Publication Details

Ward, R. (2014). Book review: The art of censorship in postwar Japan. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. By Kirsten Cather. Pacific Affairs, 87 (1), 158-159.


The practice of censorship is a divisive issue that is often justified on moral reasons rather than aesthetic or legalistic ones. It is perhaps because of the claims to morality rather than to the law that it is relatively rare for censorship (or more accurately in Japan’s case, obscenity) to be the subject of criminal trials. Yet, in Japan, from the occupation years through to the present day, there has been on average one high profile censorship trial per decade. In The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan, Kirsten Cather considers seven such censorship trials held between the 1950s and 2007 to highlight the “complexity of the interaction between censor and artist” in the practice of censorship.