“The Tokyo Metropolitan law has definitely dealt a blow to the comics industry”, said Takayuki Nishitani, a spokesperson for Japanese publishers to IPS News. “Many aspiring animation artists have stopped producing new works fearing they will become targets of the law.”
Expressing sharply different views is Tamae Shintani, head of the Parent Teacher Association of Tokyo Primary Schools, who says she is livid about the “shocking and incomprehensible attitude of the comics industry.”
“The law is a long awaited step by concerned parents who want to protect children from the influence of kinky sexual fantasies of adult animators. This has to stop”, she claimed.
Mika Sakurai, who is in charge of enforcing the new law at the Metropolitan Government points out, “The popularity of animation has led to abuse by some illustrators and publishing houses with children depicted in violence and sex.”
Starting in July, Tokyo will begin to screen publications with such content to be restricted for sale to minors. Some of the criteria that regulators will apply include whether comic book characters are dressed in clothing worn by children such as school uniforms, as well as the visual background in which children are portrayed.
What does this mean for the genre, a graduate phasing out of the ‘creep’ factor that serves as ammo for its critics, or the dawn of a new age of self-censorship? Let us know what you think below.