Amazon.co.jp have quietly decided to ban a huge variety of adult products from listing in their database. Products “recalling” pornography featuring underage participants are the first to go, with a number of ero-manga apparently already deleted from their database.
They also plan to stop selling products featuring “themes of illegality”, or “brutality”, “rape”, “drugs”. “coprophagia” and “bestiality”.
Additionally, they will be removing products matching keywords similar to the above, and no longer permitting the addition of such products in future. They threaten to terminate their commercial relationship with companies flaunting the ban by registering (or re-registering) such products.
In fact, the loli ban has been in place for a while it seems, but for some reason never persuaded them to cease stocking “young idol” or loli manga.
“Normal” pornography looks to be unaffected by the ban, but one only has to consider that the majority of such products seem to centre around forcibly deflowering reluctant schoolgirls to see that, if they apply their regulations to the letter, the lion’s share of their adult catalogue will be affected.
They have not given any reason for the change in policy, which has come to our attention by way of their missive to an ero-mangaka whose products they deleted, 伊駒一平氏 / Ippei Ikoma. You can read his account here.
According to another account, the manga they actually banned actually had none of the keywords or even an excessive cover or otherwise, nor a particularly extreme theme; only one scene towards the end of the volume was perhaps a little rough.
Applying such criteria freely, and with huge scope for interpretation of their vague language, it looks as though they can ban as much as they like.
It also seems reasonable to assume the ban will soon affect the full range of AV, eroge, anime, figures and so forth, though as yet mass deletions seem not to have occurred.
Whilst it is unfortunate to see Amazon taking such an ostensibly moralist stance, it seems unlikely that the huge appetite for such products will be affected by not being able to buy them at Amazon. Rather, this seems to be a huge opportunity for other retailers.
If other major online sellers were to follow suit, it would be an even greater boon to online retailers specialising in such products…
However, the large number of Japanese websites monetising their content through adult Amazon affiliate links will likely suffer from having the largest and most sophisticated platform taken away from them, as the alternatives may not perform at the same level, especially if other large retailers withdraw.
Regardless, it should be interesting to see what effect this has on their sales; it could be a large one. Investors may not like the results.
Speculating briefly on the cause, we might wonder about government moves against lolicon, or international efforts to force a ban onto Japan, but neither of these cases really explain why other more extreme content would be included. Perhaps a directive from Amazon HQ in Seattle?