World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Censorship in Japan

Article Id: WHEBN0014522126
Reproduction Date:

Title: Censorship in Japan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Censorship by country, Censorship in India, Censorship in Iran, Censorship in Myanmar, Censorship in Saudi Arabia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Censorship in Japan

In [1]


After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, which marked a major political shift in Japan, the government began heavy censorship of Western ideas, pornography and any political writings critical of the Emperor of Japan and government, wanting to control the spread of information. Censorship of materials increased from this point, often using ongoing wars to increase police powers and penalties. In 1928, the death penalty was added to the list of punishments deemed acceptable for certain violations. This continued, eventually to the Information and Propaganda Department (情報部 Jōhōbu) being elevated to the Information Bureau (情報局 Jōhō Kyoku) in 1940, which consolidated the previously separate information departments from the Army, Navy and Foreign Ministry under the aegis of the Home Ministry. The new Bureau had complete control over all news, advertising and public events. The following year revision of the National Mobilization Law (国家総動員法 Kokka Sōdōin Hō) eliminated freedom of the press entirely, doing things such as forcing papers in each prefecture to either merge into one paper or cease publication, with all articles by the paper having to be screened by government censors before they could be published.

Occupation of Japan

After the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers abolished all forms of censorship and controls on Freedom of Speech, which was also integrated into Article 21 of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. However, press censorship remained a reality in the post-war era, especially in matters of pornography, and in political matters deemed subversive by the American government during the occupation of Japan.

According to David M. Rosenfeld:

Not only did Occupation censorship forbid criticism of the United States or other Allied nations, but the mention of censorship itself was forbidden. This means, as Donald Keene observes, that for some producers of texts "the Occupation censorship was even more exasperating than Japanese military censorship had been because it insisted that all traces of censorship be concealed. This meant that articles had to be rewritten in full, rather than merely submitting XXs for the offending phrases." (Dawn to the West, New York: Henry Holt, 1984). 967.[2]


Due to the current interpretation of Article 175 of the [1]

The most recent trial based on this law, the first in 20 years, was the conviction of Suwa Yuuji in January 2004 for his hentai manga Misshitsu. He was originally fined 500,000 yen(About 4,900USD) and avoided jail time by pleading guilty. When he appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Japan on arguments that the manga was not as indecent and explicit as much material on the Internet and that Article 175 violated the Japanese Constitution's protection of freedom of expression, the Court upheld the ruling and the fine was tripled to 1.5 million yen.

After Yuuji's conviction, a number of bookstores and chains removed their adults-only section. Their motivation has been attributed to the outcome, in a "chilling effect".[3]

On the July 2013, the three staff members from the Core Magazine were arrested for having their manga almost censored. He pleaded guilty later in December 2013. As a result of the arrest, numerous artists and publishers began to have more self-censorship in attempt to avoid the obsenity charge led by police.[4][5]

See also


  1. ^ a b Natsui, Takato (July 2003). "Cybercrimes in Japan: Recent Cases, Legislations, Problems and Perspectives" ( 
  2. ^ David M. Rosenfeld, quoting from Donald Keene in Unhappy Soldier: Hino Ashihei and Japanese World War II Literature] p.86
  3. ^  
  4. ^
  5. ^


  • Allison, Anne. Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8133-1698-7.
  • Hirano, Kyōko. Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo: The Japanese Cinema Under the American Occupation, 1945–1952. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1992. ISBN 1-56098-157-1, ISBN 1-56098-157-1. OCLC 25367560.
  • Mitchell, Richard H. Censorship in Imperial Japan. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-691-05384-7. OCLC 9219486.
  • Rubin, Jay. Injurious to Public Morals: Writers and the Meiji State. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1984. ISBN 0-295-96043-4.

Further reading

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.