Yoshitoshi ABe Translation: “Regarding the Youth Protection and Nurturing Ordinance amendment (or, the so-called Nonexistent Youth Problem)”
Hello everyone. You will notice a marked drop in translation quality today because it’s not kransom but me, Shii, bushwhacking with my copy of Rikaichan. This evening I started recieving furious retweets from @AwatakeTakahiro regarding a recently accepted amendment to Tokyo’s Youth Protection and Nurturing Ordinance (青少年健全育成条例改正) which has been posted to Scribd. Awatake lives in Saitama so I figure something must be up here. I here translate a post by Yoshitoshi ABe regarding the amendment.
I was surprised recently by the major problems imbedded in the “Youth Protection and Nurturing Ordinance amendment”. Even though the amendment is coming into force just now, I hadn’t heard of it before a few days ago. For a full explanation, please visit this site: http://mitb.bufsiz.jp/
Simply put, even for characters of a story who do not actually exist, and even those who are portrayed not as minors but as adult figures, sales of works in which the panties of these characters can be seen can be restricted if you have a hunch that they appear childlike, for one thing; and more generally, it is an unconstitutional and ridiculous piece of legislation. I’m not talking about children’s books. I mean mass market publications, anime, games, and all manners of works. Both Doraemon and Sazae-san are right out!
As you read more about this, please try and think about whether or not you want to live in a society that can pass these sorts of laws without resistance. What follows are my own thoughts. (I will employ the terms “good depictions, bad depictions”, but these are not my conceptions of good and bad. Rather, I only mean how these things are percieved in our modern society. Just making sure [this is understood].)
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In order for people to understand and distinguish between good and evil, it is necessary to have good things to point out and explain that “this is good”, and have evil things to point out and explain that “this is evil”, in the same way.
If we lock a child in a sterilized room, they would not grow into a healthy adult with a normal heart!
[Corrected] Among porn and violent works, there are depictions of acts you are likely to never see in real life, yet which, if seen, would leave you mentally scarred. These must exist within society so that we can explain how they are wrong. If we regulate their expression, then, being raised in a place where such things do not exist, people will not have that chance to learn what is wrong or dangerous.
For example, war is obviously a bad thing, but even so, what do you think would happen if we had a complete ban on depictions of war? Children would wonder if war was good or bad, and what would happen if our society had something called war, and despite this foolishness would unfortunately grow into adults.
For us [humans], at some point on the path to adulthood it is necessary to know about these bad things.
For all the various evils in this world, only through “becoming a perpetrator”, “becoming a victim”, or “experiencing a depiction”, and these three means alone, can we understand them as evil.
Of course, I do not mean to say that “reading depictions of crime will cause you to become a criminal”. The only way one can learn to differentiate between good and evil is to be allowed to apply their own well-developed thought and reasoning to these materials. If you are forced to memorize “this is good, this is evil” out of a textbook, this is is not the same as discernment itself.
At the risk of repeating myself, there are for sale in the market today exceedingly brutal and violent things, and other things that the world has generally deemed unpleasant. I think it’s good for people with proper understanding to say “this is unpleasant”. That is, seeing these portrayals of evil, adults will be able to explain that they are bad, and this itself instructs children in proper thought. If there were no depictions of evil about, we would lose those necessary examples to instruct people in proper understanding, and the basis for knowing what is good and what is bad within society would become flimsy at best. That society would simply be a sterilized room.
If I ever become father to children, in the place that I live in, I believe that it would be impossible to raise them healthily in this weird kind of sterilized society lacking all violent or sexually explicit notions. I do not want to live in that kind of society!
Humankind has been entrusted with much power, but if we abuse that power to do away with things that we do not like, then thinking in that way, we will give birth to this sterilized room kind of society. The purpose of freedom of speech, in my opinion, is to defend against precisely that sort of thing.
[Anyway, I e-mailed the Tokyo Assembly and Tokyo City public contacts with these thoughts, in accordance with the approved format for sending public comments.]