28 May 2009

Felony Manga Possession

A 39 year old office worker from Iowa, who collected all types of manga, has pleaded guilty to a felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to fifteen years in prison for possessing seven manga (i.e. Japanese comic] books intercepted by customs officials depicting the sexual abuse of children, under a 2003 federal law. It is the first obsenity conviction for comic book art in the United States.

Quite frankly, his attorney's stated argument for not pressing the case, that a jury would consider it porn, was not impressive although one expects that the defense attorney has arranged a lenient sentence for what would otherwise could have been a long prison term.

Manga in Japan's Lolicon genre, and other hentai (porn manga and anime), are widely sold in Japan where the genre is considered to be just another form of soft porn.

The case is particularly exceptional because the primary justification for harsh penalties for child pornography is that children are actually sexually abused in the process of creating photographs or video depicting it. In manga and anime, this is very likely not the case, so the justification for distinguishing it from other types of obsenity is weak.

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