Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Beijing Cracking Down on Japanese Anime

China has long had copyright and piracy problems, Now after unlicensed foreign TV dramas, media regulators are cracking down on Japanese cartoons.  WSJ reported The Ministry of Culture this week released a blacklist of illegal cartoon videos, mostly from Japan, that are available on some of the most popular streaming sites including Youku, Tudo, LeTV, Iqiyi, Sohu, qq, and Kumi.

People dressed as anime characters in "Otaku" summit near Tokyo, Japan, March 2015

Japan leads Asia in production of the grown-up anime and cartoons, so not surprisingly, China’s animation market is dominated with Japanese products.  The characters in Chinese fantasy video games take on many of the same characteristics of anime characters of Japan.  Due to the popularity of Japanese anime, Cosplay is particularly popular in Asia, and China. The China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference or ChinaJoy 2015, from 7/30 - 8/2/2015 in Shanghai, hosts gaming companies from all over the world. It is supposed to be the biggest gaming expo in Asia.

The statement from the Ministry of Culture singled out three titles, all Japanese, 'Terror in Resonance' 'Blood-C' and 'Highschool of the Dead'.  Well, as the names imply, these are not exactly Mikey and Friends. The official China Central Television said in a broadcast that these shows promote sex and violence and even terrorism. Reportedly, media inspectors so far have punished 13 video streaming sites with 29 illegal animated series.

A video rating system would help with user and/or parents selection process, but not with the potential influence from the video content.  Meanwhile, the official Japanese cartoon crackdown gets a mixed review from China's netizens.  Some examples from Weibo,
“Many of those animations are not for kids!”
“if you are so eager to censor something, how about those drama where they shred Japanese?”
 “I am already 24 years old, and I am still banned from watching animations?”