The sexualised content of some Japanese media, particularly in regard to representations of characters who may ‘appear to be’ minors, has become the site of increased concern in some countries, notably Canada and Australia where fictional depictions of child characters have been included in the definition of ‘child-abuse publications’. The ever expanding scope of this legislation has led to the recent arrest and prosecution of manga and anime fans in both these countries and in the US.

McLelland, Mark. 2013. “Ethical and Legal Issues in Teaching about Japanese Popular Culture to Undergraduate Students in Australia.” Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies.

After the uproar about last week’s BBC3 documentary that attempted to link sexually explicit manga to real-life sexual abuse, it seems appropriate to bring back one of many articles that discuss how (attempted) censorship of sexual content has impacted fans around the globe.

Many fans will be familiar with the story of how censorship incidents on LiveJournal inspired calls for the fan-owned, fan-operated fanworks archive that would become the Archive of Our Own (AO3). These days, fans of Japanese media–inside and outside Japan–are perhaps the ones who are the most likely to encounter censorship in some way or another, and it’s a hot topic in Japanese fan communities. For some more background on media censorship in Japan, see this blog post on censorship and anime/manga fandom that I wrote for the OTW’s main blog in 2014.

For more academic works on censorship and fandom, see the “censorship” tag in the Fan Studies Bibliography.

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