15
Dec
10

[drmchsr0] Oh snap! Bill 156 is now law! [Orange Farm Archive]

Blah.

Bill 156 has been passed. I’m not amused, since everyone is either screaming their heads off at the ‘death knell’ of anime, spewing toxic misinformation, or are getting ready for the inevitable death of anime.

First of all, what Bill 156 enables Tokyo to do.

From Dan Kanemitsu:

With the passage of Bill 156, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have the additional power to restrict any manga, anime and video games (but not live photography works) that feature any sexual acts that would violate criminal codes or Tokyo ordinances OR sexual depictions between close relatives who could not legally get married to be treated as adult material IF they are presented in “unjustifiably glorified or exaggerated manner.”

Of course, what Dan doesn’t say is that Tokyo also now has to power to restrict the otaku’s freedom of expression. And quite possibly political cartoons as well.

It would be nice if it was trying to regulate the softcore smut that happens so often in anime nowadays (and there’s plenty to go about), however, it goes beyond just mere smut regulation.

It pretty much casts doubt over every single work out there. For example, Go Nagai could be arrested for his works (yes, even the relatively tame Mazinger Z) as they all “stimulate a young mind to do illegal stuff”. Beelzebub could be censored since Baby Beel is… … … pretty much buck naked, for one thing. Prunus Girl? It’s probably dead in the water, as it glorifies platonic homosexual relationships. And that’s just the stuff I like.

(Irony: THE LEGEND OF KOIZUMI and Sunred are technically safe under the new law. But then again, Sunred IS kinda a violent, public property-destroying out-of-work superhero in his off days and KOIZUMI has it’s fair share of questionable material, DESPITE IT BEING ABOUT FICTIONAL DEPICTIONS OF WORLD LEADERS PLAYING SHOUNEN MAHJONG)

Okay, enough sad talk, time to clarify some things.

First of all, adult material does not fall under this. It’s already regulated.

Secondly, Japan, while having a history of male-dominated hierarchies and gross mistreatment of women (glorified in, where else, their myths and stories) and most probably invented a few new fetishes, does not exactly produce as much porn as we’d hope it does. Sure, the sheer horror of Japanese porno movies probably makes up for this (I’m kidding.), but to be honest, the Japanese are so hidebound in their communal culture, that when a bunch of laws were passed banning child sexual abuse and the production of child pornography, they stopped making it.

Thirdly, it’s not a ban. It’s a restriction. A restriction on anything that Tokyo deems illegal. Like criticizing Governor Ishihara, for one, if Tokyo deems it illegal. (It’s coming, man.)

Fourthly, this does make The Fisherman’s Wife a most hilarious subject for debate. It’s a Japanese woodcut picture that features, what else, a fisherman’s wife and her intimate acts with… … … octopi/octopuses/octopedes. Though I’m betting they consider that a cultural treasure and would thus be exempt.

Lastly, homosexuality and… … … incest are not illegal under Japan’s penal code. For some reason.

However bleak it might seem for anime and manga, I’m pretty sure that the law would either be overturned, struck out of the law books, or even better, be the downfall of the LDP in Japan.

First of all, the Bill was revised using extremely undemocratic ways. How does one manage to pass a law if they kept the whole thing to themselves until mere DAYS before the committee approval? Even in bad old Singapore, people ARE allowed to comment on policy changes, even though it’s probably going to not do much. Not to mention the LDP doing a little American-style smear campaign by calling the DPJ child pornographers for not approving Bill 156 the last time it came up.

Secondly, remember when I said no one was consulted at all? This makes certain interest groups angry. And by certain interest groups, I mean Japanese corporations. We’ve already seen Kadokawa, Shueisha and 8 other manga publishers getting really, really angry at losing their profits. I expect Sony and Bandai-Namco to jump onto the bandwagon if they haven’t done so already. Not to mention the TV broadcasters. Late-night anime is big money in Japan, since it sells DVDs, BluRays and ADSPACE.

Thirdly, the whole law feels horribly, horribly wrong. Maybe it’s just me thinking that this is probabyl a very good excuse to crack down on dissidents in Japan, but after hearing how the Bill got speedily approved and voted into law, hasn’t it struck you as weird? Again, it’s probably just me, but the whole thing feels horribly, horribly wrong. Lovecraftian horror wrong, even.

There’s not much even I can do, and this is probably the least of what I can do. Oh well. There’s not much we foreigners can do except to watch, pray and start screaming out loud, wishing that the law is struck off the law books.

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2 Responses to “[drmchsr0] Oh snap! Bill 156 is now law! [Orange Farm Archive]”


  1. December 15, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    The law isn’t set to start being enforced until next July; bets on when/if it gets overturned by something or other?

  2. 2 komidol
    December 15, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    They really just need to take everyone going to comiket this winter and tell them to storm Tokyo Town Hall


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