Mangaka AKAMATSU Ken Wins Seat in Diet’s Upper House

Mangaka AKAMATSU Ken Wins Seat in Diet’s Upper House

Well, it is official. AKAMATSU Ken-sensei, the creator of A.I. Love You, Love Hina, Negima!, and UQ Holder, is now a member of Japan’s Diet Upper House. Sensei had this to say on Twitter after winning the election.

All of Akamatsu-sensei’s policies are listed here. Purplemonkey111 did a rough translation in order to briefly summarize Sensei’s policies. (If you go to Akamatsu-sensei’s policy page, there are more details and even drawn outlines.) So I thought I’d take a look at these five main policies that got him elected. The quotes are from Purplemonkey111.

Love Hina Christmas Special

Policy 1

Freedom of expression. He is against more strict censorship of anime, manga, and game depiction because there are already laws against real child porn, while ACG (Animation, Comics, and Games) contents are not real, so it’s not right to punish the creators when there are no real victims.

This one will probably make a lot of folks twitch. And I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t care for Akamatsu-sensei’s ecchi loli content in his various manga works. But as a libertarian, while I may not like lolicon or shoutocon hentai/ecchi works, no real people are harmed. Thus I will simply avoid looking at said works and have done.

But this doesn’t just extend to loli/shouta stuff. I’ve no doubt that some folks getting the vapors about that kind of hentai have no problem fapping to JK (high school) hentai stuff, especially of the official English versions pretend the characters are 18, when they aren’t.

Fight against outside pressure to censor ACG.

This is a big one. A lot of the pressure to add additional censorship to Japanese products is coming from the West. And that doesn’t mean just to porn. Anything deemed “problematic” is causing woke, Western (primarily American) publishing folks to push Japanese publishers into changing ACG to fit woke standards. I want Japan to resist this!

Policy 2

Improve Japan GPD via exporting of Japan anime, game and manga. Cracking down on pirate anime and manga sites. Promote esports and pro gaming scene in Japan.

Akamatsu-sensei has long been a proponent of shutting down pirate anime and manga sites. After all, during the days of Negima!, the Chinese and Koreans would have scanlations up days before the manga became official. And for a time, even English scanlations could appear before publication. As such, Akamatsu-sensei pushed to have Japanese laws changed to crack down on posting Japanese raws to sites as well as cracking down on those who download it.

My only concern here is that Japanese anti-piracy efforts will go too far. Japan has already hit a few YouTube channels for simply showing anime clips or passes of manga pages as the YouTuber talks about said stuff, usually in a positive light. But Japan doesn’t have a “fair usage” element in law (as I understand it). Frankly, I think there should be.

The esports stuff in Japan (or the US) is one I have zero knowledge of, and even less interest in. 😅

Policy 3

Protect creator and fan creations. Doujins, cosplays ect. will not be considered illegal nor will the creators be sued for copyright infringement.

As I understand it, doujin works have always operated in a gray area in Japan. Obviously, they’ve been tolerated, otherwise you wouldn’t have the twice annual Comiket event in Japan. (To say nothing of the lesser, doujinshi events.)  But considering how Japanese copyright owners have started cracking down more, it appears Akamatsu-sensei wants protections for doujinshi and cosplayers codified into law.

Offer health benefits and better pay for freelancers in anime, manga sections. Have better health coverage for mangaka, and other ACG industry people.

This part is pretty self-explanatory. There has been a ton of talk about how Japanese animators are worked to the bone and paid very little for it.

Create an archive for all ACG creations. Allow out of print, or no longer copyrighted books to be available as free.

I really like this proposal. By creating an archive of anime, manga, and games, nothing gets lost. And if publishers let something go out of print and no longer feel like publishing it, then yeah, allow folks to access it for free. No longer copyrighted works should be a no brainer, as public domain rules would seem to apply.

Policy 4

Improve Japan’s technology. Put more focus on computer, and programing, AI research. Start a more advanced space program. Improve and standardize network infrastructure. Allow immigration to bring in more experts from overseas.

Akamatsu-sensei has long been a technology buff. This is frequently reflected in his manga works. I find it interesting that he wants more gaijin in who can help make Japan’s technology and space programs even better.

Policy 5

Have games, anime, and manga do educational programs to educate children, and encourage them in those fields. Improve children literacy. Promote computer engineering, and IT fields for children.

Obviously, this closely relates to his fourth policy goals. Nothing bad here.

Promote work from home, and distance learning.

I guess the “Dread C” taught Akamatsu-sensei a thing or two about having to come into an office.

Censorship in Japan — More Than You Know

The Broadcast Ethics and Program Improvement Organization (BPO) in Japan has been strong in increasing censorship of Japanese programs on TV. In addition of cracking down on fanservice in anime, one area of crackdown is on “batsu game” comedy material, as well as other, “violent” comedy stuff. A batsu game is one where folks in the program are punished for things, such as laughing out of turn.

This past January 2022, the comedy show Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! canceled its annual batsu game “Don’t Laugh” episode due to BPO rule changes. For those who don’t know, the comedians of this show are not supposed to laugh. Then other comedians or celebrities come in and do things to try to make them laugh. Anyone who laughs gets punished. Their most famous punishment game in the West is “Silence in the Library”, which MTV attempted to make a show about.

I found the punishment games to be hilarious, though sometimes a bridge too far. (The testicle slapping machine comes to mind.) But even things like Takeshi’s Castle would likely be considered too violent. Maybe Akamatsu-sensei can turn that around.

That aside, I do wish Akamatsu-sensei the best in his new, political career.

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16 Responses to “Mangaka AKAMATSU Ken Wins Seat in Diet’s Upper House”

  1. exof954 says:

    Thanks so much for the extra explanation here! I’d kinda figured about some of this stuff, in part because of your previous posts and in part just from hearing around the net, but it’s really helpful to be able to see exactly what Akamatsu wants to accomplish as a politician.

    I’m a bit mixed on his first policy, but all the rest are goals I both approve of and can get behind. If there’s better localization (looking at the entirety of TYPE-MOON’s Visual Novel catalog, plus like 90% of their Light Novels) then there’s generally less need for pirates, and making the immigration process easier is a boon for everyone. Hopefully he does well!

    • exof954 says:

      Also, the thought of him specifically pushing for space exploration in light of some of the stuff in lategame Negima and UQ Holder is REALLY hilarious.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      You’re welcome and thanks for writing!

      If there’s better localization (looking at the entirety of TYPE-MOON’s Visual Novel catalog, plus like 90% of their Light Novels) then there’s generally less need for pirates,

      Good adaptations are indeed an element that drives some to scanlations, if available. The official adaptation of “Tonikaku Kawaii” (“Fly Me to the Moon”) is trash. They use Japanese honorifics, which is good. But the text can be either wrong or done in such a way that it changes the character speaking it.

      • arimareiji says:

        My gut feelings have certainly been wrong before, like when I mistakenly used to blame ANNO Hideaki for the way the last third of Kare Kano got botched*. But so many times over the last decade, when I look at the way things have gone for anime/manga in the US, my gut screams “D@mn Stu Levy!” and wonders about how things could’ve gone.

        It really is only a gut feeling, but to me it seems like things might’ve been so much better if he hadn’t first gotten some of the most conservative, insular businesspeople in the world to lighten up on the micromanaging… then gone out in a fiery trainwreck that taught them to try to do everything themselves in-house, limit everything else to the most established players whenever possible, and never trust two-faced gaijin unless they’re contractually shackled hand and foot. We might’ve had a world where piracy is mostly obviated by affordable, good content and generally ignored because people graduate from it to spending money on the good stuff. Instead we have a world where you can practically see the hammer descending on the pirates who created all of their problems (versus being as much a symptom as a problem).

        * – I mean, it seemed logical at the time. At the time he was well-known for End of Evangelion, I hated what felt like a similar “Screw you” ending he gave to Mahoromatic… this is just something he does, right? (^_^)°

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Anno-sensei left the Kara Kano project, if I’m not mistaken. I believe it was because mangaka Tsuda-sensei hated what he did with the anime adaptation.

          But so many times over the last decade, when I look at the way things have gone for anime/manga in the US, my gut screams “D@mn Stu Levy!” and wonders about how things could’ve gone.

          I’m not a fan of “DJ Milky-Milk on the super fly tip, yo!” But he did do one thing specifically that I liked — unflipped manga. And while he wasn’t directly responsible for the Twins, their first project was Fruits Basket. And that was done quite well. (TP’s adaptation of Kare Kano sucked.)

          As to the pirate stuff, Big Entertainment with their billions and billions of dollars haven’t been able to stop it. That said, Akamatsu-sensei’s approach seems to be two pronged. First, squash pirate sites, which is going to be impossible to get them all. Second, provide more legal means of accessing manga. We’ll see what happens.

          My only concern on the anti-pirate stuff is that Japan could go after me for having screen captures of anime episodes. I got hit years ago by this (but from an American copyright troll company), and I’m still dealing with the fallout all these years later, even though I’m now whitelisted.

          • arimareiji says:

            Wrt Anno-sensei, you’re not mistaken at all. That’s what happened, with the last third being squarely on Tsuda-sensei. Thank you for providing the context, and averting the possibility that anyone who missed the phrase of “mistakenly used to” in all those words might’ve thought I was describing fact.

            Wrt Levy, it’s rare that anyone has overwhelmingly not accomplished anything good and only deserves censure. ٭cough Brandon cough٭ But I still think the way he kept doubling down on wasteful ego projects instead of storing up something to survive bad times, and in particular the way he chose to go down in flames and screw everyone by holding onto licenses he couldn’t use – and what I perceive as the possible results – deserves heavy censure. At least to me, “but he also did good things” goes without saying and doesn’t need noting. It’s only if he didn’t, that it’s (very) noteworthy.

            And I do hope that as a member of the Diet Akamatsu-sensei will have better luck in what he’s tried to do before – getting the publishing houses to also focus on obviating piracy, not just squashing it. Hopefully this slowly-but-inexorably moving train can be stopped before the car that marks the halfway point of its mass crosses the brow of the hill, and they start aggressively exporting Japanese copyright law to the world the way the US has. (^_^)°

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Hahahaha! Brandon indeed!

            But I still think the way he kept doubling down on wasteful ego projects instead of storing up something to survive bad times, and in particular the way he chose to go down in flames and screw everyone by holding onto licenses he couldn’t use – and what I perceive as the possible results – deserves heavy censure.

            Yeah, his ego is a real piece of work. And sadly, he’s still at it as I understand it.

            Hopefully this slowly-but-inexorably moving train can be stopped before the car that marks the halfway point of its mass crosses the brow of the hill, and they start aggressively exporting Japanese copyright law to the world the way the US has. (^_^)°

            It already started to an extend. I know some Japanese company attempted to kill a YouTube channel on copyright issues. In the end, YouTube ended up not killing the channel, but did block it in Japan. Some other company (I think Toei) did an end-run around YouTube, filed a court case in Japan, and forced YouTube to take down a ton of videos. That channel (I wish I could remember the name) is in a lose-lose ’cause (1) they have to go to Japan to attempt to defend themselves in court, but (2) even if they do go to Japan and appear in court, they almost certainly won’t win as there’s no fair usage elements in Japan.

          • arimareiji says:

            Indeed, you’re right that it has started – I just hope that the train can be brought to a halt before it gets over the hill and gains momentum, because it can get so much worse given the current state of Japanese law and our mutual extradition treaties.

            Look at what happened to Kim Dotcom, which is yet another failgasm that can be laid at the feet of Brandon (behind the scenes)… and the US has been suing and/or extraditing others as well, not just Dotcom. There once was a time when we violently objected to being “transport[ed]… beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences”, now it’s our way of life whenever a corporation thinks its profits are endangered. Imagine if Japan follows suit.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            I hear ya!

  2. james says:

    His new career will be worth watching.

  3. Cypher says:

    Hopefully this time he doesn’t throw a tantrum and rage quits halfway through only to follow it up with policies that feel like they were designed to systematically shit all over everything he once tried to achieve.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Haha! Well, I don’t think he’ll quit. He’s been doing the political thing for years now. Only now, he’s an actual, elected official.

  4. Esports is a subject I can comment on. It’s really noticeable how Japan has some of the most talented gamers in the world, but lacks any real presence in the competitive esports scene outside of fighting games. The reason is that it simply isn’t worth it for the competitors, due to how gambling laws restrict the amount of prize money a competitor can win. If Akamatsu is successful in reforming said laws, you could theoretically see an explosion in the esports and PC Gaming industries in Japan since now there’ll be a financial incentive for players to “git gud”. I think this is exciting because of how it could really shake up the current landscape of current rivalries and regional dominance in several games, which ultimately can only be good for fans, players, and even Japan’s economy. Everybody wins.

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