Change is afoot: Tokyo Govt. Approves New Restrictions to Manga and Anime for Children’s Sake Part 3

This is the third and final part of my series on Bill 156, a bill that amends the Youth Healthy Ordinance in the Tokyo Metropolitan area proper. Here, I will give my future forecast for Japan.

So the bill is passed, without going into what led up to all of this, what will become of Japan now?

Well, I highly doubt the nation will sink into the sea overnight. Though the bill might prove to show there is some leakage.

Bill 156, while rooted in the Tokyo, will undoubtedly influence lawmakers nationally. Its predecessor was worded in such a way to encourage the entire nation to adopt more stringent rules. The new rules issued in, along with those of other limitations imposed in prefectures like Osaka, might prove to influence national laws to be more stringent.

Without a doubt, the industry will not be all that willing to listen to the nation’s government. So here are my guesses at what will happen with anime and manga in the coming year:

  • Japanese anime and manga companies will refuse to cooperate in exporting “Japan Cool”

The Cool Japan Public-Private Advisory Council decreed that Japan will hopefully increase its pop-culture exports by up to four times its current levels. Well, good luck with that P.M. Kan, because the lack of any support the publishers and distributors received in battling Bill 156 has left them seething.

The Tokyo Anime Fair (TAF) was boycotted by most major companies shortly after the bill passed: Gov. Ishihara told the boycotters to go cry in a corner.

Well, they did – sort of. The boycotting companies are now holding their own convention in Chiba.

Furthermore, the bill is based on voluntary adherence. Should a distributor refuse to follow the new restrictions, they’ll be publically reprimanded. I wonder if such distributors will brush off these scare tactics and go on ahead and stand defiant. It would certainly send a strong message to Tokyo.

  • Nagoya will grow in cultural capital

Given Osaka and Tokyo’s shunning of manga and anime, there are few major cities that can offer refuge and politically favorable prefectures are ill equipped to handle the industry.

Nagoya has a considerable population base of otaku, big enough to have its own Pokémon Center. I imagine this will become a safe haven, which Nagoya’s officials should embrace and profit from.

Should they fail, I imagine the very pro-anime Saitama will take up the torch, though that may be crippling none-the-less – Saitama is more a suburb of Tokyo than its own standalone economy.

  • Miyazaki Hayao will become the new god

He’s won awards. He’s affable. He’s strongly opinionated. He’s yet to fail Japan (though part of it might due to rose-colored-glasses).

There’ll be another movie. The Japanese government will hope to promote it. It’ll be on everywhere no matter how hard you try to escape. Critics will talk about how much of a great guy he is.

His tales of young innocent waifs will be devoid of sexuality and pave the way for modest success.

  • Korea will fill in

When there’s opportunity that’s less desirable in one nation, another that is willing will fill it. Just as American cars were overtaken by cheaper Hondas and Toyotas, or as China became the world’s factory with cheap labor, Japan will be no different.

I imagine everything banned in Japan, but not in another nation, will be taken up by another nation that’s eager to cash in.

About Tomo Hirai

For more than half a decade, Tomo Hirai has whittled his time away playing video games and reading comics. He has been writing about Japanese pop-culture since his start at the Nichi Bei Times working on Anime/Manga special issues.

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