The animation industry has expressed concern over the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011 because a group of publishers plans to boycott the event as a protest over stricter regulations on sexually explicit manga and “anime.”
The threatened pullout by 10 major comic book publishers, including Kodansha Ltd., Shogakukan Inc. and Shueisha Inc., threatens to jeopardize the fair, the Association of Japanese Animation, which serves as the event’s secretariat, said in a statement.
The association has also expressed regret over the amendment of a Tokyo Metropolitan Government ordinance that toughens regulations on the sale of manga and anime containing “extreme” depictions of sexual acts.
At the same time, the association underlined the significance of the fair, saying it has raised international awareness of Japanese animation.
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who serves as chairman of the fair’s organizing committee, has said the March 24-27 event will go ahead regardless of the boycott.
The revised ordinance calls on the industry to regulate itself to prevent those under 18 from purchasing or accessing comics and anime containing depictions of rape and other sex crimes, and those “unduly lauding or exaggerating” incest.
The firms behind the boycott plan to hold an event at the same time in Makuhari Messe, Chiba Prefecture, according to earlier reports.
A Tokyo museum is offering “anime” animation workshops for young visitors who aspire to work in the industry.
The free Suginami Animation Museum, opened in 2005 as the country’s first museum devoted to anime, lets visitors engage in anime production processes such as voice recordings and coloring.
Visitors can also explore, through video and panel exhibits, the history of Japanese animation going back to 1917, as well as recent developments in anime production, including digitization and the expansion of the role of overseas studios in Japanese anime production. The museum also has a library of around 1,500 anime DVDs.