A manga translator has been convicted of possessing child pornography after police apparently uncovered his stash of loli manga.
The man had acquired 51 pictures deemed offensive by Swedish police (although apparently there were only in the region of 30 pictures, with police counting backup images twice), in order to “stay up to date with the latest developments in the Japanese comic genre” – an excuse which was probably connected to one of the two allowable defences for having the images.
Swedish law considers drawings involving underage participants in sexual situations to constitute child pornography, with police allowing an exception for people drawing their own pictures, as long as they do not show them to anyone.
This leads to the bizarre reasoning that showing an offending drawing to someone constitutes “a criminal case of child abuse” against a fictional child or children in general, whilst those keeping their pictures to themselves have not committed any fictional child rape at all.
Textual accounts of underage sexual activity, such as Nabokov’s literary classic Lolita, are “not yet” covered by the law – although, based on their logic, reading this book constitutes a criminal act of child abuse.
Another allowable defence is that the drawings were being used for “research” – this appears to have been used in this case, although it seems to have failed dismally.
His purpose for having the images aside, he was found guilty but received only a fine and probation. An appeal is planned.
A Swedish source contacting Sankaku Complex describes the man as a well-known manga translator in Sweden, and apparently by his own admission the man was engaged in a battle with his ex-partner for custody of his infant daughter after the mother moved away, taking the child with her – he claims he was falsely accused of child abuse by the mother so she could secure full custody.
Police investigating could find no evidence of abuse and the charges were dismissed, but a subsequent accusation persuaded police to search his residence, where they found his manga collection – including images of such characters as Asuka, which prosecutors considered to look too young.
No evidence of child abuse was ever found, but police decided to charge him with possession of child pornography on the basis of the manga they found.
As he points out “if you are going to draw any naked cartoon characters, be sure they have big breasts or your drawing might be illegal!”
Unsurprisingly, the trial sparked the usual debate with regards to freedom of speech, with some voices of reason amongst the usual rabble-rousing histrionics – his lawyer for one:
“It goes against all common sense. These are just drawings; no children have been harmed.”
Even a tabloid newspaper is sympathetic:
“However unpleasant and nasty a work of fiction might be, and whatever one thinks about Japanese porn involving cartoon children, there is actually no victim here. The children in the… man’s manga comics were not molested since they were characters in a comic.”
It seems the rights of fictional children may soon trump the rights of real artists and writers, with even reading a book or looking at a drawing now considered an act of “child abuse.”