Police in Tokyo have arrested the CEO of Core Magazine, publisher of the adult manga anthology Comic Megastore, along with three of its editors, on the charge of publishing obscene material.
‘Hardcore’ pornography is basically illegal in Japan, and any depiction of sexual organs (either real or drawn) must be obscured in some way (most producers favor digital mosaics).
Police say that the mosaics used by Core Magazine in its most recent (March 2013) issue (which sold 24, 500 copies compare that to American comic book sales) were too small. The CEO and editors deny the charges.
There is, of course, a lot more to this story that, being an outsider, I can’t really get a grasp on. In the last few years, the Tokyo legislature has gone on an anti-obscenity crusade that specifically targeted anime and manga using incredibly vague criteria to ban the sale of certain publications that it deemed ‘harmful to minors’.
Also, in reading various stories about the arrest, there is a lot of talk about ‘agreements’ other publishers have with their local police departments; and that Core Magazine’s legal troubles may stem from their unwillingness to bribe the right people.
Arresting people over ‘insufficient censorship’ seems like an overreaction. Keep in mind, by all accounts, Comic Megastore was pretty vanilla as far as porn manga goes, and didn’t depict anything inherently illegal or offensive. You can’t help but think that dragging the editorial board to jail four months after the fact was motivated by something other than a genuine concern for the well-being of children.