An Australian Senator Demands “All” Japanese Anime & Manga Is Reviewed For ‘Child Exploitation’
"There is nothing funny about it. It is repellent."
The Australian Senate heard an impassioned speech Wednesday as senator Sterling Griff called for ‘all’ Japanese anime and manga to be re-reviewed and examined for child exploitation or pornographic content as a “matter of urgency”.
Senator and member of Centre Alliance (fka Nick Xenaphon Team) Stirling Griff questioned the need for immediate re-classification and potential banning of anime and manga in Australia, pointing towards several titles he believes have fallen through the cracks.
In particular, Griff pointed towards film Sword Art Online: Extra Edition and animes Goblin Slayer and No Game No Life, with each showing sexually explicit content involving minors. No Game No Life includes underage incest and Goblin Slayer features scenes where underage characters are tortured and raped by goblins.
“The rape of children is abundant in manga, like the series Goblin Slayer, which, in my office, we showed to a number of people today and they were absolutely horrified,” he said, in a transcript first acquired by Kotaku.
“In Goblin Slayer children are often portrayed as frightening or resisting but they’re also shown as enjoying sexual abuse—enjoying it. As I’ve said, experts say that paedophiles are using this material to groom children: ‘Have a look at this; this is normal.’ It’s certainly not normal.”
Goblin Slayer has been a particularly controversial anime and manga. As ScreenRant explains, the show “builds a fantasy world based on the idea that there’s a race of monsters out there waiting to rape anyone they come across. And that’s not hyperbole; in the fiction of Goblin Slayer, that’s exactly how goblins reproduce.”
The Senator said such scenes may not be illegal in Japan, but are here.
“The law in Australia is very clear,” he says. “The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18. It is unambiguous.”
“It beggars belief how it passed through the classification board who, in their decision report, provide justification for scenes including ‘upskirting’ as comedic. There is nothing funny about it. It is repellent. The series should have been denied classification and should be banned.”
Griff says he has already filed a submission for review with Australia’s classifications board, but that “we must act now” to protect Australia’s children.
In his speech, asks for an immediate ban of the aforementioned shows (and Erogmana Sensei, which he describes as “the worst anime his office discovered”) and an immediate review of all Japanese anime. Griff says he’s also written to the Japanese justice minister about the issue.
“The safety and wellbeing of children in Australia must be a paramount consideration for all of us in Australia and across our borders,” he concludes.
As per BuzzFeed‘s Cameron Wilson, that sweeping all might have just been an impassioned overstatement. In both Griff’s letter to Peter Dutton and formal motion — which passed the Senate — the senator asks for a banning of obscene content and a re-haul of our classification system, not a look into “all” anime, like, say, Spirited Away.
Still, Griff is far from alone in his concern. As he points out, in 2015, the UN’s child protection envoy demanded Japan ban manga and anime that depicts children engaging in sexually explicit acts.
In 2014, Japan changed its laws around child pornography, which made possession and production illegal, with a loophole for animated or drawn content.
Find senator Griff’s full speech on Kotaku.
Feature image from Goblin Slayer.