Does your country have everything you need? If it doesn’t, usually the internet can provide for you. But in some specific cases, there are certain products or contraband that just aren’t allowed in a particular country. Here’s a list of 15 things that are currently not allowed, or weren’t allowed at some point!
It doesn’t seem that out of place that some things are banned in certain countries. Governments are free to ban whatever they feel is necessary to protect their citizens. If the citizens don’t like it, that’s what elections and revolutions are for! If any of the following banned items are your passion, just be happy you don’t live in the following countries!
1) Vicks Inhalers: Japan
Image: Flickr (Oliver Hammond)
We start right here in Japan. Due to Japan’s strict anti-stimulant drug laws, any drugs containing pseudoephedrine like Sudafed and the aforementioned Vicks inhalers are prohibited in the country. Codeine is also a big no-no in Japan, so be careful when you enter the country!
2) Game Consoles: China
Image: Flickr (Sarah)
Back in 2000, Chinese officials banned video game consoles due to the worry of objectionable content and moral decay. However, in 2014, China lifted that ban and opened up the door for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to sell their consoles to the most populous country in the world, as long as the consoles were manufactured in China. A bit of a hoop to jump through, but probably worth it to reach the potential 1.3 billion new customers.
3) Mannequins: Iran
Image: Flickr (Sandra Cohen-Rose)
They still need something to display their clothes on, so not all types of mannequins are banned in the country. However, women’s mannequins must have their face covered, usually with a hijab, and be modestly dressed. Guess we won’t be seeing a Project Runway: Iran anytime soon.
4) Most Baby Names: Denmark
Images: Amazon JP
If the name you want for your child isn’t on the list of 24,000 approved names, you might be out of luck. Creative parents who wish to name their kids something not on that list must seek approval from the government. This is similar to naming conventions in Japan, with parents seeking to name their children what is called “kira kira” names.
5) Claire Danes: Manila (Philippines)
Image: Flickr (David Shankbone)
The highly regarded Homeland actor once said Manila “smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over and that there is no sewage system and the people do not have anything – no arms, no legs, no eyes.” Manila stopped screening and got rid of all her movies. She is forever denied from coming to the city ever again.
6) Baby Walkers: Canada
Image: Safety 1st
Banned in 2004. Some researched found that using the baby walkers caused late development of a baby’s motor skills. Other research found that the walkers caused a risk of accident deemed too high. These accidents lead to injuries such as soft-tissue injuries, concussions, burns and fractures.
7) Yellow: Malaysia
In 2011, the Malaysian government prohibited people from wearing anything yellow. Due to an activist group, Bersih, the government didn’t want people rallying in the streets under a unified color. Actually, orange and black are also banned for similar reasons.
8) McDonald’s: Bolivia
Image: Flickr (Stephen Cannon)
While it would seem silly to ban the Golden Arches, don’t worry, there is no actual ban on them. But back when there were McDonald’s in Bolivia, no one went, so the will of the people practically banned them. Bolivia has a pretty neat distinction now, as it’s the only country in Latin America that doesn’t have a McDonald’s.
9) Avatar 2-D: China
Image: Amazon JP
When you look at the story of Dances with Avatar, it’s pretty clear why a story about people siding with an indigenous population against an imperialistic force wasn’t well received by the Chinese government. To the outsider, it may seem odd that China allowed the 3-D version to be screened, but since there are very few 3-D capable theaters in China, it made very little difference whether or not people could see the movie.
10) Incandescent Light Bulbs: Cuba
Image: Wikipedia (KMJ)
Incandescent light bulbs are notorious for producing more waste (heat) than light. There have been plenty of measures in attempts to get people to switch over to more efficient bulbs, like compact fluorescent ones, but at least in the US, it is still an uphill battle. Some countries have just went the simple route though, ban them outright. Cuba was the first country to ban the sale and import of the older bulbs in 2005. Argentina has been the only country since to follow.
11) Plastic Bags: Bangladesh
Image: Flickr (Gabriel Jorby)
Since 2002, Bangladesh has led the charge in protecting our environment from the overuse of plastic bags, but not necessarily for altruistic reasons. Bangladesh finally banned plastic bags because they were found to be responsible for floods in 1988 and 1998 that submerged most of the country. Since then France, Tanzania, and Mexico have also banned them. Unfortunately, you will still find plenty of plastic bags in the markets of Bangladesh.
12) Tobacco: Bhutan
Image: Wikipedia (Kevinbercaw)
Many major countries in the world have laws that ban smoking in many public places. Japan is also moving slowly towards these measures. But due to the strength of the tobacco lobby in America, we probably won’t see a wholesale ban on tobacco and tobacco products, no matter how bad it is health wise. Perhaps America should be looking to Bhutan, a country that measures their Gross National Happiness (GNH), for tips. In order to improve their GNH, tobacco cultivation, harvest, production and sale of harmful tobacco products have been banned since 2010. It is still legal to smoke tobacco in specified areas.
13) Time Travel: China
China has banned time travel. We will just leave it at that.
Just kidding, this ban is aimed at the entertainment industry. According to Chinese officials, TV shows and films have shown a “frivolous” treatment of history. Time travelers show up and play around with things all willy nilly. That’s pretty disrespectful, because all the best time travel stories are ones where people go back in time and then leave everything the way it is, duh, Temporal Prime Directive, it always works so well in Star Trek. But China is going to do what China wants to do and so Chinese censors have been cracking down on it.
14) Small Boob Porn : Australia
Image: Flickr (Sabine)
If you are tired of flipping through porn, both movies and magazines where the breasts just aren’t big enough for your tastes, then you should move to Australia, where the Australian Classification Board has essentially banned small boobs in pornography. This has certainly raised the size of hooters that you can see in the porn you can get in Australia! Just don’t go around advocating that small breasts are OK too and that you want to see them as well, because that will get you labeled as a purveyor of child porn. Wait…WHAT??? That’s right, see, according to the classification board, porn actors with A-cup size boobs are too close to girls under the age of 18. So according to the Australian government, bigger boobs are better!
15) Dancing: Japan
Image: Wikipedia (Nicholas1981)
Clubs in Osaka, Fukuoka, and Tokyo have put up signs that advocate the ban of that unholy motion where your hips and extremities move in time to the beat of music, dancing. Although for most of us it’s just random flailing. Citizens of Japan are right to ban that awful stuff, nobody wants to see people grinding! But actually, this is a law that has been on the books since 1948. It was largely ignored, however, until 2010 where it was enforced to the letter of the law following a death outside an Osaka club and other incidents. Now clubs must apply for a permit for dancing and have at least 66 square meters (710 square feet) for people to get down. Many clubs have been posting signs such as the one above and security have stopped people from dancing, dirty or otherwise.