Media group pulls out of government's Tokyo Anime Fair

Media group Kadokawa is pulling out of the Tokyo government-sponsored Tokyo Anime Fair in March in protest at politicians’ plans to restrict sexual content in comics and toons.

In a tweet, Kadokawa prexy Shinichiro Inoue said the company had made the decision because, “we cannot agree with the city government’s position toward comic artists and animators.”

Kadokawa, the Japan Writers Guild, many industryites and fans object to a bill submitted Nov. 29 to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, claiming it would inhibit freedom of expression.

The bill revises a city ordinance that restricts the sale and rental of comics and toons containing excessive sexual depictions as well as those encouraging cruelty, crime and suicide, to youths under 18.

The new bill calls on the industry to self-restrict sales and rental of comics and toons that “glorify or exaggerate” sex acts that are legally prescribed or disrupt the social order.

Opponents argue the bill is so vaguely worded that it could be used to crack down on a wide range of sexually related material such as the depiction of gay marriage, which is not recognized by Japanese law.

An earlier version of the bill was voted down by the Assembly in June. The revised version, like the former, is backed by Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, a novelist and scriptwriter-turned-commentator and politico well known for his conservative views.

Kadokawa is not only an exhibitor and publisher but a member of the Tokyo Anime Fair board — and its departure could sway others to ankle the event, skedded for March 24-27.

One unnamed company indicated on Thursday that it will cancel its booth, according to unconfirmed blog reports.

If the law is passed, it will affect not only the makers of porn comics and toons, but also producers of legitimate content that will be under pressure to soften or suppress sexual content.

The freewheeling depictions of sex in Japanese comics and toons have long been a big sales point both at home and abroad.

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