News 1.5-Million-Yen Manga Obscenity Fine Appeal Denied
posted on 2007-06-16 18:27 EDT
The First Petty Bench of the Supreme Court of Japan has denied the appeal of Shobunkan president Motonori Kishi on June 14 on the 1.5-million-yen (about US$12,000) obscenity fine for an adult manga title his company published. The Tokyo District Court had sentenced Kishi to one year in prison in January 2004, but the first appeal to the Tokyo High Court reduced the sentence to the current fine on June 16, 2005.
The charge stems from Shobunkan's April 2002 publication of 20,000 volumes of the Missitsu (Honey Room) adult manga by the artist Beauty Hair. The prosecution had said this publication violated Article 175 of Japan's criminal code ("A person who distributes or sells a pornographic writing, picture, or other object…shall be punished with imprisonment at forced labor for not more than two years or fined…") for its depiction of rape, sadomasochism, and genitalia. The artist Beauty Hair received a 500,000-yen (US$4,000) fine.
The defense had argued that Honey Room, like other adult manga, was sectioned off from other manga in retail stores so minors would not normally have access, that manga as a medium is different enough from DVDs and photographic material, and that this clause in the criminal code violates Article 21 of the Constitution of Japan, which protects freedom of expression.