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Tokyo introduces manga restrictions
Manga comics are popular with both adults and children in Japan
Tokyo has banned the sale and lease of anime films and manga comics depicting rape, incest and other sex crimes to under-18s.
A bill, introduced by the metropolitan assembly, calls on the industry to self regulate by toning down graphic comics and films on general release.
Publishers and retailers breaking rules face fines up to 300,000 yen (Â£2,280).
A group of publishers, complaining of censorship, have threatened to boycott March's Tokyo International Anime Fair.
Continue reading the main story â€œStart QuoteYou cannot possibly show such things to your own childrenâ€
End Quote Governor Shintaro Ishihara
The bill was proposed by conservative governor Shintaro Ishihara who said it was "natural" the legislation had been passed.
"It's the conscience of the Japanese," he said after the vote.
"You cannot possibly show such things to your own children."
An industry group representing publishers and retailers expressed its "strong anger" over the vote which it sees as limiting freedom of expression.
"Artists of manga and anime have widely raised objections while the entire publishing industry has pointed out problems," it said.
Manga comics, popular with both adults and children in Japan, deal with themes including high school romance and literary classics as well as sometimes hardcore and violent pornography.
It's a shame. Japan, the last bastion of artistic freedom is going down the drain with conservative attitudes. I know what you're thinking. "Wait a minute. Japan has those hideous censors and you have to put that pixelated mosaic over private parts! America has complete freedom of expression. You can draw whatever you want!" True, you can draw whatever you want in America. Good luck ever finding a publisher or seeing the inside of a bookstore though.
In Japan, people can make comics and animation about anything, absolutely anything, and they can get published, be in stores and find an audience. I'm not just talking about the sex stuff. I really mean anything. Not long ago, there was a popular comic about North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, and it was selling 500,000 copies per volume! They have stuff covering all manner of subjects and outrageous stuff few can imagine, and it can find an audience. Yes, they have some crazy perverted stuff too, but what I like about their market is that it is totally open. Even comics for old people, as Japan has a large and constantly increasing aged population, are becoming popular.
Japan's market was already floundering and became increasingly reliant on export business to continue growth. Having 10 major publishers, especially the likes of Kodansha, boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair will be devastating to the market as a whole.
I was always looking to Japan as a place to continue pushing my work, as I have probably had more success there than anywhere, and this news really dampens the artistic spirit.
“b***y is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves up for the highly unlikely possibility of b***y in another dimension." -- Joe Rogan
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