amongst the intellectual elite to marginalize porn and porn readers. Porn is what it is and has existed before we even had the intelligence necessary to develop the morals that proclaim whether porn is right or wrong enough to create the conspiracy.

    So, once again, loud and clear: I don’t care that rape porn exists. I don’t even care that there are people who like rape porn. I will judge them for it, though. Life sucks. Tough titty. Don’t want to be judged for that kind of thing? Don’t watch rape porn. Or don’t let me know about it.

    There are many valid reasons for violence in a civilized society unless you have been neutered and given a lobotomy. It is not the first choice of expression, but men of reason, even of genius, resort to it. The petite bourgeois fear it like farmers fear the weather.

    Go massage your testicles elsewhere. That you believe this, doesn’t make you a better human being than me or anybody else. Violence should only be used when no other option is available. It should not be thrown about without serious consideration, which is exactly what these imbeciles are doing.

    But, you’re right. Let’s go fucking kill some people. That’ll solve everything. Let’s go oppress the opressers. That’ll show ‘em. While we’re righteously fighting a good fight, let’s also make sure that we’re not going to get corrupted by our own newfound sense of power through violence lest we accidentally kill some poor farmers who are not at all involved in this, because they’re pussies.

  12. [...] Why All Anime Fans Should be Concerned About Bill 156, by Sorrow-kun [...]

  13. Well, TIF, I can, within limits, understand your view on rape porn. And I can respect the divergence of views regardless of how much I might disagree with it. Literature, for you, may exist on some higher plain, may be more mentally stimulating, but for me it is still jerk off material, perhaps a more complex and subtle form of intellectual masturbation, still it is all about one sort of orgasm or another, well foreplay and orgasm, plus that sense of satisfaction found in the cigarette afterward. Or was once found, since I quit smoking.

    The part about violence, heh, not so much. What Hitler needed was a good swift kick in the balls early on. Not Neville Chamberlain. Do I think that someone needs to assassinate Shintaro Ishihara? But it doesn’t bother me much if someone says they should.

    But in review, I may simply be wrong. About the effect of the ban in Tokyo, that is. Sankaku has noted the deeply entertaining (to some) Seikon no Qwaser has been renewed for a second year regardless of Tokyo’s governor Shintaro Ishihara’s actions. Which means we alarmists may be doing nothing but blowing smoke up … whatever. I am ever so pleased to be so potentially wrong.

  14. Effing Typos! *$%&^ … my next to last paragraph slightly revised:

    The part about violence, heh, not so much. What Hitler needed was a good swift kick in the balls early on. Not Neville Chamberlain. Do I think that someone needs to assassinate Shintaro Ishihara? NO. But it doesn’t bother me much if someone says they should.

  15. Let’s drop the shit on my views about rape porn since it isn’t really relevant to this discussion.

    The part about violence, heh, not so much. What Hitler needed was a good swift kick in the balls early on. Not Neville Chamberlain.

    This is the power of hindsight. While some people may have been paranoid about what Adolf Hitler could do as Germany’s dictator, nobody could possibly have known the depths of manslaughter that he would be involved in. Remember, most of the German people embraced Hitler as a leader, a person to get them out of their decades of economic depression and misery thanks to the end of World War 1. They thought he was a solution, not a problem.

    So while it is wonderful for us to sit here and say “well, Hitler should have been killed before he became a mass murdering fuckbag”, the argument is moot. Look at all the bastards that have existed in history. They all should have been aborted by their mothers, but they weren’t. They all should have been kidnapped and murdered as children, but they weren’t. They all should have been beaten to a bloody pulp in high school, but they weren’t. Need I go on?

    If you have the wisdom to know that someone is going to be the kind of person who will commit wholesale slaughter of millions of human beings in the future, then by all means go ahead and kill that person. You’re going to have a very hard time explaining it to society when we slap the cuffs on you and put you in jail for life, but at least you can know you did society a huge favor.

    Do I think that someone needs to assassinate Shintaro Ishihara? But it doesn’t bother me much if someone says they should.

    When you have sound, rational people working within the system to change the law while at the same time rapid, irrational people are calling for someone’s head, which people are going to get the most attention? Then what happens? That’s right. They use these alarmist, emotional, reactionary comments as evidence that the “otaku” culture needs to be controlled MORE, not less. As the bad press swells, the sound, rational people are starting to look bad by proxy. Inevitably, their whole plan fails because the public has turned against them, giving the government body free reign to continue doing what they’re doing or to do more.

    This is why Sorrow-kun has called for this kind of thing to stop. The people going berserk are NOT helping. Furthermore, where is it written that you have a right to say you want to kill someone? It’s a borderline threat. Toothless perhaps, because the people typing it are complete cowards, but it is still a threat. You’re not allowed to brazenly threaten people’s lives just because you’re angry over something they did.

    Which means we alarmists may be doing nothing but blowing smoke up … whatever. I am ever so pleased to be so potentially wrong.

    This was my original stance; that the whole thing might be a paper tiger. Which is why I was calling for patience. But, like so many things, fucking stupid and irrational assholes have to have proof before they start calming down.

  16. [...] 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 [...]

  17. @Mesachie

    I am amused by the fact that your quote of me left out the word “immediately,” which is critical in evaluating that sentence. You may draw multiple conclusions, all hypothetical, but while you can judge based on them, you cannot consider them absolute. You can not immediately assume that any of these conclusions is the case. The first step to evaluation is to know that you do not know what will happen, and as a result make logical reasoning with that always in mind. I am not advocating for us to be hands off with this; both Sorrow-kun and TIF’s articles argue otherwise. What I am saying is that one needs to look at what we actually know and work from there.

    Never mind the fact that I don’t even know who I’m supposed to be appeasing. The overreacting mob? The worried people who think this bill is protecting their children’s safety? Please enlighten me as to who I’m speaking to. I’d also like to point out that Chamberlain’s only mistake was that he didn’t consider Hitler a mass murderer, which was a logical conclusion to make when everyone else thought the same thing. Never mind the fact that the first World War was caused by excessive militarism and advocacy of war. This argument goes both ways. I frankly thought it was a false analogy in the first place. Either way, surely we know better now than ever that violence has never been a good answer?

  18. [i]What Hitler needed was a good swift kick in the balls early on… Do I think that someone needs to assassinate Shintaro Ishihara? NO. But it doesn’t bother me much if someone says they should.[/i]

    So, essentially, you’re endorsing a statement espousing extreme authoritarianism (stating that one should assassinate an elected official, i.e. impose one’s own creed on the populace) whilst denouncing Hitler.

    I don’t agree with what you say, but I can agree you’re not Hitler, et cetera… I think this is exactly the point Jon Stewart was trying to make about irrationality. Though, personally, I think most people outgrow that shit after puberty.

    Also, your literature=porn assertion seems to rest on the premise that emotion=libido, and once you look at it that way, it’s patently f**king absurd.

  19. Elineas, I do find it telling that I left out the word “immediately” in my quote of you. I have thought about that some and it may well be more than just a simple typo on my part. Perhaps I wanted to move your statement more toward the area I wanted to repudiate. Which is then a failure on my part to assess your comments correctly and my reaction to them. Sorry.

    TIF, oh, let us leave the sullied shores of fellatious fiction, albeit unwillingly. My view on Hitler was not that we needed to euthanize him in his crib, though I surely wouldn’t have that problem if we could somehow know it in advance. Same for Pol Pot. It is when they are discernible monsters and people look the other way, that I have a problem. President Clinton and the Rwanda Genocide comes to mind more recently.

    I find it interesting that you posit your opposition’s positions and express them in a manner much more aligned with the rhetoric of the masses you disavow. I don’t know what it means, but it is intriguing.

    I do not adore peace so much that I will do anything for it. I may admire and enjoy the benefits of a civilized society, but I do not consider any particular society the most important aspect of human existence.

    Bad men can do good things, good men can do bad things. Thoughtful discussion of that is fine. But so is the hue and cry of the populace. I think there is room for both. So I don not want to shut down the wild talk, and I think that public officials have to put up with more than private ones. Part of the territory. You may not agree. So it goes.

    Dridiot, I do endorse people’s right to expression, even expression that some find inflammatory. Yeah, color me bad. There is a wide wide divide between talk the talk and walk the walk. I don’t mind that some people talk the talk, even or perhaps because I am pretty sure they cannot walk the walk. And I am so inordinately fond of the freedom of speech. No, you can’t yell “Fire!” in a theater (unless there really is one) but can complain loudly about the lack of fire fighting equipment if necessary.

    And the last bit, what is wrong with viewing literature or culture or whatever through a sexual lens? People use a Marxist lens, a feminist lens, a this and that lens to see the world all the time. I am using a sexual lens. I see no reason to feel that is bad or wrong though I do avow the right to repudiate it at any time in the future I want. But right now it is my tool of choice. So get the f**k over it … err … uhmm … it is no more patently f**king absurd than your last statement. It is simply an alternative that you don’t like.

    I recently read a history of the Filipino Ilustrado movement as viewed through a feminist lens. I generally do not like feminist viewpoints, but this was both thoughtful and instructive. It was not, to me, the last word, but it was an informative and illuminating view. People will have contrary positions that you may consider useless or perhaps indefensible. But with time, you may find it worth considering them. Not mine, mind you. I don’t discuss these things because I expect to “win”. I don’t. I talk, think and listen. And in time, my views change. Possibly yours will too. :)

  20. So I don not want to shut down the wild talk, and I think that public officials have to put up with more than private ones.

    This is where you keep misunderstanding me. I’m not “shutting down” anything. It’s not like I can stop people from being irrational morons. If I could, boy would the world be a better place. No, what I am trying to do is to get people to take a deep breath and think about this shit before flying off the handle. There may be a time and a place for outrage, but only after the subject in question has been thoroughly analyzed. I have no evidence of this, but I am starting to believe most of the “outraged” are completely ignorant of what the law says and can do. They are, instead, reading the bits from Sankaku Complex and the trolls on /a/ and getting alarmed thinking that anime is done for.

    For us as Western anime fans, we really have no right to bitch. It’s not our country. If this was the United States (and I brought up the Protect Act for a reason) then you can howl with outrage over your first amendment rights being stripped away. And I would be right there with you. But this is Japan. In the long run, this probably doesn’t effect Western audiences one bit. Since the law only exists in Tokyo, anime can still be made that will cater to the broader audience outside of it. Even if certain labels got slapped “18+” for a rating, that wouldn’t matter to us here. Most of us acquire our anime in less than honorable ways, myself included. What do we care, at this point, that there’s a Tokyo regulation put on the thing? The US Distributor is also not going to care about Tokyo’s regulations, and will deem the title worthy of adult rating based on the United States’ rating system, not Japan.

    So, again, if people want to go ballistic over something they can’t control and probably wont effect them very much, be my guest. I’m going to sit back here and judge you all for the imbeciles you are.

  21. Yeah, you completely misunderstood.

    1) Endorsing a statement is rather different than acknowledging one’s right to it. Hate speech bothers me (to use your language); I don’t agree with it, and I don’t endorse it. But I acknowledge one’s right to it.

    2) There is such a thing as sexual literature. It exists (e.g. Roberto Bolano), and it is certainly literature. Further, rape can certainly take place in literature. But the claim literature=porn, i.e. there is no difference between the two (or even the lesser statement, that porn is literature), goes much further, and your “lens” argument doesn’t really address… well, very much of anything.

    A necessary condition for literature is some sort of exploration of the human condition. This is a pretty vague and weak condition, and probably isn’t sufficient. But porn does not even satisfy it, because the sole purpose of porn is to sexually arouse the viewer.

    This sort of pseudo-nihilistic extreme-postmodern philosophy is common nowadays, especially on the Internet. Believing that there are no distinctions makes the world very simple, but it doesn’t reflect reality.

  22. @TIF … You want us to take a nice deep breath. Fine, since that is really the first step to yelling loudly. Hard to do any serious bellowing without a fair amount of air.

    Now you point out the uselessness of complaining since we are foreigners. Fine. No talking about anything outside our borders, so shut up already. Joke Lang. Oops, My borders aren’t the same as yours. Hmmm. Life is problematic.

    Even if we lived in Japan, we would likely have little effect. Are you familiar with the rebuke of the Emperor by the father’s of some of the many youth’s sacrificed as Kamikaze during WWII? The fathers would cut off their finger tips ala the yakuza thing and send them to the emperor in protest of his use of their children’s lives. Didn’t phase anyone for even a moment.

    Actually I sort of like that anti-whaling group Sea Fleas … err Sea Sprites … Sea something. Running around the South Pacific, harassing Japanese whalers. Watching them on TV hurts in the same way the first episode of Planetes hurts anyone that’s worked in a seriously dangerous environment insults their intelligence and experience. But at least the Sea Scouts are stepping up to their belief system. I like whales, but not that much. Still I respect Sea Trout … whatever they are called … and their adversarial antics. Sorta kinda, anyway.

    @Dridiot ha-ha-hah-hah! I love the use of hyphens, you are my hero!
    I also love post-Hegelian, neo-Jungian Psycho Babble. Have at it. There are all sorts of porn, Imagery porn, bank porn, political porn, lit porn and lite porn, it all is hanging out there, smacking you .. okay, not you, just me – in the face. There is the Sado-Masochistic Terrorists of intellectualism porn, the whole school of you don’t cut it porn. No single lens explains it all. There is nothing nihilistic about porn. Except for that Albert Camus porn. Oh Sisyphus, quit playing with your balls!

  23. Now you point out the uselessness of complaining since we are foreigners. Fine. No talking about anything outside our borders, so shut up already. Joke Lang. Oops, My borders aren’t the same as yours. Hmmm. Life is problematic.

    Their politics is their business. I don’t expect Japan to care about our gay marriage debates.

    Even if we lived in Japan, we would likely have little effect.

    Oh I don’t know. There are people in that nation that are already trying to do things to change / repeal this law. Just because YOU personally might not do anything to effect things doesn’t mean other citizens can’t. But, this is interesting. Since you already believe that you wouldn’t matter if you were Japanese, your bellyaching outside of Japan is even more pointless. Yet you advocating it persists. If there was a better example of irrational behavior, I have not found it.

    Are you familiar with the rebuke of the Emperor by the father’s of some of the many youth’s sacrificed as Kamikaze during WWII? The fathers would cut off their finger tips ala the yakuza thing and send them to the emperor in protest of his use of their children’s lives. Didn’t phase anyone for even a moment.

    Yeah, because military dictatorships are democracies and this is therefore a comparable situation.

    Actually I sort of like that anti-whaling group Sea Fleas … err Sea Sprites … Sea something. Running around the South Pacific, harassing Japanese whalers. Watching them on TV hurts in the same way the first episode of Planetes hurts anyone that’s worked in a seriously dangerous environment insults their intelligence and experience. But at least the Sea Scouts are stepping up to their belief system. I like whales, but not that much. Still I respect Sea Trout … whatever they are called … and their adversarial antics. Sorta kinda, anyway.

    Respect them enough to remember their name, obviously.

  24. I’m glad your paying attention. :)

    Anyway, I’m opting out of this debate. I may really disagree with your viewpoint, but I respect your right to hold them. I have, at different times and places, even defended your right to hold radically different attitudes. And I hope that you continue to. The same for Dridiot as well. For all of my admiration of many things in this world, uniformity is not one of them. I like a big universe with lots of ideas at play. Some of them rough and tumble, others as sweet as a lullaby.

    I look forward to enjoying your many contributions to this website and am sure that agree or not, I will be edified.

  25. Good Battle (i guess. IDK. I’m thorwing in a monkey wrench obviously cuz i always walk about the middle road with this sort of topic.) I enjoyed reading it [lol] but even if you guys don’t wanna blow it up… We all are in some way or other. Debating things within the issue doesn’t really provide enough insight to readers like me about the bill in general. I read comments for views, sure, but I guess now i should just look for current and valid info.

    Things change for better or worse, and as otaku/fans, we’re supposed to be pretty open. And for something like this, maybe we should wait before we decide to go crazy… To summarize everything.

    We worry about this because… Well, there are different reasons.
    (Like it is in Japan, and the rest of the world : “Ten People, Ten Colors” .)
    There’s the economic effect, the effect on what artists are allowed to draw to remain within this new confine, and others… Many… disturbing others. I would comment on the whole “lit=porn lens” thing, considering my sad experiences accidently running into books like that… but I’m not, since that’s not the point of this article.

    Being American, I would say it shouldn’t matter, but this is about the home of something we love. We may or may not have an effect on Japan. This isn’t the World Wide Web for nothing.

    What do we care, at this point, that there’s a Tokyo regulation put on the thing?

    Too much or not, obviously. It won’t hurt our economy, of course. But we worry about the future content of things we already read. If the economy of Japan isn’t the same, artists may be forced to change to stay in the same “reach” they are now. (Considering the power of the bill, whatever was “inappropriate” was in the first place. It’s almost like the the reach is growing now. Whatever they deem inappropriate next, *on various contexts, mind you*, just wont be given to minors : a big audience.) Believe or not, things like how a bill was passed will also affect the way politics work as it goes down in history. (I hate history… yet it’s suddenly so importaaaaant. That’s life… @o@)

    i feel a bit like a fool because my views evolve as i read more about this. i walk the middle road because i was one of those “ignorant and yelling otaku idiots who believe the anime world was crumbling”. I was one of those who agreed with the bill because, in all truth, it’s not that bad. I am one of those who don’t agree with this slightly foreign way of censorship and regulation that differs just as slightly from our own. I’m also in the middle because i’m waiting for a good view to look at. A “lens” (if you will) befitting what i believe and that won’t sway me to change for someone else. That lens won’t exist till next year.

    Being American, I understand the laws here best. If I was a Japanese economist or something, I could provide enough insight and valid info on the views and possible consequences of this bill. And my Japanese still fails, so I can’t just read it and interpret, because language is also subject to culture and whatnot. I can’t apply too much of our American view on a Japanese Bill. Not enough support to work with.

    So yeah, I’m concerned – something I love may be at stake. But again, i’m not too concerned, because it’s not going to disappear forever, it just won’t be given to minors. (being a minor into ecchi… this is… bleh. =_=’) I say, wait till 2011 when everything really takes effect. If we hate it or love it will probably matter more then. (When we see some real pros and cons to actually debate about!) Being a naturally calm, “middle road” person, I’ll probably be a sort of referee. (the worst positon to choose?)

    I worry about the TIAF… (where can i find more info? Besides googling my life away… I don’t wanna run into too many misinformed sites again.)

  26. I wasn’t calling porn nihilistic (does such a statement even make sense?). I wasn’t even calling anything nihilistic, strictly speaking. You really only see what you want to see. I used the term “pseudo-nihilism” (fake nihilism — interpret it as you like) to describe a philosophy which believes that there is no difference between literature and porn simply because it is difficult to formulate encompassing definitions; that because there are shades of grey, there is no black nor white. It’s a philosophy of laziness.

    Anyway, it’s completely beside the point.

  27. [...] voices have more eloquently responded, interesting articles by Ramblings of a Dark Mirage, Behind The Nihon Review and Dan Kanemitsu come to mind. A common thread with those is that there currently is no reason for [...]

  28. Is it just me or is this bill just another example of what happens when the wrong types of person take charge in regards to the issue of responsibility?

    I do agree that the state of anime & manga is in some sort of jeopardy. Whatever resolution comes will be hard-fought.

    I posted my thoughts on what Bill 156 teaches us about people in general. You can read it at: http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/2609971604/youth-ordinance-bill

  29. This article is perfect and a breath of fresh air! Not only did you point out the bills problems but you also manage to expose sankakucomplex and its fearmongering! Not only this, but you provided links to credible sources regarding the bill. Kudos to you Sorrow-kun!

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