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Japan media watchdog organization responds to complaints about 'Demon Slayer'

22 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

It’s been less than a year since "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie: Mugen Train" became the highest-grossing movie of all time in Japan, and so it was a major TV event when Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV aired it in prime time last month. Since the movie is a direct follow-up to the first season of the "Demon Slayer" TV anime, Fuji TV also showed two recap specials earlier in the month, containing extensive footage from the TV series.

While fans were happy for the refresher course in the series’ events and lore, not everyone else was pleased. Following the airing of the specials, Japan’s Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization media watchdog organization (also known as the BPO) received a number of complaints about “the primetime broadcast of an anime work with a famous movie,” a description that only fits for "Demon Slayer" during the time frame in which the complaints came in. Among the complaints were “There are too many scenes of bloodshed and cruelty” and “I was incredibly uncomfortable at the grotesque depictions of people being eaten, an arm being torn off, and other terrible acts of violence.”

▼ Preview for "Demon Slayer’s" upcoming second TV season

As a non-government organization, the BPO doesn’t wield the authority that, for example, the FCC does in the U.S. Still, its status as Japan’s most prominent organization of its type means that its investigations, statements, and recommendations to broadcasters carry a certain amount of clout. So how did the BPO’s Youth Committee members respond to the "Demon Slayer" complaints?

With these two remarks:

“The popularity of the series and movie suggest that its content has been deemed acceptable.”

“In addition, the concept of voluntary viewer discretion while watching is widely understood and accepted.”

The reaction might come as a surprise to some, but it’s important to note that despite the fretful, hand-wringing impression a name like Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization might conjure, the BPO isn’t necessarily organizing witch hunts to bring down what it feels is a wicked entertainment industry. The group’s mission statement says it wants to “promote higher ethical standards while ensuring freedom of speech and expression,” and evidently it’s not interested in sacrificing the latter for the sake of the former.

This isn’t the first time members of the BPO’s Youth Committee have come to the defense of an anime after receiving a complaint either. Last year some members also went to bat for the prostitution-centric Interspecies Reviewers, the most controversial anime broadcast in recent memory, and they might find themselves fielding a few more red-light complaints when "Demon Slayer’s" second season, set in Tokyo’s former real-world pleasure quarter, premiers this winter.

Source: BPO

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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

-- Demon Slayer Mugen Train movie finally has U.S. release date for theater and digital format

-- Demon Slayer breaks Spirited Away’s record, becomes number-one movie of all time in Japan

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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It is good Japan has a 'watchdog' organization to review movies, etc . . . yet in this anime the horror of the oni seems to be to destroy the demon with Japanese sword . . . .

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

With a title like "Demon Slayer" you kind of have to expect there to be blood. The two kind of go hand-in-hand, especially where anime is concerned. Given the franchises fame as well, people really should know already that it contains gore. That's like being surprised that football involves a ball. There is also warnings about the content of the show and that viewer discretion is advised, so there really isn't any excuse. But, we live in an age where people love to complain about everything. If it exists, someone is complaining about it. Even if it doesn't exist, someone is still complaining about it (mostly about how it doesn't exist). Hopefully this behaviour will fade out in time and we can go back to enjoying things in peace.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I have a utter hatred of people trying to ban shows because of their own weak hearts and narrow sensitivities.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

“The popularity of the series and movie suggest that its content has been deemed acceptable.”

Exactly that!

“I was incredibly uncomfortable at the grotesque depictions of people being eaten, an arm being torn off, and other terrible acts of violence.”

The idea to switch to another program or - heaven forbid - turn off the TV never has crossed this persons mind?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I must say that, having seen the first few episodes, it is really quite violent, and I'm surprised by the number of young children I see who are fans of it.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I have a utter hatred of people trying to ban shows because of their own weak hearts and narrow sensitivities.

Haha. Me too.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Ban it. Load of nonsense anyway

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

utter hatred? What bans? Something a bit over the top going on with this take.

Media watch mouse has no teeth so whatre you afraid of?

Not like they made a movie about patty-cake pancake-man shenanigans and got twitter banned and shut down now is it... But we know it's not about what you do, it's about who isn't cool with it.

have a utter hatred of people trying to ban shows because of their own weak hearts and narrow sensitivities.

Haha. Me too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are a lot of graphic death scenes where women and children are being violently murdered and eaten. I would think that an age-restriction and violence warning are presented before the show starts.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

People do know where the ‘off switch’ is located, don’t they

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I have not watched this movie, so don't have a view on its content one way or another. In general, I don't believe in banning art.

However, the reasoning of the watchdog is strange to say the least.

“The popularity of the series and movie suggest that its content has been deemed acceptable (by the public).”

Romans used to watch people eaten by lions.

Some Spanish people gather round to watch people kill bulls (while other Spanish people try to stop them).

If a fight starts in the street, people will gather round and watch. If they are English, they'll probably start cheering and placing bets(!)

All of this suggests that, "lots of people watched it and enjoyed it" is not a sound basis for a moral argument. ---

-

Now, there is one more thing that is odd. My argument above is not very original. The rebuttal of the watchdog's position is quite obvious with a second's thought. So why is a news organization reporting on the watchdog making a statement that offers such an obvious counterargument without asking them to defend or further explain themselves

In some ways it is similar to "I have not read the court documents, so I can't comment", the boilerplate statement that corporate PR departments and politicians in Japan release every time they are sued. So we never get to the bottom of anything.

This is one thing that, as a Westerner, I find strange in Japanese corporate (and political) communications. Again and again, people make statements with obvious logical flaws and clear holes in their argument. And the watching press just says "Yes, OK, thank you, let me write that down". And it never goes any further.

Again, this is not to say that I don't think Demon Slayer should be on TV.

There are arguments one could make about freedom of artistic expression and personal responsibility.

But "everyone likes it, it's all good!". It's just such a lazy defense.

It makes me wonder whether "Japan’s Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization " is funded by the film industry itself for the sole purpose of getting complaints off their back.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

jpn_guyToday  03:14 pm JST

If a fight starts in the street, people will gather round and watch. If they are English, they'll probably start cheering and placing bets(!)

Please change English to British.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Gutless Ethics Organisation + Gore loving producers = Overly violent garbage

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Why can't these whingers stick to the old adage of, "don't like it; don't watch."? The anime is literally titled "Demon Slayer" aka. slaying of demons. Did they expect to see unicorns and rainbows instead?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Given that this was by far the most popular tv show and movie for kindergarten and elementary school kids last year, I think that some worry about the graphic content isn't unwarranted.

When the movie came out and the tv shows were interviewing all the people waiting in line, with their cute 5 year olds dressed in Demon Slayer costumes, it was interesting that none of the interviewers seemed to even think to ask "don't you think your kind might be a bit too young?"

Anyone saying "if you don't like it don't watch" clearly has never had kids. When every single kid in your kids class has seen it, has products related to it, is talking about it, even if you do take a hard line and don't let your 5 year old watch it (which is what I did), they still find out more than you'd like and see more than you'd like from their friends.

We don't even have Netflix, and my elementary age kids know a scary amount about Squid Game already!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Although strangely not mentioned in the article, the people complaining are surely worrying about the fact that children are watching it, further that peer pressure will make sure that everyone will want to see it regardless of parental advice.

Although I think this anime series is very well done, bringing alive the strength of friend and family ties and loyalty, there is an element which harks back to a time when the Japanese sword was being used to slay the ‘inferior’ people of other nations.

In other words, if you decide that your enemy is not really ‘human’ then you can detach emotionally and engage fully in whatever it takes to suppress them.

There is however an attempt to show that even devils can be redeemed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Although I think this anime series is very well done, bringing alive the strength of friend and family ties and loyalty, there is an element which harks back to a time when the Japanese sword was being used to slay the ‘inferior’ people of other nations.

In other words, if you decide that your enemy is not really ‘human’ then you can detach emotionally and engage fully in whatever it takes to suppress them.

Exactly it. Exactly. Bigtime marketing dollars invested, checks all state of nations pride boxes. No mercy for the weak messages! What could go wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“I was incredibly uncomfortable at the grotesque depictions of people being eaten, an arm being torn off, and other terrible acts of violence.”

Obviously they haven't seen Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What people should be concerned about is that it doesn't even occur to anyone anymore that it might be bad for the kids to watch that everyone is shooting everyone else on TV and in movies and in games.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Demon Slayer is amazing..

Whoever does not like it, don't watch it !!..

End of the drama..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So should we just simply abolish entertainment rating systems and let all ages watch anything they want?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Demon Slayer is amazing..

Whoever does not like it, don't watch it !!..

End of the drama..

Ah yes, you posted the same thing about Chappelle and netflix

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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