Controversial Tawawa on Monday Manga Ad Sparks Conversation on Censorship – Interest

One Japanese politician is making his opinion known following the controversy stemming from a full-page ad for the Tawawa on Monday (Getsuy┼Źbi no Tawawafanservice manga in The Nikkei financial newspaper. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member Kenzo Fujisue shared an image of himself holding volumes three and four Kiseki Himura‘s manga on Twitter on Tuesday. His tweet simply reads “Purchased!”

Fujisue was elected to The Diet’s House of Councillors in 2004 and participates in the government’s Manga Council. He has spoken critically of the petition to amend the Child Prostitution and Child Pornography Prohibition Act to include guidelines to restrict depictions of underage, based on suggestions from the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The amendment would criminalize distribution, provision, sale, access, viewing and possession of images and depictions of children, or those who are primarily depicted as children, performing obvious sexual acts, or depictions of sexual parts of a child’s body for sexual purposes. The petition also includes amendments targeting child prostitution, child pornography, services that promote sexual exploitation such as “high school girl services,” and child erotica.

Fujisue spoke about the petition and stated that these regulations would negatively affect manga culture and be difficult to enforce due to the subjectivity of what constitutes “looking like a child” while referring the works of Osamu Tezuka.

“I think it is also a problem that police resources are taken to crack down on victimless creations and do not contribute to saving real children,” Fujisue wrote.

The Tawawa on Monday series also prompted comments from Love Hina manga creator and political hopeful Ken Akamatsu on Sunday. Akamatsu likened the criticism from the global gender equality organization UN Women as “external pressure” to regulate Japan’s “freedom of expression, especially for manga, anime, and games” and that such pressure is not new. He elaborated that such regulations need to be approached with rationality and not be obeyed simply because an outside party is demanding it. Akamatsu’s definition of “external pressure” does not necessarily mean “outside Japan.” He used the removal of PSAs featuring Virtual YouTuber Tojou Linka as an example.

Chiba prefectural police removed a traffic PSA video featuring the YouTuber last year following a letter of complaint from the Alliance of Feminist Representatives (AFER). The lette criticized the VTuber’s character design as “sexually objectifying.” Akamatsu wrote that AFER referenced the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reports published in 2016 as justification for the complaint.

Akamatsu disagrees with the statements in the CEDAW 2016 reports that claim that “stereotypes continue to be the root cause of sexual violence against women, and pornography, anime, video games, and manga contribute to sexual violence against women and girls.” He states that there is no evidence that these forms of media actively contribute to violence and stereotypes against women and there is no outlined consensus on how to judge a work that meets these standards.

UN Women issued a letter to The Nikkei newspaper on April 11 stating that the advertisement is “unacceptable” and asked for further clarification about the choice to print it. The ad showed main character Ai standing in profile in her school uniform. The text reads, “I hope this will be a wonderful week.” Kodansha placed the ad to promote the release of the manga’s fourth volume.

The manga series began in 2015 as weekly pin-ups posted on artist Kiseki Himura‘s Twitter account. The main character, Ai, is a high school girl with large breasts who encounters a businessman on the train ride to school. The girl’s regular appearance on the train brightens up the man’s gloomy Monday commute.

The Nikkei paper is part of UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance effort, a global campaign to promote “gender equality through media and advertising and eliminate harmful stereotypes.” The Nikkei paper has taken an active role in promoting the initiative’s ideas in the past, including the “Nikkei Woman Empowerment Advertising Award,” which recognizes advertisements that contribute to gender equality. The award has a three-step process for screening ads known as “The 3 Ps” – Presence (does the ad include diverse people?), Perspective (does it take the perspectives of both men and women into account?), and Personality ( does the subject show personality and independence?).

“Without an explanation from the company, I am not convinced that we will continue to work with them to promote gender equality through the power of advertising,” director of UN Women’s Japan-based office Kae Ishikawa said.

Akamatsu wrote a post on April 16 and stated the regulations outlined in the Unstereotype Alliance have “no rational basis.”

“We creators cannot write or draw anything if there is a risk that the people who read it will reenact what happens in the story or creation. In reality, I have never heard of manga encouraging war or encouraging murder. Why is this irrational regulation so highly touted when it comes to manga depicting high school girls? I would like to see you provide rational reasons and scientific evidence,” Akamatsu wrote. He stated that such regulations of advertisements violate the freedom of expression by the creators, publishers, and advertisers.

Source: Kenzo Fujisue’s Twitter account

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