Some background explanation is required – when LDP politicians were pressing for censorship of loli manga using Tokyo regional government ordinances to circumvent constitutional protections of free speech and art, the vice governor of Tokyo, Naoki Inose, appeared on television to support his party’s push for censorship.
During this appearance he took the unusual measure of displaying a piece of “loli manga” which he carefully censored – however, he had actually selected a harmless non-ero gag manga, “My Wife is an Elementary Schooler!” and merely dressed it up with incriminating stickers to make it appear obscene, an act which thoroughly enraged the manga’s author.
The cover of the manga featured a young girl clad in sukumizu, randosel and wedding veil – precisely the costume artist Takashi Murakami dressed Britney Spears up in.
The mangaka victimised by the politician, Seiji Matsuyama, reports he was secretly in on the scheme by Murakami, in which they had Spears dress up as the very character politicians were deceitfully co-opting.
Had the law passed, it appears both the Spears cosplay and the original manga would have been branded “unhealthy literature” or “virtual child pornography” and have been subject to restriction in Tokyo:
Section 3: Restriction of the Sale of Unhealthy Literature
2. Items which through age, clothing, accessories, school year, setting, other people’s ages, or voice, seem reminiscent of a person who might be recognised as an under-18 (hereafter called a “a fictional minor”) engaged in, or appearing to be engaged in, sexual activity or activity resembling sexual activity, or which impede the development of healthy sexual faculties in youths, or which might be feared to obstruct the healthy development of youths.
It appears neither Spears nor the pop rag publishing the photographs had any inkling of the political message underlying his choice of cosplay material, nor the fetishistic overtones of the costume:
Takashi Murakami made an extensive series of remarks on Twitter detailing his position, reproduced in part below:
Seiji Matsuyama’s manga ended up being involved in the debate over “fictional youths,” but I thought it should be sealed into history as an artistic event.
I am an artist, and so I took action as an artist.
It appears part of his intent was to demonstrate that such works much always be treated as art:
It’s always been obvious that Japanese manga culture, especially when linked to the erotic, must always be considered as art.
As all his works are firmly considered “fine art” and are thus immune to censorship even if their content may be identical to the sort of thing which would lead to arrests if published uncensored by a mere mangaka, by using Britney Spears he has effectively demonstrated that the law would have directly suppressed artistic freedoms.