Otaku USA Magazine
More Manga Censorship Worries

A follow up on our story about the manga controversy last week – and a fresh new controversy.

As you may recall, a manga called Imoto Paradise 2, which contained themes of incest, was designated as an adult title by the Tokyo government last week, causing Amazon to pull the digital version from the Kindle store and forcing bookstores to move the manga to their adult sections and wrap it with a cover so it can’t be browsed in-store.

What was the big deal? It was the first use of an updated law, changed in 2011, that gave Tokyo’s government more power in choosing what manga and anime are deemed “unhealthy.” Publishers and free speech activists alike protested the rule change when it went into effect, claiming it would lead to a lack of freedom in storytelling.

In the time since we published our original story, the publisher of Imoto Paradise 2, Kadokawa, has gone a step farther, voluntarily recalling the manga from bookstores. According to Kadokawa’s statement, it decided to remove the manga from stores to “avoid confusion and trouble.” This leaves fans of the manga in an unenviable position, as it has also been removed from Amazon’s physical print bookstore.

Believe it or not, Imoto Paradise 2 is not the only manga kicking up controversy this week.

The other manga in question is called Oishinbo, and the controversy surrounding it has nothing to do with adult content. Rather, the manga-ka is in hot water because of a recent chapter in which his characters visit Fukushima, the site of 2011’s nuclear disaster. The characters in Oishinbo become sick and suffer nosebleeds after visiting Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Criticism toward the chapter spread quickly online, with people from and outside Fukushima complaining it would create prejudice toward people from the region.

Manga-ka Tetsu Kariya, who himself has made visits to the plant, said in a blog post he “accepts full responsibility” for the content of the manga, and that complaints to the staff and editors of Big Comic Spirits, the magazine which publishes Oishinbo, are “barking up the wrong tree.”

Meanwhile, Hiroshi Murayama, the editor of Big Comic Spirits, called the chapter an “attempt to sound the alarm about the grim, and largely overlooked, reality of life in the prefecture.” Big Comic Spirits are currently conducting a policy review. But Murayama defended the publishing of the chapter, saying Kariya’s viewpoint was “worth presenting to readers for their opinions.”

Even Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has weighed in on the controversy, saying there is “no confirmation” that anyone’s health has been directly affected by radioactive substances and dismissing reports like the ones in Oishinbo as “baseless rumors.”

Sources: ANN (1), ANN (2), Japan Times (1), Japan Times (2)

Related stories:

Tokyo Government Restricts Manga as Unhealthy
The Daily Show Blasts Japan’s Censorship Double Standards
CNN Vilifies Manga as Child Porn
The Daily Show Tackles CNN’s Manga Story
Canadian Man Jailed For Watching Anime Porn

Matt Schley

Matt Schley (rhymes with "guy") lives in Tokyo, and has been OUSA's "man in Japan" since 2012. He's also written about anime and Japanese film for the Japan Times, Screen Daily and more.