Osaka Considering Regulating "Boys Love" Manga

After some of Japan's biggest manga creators voiced opposition, Tokyo's virtual child pornography bill has been delayed — leaving many to believe it is dead. However, Osaka Prefecture has decided to consider the ban, but with added provisions.

Osaka Prefecture is also "considering the regulation of women's comic magazine and Boys Love materials". Known as "yaoi" in the West, Boys Love, or BL, focuses on homosexual relationships between male protagonists. The intended readers are not gay men, but rather, women. These manga are created largely by females. Manga for gay men is known as "Men's Love".

The appeal of BL for female readers is the flexibility it gives them in identifying with characters in the manga. Perhaps the submissive lead is closer to their personality — or maybe, it's the dominate male protagonist. Or maybe they aspire to be like one of the characters in the manga. BL gives female readers that freedom by not pigeonholing them into narrowly defined gender roles.

Besides manga, there are BL video games geared towards female players.

Toru Hashimoto, the popular governor of Osaka Prefecture, is working with his government to consider some sort of measure akin to what was proposed in Tokyo that would regulate the "sexual, visual depictions of youths" under the age of 18 years old. Including BL seems to be a non-sequitur of sorts.

The decision to include to include it seems to be Japanese politics at play and even possibly an extension of the Osaka-Tokyo rivalry. Unlike the U.S., individual Japanese governors do not have strong centralized power. Many decisions, such as opening an airport or even a theme park, need to be reviewed and approved by the national government in Tokyo.

Thus, Hashimoto has expressed his desire to sell land that housed a failed theme park in Osaka's Suita City to Paramount Studios for a theme, but still has been slow to get the national government to sign off on it.

So by pushing through legislation like this proposed virtual bill, Hashimoto is able to show what political power he has. And if the bill is even more comprehensible than what was offered in Tokyo, then politically that could look better.

大阪府、ボーイズラブ規制検討の為の実態把握・分析を実施へ [Temple Knights via ANN]