This week, it was announced that Japan finally outlawed child pornography. The ban does not cover 2D sexualized representations of children in manga and video games. CNN International wonders why.
On Twitter, CNN International posed the following question:
Note that, at the time of writing, Kotaku has attempted to select responses that show the variety of reactions. Moreover, these types of manga, anime, and games are not mainstream in Japan.
— Tim Echols (@TimEchols1) June 18, 2014
@cnni Because police are too busy saving real victims instead of drawn fake victims.
— Allen Walker (@magnetmagician) June 18, 2014
@cnni Because it's not fucking real?
— Akemi Mokoto (@Otaku2012) June 18, 2014
@cnni It's line and dots. Why do you think line and dots is human?
— とらきちとかsidとか (@tribekids) June 19, 2014
— iCED OUT (@bluntsiide) June 18, 2014
@cnni Shooting people is illegal so why do we allow shows and games with murder in them?
— Arkana (@DestroyedArkana) June 18, 2014
@Hammy_UK it's not even protecting fictional characters it's drawing a line and saying exploitation of children is unnacceptable
— 魔法少女になりたい (@kionpin) June 18, 2014
@cnni because cartoons aren't human... except for Stewie.
— Edward Gaston Riou (@Edward_G_2014) June 18, 2014
wow @cnni disgracefully spreading misinformation as usual. nevermind the gross generalizations, what they blurred there wasn't even porn!
— TJ (@blakkheim) June 18, 2014
@kionpin I'm pretty much being the devil's advocate here, but by that logic don't violent videogames promote murder?
— ＨＡＭＩＩＢＯ (@Hammy_UK) June 18, 2014
— Kyaa~ Wahaha~ (@kyaathecatlord) June 18, 2014
— 山口貴士 (@otakulawyer) June 18, 2014
Many of these tweets have been translated into Japanese for the country's net users. The issue of freedom of expression surrounding this sort of imagery has been a hot topic online for the past few years.
In the comments sections of many popular Japanese blogs, such as Hachima, many agreed with these tweets, being surprised that some foreigners seemed to share the same opinion. One commenter on 2ch, Japan's largest forum, pointed out that this isn't simply a male thing: "There are women who draw these manga, read them, and play these games."
"These. Are. Just. Drawings," wrote another blog commenter online. "Why don't you guys say this after you lower your crime rate first," replied yet another, with one commenter adding, "Yanks picking fictional Lolita regulation over gun regulation."
A few others either didn't care or mentioned how they thought "creepy otaku" were gross and were okay with increased regulation.
The argument for many might not actually be defending sexualized depiction of kids in comics, but rather, freedom of expression. Regarding that freedom, whether it's sexualized comic books or violent video games, where, and forgive the pun, do you draw the line?
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
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