This week in not being evil: “loli” spirited away from Google search results

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled absence of programming with a public service annoucement: Super Google has done it again. Not being evil, that is. This has resulted in a suprising lack of results if you happen to ask the wrong question. Like this:

About 62 results about “lolicon”, even though the first page advertises 1.5 million hits or so. Login status, SafeSearch settings, private browsing, etc. do not substantially affect that number, and neither does displaying the “omitted results”. See for yourself. For comparison, Yandex claims around 400,000 answers on that search term, and lets you browse 100 pages of results.

More generally, Google has suddenly stopped providing meaningful results to related search queries (anything that includes “loli”, “lolicon”, the Japanese katakana versions ロリ, ロリコン, and possibly more terms), apparently within the last 24 hours. For example, you cannot find the Japanese Wikipedia page about this subject on Google anymore, unless you look up the unabbreviated, much less used phrase ロリータ・コンプレックス (lolita complex) directly. This has caused a bit of a commotion on my corner of the Japanese Internet, including among people known for their level-headedness, like Nakagawa Yuzuru, associate professor of film studies at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image. And I agree with them that the situation is pretty outrageous.

The first “CG child pornography” arrest: more opportunistic enforcement

Last Thursday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's Youth Development Section announced that it arrested a 52-year old man from Gifu on suspicion of violating the Child Pornography Law, in what it trumpeted as the first “exposure of computer graphics child pornography” nationwide. Initial news reports provided scant details beyond the “CG child porn” headline, fueling speculation that the police were somehow anticipating the current reform bill by cracking down on purely fictional material, namely pornographic 3D models of imaginary character. As later reports revealed, however, the object of the investigation turns out to be of a quite different nature.

The man had been distributing, directly as well as through not particularly shady channels such as Melonbooks, a doujin picture collection called 『聖少女伝説2』 Seishoujo densetsu 2, whose official website, as helpfully pointed out by Yaraon, is preserved on the Internet Archive. You can get a sense of the nature of the material there. As reported by Sankei News, it consists of scanned pictures of young girls from nude photobooks of the 1980s and early 1990s, with slight edits to hair styles, skin colors and poses using some photo editing software, presumably so that the author could pretend that they were “computer-generated” and hence, he believed, legal.

What is child pornography in Japan?

At the end of May, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and its allies the Komeito and the Japan Restoration Party introduced, yet again, a bill to amend the national Child Pornography Law, citing the need for a further crackdown on the exploitation of children, and for aligning Japan with “global standards” of regulation.

In reality, however, the bill, which is essentially a carbon copy of a previous one submitted in 2009, and which had been scrapped due to the LDP's historic electoral defeat that year, does nothing to further its stated goals. Its main provisions include a ban on “simple possession” of so-called child pornography, and a call for a three-year “inquiry” into the detrimental effects of sexual representations of minors in fiction (anime, manga and games), at the end of which the law would be expanded to include those other materials. Now you be thinking that this isn't so bad, for reasons such as:

  1. “What's wrong with banning possession of child porn? My country does it too! That stuff shouldn't exist! It gets made because there are criminal perverts who buy it! And by the way, if you defend it, you're a filthy pedophile, go kill yourself!”
  2. “So the anime ban isn't really a ban, just an inquiry. I see nothing wrong with that. They won't ban the stuff if they don't come up with a serious argument that it harms real children.”

Both of those viewpoints are based on assumptions that are severely at odds with reality. This post is about the first point; in particular, I would like to explain why, even though it is in fact true that many countries have a ban on the simple possession of what they call “child pornography”, adding such a ban to the Japanese child porn law would very much not align it with “global standards”. I might discuss the second point in a later short note.

フランスの非実在青少年規制:なぜこうなった?

児童ポルノ法改正案をめぐる論議の中で、フィクションにおける未成年者など、いわゆる「非実在青少年」の性的描写が他国で規制されているとよく言われています。私の母国フランスは実際その一例で、日本の本屋で普通に買える書籍を持つと懲役刑が科せられる可能性もあります。しかし「アニメや漫画を規制しよう」というはっきりした立法趣旨があった訳ではありません。今の状況は、マスコミ狂乱の渦中に慌ただしく可決された法律の過度の広汎性と、可決後何年も経て急に厳しくなった執行の結果とも言えます。立法と執行の経緯はかなり示唆的かと考えており、手短に紹介したいと思っております。

フランスにおける児童ポルノ規制は1994年に遡る。当時は実在する未成年者の「ポルノグラフィーの特性を持つ」画像の製造と配布しか禁止されていなかったのです。

ベルギーの残酷なマルク・デュトルー事件を背景に、1996年あたりから仏マスコミは「ペドフィリア」に対するモラルパニックに襲われました。警察は不安に応えようとして「ペドファイル犯罪」を厳しく取り締まるスタンスを取り、未成年に見える少年の淫らな画像を所持していた容疑で何百人の男性を一斉逮捕しました。この事件はメディアで大々的に報道され、名前や顔写真が広く晒された容疑者らの自殺も続発しました。ほとんどの場合、容疑が薄く、起訴の根拠は薄弱だったのですが、それは数年も経ってから判明しました

そんな中1997年に、児童ポルノをはじめ性犯罪に対する罰則を強化しようとした「性的犯罪防止抑止及び未成年者保護に関する法案」が提出されました。新技術に対する不安が大きかった時でもあったので暫定法案はインターネットなどの新規規制を導入していましたし、上院審議会Charles Jolibois会長は「児童ポルノ合成画像」への深刻な懸念を示して「未成年者の画像又は描写」(l'image ou la représentation d'un mineur)を罰するべきだと主張しました。そういう風に改正された法案が1998年に最終可決されました。審議記録を読むと、意図された処罰対象は明らかに「実在人物の写真とは識別できない写実的ポルノ画像」ではありますが「représentation」という単語は非常に曖昧なので、広義に解釈すると実在人物とは何の関係もない絵画や描画も規制対象となるのです。

また2001年に、ポルノや性犯罪とは無関係であるはずだった「親の権威に関する法案」の第二次下院審議の時、Catherine Picard議員は「児童ポルノの単純所持を 罰する規定」が必要であるとしてこの法文に入れることを提案しました。それに対して、Ségolène Royal家族担当大臣は「賛成。この提案を可決したら、きたる横浜の児童性的搾取に反対する世界会議にてのフランスの地位が高まるだろう。」という肯定的な意見を示しました。改正法案は異論なく可決されました。驚くことなく、依然として規制されていた非実在青少年のreprésentation「描写」の所持も処罰対象となりました。

要するに、非実在青少年の「描写」は1998年に、そして単純所持は2002年に禁止されましたが、しばらくの間「描写」に対する追訴は一切なかった結果、規制範囲は漠然なままでした。2003年にフランス人権連盟・創作自由監視委員長Agnès Tricoire弁護士が法律の過度な広汎性に関する懸念を示した声明を発表しました。「刑法227条23項に於けるreprésentationという単語は美術的描写も該当するのだろうか。仮にそうであれば、こんな描写の各々の作者に法律に定めた精神鑑定(刑法706条47項)を受けさせるべきだろうか。精神鑑定は未成年被害者への損害を考慮しなければならい(刑法706条48項)が、どうなるのかね」などと皮肉を込めて書きました。

だが結局、2006年にフランスの日本アニメ配給会社Kazeの社長ら3人が、未成年者の描写を含むエロアニメ『淫獣聖戦ツインエンジェル』を配布したとして有罪判決を受けました。フランス最高刑事裁判所「破毀院」まで上訴しましたが、水の泡でした。むしろ、破毀院が「アニメや漫画は規制の対象だ」とはっきりと書いてしまった厄介な先例となりました。しかし十数万円程度の罰金刑となって、実在児童ポルノの実刑判例に比べて「寛大」な判決に留まったからか、私が知っている限りは反響が殆どなかったのです。ずばり言えば、Agnès Tricoireら創作自由擁護派は「美術」を守ろうとしているので、彼女らから見れば日本のエロアニメは美術であるか、守る価値があるかは疑問であります。

去年2012年にいよいよ懲役判決が下された時も知識人反応はなかったようです。今回の規制対象は日本のエロ同人誌でした。

追伸:本テーマに関してもっと詳しく論じた同人誌の配布を予定していますので、ご興味のある方はサークル「esprit doujin」の夏コミスペース(日曜日・東O60a)までお越しくださればと思います!

We're at C81 and elsewhere

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To say that tsurupeta.info hasn't been very active on the blogging front this year would be a euphemism. We have, however, been involved in various projects of an otaku nature, some of which will be presented this Saturday on the last day of Comiket 81. Here's a quick round up ahead of the big day.

By the way, I'll be there on Saturday, and maybe tomorrow as well. You can catch me on Twitter.

To appear on C81

  • Circle La Muette, which publishes commentaries on the international otaku scene and the spreading of otaku contents overseas, puts out a doujinshi entitled 『表現規制から見たフランスの事情』 (in Japanese). This basically consists in a chat between Toqmitz and I on the subject of freedom of speech issues in France from an otaku perspective. Loli material is of course the main concern, although we cover some other issues as well. You can find the book on Day 3, booth 東P40a. Toqmitz should also have some previous books available.

  • The Animerca Production Committee, that oversees the doujin anime critique journal Animerca1, puts out a special issue on manga, 『マンガルカ vol.1』, which, in the middle of very prestigious material like an interview of Natsume Futanosuke, publishes a modest discussion between chief editor Han=Anime Hihyou, Toqmitz again and myself on the state of manga consumption and the manga market in France. This is a non-expert take on the subject, but interested readers might find some of the references useful. You can find the book on Day 3, booth 東Q30b, probably with some back numbers we have also participated in (see below). A few copies should also be available on Day 2, booth 東ポ28a, for the Friday crowd.

Previously published books

  • We have a few previous contributions to Animerca. In 『アニメルカ vol.4』, we held a panel discussion with several French bloggers (Axel Terizaki, Enthousiaste, Pazu, Tetho, Tinkastel/nyo) about the origins and state of the French otaku fandom in the 2000s. That was a funny ride. At C80, Animerca also published a special issue about Mahou shoujo Madoka Magica, where I translated two articles by Tetho about the reception of Madoka in France and various aspects of the show he thought went wrong. I also added a quick “translator's note” on what I felt were the most common criticisms of Madoka among Western viewers. It's likely that both books will be available at the Animerca booth this Saturday.

  • Based on those previous Madoka contributions, I helped Han=Anime Hihyou put together a short chapter about the reception of Madoka in the French- and English-speaking fandoms for 『超解読まどかマギカ』, a special volume of Madoka analysis from the editors of quaterly magazine Gendai shikaku bunka kenkyuu. It's available through standard distribution channels, like Amazon.

Podcasts

  • Earlier this month, 2DT kindly invited me to talk (in rather general terms) about the appeal of erololi material on his very classy podcast. You can listen to it here (in English).

  • I occasionally speak on the (not quite so well produced) French aniblogger podcast Skouetch. Last summer, I was on HebdoSkouetch #5 and on the impromptu Skouetch Live recorded on the last day of Japan Expo (both in French).


  1. Followers of the aniblogosphere may have already heard of Animerca, as it has previously published contributions from such prominent figures as wah, Alex Leavitt and kransom (who, by the way, put me in touch with Han=Anime Hihyou in the first place; thanks again!). 

Drilling down Gurren Lagann

Some French friends have organized a last-minute Christmas blogging project (affectionately known as Nyoël Blogging 2011), in which we were supposed to suggest a few anime titles that we'd seen recently and were prepared to blog on, and the others would vote on the one they most wanted to read about. You can find those articles below (in French):

As for me, I was assigned the task of blogging about Tengen toppa Gurren Lagann, which I've happened to watch earlier this year for the first time at an anime club showing back in France. I knew very little about it before beyond the designs of the main characters and the fact that it was a robot show revered by robot show lovers. Based on that information I kind of expected it wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I ended up gnashing my teeth throughout and disliking the experience to a much greater extent than I imagined I would.

So this post will be about Gurren Lagann and what I hated about it. I've already explained that on Twitter, but you'll have it here in longer form for the enjoyment of the Frenchie Christmas crowd, even though there is little Christmas-like about it. Although you could say it does have a bit of Japanese Christmas-likeness, seeing as I'm typing it out alone in my room on Christmas Eve and will mostly be talking about other men's penises. Note that I won't be talking much about thinks I'm either somewhat positive or noncommittal about, like the technical prowess in animation (which I frankly don't care much about to the extent it doesn't serve an aesthetic that I can get behind).

Incidentally, I apologize for interrupting a quasi year-long hiatus with a post about penises that aren't even attached to cute little boys. Speaking of which, I'm rather stoked about that upcoming Akane Shinsha magazine specializing in otoko no ko. But I digress...

How to write your own blog post on the moe decadence

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The anime fandom is a cliquey bunch, and the aniblogosphere even more so. You have groups like the grumpy old timers, the enthusiastic, semi-literate dimwits, the Random Curiosity copycats, etc., who tend to stay among themselves and read little of what the others are writing.

Among those, a particularly exclusive group is the bloggers you could call intellectual aestheticians, who unironically judge anime based on its adherence to (their understanding of) the conventional canons of high culture. Basically the people who consider that the only 2010 show worth watching was Yojouhan shinwa taikei—that's quite different from the old timers, mind you: those would rather mention SRT OG or some con screening of Eva 2.22. One of the core tenets of this group is that anime should be about creating art, and that it is becoming less and less successful at it as time goes by. Compared to some unspecified past when Sunrise and Studio Pierrot were putting out Golden Lion-grade magna opera at rapid-fire rate, I suppose? (It would be interesting to research the origins of that particular streak of international anime discourse, by the way; somehow, I doubt that it even existed in the 1980's, and my hunch is that it probably developed out of Eva mythological commentary in the late 90's. But I'm getting side-tracked.)

Now, the purpose of blogging is often less actual conversation than social status, and some anime blog posts can be difficult to understand until you read them in this light.

Anison classification from unsupervised lexical clustering

Ohisashiburi desu, etc. There are probably many more important things to talk about first, but I've been having fun playing with some tools this week-end, so here goes.

If you've ever paid attention to anime song lyrics, you've probably noticed that the same words tend to come up over and over again. And more precisely, that the same words tend to be used in songs with the same mood or belonging to the same genre. So I figured we should be able to establish a classification of anime song by simply looking at there lyrics, that might teach us something about them or even about the shows they are used in.

And the results are indeed relatively interesting.

Marisa's Adventure in Wonderland: now shipping worldwide

A few weeks ago, ahm (who is a regular contributor at Welcome Datacomp), posted this incredible video on Youtube, “reviewing” a lovely Touhou doujinshi in the form of a child's pop-up book, COSMIC FORGE's Fushigi no kuni no Marisa.

“Doujinshi + Carrollian references + children's book” is a winning formula, period, especially by our standards at tsurupeta.info. Add to that a healthy serving of tongue-in-cheek intellectual wankery, and you get something that ought to receive everyone's attention.

This prompted us to translate ahm's review for a Japanese-speaking audience, which got us in touch with people from circle COSMIC FORGE expressing pleasure at foreigners enjoying their work. We suggested that they might get wider international exposure by using the services of a doujinshi online store shipping worldwide, such as Manga Pal.

Today, I'm happy to announce that this is a done deal, and that Fushigi no kuni no Marisa is available for purchase on the Manga Pal web store. Apparently, Manga Pal also intends to carry the book at upcoming events in France and Taiwan.

Test your lolicon level (updated)

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I can't say I don't have misgivings about posting stuff that sounds like, er, triangular fodder, but people have been bickering me to do it for several days now, so here goes. Hopefully I can make it a bit more informative than the typical offering of disreputable venues.

The questionnaire to the left, “Test Your Lolicon Level,” was posted last week on Twitter by master-of-middle-school-girls and regular LO contributor Hidarikagetora. A funny discussion ensued where several loli mangaka compared their results. I'm translating the test, so here's your chance to pit yourself against those fine fellows, and check how worthy you are of reading this blog.

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