“The days of quietly drawing whatever you like are already over”
Robul Hoque, a 39-year-old resident of Middlesbrough, England, was recently given a suspended sentence of nine months in prison for possession of child pornography when investigators found “manga” drawings of schoolgirls on his computer. The sentence is suspended so long as Hoque follows the court’s guidelines for two years, but manga artist Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima! Magister Negi Magi) disapproved of the conviction and reacted to the news on Twitter.
Akamatsu pointed out that Japan’s recently passed child pornography law also forbade possession of sexually explicit images of children, but emphasized that manga and anime are creations without real children anywhere. “They aren’t even close to the law’s purpose of ‘protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse’; instead, they blur the purpose and hinder it.” He went on to suggest that the Japanese law would eventually be applied to manga and anime as well. “If they were just asked if sex acts in school uniforms were ‘O.K.’ or ‘no good,’ almost all Japanese would say ‘no good.’ In other words, without appropriate explanation, created material is destined for regulation eventually. The key isappropriate explanations. I think the days of quietly drawing whatever you like are already over.”
Akamatsu earlier spoke to a reporter on CNN about the child pornography law, saying that “[pornographic] manga doesn’t involve actual children, so there are no actual victims” and pointing out that “there’s no scientific evidence” for manga inducing actual child abuse. He has also resisted efforts to strengthen Japan’s copyright laws, claiming that they would harm the doujinshi field, and actively lobbies the government through the Japan Cartoonist Association. The new law so far exempts anime and manga images.
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