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Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
The event organizer Takamagahara announced on Wednesday that it would host a dōjin (self-published manga and other works) event devoted to Season of the Sun (Taiyō no Kisetsu) and other novels by Shintaro Ishihara — the current Tokyo Governor and a leading proponent of the recent amendment to the city's Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. Although the event has since been modified, Takamagahara still plans to host it on March 12, 2011 as a protest against the amendment which will restrict certain anime, manga, games, and other media.
Before he became a politician, Ishihara launched his writing career at the age of 23 with Season of the Sun, a 1955 novel with mature themes. A 1956 Time magazine article described the bestselling novel and the live-action film (pictured at right) it inspired:
In Ishihara's first novel, Taiyō no Kisetsu (Season of the Sun), boys and girls with no other purpose in life than sheer enjoyment found a way of life exactly to their taste. The cynical, lusty tale of the love life of two brothers and their single girl friend was promptly transcribed into a movie whose uninhibited fidelity to detail would have whitened a Hollywood censor's hair overnight.
Tokyo elected Ishihara as its governor in 1999. Earlier this year, he supported an amendment to restrict the sale of sexualized depictions of "nonexistent youths" — such as in manga, anime, and other materials — from minors. The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly rejected the initial bill in June, but passed a revised version on Wednesday.
As originally planned, Takamagahara's "Season of Two Dimensions" (Ni-jigen no Kisetsu) event would have highlighted the point that Ishihara's novels featured violent and sexual content. Opponents of the recent amendment, Bill 156, contend that the content in Ishihara's novels, if made into anime or manga, would violate the amendment.
Under the bill, the industry will regulate "manga, anime, and other images" that "unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate" certain sexual or pseudo sexual acts. The government can also directly regulate these images if the depicted acts are also "considered to be excessively disrupting of social order" such as rape. Live-action photography and films are specifically excluded, and the bill does not addresss text novels.
On Thursday, Takamagahara announced that the dōjin event is no longer just devoted to Ishihara's works. The organizer cited the possibility of personal attacks on Ishihara for modifying the event. Takamagahara also took down the entry form for dōjin sellers. Takamagahara will still host the event to bring together dōjin creators to discuss the bill, as well as ways to protest and abolish it.
Thanks to skchai for the news tip.
Update: Dan Kanemitsu posted a translation of Ishihara's Friday press conference. A representative from the Weekly Asahi news magazine noted that Ishihara said in his True Sex Education book that "no book of any sort could instigate children toward crime or delinquency and that even if all undesirable books were wiped off the planet, crime would still take place." Ishihara responded that he was wrong at the time and the world is different now. He then characterized people who read and write the restricted material as "sad people with warped DNA."
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history