Ishii Teruo's Kyofu Kikei Ningen

Aaron Gerow aaron.gerow
Mon Jun 25 20:50:07 EDT 2007

> Speaking about ?Kyofu kikei ningen?, has anybody got list of movie 
> banned in
> Japan?

First, technically Kyofu kikei ningen was never banned in Japan. It was 
released in regular theaters by Toei, a major film company. For various 
reasons, however, it was never released on video or DVD in Japan, 
although the film print has been available.

It is thus in a different category from films that were not released in 
theaters for different reasons. One should take care about using the 
term "banned": even though it might spice up tales about a film, 
censorship is technically prohibited in the Japanese Constitution. Of 
course, there is still police and customs regulation of matter deemed 
pornographic, Eirin still rates movies, and the companies themselves 
may decide not to release a film for various reasons, so that 
constitutional provision may seem to have little effect, but it is 
debatable whether any of these institutions really can "ban" an entire 
film in the strict sense of the term. Police of course cited Kuroi yuki 
in the 1960s and several Nikkatsu Roman Porno films in the early 1970s 
for obscenity, but the police lost both of those famous cases (with Ai 
no koriida, it was only the book that was cited, and prosecutors lost 
there as well). There are simply very few cases in the postwar of 
commercially released films being prosecuted for obscenity. Police and 
customs still put pressure on certain depictions of sex and nudity, so 
especially foreign films can be subject to cuts, but whether this 
constitutes a "ban" of the original version is open to debate. Eirin 
still rates films, but do remember that film producers are still free 
to ignore it: not getting the Eirin seal prevents one from showing the 
film in the majority of commercial theaters in Japan, but there are 
still many venues, especially non-commercial halls, where you can show 
it. Finally, there are the companies themselves, which can sometimes 
decide not to release a film in which they invested a lot of money. 
This is quite rare, but it sometimes happens. The reasons can sometimes 
be political, but most often they are commercial or concern issues of 
rights. Sometimes, it is just petty infighting: the release of Aoyama 
Shinji's Lakeside Murder Case, for instance, was long delayed because 
of rivalries within Fuji TV, and when it did reach the theaters, it was 
unceremoniously dumped because the "other faction" won.

Keeping this in mind, people might be interested in the fact that a 
colleague of mine is helping program a retro at Cinema Vera on films 
that experienced some kind of problems before, during or after their 
release. I think it will be coming out in September, but the final list 
is still not complete.

Aaron Gerow
Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University
53 Wall Street, Room 316
PO Box 208363
New Haven, CT 06520-8363
Phone: 1-203-432-7082
Fax: 1-203-432-6764
e-mail: aaron.gerow at

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