Kodomo no jikan: In which I am going to mind fuck you till you own up to your shit

can't touch this

Hi again. So here’s the dealio: I just got a brand new blog over at http://itsubun.dasaku.net/, courtesy of digiwombat. For those who are interested, plz update your blogroll. Future anime/manga editorials will be posted both here and over at itsubun. Although I will update itsubun more often with my own thoughts and opinions on a variety of Japanese media in which my entries will be a lot more free with the crazies and the personal because the mentality is –> my blog, my comfort, my freedom of expression. Now let’s start.

Before I actually picked up the nominally controversial Kodomo no Jikan and read it, I had heard so many interesting things about the series. And most of what I picked up through the grapevines go something like this: child porn, fan service gone too far, immoral justification of pedophilia, cannot be licensed due to being inappropriate for US audiences [because apparently we’re just so fucking moral-minded and too pure to be tainted by such appalling narratives from Asian countries with their exoticized sexuality and their kama sutra].

After hearing all of that I was like, “OMG! No way! That’s disgusting! [I wanna see!] How can something like that even be allowed to be published? [Me see! Me see!]”

So eventually [inevitably] I got the manga, read it, and found that I have much to say about it.

Kodomo no Jikan [A Child’s Time] is about an elementary school teacher who gets assigned to his first class of 3rd graders. In the class is Rin, problem child extraordinaire, who develops strong feelings towards him and goes to great lengths to seduce him. Lengths that include (but are not limited to): sexual extortion, nude cell phone pictures, spermy haikus, exhibition of various loli parts, and… you get the gist that series is a step up from your standard ecchi. That’s the synopsis in a nutshell.

so shy!

Step through the curtains for more awesome

So lemme clarify some things before I dive head first into this: Yes, the manga is explicit in that it depicts young children in sexually charged situations. Yes, it is chock full of sexual innuendos and explicit jokes. And there are enough panty shots and tit teases to put a HxC lolicon in a coma from his non-stop nosebleeds and painful blue balls in response to the incredible amount of fan service this series provides.

But wouldn’t all of those things add up to justifying the injurious rumors about the series?

NO. Because if you took the time to read the fucking series, and I mean REALLY read the series [not just ogle at the no-no pictures, although those are really nice to look at too <3], then you will realize that Kodomo no Jikan is so much more than just fan service or fetishization. They’re so fucking stupid, the people who trivialize and condemn it based on the mystique and the rumors. Because they’re so scared of what it could teach them, of what it could mean to them. There is a rhyme & reason to the sexual content.

Take exhibit A:

did i ever tell you that you're my hero?

This is Rin taking a picture of her principal with his fingers in her underwear. See how she’s smiling? It must mean that she likes it.

In a situation like that, when you’re young and stupid and afraid, with an old man breathing down your neck, it’s so easy to get scared and give up the struggle. So why the pretty smile? Instead of being resigned to her role as the passive victim, she uses her age and all that it signifies in order to manipulate societal norms to empower and protect herself from the advances of sexual predators. She knows that she is capable of owning her sexuality and does so by using it to bring down THE LAW on THE MAN. Now tell me how this is a negative message to send out to the masses? Tell me how this will corrupt the youth of the world and lead us all into darkness. Preach to me about your laws and teach me a lesson in propriety, make me understand how a world where children can and should defend themselves against the fallible hierarchies and institutions that adults set up is bad.

But wait, aren’t the children too young to own up to the responsibilities of their own actions? What would happen if they were to abuse their power because they’re too young to know any better?

Well, let’s look at Exhibit B:

What? What’s that you say? We as adults have to monitor and regulate ourselves because unlike the children, we have no excuses for our naivety and ignorance when it comes to pedophilia and child abuse? In-fucking-deed. Therefore the responsibility does fall with a heavy weight upon us to ask ourselves the really hard questions and not run away from our own desires, but to evaluate them and figure out what’s worth it. Because shit like, “She was asking for it!” or “She acted like an adult” don’t fly in court. That’s what the rapists and child molesters say. And you can’t just censor out that part of yourself that twitches and twists when you look at the sexual images in Kodomo no Jikan. You have to work within that taboo, to invert it and examine it, and then admit that: Yes, the underage girls are really, really fucking hot and they make me think of all kinds of wrong. But I’m not going to touch that thing with a 10 foot pole because I know that I’ll end up fucking up a human life. And ultimately I can’t bear the burden of that on my conscience. And THAT would be epic owning up.

This is a manga that far from commodifying children as sexual objects, it takes them seriously and gives them the consideration that they almost never get in normative society. The notion of children’s sexuality brings great shock and disgust to people because they cannot reconcile that with their idealization of the purity and innocence of youth. People need a frame of reference in order to fantasize about “happier days” and “carefree times”. But what comes with those kind of ideals is a horrible oppression that completely subjugates and invalidates a child’s feelings and desires.

I have such profound awe and respect for Kaworu Watashiya’s prodigious achievement of finding that precious balance between producing kiddie porn and an incredibly intelligent and enlightening discussion about the rights of children to their own bodies and emotions. The “monstrosity” that she has created is beautiful in its versatile capacity to be a mechanism that both appeals to mass demands for lolicon fan service as well as facilitates a complex discourse on the sexuality of children.

Kaworu Watashiya’s Kodomo no Jikan is not just a product of decadent society nor is it an attack on standard moral discourses, but rather a more sincere representation of the sublimated and tyrannically policed world of children.

did i ever tell you, you’re my hero?

Highly recommended for all of the reasons stated above.

Also, US – please to be getting off your racist high horse and stop pulling rank on Asia with your own repressed and codified sexual discourses and superiority complex about what’s “moral” and “acceptable” pertaining to anything related to sex. It’s not so much about Seven Seas Entertainment canceling the licensing because I understand that each nation has its own diverse values and standards, and yeah, fine, reject alien medias to protect the national symbolic as you please. But when those ideals infringe upon other nations’ [and oh they do, they do], you get shit like Memoirs of a Geisha becoming sensationalized and contributing to the already detrimental stereotypes about Asians and now proliferating them on a massive scale. Oh US, your hypocrisy comes through loud and clear when you objectify the same characters that you seek to sublimate from your society. You need to move on from the Asian mystique and leave the Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Lotus Blossoms alone. And Santa Clause doesn’t exist either. So sorry QQ!

Oh, and yes, I do live in the US and I am Asian American. And I do love my ironic, topsy-turvy country. So no deportment plz. =D

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38 Comments

  1. Posted May 7, 2008 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    It’s not that we’re racist, its that we Yanks have something called the religious right. Sadly you have the unhappy fate of living with these people (I have the unhappy fate of defending them) and I remind you that they are more numerous than you think at least the voting segment anyway. It’s not cultural imperialism at least not entirely. Besides good luck trying to defend teh lolis to John Q. Public and not look like a pedophile. You have to ask yourself that when you become a parent to a child would you encourage such behavior in them? I for one would much rather have mein kinder cousins not be dry humping one another at ages below 13. I never bought into the notion of lipstick feminism and wielding sexuality like a cudgel is not the best use of said weapon if it can indeed be weaponized at all. just my 2 cents.

    If you were guilty of treasonous behavior I would be part of the team that’d be kicking down your door. We don’t have to deport traitors, Uncle Sam has the right to execute those who visit treachery upon America. Pray that I never visit your residence in full battle rattle… ;)

  2. Posted May 7, 2008 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I watched a couple of episodes of Jikan, amongst jests of pedophilia from a few friends of mine…it ended up not being my kind of show, but damn there are a lot of close minded individuals out there.

    On another, more important note: You’ve got to watch your copy pasting if you’re going to paste from the html/source. I already went back and fixed it, but this post broke the website (glad I caught it quick)…won’t be long before you break the internets!

    Also, I need an image for your avatar…hit me up on YIM for more details on all of the above.

  3. Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Kodomo no Jikan is incredibly good. It’s shocking at times, yes, because of the subject matter; however, it is also a beautiful story about growing up into adulthood, and about love and responsibility. At first you think of Kokonoe as a badass girl with an attitude, but as the story progresses you begin to realize how her background has made her like she is, and why she is like that. You begin to realize that it’s actually a very sad character, and you can’t help but be on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next part of the story, hoping for a positive resolution.
    Few series have kept me like that. And when they do, I know I’ve found Grade A Drama: The top of the crop.
    That’s Kodomo no Jikan: A series that blends a bit of humor, a bit of perverted, and enough drama to question your own childhood and your actions as a “responsible” adult.

  4. Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The following comment is not about the manga, but what was noted in the last paragraph.

    I completely agree with you. The US government (note I live in the Scotland, which is not England) does tend to have a policy of “our way or no way”, however I feel that this is caused by 2 things:

    1. A flawed education system which does not teach world religion at all. I am surprised by the number of Americans that believe that Jesus (pbuh) was born on 25 December. For the record, historians believe it was in Easter, look it up.

    2. News networks who think pop stars are far more important than a crisis in another country. Next time when you’re checking the news online, look at the BBC World News you’ll get a different picture.

    Sorry for the rant and I apologise if I have offended anybody. For those of you who are in the NSA/CIA/etc please contact the British Government for my details

    I would also like to thank Tsuruya for giving me time to edit this comment… wait this isn’t where you were going with this was it? Oh well

  5. cranberry
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I disagree with your explanation of why this manga deserves to be read. What exactly is the rhyme and reason of becoming locked in a freezer, having to huddle together for warmth (b/c actually this happens all the damn time) and the child gives the guy an erection? The moral of this story is men have no control over it so steer clear of that area?

    Secondly, a third grader “owning her sexuality” and using it to uncover a pervert is a good thing? I fail to see how teaching children to use sex to reveal a pervert is a good thing. Rather a child just telling an adult that a teacher is a pervert is more than enough to get them most likely fired in our society.

    And if this manga really wasn’t trying to make the third graders appear as objects of sexual fantasy would there really be any need for the “incredible amount of fan service”? Is the author just incapable of writing the manga so that it gets across the complicated emotional and psychological drama without perverting the third graders?

    Lastly, I don’t think rejecting the license of this manga has anything to do with racism; it’s more of a moral issue. Furthermore I wouldn’t say that not licensing this one controversial manga is rejecting alien media after all lots of other mangas get licensed every year.

    Yeah that’s right I’m an unbelievable hater.

  6. Leviathan
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t accept your claim that having sex with a kid will always “end up fucking up a human life”. I think that at least in some cases a girl can live through a relationship like that pretty fine as long as she at least a bit mature and the guy is sensitive, gentle, has enough self-cantrol and love toward her so he may not take advantage of her. Yap, this is kind of rare, but theoretically possible.
    I agree with anything else that has been said.

    @cranberry: Oh you and your false moral. you’re not only an unbelievable hater, but a narrow minded moron. I bet your idea of sex is “only in missionary position and for babies”.

  7. Dot.
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Another interesting thing about the “moral” america is how they sexualize their 12 year old pop-stars and actors (and sometimes their own children), who are real people and then they complain about a manga like this.

    Secondly, a third grader “owning her sexuality” and using it to uncover a pervert is a good thing? I fail to see how teaching children to use sex to reveal a pervert is a good thing. Rather a child just telling an adult that a teacher is a pervert is more than enough to get them most likely fired in our society.

    Which is what she did first, but nobody listened to her.

    And if this manga really wasn’t trying to make the third graders appear as objects of sexual fantasy would there really be any need for the “incredible amount of fan service”? Is the author just incapable of writing the manga so that it gets across the complicated emotional and psychological drama without perverting the third graders?

    As always fanservice (and sex) sells.

  8. Posted May 7, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The Moetan franchise is far and away a greater glorification of loli then Kodomo No Jikan is, but Kodomo No Jikan had the whole Seven Seas fiasco so it’s basically became the dartboard for everyone’s insecurities about the side of anime/manga everyone protests to hate. Really though I think most of the people that protest to hate lolicon so much are probably closet lolicons themselves who are in denial.

    That and a good number of people don’t seem to understand at all what Kodomo No Jikan is about. I think they are getting it confused with a doujin manga of the same name which has nothing to do with the Kodomo No Jikan we know and is in fact actually pornographic. Of course they could just be trying to annoy us all like a group of middle schoolers.

  9. Dando008
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    When it comes to censorship I say it is all BS. It happens all over the place. We have Nice Boat incident with School Days, Death Note manga was banned in China, and here in the U.S. we block anything we don’t see fit It is not just in the US, it is everywhere. It was just as you said earlier. Just because it happened in a game, book, tv, whatever, doesn’t mean that we will do it. It is pretty sad if some people did, but it is common sense to know what happens in reality. Ah, and Kodomo no Jikan rocks!

  10. dan
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    No offense but whoever is arguing for this anime/manga is a dumbass. Look at the last picture.

    It is a THIRD grader with her panties down obviously hinting at something extremely inappropriate.

    It is a fucking child and shit like that is fucking disgusting. I do not care what the overall focus of the manga/anime is. The funny thing is there is CONSTANT sexual connotation about a KID that is 8 years old.

    I dare anybody to try to argue this with friends or with strangers and see the reaction from them. Saying it on the internet is different.

    Imagine saying the following to people:

    “Yeah so there is a 3rd grader in a comic book that takes her panties off, the comic book has many sexual references, hints at the 3rd grader wanting to have sex with her teacher, makes boob references, etc, etc.”

    This shit is fucking disgusting.

  11. Posted May 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Your rant here is pretty flawed I’d have to say. First off I’ll say I don’t have any issues with having this manga for sale because it’s not really child pornography. Child pornography involves actual children are having sex, this falls more under the literary, artistic, etc. depictions front. However, regardless of the “moral of the story” or how it teaches about young girls asserting their sexuality, and as you say:

    “The manga is explicit in that it depicts young children in sexually charged situations. Yes, it is chock full of sexual innuendos and explicit jokes. And there are enough panty shots and tit teases to put a HxC lolicon in a coma from his non-stop nosebleeds and painful blue balls in response to the incredible amount of fan service this series provides.”

    People have a right to be pissed off at such content, while I don’t think it’s necessary to ban it or anything, I still think it’s disgusting and would never read or watch it myself. So I find it kind of insulting that because I haven’t read the series yet I condemn it, I’m “fucking stupid.” Sorry, but you can read all of the lolicon sex content you want, but that doesn’t mean I have to.

    Also, you are kinda going off the deep end when you start accusing the US of being racist and claim that

    “those ideals infringe upon other nations’ [and oh they do, they do], you get shit like Memoirs of a Geisha becoming sensationalized and contributing to the already detrimental stereotypes about Asians and now proliferating them on a massive scale.”

    It’s really hard to evaluate your statement as more than a baseless rant without something more than that. When you summarily call a country racist and stereotype panderers you should probably offer a bit more evidence than one mild offhand example. Does US culture impose it’s beliefs on the rest of the world? Sure, that’s the prerogative of a culture which the rest of the world eats up, if someone from another country has a problem with the values of that culture don’t watch so many Hollywood movies.

  12. JHL
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    …I’m pretty sure the manga ban had nothing to do with racism. It was banned cuz it borders on pedophilia. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve read the manga too, and I’m all for people reading what they want to read. But on first impression, it’s child porn. And as for actually reading into the deeper meaning of it. People don’t really do that in real life. That’s the sort of thing usually reserved only for English lit classes.

  13. ItAintEazy
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Child porn? In that case, just about every other shojo manga out there is child porn since they (gasp!) also depict underaged girls in sexual situations. Yes, the main character in question in KnJ is NINE YEARS OLD!!!11one but it’s only a problem if you see her as too much as a sexual object. Once you disabuse yourself of that notion, then the comedy, and ultimately the tragedy, of a young girl tilting at windmills, age difference be damned, can finally be appreciated.

  14. Posted May 7, 2008 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I welcome disagreements and trolling. But please don’t just selectively read through my entry, pick out the parts that pisses you off, and then make an argument based on your gut reaction to what I’ve written. This is the overall impression that I’ve gotten from these comments. If you’re going to refute me, please do so with your brain not your gut.

    @Calawain: Since you’ve taken to directly quoting my entry [a gesture that I really appreciate because it means that you have actually read what I’ve written], I’m going to respond in kind.

    “Because if you took the time to read the fucking series, and I mean REALLY read the series [not just ogle at the no-no pictures, although those are really nice to look at too <3], then you will realize that Kodomo no Jikan is so much more than just fan service or fetishization. They’re so fucking stupid, the people who trivialize and condemn it based on the mystique and the rumors. Because they’re so scared of what it could teach them, of what it could mean to them.”

    Now tell me where in this paragraph [or in any part of the entry] did I force you or anyone to read KnJ?

    In fact, let’s take a closer look: “They’re so fucking stupid, the people who trivialize and condemn it based on the mystique and the rumors.”

    I am directing this at the people who haven’t read it AND YET they still condemn it based on what they’ve heard and they proliferate the slander. If you are not one of these people and just simply haven’t read the book and do not want to because your kinks lie elsewhere, then I don’t understand why you would take offense to that. I am not forcing you or anyone to read KnJ. I am simply telling people to stop hating on something based on first impressions or overblown rumors. Note the “highly recommended” [NOT “required reading”] at the end. Maybe you feel like I am forcing this on you simply because you took the time to read my entry and expose yourself to something that you find vile and that’s why you took offense and needed to comment. If that’s the case, then I’m not going to spend time trying to change your mindset because that’s your own business.

    Also, I do stand by my belief that the cancellation of KnJ being licensed has a lot to do with cultural differences and values. I didn’t expand on the racist comment because that wasn’t part of the main thesis of my entry [which very few ppl seem to have grasped]. I put it at the end as a closing thought in order to encourage readers to think on this link between societal values and how taboo figures into that.

    @ JHL: If people don’t care about the “deeper meanings” of manga/anime, then why bother reading an editorial at all? And if the ban doesn’t have anything to do with racism, then why the ban? Pedophilia is a cultural taboo, which is a social construction, which belongs to a certain nation, and is instilled into a certain population. Each nation/population has their own values and when they come into contact with each other, then they clash. This is to be expected. But try to step out of your own cultural/historical context for a little bit [I know it’s hard, if not impossible, but try anyway] and think about what I’ve said and then get back to me.

  15. Leviathan
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see anything wrong with lolicon. I like it. I dislike Child pornography because it’s 3D and the children are offended by the industry. I don’t see why it bother anyone if someone find third grader girl to be attractive. The manga doesn’t include any violence or rape at all, so I assume the only reason people dislike it is because of conservatism, narrow-mind and misunderstandingly tagging it as child abuse and the people who enjoy it as perverts/molesters. which is wrong as we are normal and moral people. Ask Extrange or Impz for example.
    I also don’t spread hate about fetishes I dislike, unlike you.

  16. Posted May 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    @ItAintEazy: You are like an oasis in the middle of a desert. You get it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    @cranberry: Oh, cranberry, did you selectively read through my entry and conveniently skipped over all of my main points?

    Did you somehow miss this whole paragraph under Exhibit B where I said to own up to your challenging desires instead of running away from them and taking responsibilities. Maybe you should go read up on that and then get back to me.

    So you said, “Rather a child just telling an adult that a teacher is a pervert is more than enough to get them most likely fired in our society.” – Rin has tried to do this, but was rebuffed because of a teacher’s inability to believe that the worse can and has happened. Therefore, she has to protect herself because who else is going to do it? Yes, the law is there to protect these children. But what happens when the offenders find loopholes or when the law just simply glitches?

    And as for the sexual contents in this series: Yes, it was intentionally put in there and necessary for the arguments that she is trying to make. Yes, there are other ways to convey those messages, but Kaworu Watashiya’s method is very direct and blunt. She is not afraid to tackle the subject matter for what it is [CHILDREN, SEX, OMFG] rather than be coy about it. Thus far, judging by the comments and other blog entries on KnJ that I’ve read, her method seems to have a profound impact on her readers in that it illicits a strong response out of them and makes them think, it encourages them to formulate their own thoughts and opinions on the matter. PEOPLE, I’m not saying that her word is law, but at least give her arguments some consideration before you trash it with your unsound morality and socially instilled reflexes.

    And aw, don’t be a hater, be a LUVA.

    @dan: Aw, dan. Didn’t anyone tell you that name-calling is not nice, you dumb fuck. YOU may be a product of the sexually repressed environment that you crawled out of, and aw QQ sucks for you. But I’m encouraging people to take a closer look at the things that are proscribed by society and ask WHY? so that they can become more aware of the regulations enforced upon them by their environment and maybe gain a little perspective on their own cultural/historical context and then perhaps come to make their own informed choices and opinion. Knowledge = power. But maybe this is me being too optimistic about this shit.

  17. dan
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    “But I’m encouraging people to take a closer look at the things that are proscribed by society and ask WHY?”

    So you are saying a manga about a 3rd grader that does the following: takes her panties off, part of explicit sexual jokes, shows explicit sexual things, boobs jokes, and a slay of other things is ok?

  18. Posted May 7, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Now tell me where in this paragraph [or in any part of the entry] did I force you or anyone to read KnJ?

    Maybe that was a miscommunication on my part, when I said “have” I meant it in more of a figure of speech sense, not to be taken to claim you are literally throwing it in my face. I was instead responding to your assertion that the sexual content involving children can somehow be viewed separately from the work which is suggested by the phrase “you will realize that Kodomo no Jikan is so much more than just fan service or fetishization.” Frankly, it’s not separable, and my point was that people are going to find it offensive just from that alone. And of course rumors and mystique are all I have to go on because I’ve never read it, and I’m free to state that it’s trash based merely on the fact it has offensive sexual content involving children. Basing my opinion on the glaringly offensive portion of the material does not make me “fucking stupid.” Perhaps that clarifies what I was trying to say?

    “Also, I do stand by my belief that the cancellation of KnJ being licensed has a lot to do with cultural differences and values.”

    Well of course it was canceled because of cultural differences, Seven Seas figured that the horrible PR that would result from people believing they sell borderline child pornography (not necessarily what I believe, but that was the general consensus of the opposition then) was not going to be made up by the sales of KnJ. That’s how markets work, and it’s not really all that new of a concept that material a majority of people find offensive will not make it’s way over here. There was no censorship here, this was just a company making a business decision not to license a work for U.S. distribution.

    “I didn’t expand on the racist comment because that wasn’t part of the main thesis of my entry [which very few ppl seem to have grasped]. I put it at the end as a closing thought in order to encourage readers to think on this link between societal values and how taboo figures into that.”

    Whether it was part of the main thesis of your entry or not, calling an entire country racist is not something to be dismissed so easily. People would feel offended if I went around at the end of my entries saying Chinese culture is racist without anything to back it up or explain myself. So yeah, if you make a comment calling the country I live in racist without saying much on why, I’m going to be offended and call you out on it.

  19. Posted May 7, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    @dan: Why yes, dan. Yes, I am. For all of the reasons that I took great pains to elaborate on. Hence why I wrote an essay-long entry asking people to give this manga a chance. Unless you somehow managed to miss all of that.

  20. Posted May 7, 2008 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    @Calawain: This is another instance of miscommunication between us. We have a surprising amount of these.

    What I meant by ““you will realize that Kodomo no Jikan is so much more than just fan service or fetishization,” is that people should not simply reduce the whole series down to just those two elements of it. I did not say “KnJ is NOT fan service or fetishization”, but that there is more to it than that. And here I do acknowledge the sexual content for what it is, as well as give more perspective on it: The “monstrosity” that she has created is beautiful in its versatile capacity to be a mechanism that both appeals to mass demands for lolicon fan service as well as facilitates a complex discourse on the sexuality of children.

    So far from asking people to separate the sexy from the series [which would invalidate my own points anyway, so wtf would I do that for?], I’m saying that it’s an amazing series BECAUSE it’s able to work with the sexy to bring about a very compelling dialogue on issues that most people are not willing to think about or seriously consider on the grounds that they are taboo or too scary [such as child molestation, homosexuality, parental neglect, bullying, abortion, etc]. But I guess you wouldn’t think to consider these other aspects to KnJ because, well, you haven’t read it.

    “Frankly, it’s not separable, and my point was that people are going to find it offensive just from that alone.”

    - Yes, I agree. Hence the paragraph under Exhibit B where I asked people to consider and interact with the sexual discourse of KnJ instead of pushing aside their desires and running away from the taboo.

    See, if you were to actually read KnJ you will find out very quickly that it is a satire. And the point of the sexual contents is to make the reader more aware of their own desires and anxiety towards small children so that they can re-evaluate themselves accordingly. So actually, the manga is very conscious in how it depicts children’s sexuality and does so with the objectives of confronting the reader [or according to people's worries - possible sex offender, since apparently everyone who reads and likes KnJ must be a fucked up perv *rolls eyes*] and making them think about the consequences and the bigger social/interpersonal impacts of their desires and actions.

    But people like you don’t see any of these other facets to it because you all are so quick to jump the gun and condemn it just on the basis of what you hear about it. And that, to me, IS fucking stupid.

  21. Posted May 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    @Calawain: I will give you the point when you said that I should have clarified my accusations about the US being racist. So let me do so now. First of all, when I refer to the US, I am referring to the “national symbolic” [please scroll back up and reread for context], which was defined by Linda Berlant as:

    The order of discursive practices whose reign within a national space produces, and also refers to, the “law” in which the accident of birth within a geographic/ political boundary transforms individuals into subjects of a collectively held history. Its traditional icons, its metaphors, its heroes, its rituals, and its narratives provide an alphabet for a collective consciousness or national subjectivity.

    So here I am not criticizing the landmass that is the US, or the individual citizen who lives on that land. But I am highlighting the hypocrisies and double-standards of the collective identity that has come to represent the US in order to ask people if and why they subscribe to that collective consciousness when obviously they are very capable of thinking for themselves and deciding their own values and ethics [as seen in some of the comments to this entry]. My point in making the racist comment is that there are other cultures out there with radically different norms and conventions from the US [such JP allowing KnJ and other equally “explicit” media to be published, because to the Japanese public depicting a narrative that includes children in sexual situations IS acceptable as a mode of expression and social critique]. But that does not make JP a country of pedophiles or godless sinners [as some of the accusations go against fans of KnJ], or in any way inferior to the US. I am looking at the bigger social implications of people’s reactions to KnJ and letting it be known that people need to stop confining themselves to their national mentality and be more tolerant of “foreign” philosophies and ways of thinking.

    “There was no censorship here, this was just a company making a business decision not to license a work for U.S. distribution.”

    I am aware that it is a business decision [duh?], but what issues did they consider in making that decision and what other factors contributed to their eventual cancelling of KnJ? And yes, it’s like you said, “cultural differences”. Which is just using my own answer to answer me. Also, I don’t get what point you are trying to make by telling me about the economics behind Seven Seas Entertainment because I already know [read: I'm not stupid]. SSE canceled KnJ because they believe that it won’t sell/ make a profit because the contents will clash with the cultural values of the US public. Yeah, yeah, I know. I didn’t ask WHY SSE canceled KnJ. So no point in answering questions that I didn’t posit. Either clarify or be more productive in your critique. Also what did you mean by “no censorship here”? Canceling the licensing of KnJ is the ultimate gesture of censorship because that is the company’s decision to keep what they perceive as a threat to the public out of the country. So in SSE’s decision, I see both capitalism and culture at work, not separated as you suggested.

  22. dan
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    We in the united states consider it pedophilia. Putting a 3rd grader in such sexually promiscuous positions is a no no at least for me.

  23. Posted May 7, 2008 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I profess that I am ignorant of how this licensing issue was dealt with, but if SSE elected to drop the license then it is not censorship. Censorship implies that it was consciously banned by a governmental authority and said work is never to be seen again. There is nothing stopping someone else from purchasing the license and publishing it if they smell that there is profit to be had. I understand that SSE wished to avoid the public fallout and they have their own to take care of. It’s easy to decry their “cowardice” for not taking up the KnJ-banner and planting it firmly in the US.

    It was not in my opinion a deliberate effort to prevent this heinous series from reaching American shores, but rather that profits were of paramount concern. Companies have no ethics we even have a pr0n industry that rakes in a good deal of money. Say what you will about the value of art in KnJ, but it is still a commercial product. I doubt SSE is run by a board of morally upright men and women who were keen on burning KnJ volumes. As such as long as publishers are keen to make a profit and avoid bad PR they are under no obligation to publish anything that they do not want to, as it is their money at risk. If there were a company with a big enough war chest to publish KnJ then more power to them, but few publishing houses have that sort of money to survive the fallout or the bad publicity.

    Now if they kept the license and refused to publish that would be censorship. However if the license is still up for grabs it stands to reason that it is not censored. Maybe some other company will bring it over here, if not then it should come as little surprise that in a society where pedophilia is still a concern that publishers here are adverse to risking their profits and their companies by publishing it. Do not underestimate the power of money, every man has his price. If you bankrolled KnJ then I am sure SSE would have been more than happy to publish it as they would risk next to nothing.

  24. JHL
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    @itsubun

    When I’m talking about the deeper meaning of manga/anime, I’m simply saying that in general people often don’t take the time to analyze things and just like to read/watch something for the sake of entertainment. And that is why Seven Seas missed the underlying story of KNJ. It has nothing to do with the purpose of an editorial.

    And like I said before, the ban has more to do with what people accept morally rather than racism. I know pedophilia is a cultural taboo. But for what you’re saying to be true, then Japan as a country has to accept pedophilia. And I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s a cultural taboo in most places, if not everywhere.

    And I am well aware that different cultures sometimes have opposing values and it’s hard to see the other side. But it appears to me that you are stuck in your racism shell. So I would like to extend your invitation back to you. Think about what I’ve said and get back to me.

  25. Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    @JHL: I am going to need clarifications.

    “And like I said before, the ban has more to do with what people accept morally rather than racism. I know pedophilia is a cultural taboo. But for what you’re saying to be true, then Japan as a country has to accept pedophilia. And I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.” <– How did you infer this from anything that I have said? Please quote or give me a specific example of when I have stated that Japan accepts pedophilia in any of my arguments. Because unless someone fucked with my entry, I have NOT, at any point, said anything even remotely close to this statement: Japan is a land of PEDOPHILES. Japan clearly does NOT endorse pedophilia because of the satirical nature of KnJ, which I have written at length about. If anything, KnJ reaffirms pedophilia as a cultural taboo in Japan and reinforces it through multiple discourses within the series.

    “And like I said before, the ban has more to do with what people accept morally rather than racism.” – It seems I need to clarify my use of “racism”.

    Racism does not have to be epic or obvious in scale. It does not mean simply the hatred of a foreign group of people outside of your own social group. It can be very devious and subtle in its nuances, such as the rejection of foreign ideas or modes of representation based upon one’s “morals”. Now tell me, are morals not cultural constructions? And is culture not tied into racial identities? So how are morals and racial values/biases different from one another? Oh, and in this particular argument do try to avoid universality in your response if you can because that shit doesn’t fly.

    Also, “But it appears to me that you are stuck in your racism shell.” <– Explain or elaborate because I don’t know what you are referring to when you make this hit and run comment.

  26. Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    “Yes, I agree. Hence the paragraph under Exhibit B where I asked people to consider and interact with the sexual discourse of KnJ instead of pushing aside their desires and running away from the taboo.”

    Pushing aside my desires? Frankly I have no desires regarding 9 year old girls. I grew up with a sister 5 years younger than myself so I find material like KnJ extremely revolting. I don’t care if it’s satire or the most beautiful story ever told, the fact is that it depicts children in sexual situations and I find them purely disgusting. So no, I will never read it and I will continue to view it as unworthy of my time. I see no problem with condemning any work that has children in sexual situations as this does, and no matter how many times you call me “fucking stupid,” I won’t change my mind.

    But that does not make JP a country of pedophiles or godless sinners [as some of the accusations go against fans of KnJ], or in any way inferior to the US.

    Calling those who would refer to Japanese people as “godless sinners” kind of invalidates your argument that this represents “the collective identity that has come to represent the US.” The type of people you are describing are an extremist section of American society, which has a lot of extremists due to the fact we have 300 million people. And I don’t see how condemning depictions of children in sexual situations represents a double-standard, as a culture we are expressing a view that we find this distasteful. And seeing as how this work comes out of Japan it’s natural for this imaginary general culture of the US to feel that if Japan accepts distasteful works like this as ok then perhaps we should have a lower opinion of Japanese culture. I think that has little to do with racism and more to do with the fact that Japan produces significant quantities of lolicon and other depictions of children in sexual situations that most Americans find offensive. The Japanese depict Americans as loud, blonde, ignorant idiots because of the works that come out of our country, should we consider the Japanese racist then?

    “Canceling the licensing of KnJ is the ultimate gesture of censorship because that is the company’s decision to keep what they perceive as a threat to the public out of the country. So in SSE’s decision, I see both capitalism and culture at work, not separated as you suggested.”

    Actually it has little to do with censorship, see Crusader’s post.

  27. JHL
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    @ itsubun

    In your original post, when you mentioned the US looking down on Asia and stereotyping Asians as geisha girls and such, I assume you’re referring to the most general definition of racism. And that’s the hatred of a race. So by using this definition, in order for this to actually be classified as racist, the US would have to reject a notion that most Japanese believe in. So yes. You did not say Japan is a land of pedophiles, but by making this claim, it is implied.

    But if you take it simply to mean the rejection of foreign ideas based on one’s individual morals, then I suppose anything can be racist. For instance, I could believe that aggressing upon the weaker in order to get ahead in life is perfectly moral. And to you, that idea could be foreign. But if you were to disagree with me on this, it wouldn’t necessarily be racist.

    So then where are we supposed to draw the line? To me, racism has huge connotations that are epic in scale. I don’t believe it’s a word to be used lightly.

    And I was not attempting to make a hit and run comment. I was simply stating that not everything can be viewed in terms of racism, and I do not believe KNJ not being picked up by Seven Seas is racist.

  28. Karisu
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t feel like making this long so I’ll keep it simple.

    I’m a big fan of KnJ (both manga and anime) and I think it’s a fantastic series. At the same time, I thought your post didn’t touch on a single thing that I actually find appealing about the series (which is fine, everyone enjoys things for different reasons). You seemed to focus on the sexuality of it all, whereas for me, it’s the plot/story/psychology of it all.

    Rin’s life and her story are both sad and tragic and it’s how she deals with these things and her strong desire just to be loved that I find the most appealing. How Aoki deals with his own personal issues and the situation(s) Rin puts him in is almost equally appealing for me as well. He’s a man who’s never had a romantic relationship with a woman, is still a virgin, and is, for the most part mentally and emotionally still stuck a child himself for never experiencing these things.

    I think Kodomo no Jikan is a fantastic manga/anime that deserves to be looked at and given a chance, but trying to sell people on the sex and eroticism of children that is turning them away in the first place is not going to win many new readers/viewers. Perhaps I’m the rare fan that truly finds the story compelling and sees the echiness of it as more of a throw away that services the property rather than drives it, but for me it’s the true selling point of it all.

    Side note: Learn what racism is before trying to invoke it. The U.S. having (to speak generally, as certainly not everyone is like this) a different moral compass than another country does not make it racist. Japan often censors violence and blood that wouldn’t be given a second thought in America, but you don’t hear Americans calling Japanese racist for having different values when it comes to such things. Every country has their own general feeling on certain topics. The U.S. is more open to (certain types of) violence in their media and Japan is more open to (certain types of) sexuality in theirs. Doesn’t make either side racist. There is no intolerance of one’s race here. If anything it’s intolerance of culture and the last time I checked the definition of being racist was “Discrimination or prejudice based on race” not culture.

    Well, damn that ended up way waaay longer than I intended…

  29. cdr
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Using the word ‘racism’ as your descriptor here is highly misleading. Similarly I don’t understand why you would think a country would have a “superiority complex” over other countries. Rather the statement just sounded like a sweeping generalization in that tangent at the end of the post, rather than backed up by any meaningful thought behind it. Most -people- find the concept of pedophilia rather repulsive, hence why it’s ingrained in many cultures as morally wrong in the first place. Similarly works like Lolita would’ve never been sold in America if people were so obviously against such material.

    I will admit a slight bias though, since I’m black and live in the U.S., so you’ll have to excuse me if I find your use of the term racism as amusing to say the least.

  30. Posted May 8, 2008 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I’ve never heard of this series before now, but your take on it got me interested. If it manages to produce a serious view of the topic it looks to be a worthwhile read.

    And, uh, the americans with the whacky attitudes (ignore the generalization) are more of a bunch of cultural bigots and religious nuts than racists these days.

  31. dan
    Posted May 8, 2008 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    I believe that they should not have canceled KnJ or h.e you abbreviate.

    However I do not agree with its content at all and I believe it to be trash and disgusting. However just because I do not like it does not mean it can not be published.

  32. ItAintEazy
    Posted May 8, 2008 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I think it’s mostly the fault of the mangaka that the U.S. license of KnJ was cancelled. I mean “Nymphet”? What the hell was she thinking? If people didn’t think “ZOMG! Sex-crazed preteen!!” before, they’d surely think of it now.

    Looks like there is simply no way to justify the series to the critics, so lets just agree on a simple rule: no child can become sexually attracted to those who are more than five years their age. The only way for them to have that attraction be requited is to try to act as sexually mature as the ones they seek. Since the idea will elicit shock among all the gentle folks, those children should be immediately reprogrammed. Beatings, electroshock therapy and/or cold showers are to be recommended.

    For fucks sakes, of course she’s a kid, that’s why her shenanigans are always so over the top. She is simply too young to know what’s appropriate and what’s not. She’s exactly like a kid who learned a new swearword and is trying to act all adult by saying “fuck” all the time. That’s why I laugh everytime she horrifies Aoki-sensei with another stunt.

    At the same time you feel the pain of her being unable to fulfill her genuine feelings because of something that is arbitrary, if necessary. The scenes from the latest chapter may be societally unacceptable, but they came from a genuine enough place that damn near made me cry.

  33. Ashmadeus
    Posted May 8, 2008 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    *see all the loli hate posts above*
    Fuck you people.
    It’s amazing how little is your knowledge on this subject, and yet how fest you tag it. I would call out to you to have more open mind, but this is obviously a waste of time since these values originated from your home and environment and you don’t even want to see any other point of view beside your own.
    Simply put: There is nothing unmoral in lolicon, only in real-life child molesting, which is EXACTLY what lolicon is NOT.

  34. cranberry
    Posted May 8, 2008 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    To Itsubun, I can understand your point about the authors use of shocking images reinforces her points in the manga. However, talking about missing your points I thought the points were a little mixed up because you discuss at length the sexualizing of Rin, yet then say the manga doesn’t make the kids sexual objects. Eh it could be 10% because I’m female and 90% because I’m sane but I’m just not attracted to little girls and I have no desire towards them, so I can’t really understand that.

    On the other hand Karisu’s post explained more clearly why the manga might not be that bad buuut I still disagree with the general idea XD

    @Ashmadeus B/c I’m a hater and you said we have little knowledge I wiki’d lolicon. “Strictly speaking, Lolita complex in Japanese refers only to the paraphilia itself, but the abbreviation lolicon can refer to an individual that has the paraphilia as well.”
    On to paraphilia “in psychology and sexology, is a term that describes a family of persistent, intense fantasies, aberrant urges, or behaviors involving sexual arousal to nonhuman objects, pain or humiliation experienced by oneself or one’s partner, children, or nonconsenting individuals or unsuitable partners.”
    Sorry but to me that still doesn’t sound very good. Ahh sorry for the long post ;;

  35. Posted May 8, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Ashmadeus: “Fuck you people.”

    Such enligtened discourse, bravo sir.

    “There is nothing unmoral in lolicon, only in real-life child molesting, which is EXACTLY what lolicon is NOT.”

    You should add “in my opinion” to that sentence on what “unmoral” is. In reality morality is different for each person, it’s subjective. Just because you think it’s cool to have sexual situations involving a 9 year old doesn’t mean I have to think it’s fine. There’s various degrees of offense beyond your own. So, if instead of the principal having his hands in her underwear he instead pulled down his pants and defecated on her chest, that would still be alright? I mean, that’s not them having sex right? That’s fine, it’s not offensive right? Don’t try to push your value system on me. I didn’t say it should be banned, but I have the right to be offended, whether the girls are real or not.

  36. Jacob
    Posted May 9, 2008 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I’m a big fan of Kodomo no Jikan. The mangaka has done a great job of portraying a precocious, disturbed child and the struggles her teacher has with her. Silly and funny, disturbing and heartbreaking.

    A few unorganized thoughts the review and responses bubbled up for me:

    1) Some responders seem to confuse the anime with the manga. The anime went for fan service over story. It also introduced and resolved Rin’s problems quickly and clumsily – not surprising since a) the anime was rather short, and b) ended while the current manga was still ongoing – the anime was produced well before the manga began showing just how bad Rin’s home situation is becoming. Rin does have problems at home, and they are both subtle and serious. The anime was not able to properly explore them, whereas they are a driving force in the manga. I didn’t much care for the anime – love the manga.

    2) A lot of the controversy over the series has to do with Rin’s overt use of sexuality as a weapon. Rin is a child – so why should this behaviour bother we the readers? It’s obvious she is just acting out, emulating things she has seen and read, right? Why take her behaviour seriously enough to be offended? Do we think she actually understands the implications of her actions? Or has this child simply found a way to shock,confound, and control the adults in her life? And if so, why do her actions work so well in doing so?

    As Rin says in chapter 21 while suggestively confronting/teasing her teacher , “If you truly think of me as a child, you shouldn’t have a problem looking at me even like this.” When he replies that it is her behavior that bothers him, that is all – while still refusing to look at Rin – she rightly claims “You’re a liar.”

    The children in this story are children, the adults are adults, and it is the failures of the latter that are the problem. It might be uncomfortable for the reader to see the same reflected in themselves and their society.

    3) American readers might be a bit confused as to why it takes the teacher so long to worry about whether Rin is being sexually abused at home. American teachers tend to know that sexual abuse is a common cause of innapropriate sexual behaviour in children. It is my understanding that child abuse is only recently entering the Japanese public conciousness whereas it has been a topic of public concern in the USA for a couple of decades. This, combined with the teacher’s inexperience, might explain his slowness. (Please correct me if my impressions are wrong on this point).

    4) The series moves slowly – while it presents itself as an ecchi humor story (and yes, does go waaay over the top at times – the phallic water fountain leaps to mind), it slowly unfolds quite a bit of darkness in its underlying plot. It takes a while to develop (Chapter 20 was a shock – and the source of that shock has nothing to do with ecchiness). Still, each chapter adds more to the story, and even the early chapters point to a deeper story. Before passing judgement on it, one should read at least through chapter 21 (they’re short chapters). They can be read online at several sources (One Manga, for example).

    5) Did I mention I’m a fan of Kodomo no Jikan?

  37. Posted May 11, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Ell Oh Ell

    I’m so late to the party it’s not even funny.

    There’s a ton I would like to say, but I’m pressed for time so I’ll keep it short.

    When children become completely fucked up (for lack of a better word), do we blame them? Do we blame them for actions THEY HAVE INSUFFICIENT KNOWLEDGE OF?

    No. For it is the parents that are to blame. Children are incapable of telling right from wrong, so it is up to the parents to instill the basic moral framework. Once parents relinquish that responsibility to the government/mass media/videogames/whatever, they have failed in their basic responsibility.

    Physical provision of a good life is not enough to create a neurotypical human. The parents must also show love and concern to their children, and show it via their actions. If you’re wondering why psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and to a much lesser extent, religious communities and leaders (in my case, my local church community) are not just needed, but sorely needed, is because parents failed to do their job as parents. There’s a very good reason why spoiled kids usually turn out to be bad kids.

    Unfortunately, we can’t just fine the parents and put them to death. It’d only create worse problems and does nothing for the child. The victim is the child, and we have to help the victims.

    One can say anything about Kodomo no Jikan, and I fully agree that children should not be so sexually suggestive, unfortunately, spewing forth shallow and discordant phrases only shows your hypocritical stance on this issue.

    The KnJ license was badly handled, yes. But it takes bigger balls to pull the plug than to go ahead.

    To tackle the whole religious bent: I’m still a fucking godless heathen sinner even though I’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. That taint is something I cannot eradicate. I’m still just as godless as you are, and thus, am not exempt from God’s wrath if I fuck up.

  38. American
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    EPIC. I must say I love the anime (haven’t read the manga yet) and yes, it’s partly because of the sexualized content, but you, itsubun, are absolutely correct about what you said.

    and we americans do need to slap ourselves in the head and figure out that we’re worse than many many other nations.

    and lastly, I loved your little blog here. I’m glad I read it.

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