Whether you’re a fan of loli or kyonyuu, futanari or shota, twins or tentacles, figures, anime, manga, or doujinshi, increased public scrutiny in Japan is affecting the nature of your hobby – right now. What follows is a reckoning of events that while superficially disconnected combine to show the changing face of otaku media, a landscape less colorful and varied in its delights and perversions than it once was, and one that may never be the quite same again.

Dateline: August 23, 2007

A doujin author is arrested on indecency charges.

Effects:

Dateline: September 17, 2007

A high school girl murders her father with an axe.

Effects:

Dateline: October 22, 2007

A bureaucrat discovers the Abnormal Carnival event site and online catalog, and moves to close the event space to adult doujin conventions.

Effects:

  • Shokusai (tentacle-themed doujin event) is canceled
  • Abnormal Carnival (ABC; niche fetish themed doujin event) site content stripped, event future in question
  • Future of Kyonyuuko (ample chest-themed doujin event) in question, may be forced to change name
  • Future of Futaket (futanari-themed doujin event) in question
  • Keimaishitei (brother-sister, twins themed doujin event) cancelled

Dateline: October 25, 2007

A Japanese government survey finds via face to face interviews that an overwhelming majority supports the classification of 2D fictional loli manga as child pornography and that it should be prosecuted as such.

Effects:

  • Nothing, yet

Dateline: October 26, 2007

Applicants to Wonder Festival 2008 Winter receive official warning against the display of prurient material at the event.

Effects:

  • This policy was apparently in place for WF 2007 Summer as well, and explains why some of the more graphic figures were hidden behind barriers or not on display at all. Whether it will effect the actual content of items being sold at the event has yet to be seen.

Taken in aggregate is all of this recent activity cause for alarm? In all honesty I don’t really know. Veteran doujin authors say that similar crackdowns in moments of intense scrutiny have happened before (though never to this extreme), and the community as a whole seems determined to circle the wagons, shrink into unobtrusiveness and weather the storm until the public has turned its attention elsewhere.

It may only be that a few events have to change their names, a few more nipples have to be covered and a few more people have to be carded at conventions, and things will otherwise return to normal. On the other hand this could be just the beginning of a witch hunt that will lead to serious curtailments of artistic expression, and result in a substantial diminishing of some of the features that make the otaku world so exotic and fascinating.

We’ll continue our close scrutiny of issues surrounding public reaction to fictional adult media in the future, and I’m personally determined to continue investigating the best course of action that we as concerned international fans can take in support of the art and artists we hold in high regard.

For further reading I recommend checking out the last editorial we published on doujinshi, obscenity, and freedom of speech.