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Erotic manga publisher to take case to Supreme Court
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On June 16, the Tokyo High Court reduced the punishment handed down by the lower court and fined Motonori Kishi, president of publisher Shobunkan, 1.5 million yen. In January 2004, the Tokyo District Court had found Kishi guilty on charges of obscenity and sentenced him to one year in prison, subject to three years probation.

The center of the controversy, reports Tsukuru (August) was over "Misshitsu" (closed room), an adult comic. Kishi's attorney had argued that while the comic contained illustrations depicting sexual acts, the contents did not differ appreciably from those on legally sold videos or DVDs which contained photographs performers engaged in similar acts. Had the lower court's sentence stood, any subsequent violation, even a traffic offense, could have resulted in Kishi being obliged to serve out the full sentence in prison.

The defense maintained that Article 175 of the Criminal Code ("A person who distributes or sells a pornographic writing, picture or other object ... shall be punished with imprisonment at forced labor for not more than two years or fined ...) contravenes freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.

The current criteria for prosecuting obscenity were established by the courts based on the translation of "Lady Chatterley's Lover," the case for which was argued in 1957.

The prosecutors had maintained that Misshitsu contained few elements showing any intention toward espousing "artistic or philosophical values." (Along with conventional sex scenes, the comic contains steamy depictions of rapes, sadomasochism and other behavioral aberrations. In some frames, male and female genitalia are depicted in realistic close-ups seldom seen outside of medical textbooks.)

But because Misshitsu was displayed in zoned areas of bookshops and labeled as adult reading matter, the defense argued, there was little chance it would offend so-called "average readers," let alone minors.

Shobunkan decided to appeal the High Court's verdict to the Supreme Court.

At a press conference following the High Court's verdict, Kishi told reporters about his legal difficulties, beginning with the freezing of his company's assets at the time charges were filed in 2002. "More than me personally, the authorities were bent on intimidating my employees and comic illustrators," he said. "I'm somewhat relieved that the sentence has been reduced to a fine. And I really appreciate everyone's support."

During the slightly less than three years since charges were filed, Shobunkan sales declined by some 30% but the company has managed to stay afloat.

The Shobunkan case, of course, has wider implications for Japan's publishing and book retailing trades. In a statement denouncing the High Court's verdict, a group of 90 small and medium-sized publishers asserted their position that Article 175 of the Criminal Code contravened the constitutional right to free expression, and that while constraints on undesirable publications "which cause personal injury through discriminatory teachings" could be handled through other laws, attempts by the authorities to determine what is obscene and to keep it out of readers' hands was "fundamentally wrong" and would "constitute controls over what can and cannot be published."

The second book covering Shobunkan's ongoing saga, "Hakkin Shobun: Waisetsu Comic Saiban Part II" was published last month by Michi Shuppan.

August 9, 2005

Japan Today Discussion

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cdoreilly Click here to see all messages by cdoreilly Click here to see member profile (Aug 9 2005 - 20:07)Rate | Report
"During the slightly less than three years since charges were filed, Shobunkan sales declined by some 30%"

that surprises me, because usually all that happens once a book/movie has been accused of being obscene is that everyone runs out to buy it.
herauthon Click here to see all messages by herauthon Click here to see member profile (Aug 10 2005 - 00:49)Rate | Report
i find such material less then erotic - since, i have some good faith for the term 'erotic' - the arrousing of eros. But since its all flashing symbols - carefully selected, in some specific order - its missing the stimulating or even ''amusement'' side of the content.

but before i get ''kicked'' - one must read and analyse the content.
But that is hardly admired - advised. So, the court ruling is hard to defend or reject without a good insight on the matter.
Also for the General public interest its important to have some idea what about it all is, since its again a limitation of wo/mens freedom.
As for minors, he who wants, seeks.
The Internet is a Growshop for such debatable erotism - i hardly call it such - as people are being mechanised for portaing activities that either shock, awe or de-sensify-> lets have some neurlogical research on the matter.
Land of the Rising Pervert
Khitan warlord Click here to see all messages by Khitan warlord Click here to see member profile (Aug 14 2005 - 16:21)Rate | Report
How perverted can this get.
herauthon Click here to see all messages by herauthon Click here to see member profile (Aug 14 2005 - 20:20)Rate | Report
the price of seemingly unlimited freedom.
Google !!??
Mad_Flyer Click here to see all messages by Mad_Flyer Click here to see member profile (Aug 19 2005 - 11:53)Rate | Report
I can't do a ggogle search without falling on the worst worldwide perversion.
(last time while searching for a body cover for my car with hight UV protection). And there are still people fighting against drawings of a punany and a wang ?
Seems more like a case of panel judges trying to defends there jobs than anything else...

I shall now jump into the bandwagon:
Deal with the yaks
Deal with JAL
Deal with corrupt politicians

AFTER come back to us and hide the human body... it is sooooo dirty
porn = illegal?
chamcham Click here to see all messages by chamcham Click here to see member profile (Aug 20 2005 - 06:50)Rate | Report
I don't get this.

Many stores in Japan sell porn.
How is the comic any different from all the hentai doujinshi(perverted fan-made comics)?

What is it that's so illegal about this particular comic?

Thank you.
Lana Click here to see all messages by Lana Click here to see member profile (Aug 27 2005 - 08:34)Rate | Report
I thought that too, but it said he drew in so much detail it was more graphic than a medical photo. Plus with the detail it also showed rape scenes, I dunno, guess it was too real..
How about some links
edoyuki Click here to see all messages by edoyuki Click here to see member profile (Aug 27 2005 - 22:34)Rate | Report
to this said manga?

Let us be the judges of what we look at!

If it was kiddie porn I could understand all the fuss, but come on, I have seen legal manga/anime on VHS and DVD that would give this guy's stuff a run for his money.
Yaskuni's own website: just take a look and judge
wallycave Click here to see all messages by wallycave Click here to see member profile (Aug 30 2005 - 23:09)Rate | Report
Has anybody posting here even looked at Yasukuni shrine's own website? Take a look! I thought I might see some artful deception, especially in the English pages - not all! They are completely unrepentant about the war and characterize the war as "Japan's fight for independence, " even though almost all soldiers died in other countries which Japan attacked first. The War Criminals: not one word about them on the site. You would think they would at least come up with some kind of justification, however lame, on their "FAQ" page, for including the war criminals in the shrine. Not at all - the issue is just not mentioned. Absolute silence on one of the most important questions of who bore responsibilty for a terrible war. Tribute is paid to middle school age children who died "defending" their country in Okinawa. At least the Germans recognize that Nazi conscription of children to fight and die in a lost cause because the leadership did not have the guts to surrender after starting such a horrible war was criminal. Apparently, Yasukuni thinks its just fine to send young middle school age children to die in a lost cause something noble, and makes that clear in its own English home page. Absolutely horrifying. If anyone reading this, and then going to Yasukuni's site thinks that conscripting children to fight because all military age men have been killed in a war that is alread lost is something noble, then I have to say you are indeed an unredeemable war fascist. Koizumi said, "Yasukuni honors those that died protecting Japan's borders," so if you think that Japan's borders include all of Hawaii, Korea, China, South East Asia, the Pacific Islands, where these men actually died, then you really are beyond hope.
To compare Yasukuni with other country's memorials is ridiculous. I would encourage others to just get on the net and compare official web sites to see how Yasukuni is a very different place.
By the way- Yasukuni's website is also silent about why Yasukuni refuses the request of Korean families to remove the names of their relatives, Koreans conscripted into the Japanese Army.
Again, admitting forced slave labor in war doesn't fit nicely with the Yasukuni message of celebrating death.

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