[OP-ED] Explicit Anime and Manga Drawings of Teenagers are Images of Child Sex Abuse

Jay Yim, Nov. 8, 2019, 4:47 p.m.


I was shocked when I heard news of South Korea's Supreme Court overturned a lower court's decision, ruling that sexually explicit drawings of teenagers in "anime" cartoons and "manga" comics should be seen as images of child sexual abuse.

After the ruling, the court ordered for the retrial of Lim, the man who was previously found guilty for operating a website for file-sharing that violated the child protection law for sharing video clips that included characters depicted in school uniforms engaging in explicit sex acts.

The lower court essentially argued that just because the characters wore school uniforms and had a "young appearance", was not solid evidence to prosecute him, and more evidence would be needed to prove the characters were "actually" under the legal age of consent.

But then, the Supreme Court argued, "In the perspective of a common individual in our society, the contents of the videos demonstrate what can be seen to be teenagers”.

In my opinion, the Supreme Court made a decision in what they thought any moral human being should do. There is a lot of explicit anime and manga that depicts girls in school uniforms doing explicit sex acts, or doing something of sexual nature. I can't say with a hundred percent certainty that the artist had no bad intentions, but in the eyes of some, it is inappropriate.

Furthermore, artists, writers, and publishers argued that the ban on their work would be a violation of their freedom of expression. Also, Japan's comic and animated movie industry made an argument that the images were merely drawings, so there were no actual "victims" and thus no crime was comitted.

I can understand both sides. The images may be depicting essentially child pornography, and people might be disgusted by it. On the other hand, they are merely drawings so there is no real child sexual abuse.

All things considered, I think the Supreme Court should take a step back and re-evaluate the parameters as to who should be affected by the ban. The way I see it, any artist to shows girls looking under age involved in sexual acts, should be banned from making such drawings. If the girl is in a school uniform, but is not involved in any sexual acts, then the artist should still be allowed to continue the animation. If the girl is in a school uniform, or looks under legal consent, is not involved in any sexual acts, but is seen doing something midly explicit, then the artist should receive a warning.

Regardless of it being animation, it still depicts the sexual acts of (apparent) under age girls, and it is most definitely wrong. On the other hand, since it is animated, there are not real under age girls being shown in sexual acts. If you think deep down, if this was all real-life situation, then it would be a much different story. In the end, it all comes down to what the artist depicts with the girls in school uniforms and who appear to be young. I think the Supreme Court should reconsider the parameter of the ban.

What do you guys think? Do you agree with the Supreme Court or lower court? Should these images be banned or should there be certain parameters as I mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.

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