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Osaka Considers Yaoi & BL Ban

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Osaka, not to be outdone by rival Tokyo, is considering an original ban of its own – on “yaoi” manga, or “Boys Love” (BL) as the market is generally known in Japan.

The prefectural government has published a lengthy list of all the things they are considering banning; along with the items relating to their version of the Tokyo loli ban, they also quietly add “Boys Love” to the list of topics to ban:

osaka-ban

The BL part:

Restriction of comics marketed to women, consideration of a ban on “boys love” comics.

The proposed ban also explicitly makes no distinction between fiction and reality, seemingly a distinction politicians have great difficulty grasping – possibly not surprising considering the state of the average election manifesto.

An example of the sort of material the ban targets:

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The perceived issue with such works is that they are available to a general audience, rather than sold as age-restricted ero-manga. In general the depictions involved are of adult males engaged in consensual homosexual sex (“shota” is a different market entirely).

These works are generally much more explicit than a non-restricted manga marketed to males could get away with – censors, moralists and feminists are seemingly too preoccupied with depictions of females to bother with scenes of men having sex. This has not stopped occasional calls for restrictions however.

As with the earlier loli ban efforts, the tactic appears to be one of forcing all such material into “adult-only” age restricted distribution, which generally has the effect of massively curtailing the outlets through which the works will be sold (and so eliminating the market for the magazines in question), as well as causing non-age restricted titles to become shy of any depictions which might cause them to be forced into over-18 sales channels.

Such a ban on distribution could effectively throttle the nation’s second-largest BL market without having to take the form of a much more difficult to accomplish outright ban on publication – a “stealth-ban” in effect, some of which have been seen before.

Banning BL comics in fact seems an example of moral outrage for its own sake – the comics are marketed exclusively to females, so they clearly do not promote homosexuality amongst young men (and no mainstream politician would dare to call homosexuals undesirable deviants in any case).

It is hard to see how they could be construed as encouraging girls into pregnancy or prostitution. Even the most addled of ban-supporters would have trouble claiming they turn women into rapists or deviant man-fanciers.

Just in what way they are “unhealthy” is in fact something nobody seems to bother mentioning.

The amount of effort Japan’s politicians have recently been putting into destroying their creative industries, and freedom of expression along with it, is astonishing considering it is one of the few remaining sources of economic vitality the nation has left.

Just how they expect to pay off their huge pension deficit and enormous national debt is apparently of secondary importance when compared to the pressing issue of expunging sex from the lives of the children.

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