History repeats?

Kirsten Cather kcather
Thu Aug 23 10:28:03 EDT 2007

This is fascinating news. I'd love to know (especially from those of  
you in Japan now) how much and what kind of coverage this incident  
receives. Any updates would be much appreciated.

I wonder if this recent raid was at all inspired by the successful  
prosecution of the comic book "Misshitsu" a couple of years back. I  
find it particularly interesting that the police are going after  
lowbrow manga and AV here. Perhaps the lack of critical/intellectual  
support for these mentioned by Aaron encourages such targeting.

It's strange though to see a potential indictment of the censors here  
since the Nikkatsu case doesn't offer a viable legal precedent. The  
Eirin censors for the Nikkatsu films were exculpated quite  
resoundingly in both the lower court and High Court verdicts in the  
late 70s. Their exoneration was based largely on the perceived  
success of Eirin to tame explicit sex in films for some 20+ years  
prior to that trial. I don't know much about Biderin, but since they  
too have been in operation for 30+ years, I wonder how successful an  
indictment would be should it come to that.

Is there anyone out there working on the history of Eirin out there?  
I've been reading some memoirs written by Eirin censors and histories  
of Eirin lately, but haven't found much in English.

Kirsten Cather
Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Studies
1 University Station, G9300
Austin, TX  78712

On Aug 23, 2007, at 8:25 AM, Aaron Gerow wrote:

> In what sounds like a curious repetition of the Nikkatsu Roman  
> Porno censorship case, in which inspectors for Eirin, the film  
> ratings board in Japan, were indicted in the early 1970s along with  
> Nikkatsu filmmakers for violating censorship laws, the Asahi and  
> other papers reported that Tokyo police have raided the offices of  
> Biderin (Nihon Bideo Rinri Kyokai), the video industry's self- 
> censorship arm, for aiding in the distribution of obscene materials  
> by relaxing guidelines for applying mosaic to sex scenes in videos.
> We'll see what happens, especially with regard to the police tactic  
> of arresting the censor for not censoring enough. But since AV  
> doesn't have the critical and intellectual support Roman Porno  
> does, I doubt we will see the uproar there was in the 1970s.
> Aaron Gerow
> KineJapan owner
> Assistant Professor
> Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
> Yale University
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