Now I want to preface this post with the following. I am not anti censorship. There are many cruel and disgusting things in this world that no one should have to see without a choice and there is certainly a lot out there that should never be exposed to children. That kind of censorship I support, but there is a thin line between censorship and dictating what someone can watch simply because you do not like something. In the 19th centaury it was considered scandalous for a woman to show their ankles, in the 1940’s there was no way you were going to see a gay couple in the latest romance movie. Censorship is something that changes with the times much like the moral standings within our societies and we should be moving forward not backwards which is why I find the latest act of censorship by the Australian Government very concerning and it is what inspired me to finally write about one of my all time favourite non boys love anime, Shimoneta.
I love yaoi, that much should be obvious looking at this blog. I am a proud pervert who is not ashamed of what I love. I am the kind of adult who will laugh at immature jokes and find innuendo in almost every conversation. My bedroom is my inner sanctum of perversion with yaoi and anime posters on my walls and a sign on the bedroom door that says No Minors Allowed for good reason. I am that friend you refuse to put on loud speaker when I call you and the friend that when someone innocent says something that out of context you could be taken dirty you will call out my name and give me a stern look for giggling. That is not to say I can not control myself and be a respectful adult though. Even if that means sometimes I have to step back from a situation and repeat the mantra in my head ‘I am a responsible adult’ over and over again, because I know on a certain level I do lack a little mental maturity for my age.
I am however, not some out of control pervert who is a danger to society.
I act appropriately when out in public, I’m not going to molest your children, I’m not going to make lewd comments in public or at work and make those around me uncomfortable. I do not fetishize anyone within the LGBTQ+ community for my own pleasure. I know the difference between fantasy and reality and I also know that fiction gives us the chance to explore themes we normal would not because we are either unable to or they are to taboo. I also believe that fiction can open up dialogue on subjects that can otherwise be difficult to talk about, but if these works of fiction are taken away from us because those in charge deem them inappropriate for the masses then what kind of society would we end up with? Maybe something like the society shown in the 2015 anime Shimoneta A Boring World Where Concept of Dirty Jokes Does Not Exist.
Released in 2015 by studio J.C Staff and based on the light novel series by Hirotaka Akagi, Shimoneta – A Boring World Where The Concept of Dirty Jokes Don’t Exist is an anime that tells the story of a dystopian futuristic Japanese society which is governed and controlled by a moral code of conduct that has banned all lewd materials for everyone in said society. These laws are enforced by monitoring devices known as Peace Makers that all citizens have to wear, so in sense Japan has become a country run by big brother telling you what you can and can not do not only in public but in the privacy of your own home. Enter our main character of this story Tanukichi Okuma a young man ostracized in this society because his father was arrested for being the ‘Dirty Joke Terrorist’ and as such has been labeled a trouble maker his entire life because of it.
An important fact I want to point out about his relationship between Okuma and his father is that before he was taught by society that his father was a bad man, he loved his father very much and had happy memories joking around with his dad, but because of the kind of society this world is in a child has been taught to hate a man that never did anything wrong by him simply because ‘society’ dubbed him a bad influence. This might sound a bit extreme so I’m going to put this same scenario in a different context.
A family member who has always been kind and genuine to others and has not criminal record comes out as gay to their parents. Nothing about this person has changed between them telling their parents that they have an attraction to those of the same gender, but now they are seen as an immoral menace within the household for bringing the ‘gay’ in and are not only kicked out of the house but any relatives that are close to the parents and siblings of said child are now told what a horrible immoral nasty person that child is.
This is the kind of outcome that comes from extreme views, of having to have an us vs them fight within society. The kind of society where one set of people choose the rules that everyone must obey and if something is not to those in charge’s liking well they are just going to ban that and this is a very simple explanation on how a dictatorship can begin.
The world of Shimoneta sounds nice on paper to those who do not enjoy the lewding things in life. Not everyone likes the same stuff whether that be a sexual apatite, a dirty joke now and again or flavor of ice cream. Yes two of these things are not suppose to be exposed to children, but so is ice cream if that child is say lactose intolerant.
The problems with this society are also clearly shown within the first episode of the series. A woman accuses a student who does not know any better of touching her on the butt on the train, only for it to later be revealed she was faking it to make a quick buck off suing said teen and their family. Teenagers going through puberty are told nothing about their changing bodies and so know next to nothing about themselves which opens them up to some unintentionally inappropriate situations and theories on how human anatomy works and all this from a show that is advertised as a lewd ecchi comedy that honestly gave me a lot to think about when it came to censorship.
All is not lost in this society however, their are those who want to bring the joy of dirty jokes back to society but not just for laughs. Terrorist Blue Snow believes that teens need to know about how their bodies work and have a right to know and that everyone has the right to explore their own sexuality, but even her fight becomes twisted when a rival terrorist group against her own steps forward wanting to same end for a different and more depraved reason. No matter the cause you are fighting for there is always a limit to how far you should be willing to go and before you begin that fight you need to know your line and stick to it till the end. That is why when it comes to censorship in Australia I will fight to keep my anime, but I also know that their are certain titles that should never get an official release.
One thought on “Shimoneta When Censorship Becomes Dictatorship”
In the US we have the First Amendment. Over the last century our reading of it has become much broader and so far more material is deemed protected. Of course, we have a much more conservative court than we once did so I can’t say that trend will continue. The principle of “stare decisis” (let the decision stand) will probably keep it from being rolled back but it may not progress any further.
The real battle for civil liberties always happens in the several states anyhow. Some states, like Utah, would like to be highly restrictive and might think the world of Shimonetta would be desirable. Other states would be more liberal.
If you tried having a World Naked Bike Ride in some states, the participants would be jailed as sex criminals. In Los Angles 400 people show up and you get a police escort for it. In Portland, OR 10,000 people show up and it is a citywide celebration. I guess that is a kind of diversity.