lifestyle

Publishers protest agreement to cover up adult magazines in convenience stores

28 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

While Japanese convenience stores carry a wide range of adult magazines, their floor space isn’t always so expansive. So while even though stores place their skin mags at the far end of the magazine rack, it’s still not uncommon for them to be just a couple of steps away from periodicals oriented towards children or female readers.

Osami Takeyama, the mayor of Sakai City (part of Osaka Prefecture), believes this just isn’t right. On March 16, Takeyama and a representative from major convenience store chain Family Mart entered into an agreement under which Family Mart pledged to start slipping plastic covers with obscuring sections over the pornographic magazines on its racks as of April 6.

The opaque green strips are to be 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) in width, and bear the message: "Sakai City has enacted the Sakai Safety Program in order to build a safe community free of violence towards women and children. – Office of the Mayor. In accordance with the Osaka Healthy Youth Development Ordinance, the sale to, or perusal of, magazines on this shelf by individuals under 18 years of age is prohibited."

A similar proclamation will be placed at the front of the section of the rack containing adult publications.

The initiative quickly drew protests, however, from both the Japan Magazine Publishers Association and Japan Book Publishers Association. Both organizations called the conditions excessive while also pointing out that though the Healthy Youth Development Ordinance referenced on the covering prohibits stores from letting customers under 18 buy or browse through pornographic magazines, it doesn’t say that the covers must be hidden from their view. The associations also expressed their concerns that the agreement is an infringement upon rights of expression as well as the freedom of adults to make their own choices about what media they consume.

However, Takeyama defended his position, saying that the agreement came about through the mutual consent of the Sakai government and Family Mart, and is not an exercise of official authority. Moreover, as the agreement only encompassed, as of the end of March, 10 Family Mart branches in Sakai, Takeyama argued that it did not infringe upon consumers’ freedom of choice.

This didn’t do anything to quiet the Magazine Publishers and Book Publishers associations, though. The groups assert that since the covers are being supplied by the city government, they do indeed represent the use of official authority. Their case is also somewhat bolstered by the fact that the agreement between Takeyama and Family Mart includes the statement that:

“If consented is received, gradually expand the program with plans to eventually enact it at all [Family Mart] branches within Sakai City.”

There’s also a bit of indirect pressure in that along with placing extra covers over their adult magazines, the Family Mart locations complying with the agreement display a 15-centimeter square sticker (see photo below)near their entrance.

The text translates as:

"We won’t show harmful publications to children. This is a store that is kind to women and children.

~Working towards a city free of violence against women and children~" Sakai Safety Program

The subtle implication is that stores not displaying the sticker (which are also the ones which haven’t entered into the agreement to use the city’s magazine sheaths) are just fine with violence against women and kids.

Thus, the Magazine Publishers and Book Publishers associations have resubmitted their request for the mayor to dissolve the agreement. Takeyama has yet to respond, meaning that for the time being, horny shoppers at certain Family Mart branches are going to have to find the courage to buy their porno largely sight-unseen.

Source: IT Media, Sakai City, Japan Book Publishers Association

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28 Comments
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God, it's all over the internet if you need it. I don't see this as much infringement of any rights compared to the gross violations going on elsewhere. On the other hand, I am a bit dismayed that taxpayers will pay for these covers. The mags have never revolted against inane pixellation and fuzzy pictures so why against the cover? They ought to provide them.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The associations also expressed their concerns that the agreement is an infringement upon... the freedom of ADULTS to make their own choices about what media they consume.

But this new code is about protecting the INNOCENT CHILDREN who happen to be in the convenience store because the CHILDREN'S magazines just happen to be right next to the "pornographic" magazines.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Both organizations called the conditions excessive while also pointing out that though the Healthy Youth Development Ordinance referenced on the covering prohibits stores from letting customers under 18 buy or browse through pornographic magazines, it doesn’t say that the covers must be hidden from their view. ... However, Takeyama defended his position, saying that the agreement came about through the mutual consent of the Sakai government and Family Mart, and is not an exercise of official authority.

I don't object to the general principle of what they're trying to do, but this is a damn strange way of going about it. If you want to prevent unwilling members of the public from being exposed to pornographic magazines, make a law that prevents unwilling members of the public from being exposed to pornographic magazines.

Making it a voluntary agreement with one conbini chain just tells the public that the mayor is more interested in flexing his old boys' network muscles than he is actually solving problems, because it means all the other convenience stores are just going to maintain the status quo.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I dont understand what harm seeing some pixelated boobs will do to children...? Its not like you havent seen tits when you were getting your milk? how about government stops bugging into peoples lives., and its kids parents responsibility anyways.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Alex EinzAPR. 08, 2016 - 10:42AM JST I dont understand what harm seeing some pixelated boobs will do to children...? Its not like you havent seen tits when you were getting your milk? how about government stops bugging into peoples lives.,

You would have a point if we were talking about a rack of magazines documenting human lactation, but we're not. We're talking about porn, which means mammary glands are only part of the story- the big issue is presentation. These magazines don't depict breasts as used for their primary biological purpose, they depict breasts as sexual objects to gratify an audience that's likely 99% men. And I would agree with the city that unwilling members of the public shouldn't be forced to be exposed to that.

You say it's kids' parents' responsibility, but under the present system it's impossible for parents to take that responsibility. With as ubiquitous as convenience stores are and how essential they are to daily life, if I had a daughter there would be basically no way for me to take her to one and not have her exposed to some man's fantasy about women being splayed out, presented for their enjoyment. With the way Japanese pornographers tend to approach porn, if I had a son there would be no way I could take him to a convenience store without him being exposed to magazine after magazine depicting women as objects for men to prey upon.

Now, I'm not interested in kink-shaming. You like magazines depicting sexually passive women as empty sex objects, that's fine. But that doesn't give you the right to force families to be exposed to your kinks. The call to get government out of people's lives only works so long as the people take responsibility for themselves and don't get in each other's way. Japan's long indulgence of public displays of pornography shows that's not happening, so if enough people object it's entirely right for the government to step in and get all this porn out of unwilling people's faces.

I simply object to the irrational manner in which the mayor is trying to achieve that.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

I hope more convenience stores adopt this new policy as well.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Female readers do not like porn? That is news to me. I do not think it is exclusively a male thing.

Katsu, the covers never ever show anything more than a girl in a bikini. If that bothers you, then there is something wrong with your upbringing...church boy or something?

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Why not just use google and find all your nude stuff... I mean, it is free and you can see what you want. Just sayin.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The issue, for me at least, isn't the mags in question. It is that they are out at eye level of young kids. Boobs? Fine. But not when some recently turned 18 year old is posing in a sexy pose and that's pretty much it for female respresentation. Women are to be stared at and seen as objects is pretty much the only message in this. They are called "top shelf mags" where I'm from for a reason. Those tall enough can take a look. I HATE walking into shops here and seeing boobs all over the place. I have my own, thanks.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"the CHILDREN'S magazines just happen to be right next to the "pornographic" magazines"

I did my research and in pratice this means that the CHILDREN'S magazines are carefully selected. I picked up a CHILDREN'S manga at random and there buried in the middle of the story was an explicit sex scene. Just like that and totally inappropriate.

It was as if a regular Superman comic had, in the middle of the story-line, Clark Kent having sex with Lois Lane.

Japan is the world's pervy uncle!!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As a parent, I think this is something that has been sorely needed for a long time. Video rental shops have a separate area closed off for those looking for adult videos. It should be the same for magazine racks as well. But since space is an issue the slip-on covers are the appropriate choice.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Wow, Japan is soo freakin far behind the times still. In the US, those mages always had censorship covers unless delivered to an adult store.

Even when I was a strapping young 12 year old lad, looking at the playboy/penthouse magazines on the shelf they always had nice plastic covers on them that only let you see the title and maybe someone's face. On top of that it was the producers of those types of magazines that paid for those covers.

Japanese stores really need them obviously.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The funny thing is that magazines use a tactic called "fukuro toji" (pages are binded) denying the consumer to see the content unless they buy it at times. I don't see the difference. So according to their logic, it'll gain in sales.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not sure the u18 generation will care anyway, they dont have the same porn mag culture that we over 30-40yo lads have! Those were the days!

It will just take 2 min instead of 5 for men to buy the uber romantic and 'spontaneous' 10pm ice cream for the missus. Tough one. May suggest its her turn now (gender equality etc)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Whatever. This is ONE issue in a country that pretty much celebrates the objectification of women. Most women are conditioned through school so much they don't even SPEAK in a normal voice when they work in an office.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not near enough, but a baby step in the right direction. FamilyMart should go a step further and say to the publishing companies that object, "well,myth have a right to voice your opinion, and as a private company we reserve the right to do the same. We will, as such, heretofore no longer be selling any publications from your company, so long as you continue to dictate how, what, and where we must sell. Thank you."

I applaud Family Mart and Sakai for this. I'm tired of seeing kids look at ice cream or people going to use the ATM and pornography being at eye-level or even on stacks at floor level. And this is from someone that doesn't mind porn.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I'll put my moral views to one side for a moment here. Those that do not wish to view pornography should not be inadvertently exposed to it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Is it because convenience store name contains name 'Family", I do not think there are moral values left in this land of lotus...other convenience stores should rush and cash in on this move (!)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does anyone buy these magazines anyway? All I ever see are people flicking through them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Video rental shops have a separate area closed off for those looking for adult videos.

porn mag covers are generally quite bland. as one poster put it, it's usually a girl wearing a bikini. the only thing really lacivious is the headings or titles of the "essays." whereas the cover or porn vids is very graphic, usually depicting actual sex acts, although with pixels (or so my friend has told me). So there is quite a big difference in why the area is sealed off from others.

but the idea that the cover of porn mags harms children and women in anyway is quite ludicrous. as i noted above, there isn't much smut on the cover. the mayor should go after the actual manufacturing of it, whiich is the real harm with porn since some of the women are abused during filming.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

But how can you see the pictures if they're covered up?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you can not purge indecency from the 21th century society (whyyyyyyyyyyy), at least hide it from innocents' eyes.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This would make sense if they would start to clean up TV too.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The adult magazines in the konbinis was a big shock to me when I first came here. I was surprised there weren't any people complaining about how this would hurt the children, or how it was objectifying women, etc. But I guess someone is finally fighting against it. I just don't understand why these magazines even exist now. There are so many free images and videos online. Who needs to go into a store to buy their porn, other than the elderly who don't know how to work a computer?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do as the UK does, put them up on the top shelf..... oh hang on, maybe a problem there .....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even when I was a strapping young 12 year old lad, looking at the playboy/penthouse magazines on the shelf they always had nice plastic covers on them that only let you see the title and maybe someone's face. On top of that it was the producers of those types of magazines that paid for those covers.

^^^ This. In some cases (depending on state/city laws) the publisher didn't do the covering but the retailer did. The titles were uncovered but most of the rest of the cover (except for the UPC code) was wrapped in brown paper. The magazines still sold.

Of course as has been pointed out by many others here, the internet has rendered the "nudie magazine" obsolete. The venerable Playboy Magazine ended full frontal nudity in their magazine last month:

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders acknowledged the magazine's inability to compete with freely available Internet pornography and nudity; according to him, "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboy#2016_changes_and_ending_of_frontal_nudity

Playboy says the pictures in the magazine will now only be "not appropriate for children under 13".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Violence towards women and children? So they do realize that the adult magazines have a children porn momentum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Osaki Takeyama as an expert of city ordinance is making a political stance that legal implications involve the Japanese Postal Service and printed media when it is sent by postal mail. The protection of individual rights of minors in city jurisdiction could easily transcend into a national standard under law by petition powers to the Japan Diet and demands of family law advocated by lawyers and citizens throughout Japan. What will the public demand for family and minor protections in the broad sense, and could international postal law support that cause in Japan economically?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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