Publication Details

McLelland, M. (2017). Negotiating "cool Japan" in research and teaching. In M. McLelland (Ed.), The End of Cool Japan: Ethical, Legal and Cultural Challenges to Japanese Popular Culture (pp. 1-30). Oxford: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/The-End-of-Cool-Japan-Ethical-Legal-and-Cultural-Challenges-to-Japanese/McLelland/p/book/9781138638259

Link to publisher version (URL)



In June 2014 when the Diet, Japan ' s parliament, movedfi nally to criminalize the simple possession of child pornography images, expanding an earlier 1999 law that had already outlawed the production and dissemination of such images, there was consternation in the Anglophone 1 (that is, English-language) press. Numerous reports argued that Japan had not gone far enough- since the legislation was not extended to the creation or possession of fantasy images of characters who might " appear to be " children such as can be found in manga or anime. A plethora of sensationalist articles appeared over the course of a few weeks, condemning Japan as, among other things, " the Empire of Child Pornography " (Adelstein and Kubo 2014; see also Fackler 2014). Among them, an " undercover " CNN video report showed a scandalized journalist holding up a blurry image of a supposedly abusive manga cover (Ripley and Whiteman 2014). The reporter, however, chose a poor example for condemnation- the title blurred-out because it was " too graphic " to show was Dolls Fall 2 , which is, in fact, a popular title in the mystery/ horror genres (see Vincent 2014), 2 and is available for purchase in the United States on Amazon (where the cover can be easily viewed). It can also be read for free in an unauthorized English translation on sites such as Mangafox, where it received a 4.5 star viewer rating. 3 Any manga or anime fan familiar with Japan would have been able to see through the CNN report as the beatup it was, just another episode in the Anglophone press tradition of " Japan bashing. " Indeed, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) accused the CNN report of peddling misconceptions and " deliberate hyperbole " (Williams 2015).