Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest     Published: June 8th, 2018

New Tactic to Attack Anime

This is probably going to be my most uncomfortable entry but a necessary one. It can, I believe, best be summed up with: To protect free speech you have to defend its more disturbing and unsavory forms as well. After all, one’s dedication to genuine freedom of speech is only truly tested when we are called to defend it when it is both a risk (Social pressure and censorship) and a distasteful task (Opinion we don’t agree with) to do so.

MINE was involved with a pretty severe controversy concerning comments he made on Twitter as well as the very premise of his light novel series: Young Again in Another World. The novel centers on an historical figure who killed more than 3000 people (An exaggeration in the story) with a Japanese sword during the Second Sino-Japanese War and as a result, some feel it is both inappropriate and insensitive by nature. But the controversy goes deeper than the novels, MINE also made a series of tweets that deeply upsetted people. Below is a sample of some of these tweets (Now deleted) but translated:

I feel that the greatest misfortune of the great land of Japan today, is that she lives next-door to a rape country filled with animals. – 8/12/2012

OK, Heaven that doesn’t smite the rape country, can’t be doing a diligent job managing things. // Representative Takeshima of the Opposition Party: “Heavy fire and thunder will fall on the land of Japan from the sky. (Saana) Y! News – 8/16/2013

By the way, did the Tokyo Olympic Games decline the rape country’s declaration? – 9/9/2013

Drugs, Janitale (Genitals?), each of these apes commits adultery. The local reporters are drunk. #IDontWantThisTypeofTokyoOlympics – 9/10/2013

Such an idiot. ‘If you have enough free time to say it, learn Hangul and tell them yourself.’ I think I’ll manage just fine, buddy. – 9/12/2013

By all means, please make the same claim by saying the kitchen is the same as the rape country. // The Opposition Establishes a Conference (Mainichi Shimbun) Y! News – 9/25/2013

This country of adulterers/rapists is truly sickening // This morning, the country of Japan wrestles war crime charges [from Korea] regarding comfort women.” – 11/2/2013

They’re a country of bastards. Their skins are as thick as their shoe soles. // Regarding the problem of comfort women ‘sincerity’ Request = Day. Conference between vice-ministers buries the issue. – 3/12/2014

The author then went on to Twitter again to issue an apology for his comments:

Originally posted by MINE

[Apology] I deeply apologize for the inappropriate remarks, which have made many people feel very uncomfortable.

These were remarks made on topics in which I did not accurately grasp the facts, and didn’t harbor any deep ideas. But I deeply regret that I went too far with my comments, and though I don’t expect everyone who was offended to forgive me, I’d like to offer a sincere apology.

In addition to deleting all offending tweets, I am deleting this account after this apology reaches people.

Moreover, I apologize for the poor expression in [New Life+] Young Again in Another World. It is because of my own poor language expression and thoughtless remarks that I have caused discomfort in the books.

It’s for that reason that we will stop publishing the “Let’s be a novelist” section, and re-review the content so that we never make people uncomfortable again. Also, in regards to the published version, I will consult with our publisher as to whether we can correct the books.

I deeply apologize to everyone who has been made uncomfortable by this incident, and to those readers whom we have inconvenienced.

Nothing wrong with that, genuinely offensive statements were made, he apologises. Of course, one wouldn’t be blamed for believing the apology lacks sincerity, in light that it was only made as a result of the controversy. Although, it is true that people can feel genuine remorse for past actions when looking back on them, so I guess it’s up to each individual to decide if they believe him.

It is afterwards that everything goes off the rails. MINE said that he plans to delete his Twitter account in response to the incident. While it is true the man could learn to think before he tweets, deleting the account seems like a drastic, albeit, self-imposed step to rectify the situation. He then suggested re-writing the parts of the novels he believes made people feel uncomfortable… Erasing the past is never good. The novels were written, you regret it, do better next time. It is always a bad precedent when one begins attempting to erase inconvenient elements rather than learn from them and can serve to establish a lasting precedent on how to handle such controversy, leading to further re-writing of history and alteration of art in other works in the name of not offending people.

But the author’s missteps were not the only issue with the entire affair, voice actors Toshiki Masuda, Megumi Nakajima, Nanami Yamashita and Kiyono Tasuno resigned from their respective roles in the upcoming anime adaptation. Following this, the anime was subsequently cancelled and future shipments of the light novel series itself have now been halted.

 

We’ve seen this with Roseanne as well, how what should have been a small controversy developed into a massive storm. To sink an entire series and bring down the work of so many artists because of an incident involving one party is lunacy; and this is the new censorship wave we can now expect. It is being established and made clear that there are now acceptable opinions and unacceptable ones and if you do not conform, you will not be able to operate within the establishment and the establishment is increasingly monopolizing and centralizing every aspect of life, making sure you cannot operate outside of it either.

In a truly free society, you would expect that artists could hold controversial opinions and be judged by them individually, while their works are appreciated for what they have to offer; that there wouldn’t be certain opinions you have to adhere to and ones you simply cannot express. You would also expect to be able to see the works of controversial artists, that the people would decide, themselves, with their wallet, whether something is appropriate or not and that if it is something society has decided to reject, that it is the lack of demand that would cement the fate of the work. But we are increasingly living in a society where a small group of people have only to complain so that their grievances takes precedent over everyone’s else right to choose, a society in which corporations decide for the people whether a product is appropriate or not, a society in which censorship is implemented on a wide scale (Socially, on the corporate level and the political level) to establish sets of acceptable behaviors that if broken, result in severe penalties without the populace being able to act (Either in support or against the behavior in question) and merely being forced to accept decisions that are not their own.

I am not saying that the comments made were defensible. What I am saying is that the man should be able to make such comments, no matter how repulsive, without having his career ruined (It is not free speech if they are enforceable consequences for expressing it) and that controversial works should be allowed to exist (With the people deciding if they are interested in buying them) without being censored or re-written (Book burning is ugly in any form). Think about it, if the people are genuinely upset then the novels will stop being profitable and therefore no longer be made. If an outside entity has to interfere to stop the novels’ creation, it is because it is not the will of the people but that of an entity (Or entities) who have taken the responsibility and authority to think for everyone else.

 

The problem is that by caving in to the perpetually offended who believe their grievances warrant art be censored and free speech be suppressed, you are opening the door to more of the same but next time, perhaps not on such a deserving target.

And so we come to this next incident: An event for the Fate/Grand Order game (Gudaguda Imperial Capital Holy Grail Strange Story) set to happen in 1945 with servants that are historical figures of war is now being pressured and attacked for being inappropriate, in spite of the fact that no one knows how any of the characters or the story will be handled. It is preemptively being attacked based on the premise that certain topics are now no longer allowed to be dealt with. And this is why you never listen to the perpetually offended, they won a victory with Young Again in Another World and you can bet they will ride it as far as they can and see just how far they can now push their censorship.

It should also be noted the entire affair stinks of an orchestrated outrage as the timing is not only too good, but tweets and statements are being made in multiple languages (By the same users) to make sure the controversy spreads fast and has as much impact as possible. Of course, they seek apologies from the staff for merely daring to create this event and are emphasising that one should “Think very carefully” about what kind of works they create from now on.

 

And this is the next tactic they will use it seems, WW II. The outrage train will be in full motion as they succeeded in finding something that finally sticks and that people actually care about. Now they will find all sorts of series to be upset about and as time passes, controversies pile up and people become used to rampant censorship, they will consistently increase what “Upsets” people so that eventually, it will no longer be appropriate to present lolicon, general fanservice, violence against characters who are too young, historical events in a certain way, characters with certain beliefs, personality types that are “problematic”, comedy that is “insensitive”… If you let them get an inch, they won’t take a mile, they’ll take it all.

 

Source: Yaraon! (Link 1 and Link 2), Anime News Network (Link 1 and Link 2), Anime Herald (Translations), Esuteru and Article Image: Twitter

 

Further Reading:

Social and Political Pressure on Anime

Censorship

 

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