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Australian politician calls for immediate review of all anime due to depictions of 'child abuse'

40 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Back when anime was just starting to become available at more-or-less mainstream retailers in the U.S., I remember reading a quote from a scathing newspaper article calling them “perverted sex and violence cartoons.” But hey, this was a time when "Batman: The Animated Series" was the edgiest animation most Americans had ever seen, so anime’s willingness to show blood and gore, and T and A, often colored people’s perception of the medium as a whole.

Everything old is new again, though, as the entirety of Japanese animation now finds itself under the disapproving glare of Australian politician Stirling Griff. In a speech to the Australian parliament last week, Griff, a senator for the state of South Australia since 2016, spoke on his concerns related to anime’s content and how it’s handled within Australia. “There is, unfortunately, a dark side and a disgusting side to anime and manga, with a significant proportion of the two media featuring child abuse material,” the senator said, adding “They contain depictions of wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused.”

Griff’s assertion that “a significant proportion of the two media [feature] child abuse” is one that’s likely to upset many anime fans, who would argue that a large amount of anime features no such element. With such content essentially non-existent in Western animation, though, the amount of “child abuse” present is proportionally larger, and with Griff perhaps operating under the conviction that such material has no place in animation, any amount more than none would be, by such a standard, “significant.”

▼ On a side note, Griff’s Wikipedia page seems to have been…passionately edited since his speech.

ap-1-1.png

However, Griff didn’t do much to establish himself as a well-versed authority on anime and manga with his claim that the most offensive franchise is "Eromanga Sensei." While the series is indeed about a 15-year-old teen boy who writes novels with erotic illustrations drawn by his 12-year-old sister, it’s far from the most provocative thing the anime/manga industry has produced in recent years. One could also argue that the vagueness of Griff’s statement that “'Eromanga Sensei' heavily features incest themes and many scenes are so disturbing I just won’t, I just can’t, describe them,” leaves the burden of proof necessary to justifiably demonize it unsatisfactorily fulfilled.

Of course, Griff may be of the mind that even the slightest scent of an incestuous atmosphere is inappropriate for what the West has long seen as a form of entertainment exclusively for children, and “There are worse anime than "Eromanga Sensei" doesn’t render any criticisms against it immediately invalid, just like no one would say “Hey, I have no complaints about you punching me in the stomach, because if you had kicked me in the balls that would have been worse.”

According to The Canberra Times, it’s illegal in Australia to produce, posses, or distribute material depicting abuse of a representation of a person who appears to be younger than 18. Griff feels that many anime are in violation of this regulation, and is upset that they have been given ratings that allow them to be sold within the country. “The classification board appears to be making decisions in isolation to criminal law,” he said in his speech. “This must stop.”

To meet that goal, Griff is calling for an immediate review of each and every anime currently available for purchase or streaming in Australia, which is, oddly enough, one of the few English-speaking countries where controversial monster prostitution anime "Interspecies Reviewers" is still streaming. Parliament is expected to further discuss the motion on Wednesday.

Source: Canberra Times via Yuruku Yaru, Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Media watchdog BPO said some surprising things about monster brothel anime Interspecies Reviewers

-- U.K. man sentenced for prohibited images of ‘manga’ children

-- Monster girl brothel anime finally makes a friend as it finds new broadcast partner in Japan

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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You would be put in jail for 20 years in Australia for some of the material casually read on trains in Japan.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

gogogo

I don't think the type of "sukebe" manga it's casually read on the train by most people. I did notice one otaku-looking man, reading a manga featuring tentacles sexually abusing underaged-looking girls (the ultimate stereotype) next to me on a packed train.

We got into a row, when I asked him to put it away, and he went into a tirade about how "this is Japan" and that "he bought it in a book shop legally". I replied that this was all fine, but that we were on a crowded train, in the public view and that I couldn't avoid seeing it (he was right next to me, with the book fully open), and nor could others. I then told him that I thought most people on that train wouldn't be happy to see imagery of octopusses sexually abusing young girls, either, and that everyone on the train (at least their who couldn't see his comic, which was easily seen by anyone) now knew that he was reading "hentai" comics.

In the end, he agreed to keep his comic open only part way, so others couldn't see what he was reading.

Regardless, even if we, for the sake of argument, "accept" such content in Japan, it's another thing entirely to accept that it should be viewable in public. It reminds me of "Page 3" in British newspapers, which depicted girls as young as 16/17, topless, with sexual innuendoes placed next to them (the age of sexual consent in the UK is 16, btw).

3 ( +12 / -9 )

You would be put in jail for 20 years in Australia for some of the material casually read on trains in Japan

Not just OZ gogogo

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Anything depicting physical or sexual abuse and exploitation of minors should be banned worldwide. Producing it has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It is a perverted and immoral mental illness that needs to be wiped out!

14 ( +18 / -4 )

@ Paul Laimal-Convoy

Fine, if you limit your protest to rides in crowded trains and the general public and not books or museums. The particular example you mention of ""imagery of octopuses sexually abusing young girls" isn't really anything new for Japanese or foreigners who know the works of Hokusai and other Ukiyoe artists. It obviously derives its inspiration from Hokusai's well known "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" among others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dream_of_the_Fisherman%27s_Wife

Would flyers and advertisement for an exhibition of well known Ukiyoe and shunga artists offend you? Just asking, not trying to provoke.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

It's about time someone brings this up on the world scale. It is a problem! It does influence the way men/boys look at women/girls. It does set a poor example and teach immoral things to kids. This article criticizes this politician for pointing out the problem or perhaps over-exaggerating it. I disagree. Of course, it is not all anime, but that is not the point. It's not a matter of what percentage of anime has this stuff in it. It's more a problem of how much of that stuff gets consumed by Japanese people, especially by impressionable youth. There might even only be one such anime, but if everyone reads it.... So the criticism is ill founded. Anyway, I'm glad there is some open talk about this and criticism of it from other countries. Maybe that will help to bring some regulation to it.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@Paul Laimal-Convoy

Crazy, right? back when I was there, I remember seeing worse stuff people read. there is always that 'its our/my culture' vs. its is clearly a danger to society and the world and produces and makes more mentally ill people...? Same with people in china eating all kinds of crazy stuff and endangered animals - it kind of puts others at risk when diseases start spreading. I am sure some would argue that some people of that 'culture' are born that way and they cannot help it.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

About half of manga/anime content shown in Japan are considered offensive to Western audiences.

Only Japanese do not know of this fact.

-13 ( +10 / -23 )

Please keep your hands off my loli.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

 I am sure some would argue that some people of that 'culture' are born that way and they cannot help it.

And others would argue that all cultures have their strengths and weaknesses.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

mu-da,

from the wiki article you cite:

Psychologist and critic Jerry S. Piven is skeptical that Hokusai's playful image could account for the violent depictions in modern media

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Paul Laimal-ConvoyToday  07:50 am JST

I couldn't avoid seeing it

Napping on the train was out of the question?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

About half of manga/anime content shown in Japan are considered offensive to Western audiences.

And about half the entertainment produced by the West is offensive to Muslim audiences. What's the point you are trying to make?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

It reminds me of "Page 3" in British newspapers, which depicted girls as young as 16/17, topless

If consent is 16 in britain, wouldn't they be called adults? And "as young as" in relation to a 16 year old is pretty stretchy. As young as 12 would make more sense. Either way, maybe we should ban exposed nipples for both men and women. Lots of men have larger cup sizes than women. Nobody wants to see that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

And less sx in books and tv, regardless of age or depiction, should be much much less.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You would be put in jail for 20 years in Australia for some of the material casually read on trains in Japan.

No you wouldn't. It's illegal, sure, but just for possession of such material you'd cop a fine (which is what's happened in a couple of relatively recent cases) , maybe a community corrections order, at worst a short sentence in a low-security prison if the material was particularly bad, plus I imagine being registered as a sex offender.

I've never been convinced by the arguments against drawn or written porn. Just to see something of what we're talking about in this article, I checked out the "Interspecies Reviewers" manga mentioned (a straightforward Google search). Now that I've seen it, I'd say you would have to be a particularly febrile morals crusader to imagine something so childish and utterly divorced from any known reality is capable of doing any harm to anyone.

Stirling Griff is just the latest in a long line of what Australia calls "wowsers." In the past they've been responsible for banning all kinds of written, recorded and visual material, from anything mentioning people's naughty bits right up to Henry Miller and James Joyce's Ulysses (who also mention people's naughty bits). It was only in about 1970 that those two authors were accessible to anyone in the country. And the days before such corrupters of public morality (irony alert) were let loose is probably what people like Stirling Griff want to see us go back to.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

If they is a law against the thing being presented then it should be banned too. Theft, drug use, assault, rape, murder. These things should not be seen ever in any media form because they are a mental sickness and cause people to turn into would-be criminals. We should ban anything offensive to anyone anywhere as well!

/s

People have every right to feel offended by anything they like but let's not pretend that the media consumed makes you become the very thing it is about.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@mu-da

 Hokusai and other Ukiyoe artists, especially KITAGAWA Utamaro, would be galled at the imagery of the octopuses, flared open in a packed train. Take a look.

During 1787-93, the Edo government reversed its policy of the Genroku bubble economy. Just like his mentor/teacher, Kitagawa was arrested In 1804 and was handcuffed for 50 days and soon passed away a far cry from *nonagenarian *Hokusai. Beautiful women also disappeared from Ukiyoe and were replaced by vegetables, ghosts and frog or other animals: Male characters not to mention Kabuki actors got forcibly displaced from art because of government censorship, little to do with deviants now want to depict or fancy about.

Opening an obscene material in a packed train is tantamount to opening your fly no matter what interpretation or distortion you may have about octopus even when seen in isolation. It is barbarous and uncivilized. Seen in this historical context, every citizen has right to object and hopefully ban such act in a public place.‎ A nation without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.

It is no miracle or wonder Stirling Griff's country is rated triple A, while the zipper opener's nation is single A behind Taiwan and South Korea, both double A, in terms of borrowing money. "This is Japan" can be no excuse and its temerity vexes me. Think of art in perspectives of history and economics.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Disillusioned:

Anything depicting physical or sexual abuse and exploitation of minors should be banned worldwide. Producing it has nothing to do with freedom of expression.

Agreed that abuse OF ANY AGE should be banned, but let's call it what it is - a ban, not freedom of expression. No country has full freedom of expression, and I dont think anyone would want to live in such a country.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The problem here is that many people outside of Japan think of manga and anime as a genre, when in fact it is a medium. To condemn all manga because of some disgusting titles is the same as condemning all cinema because of a the existence of some vile films.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

gogogo

Today  06:38 am JST

You would be put in jail for 20 years in Australia for some of the material casually read on trains in Japan

It’s official.

All white-majority Commonwealth countries are meme countries.

And Australia takes the cake for imprisoning a man with Simpsons porn, banning AV videos with a-cups and naughty toys for ‘discerning’ adults.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Australia might be burning to the ground & coronavirus causing an epidemic, but the moral puritans in Australian politics will find room to ban anime: the real menace to Australian society.

lol

6 ( +12 / -6 )

All anime is bad.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Give the politician a break.

He's from South Australia.

Next stop Antarctica.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Cant see the problem with anime, there's worse stuff on the internet and with the way TV shows are pushing the boundaries.

As for this politician he's a tosser, he votes for all the trendy progressive socialist policies all the while he's no where to be seen when real issues such as bush fires are happening.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I am a Shunga fan. The art is brilliantly done.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

SneezyToday 01:49 pm JST

All anime is bad.

Except gay communist anime. That's very good!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Except gay communist anime. That's very good!

Yes, that is true.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And Australia takes the cake for imprisoning a man with Simpsons porn, banning AV videos with a-cups and naughty toys for ‘discerning’ adults.

Shameful! Some of the best AV videos are with a-cups! (some have mosaic, others don't...)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The politician may be a right tit, I don’t know enough about him to say but that does not negate a real problem that he is highlighting. Removing what is pornographic is in no way banning manga. Just like films banning abusive illegal content does not prevent the production and enjoyment of the medium.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The man is just speaking the truth.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

While there is some DISGUSTING work in these mediums, they're a very, very small percentage of the overall anime and manga industry and, except the weird otaku dudes, no one else even knows their existence. This is this weird case of products being known more outside the country they are produced in.

I find it funny. He has the right to call these specific works out. What he doesn't is make the entire mediums have a bad image because of specific anime and manga.

And since we're on the subject, why not have a look at the DISGUSTING and dangerous themes portrayed in, actually, a decent amount of western entertainment, meaning movies, games and music? Gangbanging, robbing, shooting, misogyny, raping, drug (ab)use. To the point of sounding normalised. The lyrics of song "Gucci Gang" are all that needs to be read (and I'm a huge old-school hip hop fan).

My point? If you want to do work, do it properly. Don't just aim for specific things.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He's from South Australia.

So is former SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson. Coincidence?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"a person who appears to be younger than 18"

This vage description also lead to problems in other countries with this kind of law. Either the person is an adult and therefore can choose whatever eligible job to pursue - or just because of looks is not allowed to maybe star in an erotic movie? Numerous erotic stars well in their twenties might look younger than 18 to a conservative eye hence they are forbidden to do their job?

Usually this kind of vage laws were (or sometimes still are) used in communist or dictatorship countries to harass people politically.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Check the content and ban accordingly

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Anime/manga is medium, just like music, movies, video game and all sorts of entertainment. There are manga telling stories that is so diverse (shounen, shoujou, right wing ideology, politics, violent and gore, fantasy etc etc.)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

CARTOONS showing sex acts involving children modelled on characters from The Simpsons are pornographic, a NSW Supreme Court judge ruled today. 

A man charged over cartoons showing sex acts involving children modelled on The Simpsons characters has failed to have his child pornography convictions overturned. 

In the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Michael Adams ruled a fictional cartoon character was a "person" within the meaning of the relevant state and Commonwealth laws. 

In February, Alan John McEwan was convicted in Parramatta Local Court of possessing child pornography and using his computer to access child pornography. 

-Man convicted of Simpsons porn 2008, Herald Sun

Anime is real down under.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What do you expect from an Aussie conservative Politician... Just drama queeeeeensss !!!!... LOLLLL!!!!...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That Aussie politician should check out MTC or MTC 2 by S3RL. This explains why anime is so popular with some people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is funny politicians usually go after something harmless for political or propaganda purposes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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