Yuragi-sō no Yūna-san Stirs Controversy Over 'Sexual Depictions' in Shonen Jump
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
This year's 31st issue of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine caused controversy after shipping on July 3. The issue published the latest chapter of Tadahiro Miura's Yuragi-sō no Yūna-san (Yūna of Yuragi Manor) manga, and the series is featured on the issue's cover. The issue also published the results of a character popularity poll for the series. Some people are questioning the appropriateness of the illustrations that appear with the contest results.
The illustrations show the manga's characters in skimpy bikinis that are falling off. The female characters' faces show embarrassed blushes and frustrated tears. Some people commenting online believe that these sexualized depictions of female characters are inappropriate for the magazine whose readers include children.
Lawyer Keiko Ōta encouraged parents to not let their sons read Shonen Jump. She said that "depicting sexual harassment as pleasure is a problem." Gender studies professor at Osaku University Kazue Muta said that people are learning from a young age that seeing females as sexual objects, ignoring a partner's protests, and then engaging in naked sexual acts is normal.
On the other hand, some net commenters said not letting boys read Shonen Jump is a poor choice. They believe that seeing erotic images is a necessary part of growth into adulthood. One commenter said, "It's a nuisance that you want to force your own disgust for sex onto children and also onto society." Lawyer Yamato Satō agreed with that sentiment and expressed concern about excessive censorship.
Sculptor and manga artist Megumi Igarashi (also known as Rokudenashiko), who is known for creating a boat shaped like a vagina, also shared her opinion. She said that the desire to keep children away from erotic manga and maintain their purity forever is a sign of parents' egos. Igarashi called for greater sex education.
Manga creator Tatsuya Egawa (Golden Boy, Tokyo University Story, Magical Taruruuto-kun) was outspoken on Facebook in his opinion that "idiots ban" depictions such as the Yuragi-sō no Yūna-san illustrations. Egawa said that Miura's manga is tame in comparison to the erotic depictions in Go Nagai's Harenchi Gakuen manga that debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump's first issue in 1968. Egawa added that he thinks the Shonen Jump manga with the worst influence on children is Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen, which focuses on a boy in Hiroshima after the atomic bombing. However, Egawa continued, "But it's a mistake to not let [children] read [a series] just because it's bad manga. People become adults by reading various things."
Egawa said wise educators let children read freely, and "The important thing is letting children think for themselves." He ended his post by saying that people who talk about bans likely received poor education. Egawa's response to the controversy currently has more than 1,100 "Likes" on Facebook.
Lawyer Yoshitaka Miura said that the Yuragi-sō no Yūna-san illustrations are merely cases of "lucky sukebe" (lucky pervert), and "It's unreasonable to say that 'lucky sukebe' are depictions of sexual harassment and sexual violence." The term refers to fan-service scenarios in anime and manga where characters accidentally touch a female character's breast or see underwear, for example. The lawyer explained that the ghost character Yūna's abilities are what cause the characters in the illustrations to lose their bathing suits, so the image is a case of "lucky sukebe."
Shueisha reportedly responded to the controversy by stating that various opinions appear in Shonen Jump every week. The publisher said it will continue to listen and work to create a magazine that more readers can enjoy.
The Yuragi-sō no Yūna-san manga launched in the magazine in February 2016, and Shueisha published the sixth compiled volume on July 4.
The manga's story centers on male high school student Fuyuzora Kogarashi who has spiritual abilities and is easily possessed by spirits. He moves into a boarding house with very low rent and meets the ghost girl Yūna. Fuyuzora agrees to help her sort out unfinished business so she can move to the afterlife. The other residents of the boarding house then begin to reveal their supernatural secrets to Fuyuzora.
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