Shimoneta: The History of Censorship in Japan!

In many of our past filler posts we’ve talked about (and broken down) various topics that were ‘seemingly’ hard to dissect, but this one however is a bit of a history lesson, without the boring lecture. If you’re a big fan of Shimoneta, then this post is for you!

You thought the FCC was bad? (They’re not as hard-assed as they used to be like they were back in the day) Then sit on down and check this out! If you’re a little bit familiar with the Japanese Constitution, then you’d know that Article 21 guarantees Freedom of Expression and prohibits formal censorship. Kinda like our 1st Amendment rights here in America, but that’s about as political as we’re gonna get on our side. To realize how far Japan has come in terms of this topic, you’d have to go back a little bit.

This brings us to the Edo Period of Japan, where the Tokugawa Shogunate started turning towards censorship of ideas and talks that included Christianity, bad-mouthing the shogunate, and a few other things. Because publishing became pretty popular during that time, if there was anything published that threaten the traditional way of life (or the way that you look at the shogunate as a government), it was seized on contact! Which would make a Present Day hentai lover nervous if he/she lived during this period.

Fast-forward to 1868 during the Meiji Period, where censorship was really heavy – especially on western ideas and pornography. (No booty magazines here, unless you wanna get yours hung or shot!) 60 years later the Death Penalty was added among a list of punishments for crimes that were committed during this period – violation of censorship being one of those crimes. In 1940 The Information Bureau took full control over all news, advertising and public events. To top it off the revision of the National Mobilization Law kicked in, thus eliminating freedom of the press – until 5 years later when restrictions on censorship were abolished.

Although the strict laws that held censorship in place are a little more lenient than in days of old, explicit images (such as pornography) must still be partially censored to this day. The reason for that is because of one trial that took place in January of 2004, when Suwa Yuuji was convicted for his hentai manga, Misshitsu. The outcome of the trial dealt a nasty blow to the adults-only section in all of the Japanese bookstores, preferably the manga section, as they were forced to completely remove the section from their stores.

Now that you know the history of censorship in Japan as told by the guys of D&A, you’ll have a better understanding of the plot from Shimoneta…hopefully.