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NEWS: Taiwanese County Warns of Death Note, Others Defend It


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Richard J.



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
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Location: Sic Semper Tyrannis.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:38 am Reply with quote
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However, Hsu Wen-bin, the executive-general of the Publication Appraisal Foundation (a non-profit organization that supports publication ratings) opined that Death Note was not bad for students and that parents should answers children's question after they read manga.
It's nice to see someone in a position of authority actually saying good things about a controversial manga. Far too many groups attack things without really thinking about them and it's refreshing to hear someone say parents should answer children's questions, rather than talk about censorship and banning. Sounds like a wise man to me.

How are things over there right now anyway? Goverment and public censorship on the rise or does Death Note just trigger concerns on a regular basis?
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dormcat
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:45 am Reply with quote
Richard J. wrote:
It's nice to see someone in a position of authority actually saying good things about a controversial manga.

Don't give PAF too much credit yet. Twisted Evil You have no idea what kind of organization it is, do you?


Last edited by dormcat on Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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phoenixphire24



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:46 am Reply with quote
The moral questions raised by Death Note make for excellent debate. I'm glad to see that someone is looking at Death Note and seeing it's merits as literature (of a sort). Of course, teachers have to take threats seriously, but at least some people are giving it a chance before judging it.
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Richard J.



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
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Location: Sic Semper Tyrannis.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:03 am Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Don't give PAF too much credit yet. Twisted Evil You have no idea what kind of organization it is, do you?
Well, I'm not from Taiwan and I was basing my opinions strictly on the article, so the answer is I know very little about them. (Feel free to share the Cliff's Notes version.) Apparently, I may have been far to quick to reason that one act of rationality might be their norm and not an aberation.

Anime exclamation Sigh Anime smallmouth Can't anyone be consistent nowadays?

If the organization is normally not postive towards something like Death Note though, their SOP shoud have been mentioned in the article to provide better understanding of the nature of the beast and oddity of them defending the title.
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Shuchung



Joined: 30 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:15 am Reply with quote
Well, that's kind of ironic. Jo-Jo and P.A.F. on the same side...
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kokuryu



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:42 am Reply with quote
The fact that someone is defending it means someone actually READ it - pretty rare in government circles these days.
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MokonaModoki



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:43 am Reply with quote
Richard J. wrote:
dormcat wrote:
Don't give PAF too much credit yet. Twisted Evil You have no idea what kind of organization it is, do you?
Well, I'm not from Taiwan and I was basing my opinions strictly on the article, so the answer is I know very little about them. (Feel free to share the Cliff's Notes version.) Apparently, I may have been far to quick to reason that one act of rationality might be their norm and not an aberation.

Anime exclamation Sigh Anime smallmouth Can't anyone be consistent nowadays?

If the organization is normally not postive towards something like Death Note though, their SOP shoud have been mentioned in the article to provide better understanding of the nature of the beast and oddity of them defending the title.


The Publications Appraisal Foundation generally lobbies the government to censor publications that the organization deems "harmful to children" (including such dangerous material as newspapers with lingerie ads in them).

Some past quotes from its director that should provide some clues to his mindset:

"We support academic freedom, but only within limits."

"Taiwan is too free, too democratic. Everyone respects everyone else's agenda."

For PAF purposes, it is safe to assume that they determined that Death Note has a satisfactory lack of any sexual content. Even so, the fact that Death Note features a high school student who engages in serial murder on a massive scale does seem a slightly ironic (for the type of organization that it claims to be).
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:45 am Reply with quote
So, I'm just wondering... Can Death Note be considered the most controversial manga ever? If it isn't, which manga beats it (and where can I get a copy)?
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Tempest
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:46 am Reply with quote
PAF is a non governmental, not-for-profit organization that reviews publications and lobbies the government to censor those that they deem harmful or obscene. They are particularly concerned with anything that is harmful to children.

PAF is fairly traditionalist and conservative in its outlook, there have been several cases of them trying to censor gay porn that is no more graphic than het porn that it accepts.

Despite being non-governmental, the organization is very influential within the government, and government agencies frequently turn to PAF for guidance.

edit: MokonaModoki beat me to it.
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Tempest
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:54 am Reply with quote
BleuVII wrote:
So, I'm just wondering... Can Death Note be considered the most controversial manga ever? If it isn't, which manga beats it (and where can I get a copy)?


Not by a long, long shot.

Urotsukidoji
Kodomo no Jikan
Berserk
Battle Royale
Kenkanryu
Tezuka's Black Jack
Chugoku Nyumon

Kenkenryu being the one I think will bother you the most.
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dormcat
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:57 am Reply with quote
Shuchung wrote:
Well, that's kind of ironic. Jo-Jo and P.A.F. on the same side...

Now there is someone who's in the alley. Twisted Evil

@Richard J.:

Back in the days of Martial Law, all publications were regulated (and censored when necessary) by Government Information Office (GIO) under the authority sanctioned by Publication Act, created in 1930. After the Martial Law lifted and the gradual democratization, the Publication Act was abolished in 1999. However, in 2003 a new law named Children and Juveniles Welfare Law was created. Article 27 has the following text: "Publications, computer software, and computer networks shall be graded," and from this article an executive order of Publication and Video Rating was created by GIO. In order to avoid the accusation of being essentially the same of Publication Act back in the old days, article 4 said "Publisher shall rate the publication themselves prior to publishing. When in doubt, it shall consult professional rating organizations."

And PAF was born. How convenient.

The first problem is "what is PAF?" It was not mentioned in any law or XO shown above; no one knows why Mr. Doe or Ms. Smith was hired as the judge; no one knows if it has been receiving government budget. GIO outsource the authority to PIF, so when problem arises, neither has the responsibility.

The second problem is article 5.4 of Rating XO, defining "adult only:" "To describe sexual intercourse, pornographic stories or nudity of sexual organs with language, text, dialogue, sound, picture, or photography, not yet to induce humiliation or disgust in normal adults." PAF invented a new term, "beyond 'adults only'," for those stuff they consider that will induce humiliation or disgust in normal adults. Publishers, especially dedicated adult media, strongly protested this ambiguous, blurry standard, but GIO and PAF kept kicking the ball back and forth.

The third problem is its funding. While non-profit on paper (and to most consumers), PAF charges 6-10 times of list price of any title sent to them for rating, i.e. US$99.90 for a manga volume sold at $9.99, and that charge is volume by volume, not series by series. Furthermore, they sell "adults only" stickers to bookstores and book rentals for books and magazines released prior to the new XO (those released after the new XO are required to have the label on the front cover).

tempest wrote:
Battle Royale

Ahh, the prime example. PAF has bashed it multiple times, making its licensee Ever Glory Publication so annoyed that they ceased releasing BR before completion.

For more English news, search Taipei Times with "Publication Appraisal Foundation".
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minakichan



Joined: 12 Nov 2003
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:57 pm Reply with quote
BleuVII wrote:
So, I'm just wondering... Can Death Note be considered the most controversial manga ever? If it isn't, which manga beats it (and where can I get a copy)?


I'd also say Kuni ga Moeru. Which I really want to read, but of course, it will never get scanlated and DEFINITELY never licensed.

I really think that if Death Note had run in a seinen magazine instead of in Shonen Jump, it wouldn't have this kind of controversy. There's seinen stuff that's far more dangerous than Death Note, but usually those series don't have 12-year-old middle school fans that can't really differentiate between fiction and reality. Shueisha REALLY should have had more foresight about this, it was a little silly of them not to.

As always, dormcat is awesome. And at least Taiwan's reaction is better than China's. (Heh.)
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pat_payne



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:10 pm Reply with quote
minakichan wrote:
BleuVII wrote:
So, I'm just wondering... Can Death Note be considered the most controversial manga ever? If it isn't, which manga beats it (and where can I get a copy)?


I'd also say Kuni ga Moeru. Which I really want to read, but of course, it will never get scanlated and DEFINITELY never licensed.


And even if it were to get scanlated, the offending parts of the manga have already been scattered to the four winds (I found a copy of the volume witht he problematic chapters at my local Book-Off, and the majority of the parts dealing with the Nanjing Massacre were nowhere to be found) meaning that those who really want to see what the furore was all about will have to find an increasingly-rare copy of the original "phonebook" that the chapters were first serialized in.

I'd agree about the manga never getting licensed here, although not because of controversy so much as because, sadly, I don't think it'd sell to the target audience of the licensors on this side of the Pacific. A gritty work taking an unfliching, mostly historically authentic but convention-busting adult look at World War Two is not what most Shonen fans/Shojou fans/Yaoi fangirls are going to pick up, and so the big distributors here are going to save their money for licenses that will sell better.

And that's a shame, because I'd like to see them bring out a licenced version of the manga myself.
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minakichan



Joined: 12 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:54 pm Reply with quote
pat_payne wrote:
I'd agree about the manga never getting licensed here, although not because of controversy so much as because, sadly, I don't think it'd sell to the target audience of the licensors on this side of the Pacific. A gritty work taking an unfliching, mostly historically authentic but convention-busting adult look at World War Two is not what most Shonen fans/Shojou fans/Yaoi fangirls are going to pick up, and so the big distributors here are going to save their money for licenses that will sell better.


No kidding, man. It is such a crying shame. And even if there WAS an interested audience, there's also the fact that no one wants to license a series that just get cut off in the middle, except maybe one of those banned-book fanatics. Which manga licensors aren't.

It's probably difficult but not impossible to find the Young Jump back issues, but to find all of them AND a scanlation group isn't going to happen...
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pat_payne



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:16 pm Reply with quote
minakichan wrote:


No kidding, man. It is such a crying shame. And even if there WAS an interested audience, there's also the fact that no one wants to license a series that just get cut off in the middle, except maybe one of those banned-book fanatics. Which manga licensors aren't.


To be fair though, the series wasn't cut off. It did get a conclusion, going through Pearl Harbor and World War Two to a few chapters showing the protagonist being held as a POW in the USSR and Communist China before finally being repatriated to Japan at the end.

However, I do believe that suppressing those chapters in the middle does the reading public a disservice, forbidding them the chance to debate the merits of the author's position on the Nanjing Massacre and the authenticity of the images.

Ummm...yeah...should I be apologizing about unintentionally hiijacking the thread? Laughing

As to the Death Note issue: It looks like another PTA that has taken upon itself to advise about a work that could be taken the wrong way. Nobody there is saying "take this devil's manga out of their hands and burn it on a bonfire." They're merely saying, at least as far as the manga is concerned, for parents to take some good advice: keep tabs on what your child is viewing/reading and make sure it's appropriate for them.

What baffles me is this "Publication Appraisal Foundation" seeming to say that they find their raison d'etre to be "unreasonable". (Note that I'm not saying that I agree 100% with what their reason for being is -- it sounds like, from the descriptions of Taiwanese ANN-ers on the boards that they're a thinly-veiled Kuomindang-approved Comstock Commission-style affair)

This passage struck me as particularly odd:
Quote:
Since it is unreasonable to classify books or to ask parents to read the manga with their children, Hsu said the best solution is for parents to provide answers that children might have while reading the mangas.


Given Dormcat and Tempest's descriptions of the PAF, it seems like a BBFC/MPAA/CCA-like organization on steroids, which means it's kind of their job to "classify books", dunnit? That's like Jack Valenti saying that it's unreasonable to rate movies!

And, they're the ones who were selling official "18-up" stickers too...
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