Recently a Filipino ban on hentai manga/anime followed a vaguely worded, proposed UK law that would make all sexualized, simulated depictions of minors illegal (possibly making all fanservice legally problematic.) Now, there have been rumors that all games referring to sexual assault are to be banned in Japan, in the light of campaigns by international watchdog organization Equality Now and other womens’ rights organizations. Obviously, this rumored ban would spell disaster for an already troubled Japanese adult media industry. ANN reports that industry executives have already gone on record to reassure their fans that nothing has been decided yet.
It is terribly ironic that this censorship occurs even as historic progress is being made in many societies against the repression of women, minorities, and those of various sexual orientations. While prior bans against child pornography cited the harm done to the children appearing in the work, bans against the sexualized appearance of young girls in anime or manga are simply done to uphold a public sense of decency. No actual person is being harmed; rather the harm is presumably done to community standards. This movement in jurisprudence has led to some bizarre outcomes, such as the 14-year-old who was arrested as both sole perpetrator and sole victim of a “sex crime” wherein she photographed herself in a state of undress. Under US law, she may be forced to register as a sex offender for the remainder of her life.