Lolicon

The meaning of lolicon has evolved much in the Western world, as have the meanings of other words such as anime, otaku and hentai. In the West, lolicon refers to anime or manga that contains sexual or erotic portrayals of prepubescent or childlike characters, and is thus close cognate to the Japanese term lolicon manga. The use of the word lolicon in the West is an indication that the material is overtly, even if not explicitly, erotic.

Controversy

Laws have been enacted to criminalize "obscene images of children, no matter how they are made," for inciting abuse. An argument is that obscene fictional images portray children as sex objects, thereby contributing to child sexual abuse. This argument has been disputed by the claim that there is no scientific basis for that connection, and that restricting sexual expression in drawings or animated games and videos might actually increase the rate of sexual crime by eliminating a harmless outlet for desires that could motivate crime. This is exemplified in a case involving a man, from Virginia who, while arrested after viewing lolicon at a public library, asserted that he had quit collecting real child pornography and switched to lolicon.

Cultural critic Hiroki Azuma said that very few readers of lolicon manga commit crimes. In the otaku culture, lolicon is the "most convenient [form of rebellion]" against society.

Milton Diamond and Ayako Uchiyama observe a strong correlation between the dramatic rise of pornographic material in Japan from the 1970s onwards and a dramatic decrease in reported sexual violence, including crimes by juveniles and assaults on children under 13. They cite similar findings in Denmark and West Germany. In their summary, they state that the concern that countries with widespread availability of sexually explicit material would suffer increased rates of sexual crimes was not validated; and that the reduction of sexual crimes in Japan during that period may have been influenced by a variety of factors they had described in their study.

Sharon Kinsella observed an increase in unsubstantiated accounts of schoolgirl prostitution in the media in the late 1990s, and speculated that these unproven reports developed in counterpoint to the increased reporting on comfort women. She speculated that, "It may be that the image of happy girls selling themselves voluntarily cancels out the other guilty image."

A Japanese non-profit organization called CASPAR has claimed that lolicon and other anime magazines and games do encourage sex crimes. The group, founded in 1989, campaigns for regulation of depiction of minors in pornographic magazines and video games. Public attention was brought to bear on this issue when Tsutomu Miyazaki kidnapped, murdered, and had sexual intercourse with the dead bodies of four girls between the ages of 4 and 7 in 1988 and 1989. The Tokyo High Court ruled him sane, stating that "the murders were premeditated and stemmed from Miyazaki's sexual fantasies," and he was sentenced to death for his crimes.

Public sentiment against animated child pornography was revived in 2005 when a convicted sex offender, who was arrested for the murder of a 7-year-old girl in Nara, was suspected as a lolicon. Despite media speculation, it was found that the murderer, Kaoru Kobayashi, seldom had interest in manga, games or dolls. He claimed, however, that he had become interested in small girls after watching an animated pornographic video as a high school student.

According to Michiko Magaoko, director of a non-profit organization in Kyoto called Juvenile Guide, founded in 2003, approximately half of the 2,000 pornographic animation titles distributed in Japan every year, including films and video games, feature schoolgirl characters. Mitsui Kondo, representative of an Osaka-based Child Protection Agency, argues that these films may distort attitudes towards girls: "Such a situation makes our society more dangerous to girls....We've got to think about it before talking about freedom of expression."

On Tuesday, March 11th 2008, UNICEF Japan issued a statement calling for further tightening of child pornography laws in Japan, including the ban of sexual depictions of minors in manga, anime and computer games. Such a ban, however, is not being considered by Japan officials for the time being.

Legal issues elsewhere

Legal status in Australia

All sexualised depictions of children under the age of 16 (or who appear to be under that age) are illegal in Australia, and there is a 'zero-tolerance' policy in place, which covers purely fictional children as well as real children. In August of 2007, an Australian was sentenced to pay an Au $9,000 fine for attempting to import eight DVDs of Japanese anime found to contain pornographic depictions of children and 14 found to contain depictions of sexual violence. No images of real children were involved. "Customs National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said that it was important to understand that even cartoons or drawings such as those depicted in anime were prohibited if they contained offensive sexual content."

Legal status in Canada

Section 163.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code defines child pornography to include "a visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means", that "shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity", or "the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years." The definitive Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v. Sharpe, interprets the statute to include purely fictional material even when no real children were involved in its production. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote,

In October 2005, Canadian courts sentenced an Edmonton, Alberta, man to one year of community service for importing manga depicting child sex, possibly the first manga-related child pornography case in Canada.

In April 2006, an American was sentenced to 30 days in jail for bringing child pornography to Canada. While he had possession of three videos and three images of real children, a criminal investigator cited the 13,000 "mostly cartoon" or "anime" images in his possession and the "prohibitive nature of these goods".

The current law criminalizes possession of purely fictional material, and has been applied in a case featuring only images of fictional children, and has also been used to prosecute possession of fictional stories with no pictures of real or imaginary children.

Legal status in the Netherlands

On October 1, 2002, the Netherlands introduced legislation (Bulletin of Acts and Decrees 470) which deemed "virtual child pornography" as illegal. The laws appear to only outlaw "realistic images representing a minor engaged in a sexually explicit conduct," and hence lolicon is not included.

Second Life (the US based virtual world) is currently being investigated by the public prosecutor. A number of Second Life users engage in ageplay where their online avatars dress, act and look like underage children while engaging in virtual sexual acts. Although there is no Dutch law that legislates against under age depictions of sexual acts for computer generated images, the public prosecutor is investigating this on the basis that these virtual actions may incite child abuse in the real world. So far this has not led to any successful prosecutions.

In March 2008, a 52 year old male was convicted for owning lifelike computer animations of a child performing sexual acts. He has been convicted to a two-year suspended jail sentence, with a ten-year probation period. Prosecution claims that this animation could have been used to entice young children into sexual acts with grown-ups, due to the title and the contents of the animation. The CGI in the clip was life-like, thus falling under the 2002 legislation.

Legal status in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 classifies a publication as "objectionable" if it "promotes or supports, or tends to promote or support, the exploitation of children, or young persons, or both, for sexual purposes." Making, distribution, import, or copying or possession of objectionable material for the purposes of distribution are offences punishable (in the case of an individual) by a fine of up to NZ$10,000 on strict liability, and ten years in prison if the offence is committed knowingly. In December 2004, the Office of Film and Literature Classification determined that Puni Puni Poemy - an anime series not usually thought of as pornographic by fans, but which could be described as just barely lolicon - was objectionable under the Act and therefore illegal to publish in New Zealand. A subsequent appeal failed, and the series remains banned.

Legal status in Norway

In Norway, any images or videos that depict pornography in a childish context (which would include, for example, an adult model with childish clothes/toys/surroundings) are to be considered child pornography. Lolicon are therefore counted as child pornography, and not legal, in Norway (although this has not been proved by Norwegian court). So far, however, this law has only been used to sentence individuals in possession of real child porn.

Legal status in South Africa

With the promulgation of the "Films and Publications Amendment Bill" in September 2003, a broad range of simulated child pornography became illegal in South Africa. For the purposes of the act, any image or description of a person "real or simulated" who is depicted or described as being under the age of 18 years and engaged in sexual conduct, broadly defined, constitutes 'child pornography.' Under the act, anyone is guilty of an offence punishable by up to ten years imprisonment if he or she possesses, creates or produces, imports, exports, broadcasts, or in any way takes steps to procure or access child pornography.

Legal status in Sweden

Any images or videos that depict children in a pornographic context are to be considered child pornography in Sweden, regardless of how realistic or abstract they are. This means that lolicon is considered to be child pornography and is therefore illegal in Sweden. It has, however, not yet been tried in court.

Legal status in the United Kingdom

Non-photographic images of children have never been illegal in the United Kingdom, and on 23 November 2006, Vernon Coaker, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, stated that "Although cartoons depicting child abuse are deeply offensive, they do not in themselves constitute abuse of a child. The 1978 Act is well understood by those who work with it and enforce it and there are substantial arguments against extending its scope to cover cartoons of child pornography."

However, on 13 December 2006, UK Home Secretary John Reid, announced that the Cabinet was discussing how to ban computer-generated images of child abuse - including cartoons and graphic illustrations of abuse - after pressure from children's charities. The Government published a consultation on 1 April 2007, announcing plans to create a new offence of possessing a computer generated picture, cartoon or drawing with a penalty of three years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Legal status in the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States decided in 2002, and affirmed in 2004, that previous prohibition of simulated child pornography under the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 was unconstitutional. The majority ruling stated that "the CPPA prohibits speech that records no crime and creates no victims by its production. Virtual child pornography is not 'intrinsically related' to the sexual abuse of children."

On 30 April 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the PROTECT Act of 2003 (also dubbed the Amber Alert Law) which again criminalizes all forms of pornography that shows people under the age of 18 regardless of production. The Act introduced "Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children", which criminalizes material that has "a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting", that "depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene" or "depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in ... sexual intercourse ... and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" (the third test of the Miller Test obscenity determination).

In December 2005, Dwight Whorley was convicted under 18 U.S.C. 1466A(a)(1) on twenty counts for receiving "...obscene Japanese anime cartoons that graphically depicted prepubescent female children being forced to engage in genital-genital and oral-genital intercourse with adult males." At the time of the violations, Whorley was on parole for earlier sex crimes, although the ensuing convictions were independent of his violation of the terms of the parole. He was also convicted of possessing child pornography involving real children. Later, U.S. Attorney's Bulletin, which was requested in November 2006 by the Freedom of Information Act, describes the repercussions of this conviction. It recommends that the precedent set by the Whorley case be used as a basis for future prosecutions for possession of such obscene cartoons.

On April 6, 2006, the arrest of one Michael Williams for child pornography was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, but the portion of the arrest which pertained to the PROTECT Act was overturned. Specific cartoon depictions of what appears to be a minor engaging in overt sexual intercourse (not merely sexually explicit) were deemed insufficient to actually fulfill the requirements of the PROTECT Act, as the content described in subsections (i) and (ii) of 2252A(a)(3)(B) is not constitutionally protected, speech that advertises or promotes such content does have the protection of the First Amendment. Accordingly, 2252A(a)(3)(B) was held to be unconstitutionally overbroad. The Eleventh Circuit further held that the law was unconstitutionally vague, in that it did not adequately and specifically describe what sort of speech was criminally actionable.

The Department of Justice appealed the Eleventh Circuit's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case review docket is listed as 06-0694 and was scheduled for October 30th 2007 on the 2007-2008 schedule. The Supreme Court heard arguments on the case but has yet to issue a ruling.

In February 2007, Senator John McCain introduced S.519, which would add a mandatory 10-year prison sentence to anyone who uses the Internet to violate the PROTECT Act.

See also

Legal aspects

References

External links

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This article is based on "Lolicon" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lolicon&action=history