Amazon Bans Lolicon & Fetish Manga; AV, Eroge, Follow?

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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?

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36 Comments

  • This sucks, just when I was starting to seriously contemplate getting a japanese mail-forwarding address for the kind of purchases Amazon inexplicably refuses to ship abroad … I don’t want to have to rely on yahuoku & co.

  • I am surprised that noone has mentioned the effects on the artists yet.

    There are probably quite a few artists out there who will start thinking a bit closer about what kind of manga they are going to draw, now that they know they could lose some major sellers if their works end up being considered risky. Amazon is not only a platform for buying things, but also one to gather information about them. I myself often visit the Amazon entries of products to read customer reviews although I later buy them at a different online shop. So every artist considered inacceptable may lose a lot of advertisement which would lead to fewer people knowing about his or her product which would lead to a drop in sales of course. Or at least the artists in question will fear that case.

    So even if you don’t consider Amazon’s behavior censorship, it could nevertheless tempt artists to censor their own ideas, even before bringing them to paper. And censorship done by the artists themselves is probably the worst kind of censorship, as you can’t even protest against it…

    • Exactly.
      What you refer to is called “chilling effect”, and is a common way to censor something without appearing to actually censor it. Similar to how mafia coerce their victims without doing anything technically illegal, through use of implied threats.

  • The pointmissers are missing the point here:

    The laws had been in place for a long while now. Instinctive “ass-coverage” is the reason. And politics being politics; it takes something a good decade to work for “the people.”

    Not that Big Brother had stopped any of you before… How “big” IS this lost suppose to be for Amazon and others who take a stronger stance? Last I checked, the magic number for anime DVD sales is 10,000. And only around 5 titles can achieve that number. So let’s say we divide that number by 10. That would probably be the total fanbase for the hardercore pro-pedophile works.

  • Of course, this isn’t an actual ban. It’s just one store’s policies.

    This will only mean more sales for dedicated online eromanga and lolicon sellers, since there’s less competition from the (hard to beat) Amazon.

  • Sadly these days the news are quite dreadful on that front.

    More and more cases of strict censorship are applied to stores, websites and even whole nations/continents. As if genitalia censorship from Japan wasn’t enough now we have complete ban of genres.

    I am very afraid that in future, things are going to turn quite bad….

  • Yeah, Amazon JP’s been at it for over half a year. I’m not sure if it’s just them coming to the decision, cause other places like Hong Kong and Taiwan also stopped shipping not just hentai, but mature/adult manga and other merchandise at about the same time. Many suspect US Custom or Postal Office or Homeland Security has been applying pressure worldwide. But for your h manga import fix, you can still get some at Hobby Search or YesAsia. Play Asia seems to be still taking orders for risque figures. Coool.

      • fortunately not everyone in the world is like you, some still believe they do make a difference…

        today they ban loli manga and other stuff from their catalog, tomorrow you can’t buy porn because “someone” believes it does you harm…

        sure this isn’t enough to cause a war, but try to scale it up a little and you have enough reasons for it…

  • This is just sad… the economy is already going back to the dark ages, culture seems to be following suit.

    The main issue on the whole deal is that not only the government, but now also major retailers are using their powers to select what people can and cannot have access to.

    I don’t care how they call it, but since they have absolutely no evidence that loli manga and stuff can cause harm to people, there is only one word to define such actions: censorship.

    And it really doesn’t matter if you like loli stuff or not, because if people accepts what’s happening now, the next censored publication just could be something people like.

    It’s really sad how moralism seems to be gaining more fuel these days due to false assumptions.

    It’s a mistake to think that society and culture are always evolving… instead, it seems that we always come back to the same problems.

    Our history is filled with stories of censorship that used something that is not accepted by the majority on a specific period of time.
    Censorship that inevitabily proved useless to the purposes it was meant to.

    Talking about books with “pagan” content, then with “revolutionary” content, regular pornographic material, rock ‘n roll (the music of the devil), too much eroticism in movies, too much violence in movies and cartoons, violence and sex in games, and so forth.

    Banning loli manga, I’m willing to bet, will have NO EFFECTS whatsoever on crimes related to child abuse.

    We’re so prompt to criticize when extremist religious countries plead to ban some sort of media because it goes against their beliefs, yet here we are, acting just like them.

    • This isn’t censorship, the works still exist and will be available to most of the fans from other sources.

      As such I have no problem with a megacorp making a moral decision to not trade in something and so loosing money, regardless of whether I personally like the work or not.

      If more businesses choose to not make as much money by following their principals rather than profit the world would be in a better state.

      If it was the other way round and a company decided to pander to the masses for profit they would get flamed for that too.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not a censorship by Amazon, perhaps, however there are still many groups, such as Equality Now, which are indeed trying to censor these items.

        They too much start one piece at a time; Amazon was just one of the first to be hit.

        It really is a shame seeing these kinds of actions. Not only do such groups seem unable to see the other sides of the arguments they’re fighting, but they have little to no evidence to support their own side.

    • Well more like the orlas are going 1950s us stereotype. In the iddle ages say hello to pregger 12 or 13 year olds. It wasn’t until the victorian period that such things became wrong. Although most people would argue that kind oif thinking. To paraphrase puar i belive was her name fdrom dbz sex is beautiful.