Japan comic publishers to hold rival fair after porn ban

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The Independent Culture

Eight major Japanese manga comic and anime film publishers on Wednesday said they will hold a rival event to Tokyo's top industry fair in protest at a new restriction on sexually explicit materials.

The publishers have decried as censorship a rule introduced in the capital two weeks ago limiting sales of manga and anime with extreme depictions of rape, incest and other illegal sexual acts to adults.

Furious at the bill's main sponsor, conservative city governor Shintaro Ishihara, they had announced a boycott of the industry's top annual event, which Ishihara chairs, the Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 24-27.

The group said they would hold a rival event, dubbed the Anime Contents Expo at a convention centre in Chiba, a satellite city east of Tokyo.

The ordinance passed by the Tokyo metropolitan assembly says that under-18-year-olds must not be able to buy or rent materials that depict such sexual acts in "unjustifiably glorified or exaggerated ways".

The eight firms, led by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., said they regarded highly the "history and significance" of the Tokyo International Anime Fair, which has been held every year since 2002.

"We examined the possibility and decided to organise an event to help make public new promising products in the same period as we care about the sentiment of fans who have always supported the fair," the statement said.

Manga comics are highly popular in Japan with both children and adults.

The graphic novels deal with themes from high school romance to literary classics - but also with pornography, much of it hardcore and violent.

Although producing and distributing child pornography is illegal in Japan, its possession is not criminalised, and images of "non-existent" underage characters in manga, anime and video games are legal.

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