Kadokawa’s President has reportedly stated manga is rarely reviewed by Apple and Google due to sexual content, and may need to be censored.
Takeshi Natsuno, Kadokawa Corporation’s President as of June 22nd, recently spoke in an interview with video streaming website AbemaTV (along with an accompanying article). The interview was with current and former Japanese gravure idols, those typically involved in photo-shoots in swimsuits or are otherwise designed to be titillating or suggestive, and how they came into the industry.
In the article; Natsuno discussed his stance on gravure idols, along with how Japan “is full of manga that are more extreme than swimsuit gravure.” Even so, he briefly mentioned about needing to “recreate standards that are appropriate for this Internet age.”
“The fact is that there are people who have miraculously beautiful figures, and there are people who think there is value in that, and there is money to be made. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is unfair, and I don’t think the argument about whether gravure is good or bad is valid. On the other hand, Japan is full of manga that are more extreme than swimsuit gravure. The publishing industry that I’m in is full of ‘liberal’ people, but I feel that we need to recreate standards that are appropriate for this Internet age, including such things.”
However, in the video interview Natsuno mentioned more specific information. The video transcription comes via manga critic and doujinshi researcher Naoto Misaki (@nmisaki, translation: DeepL), and Twitter users @rayforcegame and @seri3ma.
Therein Natsuno mentioned that, in addition to other factors, Japanese manga was usually rejected for review by Apple and Google due to sexual or suggestive content. As such he believes, despite his colleagues being in favor of freedom of expression, that manga may need to be altered because of it.
“Japan is full of manga that are more extreme than Gravure. This and other factors prevent Japanese manga from being reviewed by Google and Apple. So, I feel that we need to redefine the standards of the Internet age and determine what is acceptable for the public and what is not. The publishing industry I’m in is full of libertarians, but I really feel like we need to rethink things.”
Misaki also highlights how this is the second time Abema Times had removed controversial statements from their article, possibly as a policy. On the subject of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, they reported Natsuno had reportedly stated “Compared to the Olympics, such shitty piano recitals don’t matter.” However, the “such shitty” part was omitted in Abema Times’ article.
Natsuno likely means that Japanese manga is unable to be hosted or sold on platforms owned by Apple and Google, and therefore cutting out a potentially larger western audience. Those discussing his comments on social media seem abhorred by the idea of altering the creator’s vision for mass appeal, especially under Apple and Google’s harsh terms of service.
The Kadokawa Corporation has publishing subsidiaries under Kadokawa Future Publishing, Kadokawa Light Novel Expo, and Kadokawa Shoten.
Titles include .hack//Link, Chibi Vampire, Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star, Deadman Wonderland, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Dog & Scissors, Dororon Enma-kun, Full Metal Panic!, Future Diary, Galaxy Angel, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Gosick, .hack//Quantum, The Helpful Fox Senko-san, Id – Invaded, If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord, Kemono Friends, Kill la Kill, Lucky Star, Macross 7, Macross Frontier, and several Gundam titles.
They have also adapted Fate/stay night and other adult visual novels into manga; such as Fortune Arterial, HoneyComing, Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, and Imouto Paradise 2. Titles with a large amount or outright focus on fan-service includes Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?, Dogeza: I Tried Asking While Kowtowing, Ghost Talker’s Daydream, and Highschool of the Dead.
Japanese manga and light novel authors have expressed their concerns about Japan’s freedom of expression being eroded by foreign influence. Record of Lodoss War author and creator Ryo Mizuno has expressed concerns that his works may be banned, after the “dark elf” episode of Community was removed from Netflix due to blackface.
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.” He expressed this concern once again during an online conference, adding his fears of political correctness.