Manga author Ken Akamatu (Love Hina) was invited to speak to the Japanese government; expressing his concerns of manga being “regulated by overseas standards,” while praising Japan’s “freedom of expression.”
Speaking on Twitter, Akamatu (A.I. Love You, Love Hina Itsudatte My Santa!, Negima!: Magister Negi Magi) revealed that he had been invited to speak tothe Japanese Diet; Japan’s legislature, formed from the House of Representatives and House of Councillors.
One member asked him how manga can “survive in the world.” Akamatsu states he explained to them that Japan’s “freedom of expression”, allowing manga to be freely created, was to its advantage.
However, he expressed concerns that Japanese works could be held to foreign regulation. This would be due to the few number of large foreign distributors and publishers dominating the market (an oligopoly), giving few alternative options for manga creators or publishers who wished to thrive outside of Japan.
Finally, Akamatsu states he praised the National Manga Center for preserving the original copies of manga, which in turn prevents them from “leaking overseas;” presumably fearing the originals being edited or no longer visible to the public.
“This month, a member of the House of Councilors asked me to ask a question, but a Diet member asked, ‘What kind of measures do Japanese comics need to survive in the world?’ From my point of view, ‘First of all, freedom of expression. Japan has the advantage of being able to create freely compared to other countries. However, as foreign-affiliated platforms become oligopoly, →
→ I want to avoid situations where Japanese works are regulated by overseas standards.’ . Also, ‘At the National Manga Center, which was sent off this time, raw manuscripts are stored, displayed, and monetized to prevent them from leaking overseas.’The teachers of the members of the Diet were also very nodding.”
Translation: Google Translate.
The news comes after Ryo Mizuno (author and creator of Record of Lodoss War) expressed his concerns his own works would be banned; after an episode of Community was pulled from Netflix due to a character being in blackface (attempting to dress as a “Dark Elf”).
Earlier this year, Funimation announced they would no longer be streaming or dubbing Interspecies Reviewers, as the show “falls outside of [their] standards.”
Even though the anime was later dropped by several channels (and picked up by one); it is indicative of how an anime or manga without a major publisher or distributor (such as Funimation or Crunchy Roll) can struggle to be sold in the west if it is deemed offensive to certain groups.