Call to ban child sexual abuse material in anime and manga

26 February 2020

Senator Stirling Griff is calling for the immediate removal and banning of anime and manga that contains child abuse material, currently for sale via retail outlets and on streaming services in Australia.

Senator Griff says he is aware of a number of anime (animation) films containing child abuse material  - such as rape scenes - which have received classification by the Classification Board, allowing it to be imported and sold in Australia.

Explicit manga (graphic novels) is currently not vetted by the Classification Board however, and is freely available.

This is despite the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 prohibiting the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material “that depicts a person or a representation of a person who is or appears to be under 18”.

“Graphic Japanese manga novels and anime depicting sickening child abuse, rape, incest and sexualised images of children should be removed from shelves, streaming services and banned from entering the country,” Stirling says.

Senator Griff will move a motion in the Senate today calling on the government to remove from sale all such child abuse material in animation and print, as a matter of urgency.

The motion also calls on the government to ensure the current Review of Australian Classification Regulation considers how the Classification Board deals with child abuse depictions in animation, and considers extending its oversight to printed materials; 

"Experts that advocate against child exploitation have referred to this type of anime and manga as a gateway to the abuse of real children and can also be used by pedophiles as tools to groom children. It's absolutely sickening that it can be so freely imported and made available," Stirling says.

A movie that received an M classification from the Board ‘Sword Art Online: Extra Edition’ depicts the rape of seventeen year old ‘Asuna’ in a virtual reality world where her rapist ‘Sugou’ says he will rape her in the real world where she is lying in a hospital room in a catatonic state and that he will make a recording of the virtual rape to shame her as well. The scene is graphically depicted.

The M rating allows children under 15 to legally access the material, as the classification rating is advisory only.

The Classification Board’s Decision Report for this movie justifies the M rating by saying the nudity through the film is “moderate in impact” and “justified by context”.

"How can the sexual assault of a child – even in animation – be justified by context?" Senator Griff says.

The Classification Board also gave classification to anime series like ‘No Game No Life’  which its decision report described as featuring “female characters [who] are frequently depicted in sequences that feature panning visuals of, or close focus on, their crotches, breasts, legs and / or buttocks”.

"They are describing images of children. These images are in contravention of the law, plain and simple."

Senator Griff has written to the Minister for Home Affairs and to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts to raise these issues and to ask them to take immediate action.

He has also made a submission to the current review of the Classification Regulation to directly raise these issues.

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