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Equality Now Demands: Japan, Ban H-Games

Oh, dear.

The Game that Started it All: Rapelay
The Game that Started it All: Rapelay
Sankaku Complex reports that the international (but US-based) group Equality Now, which focuses on gender equality, is demanding that Japan institute a ban on H-games that feature violence towards women and lolicon.

Now, obviously Sankaku's post is rather biased, and frankly, Equality Now isn't totally wrong in saying that a lot of the games seem to endorse violence against women and the sexualization of children. And Sankaku's declaration that violence against women is less common in Japan than elsewhere is unfortunately tainted by the eternal issue that Japanese culture doesn't endorse talking about any kind of sex stuff, much less rape, which goes under-reported by women pretty much everywhere. That said, I will offer two points from my perspective.

The first is this: since there aren't really any solid studies on this, it's as easy to guess that these materials offer an outlet that prevent people from acting on any of these kinds of fantasies as it is to assume that they push people into acting on them. (And let's face it-- the kind of people in Japan who play these games seriously tend to be the kind who are too scared to talk to a woman, much less try to harm one.)

But that's an old argument. So let's move onto something better: IF Equality Now is right and these games are harmful-- aren't they a mere symptom? Wouldn't it be better to do something proactive and engaging than to try and ban something that, let's face it, is a pretty big market in Japan, which is being hit by economic difficulties just like everything else?

I say that if Equality Now really wants to get its message across, they should make their own eroge that features a happy, loving, and of course sexual relationship between two equals. Now THAT would be a positive and proactive way to deal with things!

Who's with me?
ethan staff on May 8, 2009 at 10:46 a.m.
I am with you!
HeeroYuyon May 8, 2009 at 10:54 a.m.
What Equality Now doesn't realize is that when it comes to Japan, they really need to get their priorities in order. By comparison, the rather small market of eroge games is nothing in the face of the country's gender role beliefs that are still generally taught till this day. I just wish groups like this and those Whale Wars nutcases would just stay the heck away from a country they know virtually nothing about culturally...it's people like THESE that are the REAL reason I'm embarrassed to be an American sometimes.
omoon May 8, 2009 at 10:55 a.m.
I think banning yaruge with rape in it isn't going to get much done when those are the least of the actual harms. There are so many other substitutes someone can go to if they want something similar, to point finger and RAEG at. Women's rights in Japan is substandard compared to what we see in the US and in western Europe, in general. Ultimately though the Japanese sex industry is pretty messed up, full of strange (but newsworthy) things and really terrible stuff like human trafficking--a sizeable number of young girls working in those industries are from southeast Asia.

But I don't think it's a big deal. Yaruge doesn't really add up to much in terms of sales. 90+% of titles don't break 10k sales in a year, if even that.


lanaswifton May 8, 2009 at 10:58 a.m.
Hah, I'd love to see how boring their eroge would be.

omo: good points all.
MoonStormon May 8, 2009 at 11:10 a.m.
This is the problem with most 'moral' group/organization. It filled with people that have nothing better to the then to find stuff that they find morally wrong and try to ban it. I'm sure the majority of people don't give a dam what a person plays or not. However the rule 'Who ever yells the loudest wins' may take effect. I'm sure there is about as much connection between these kind of games and sexual assault, as there is between video games and violence. (that is vary vary little) The problem with arranging with these kinds of people is that they think they are right. So you fighting a losing battle with them much like republicans ha (I'm joking). My advice is the pop out the good old first amendment. I'm not sure if Japan has one of those but I'm sure there something like it.

If only you good get them to play one of the better games.
gleowineon May 8, 2009 at 3:55 p.m.
Equality Now would probably say that making their own eroge would be too much "work." It's easier for them to tear something down than to actually make something.
HeeroYuyon May 8, 2009 at 9:37 p.m.
@MoonStorm: Ooo! "Whoever yells the loudest wins" battles? I love those! I usually win those...
AleMon May 9, 2009 at 9:49 a.m.
I've got say I'am really worried about the abundance of H stuff. Not that I don't find them cool, but sometimes they exaggerate with rapes and loli material. And I think that the many well-respected mangakas feel the same.
jaxon May 9, 2009 at 3:03 p.m.
Really though, this is petty do-nothing activism by a group that's probably just trying to get attention for themselves. If you care about the status of women in Japan, how about trying to break the huge glass ceiling that exists there? The number of women in prominent business and government positions in Japan is much lower than the U.S. How about equal work for equal pay, and equal opportunities for advancement? Most women who work for Japanese corporations tend to be in "Office Lady" type positions with little chance for promotion and not much responsibility, to say nothing of comparatively low pay. What about reducing the social stigma associated with being a single mother, or with getting divorced, both much less common in Japan than here? For that matter, what about actual rape victims, instead of fictional ones?

Banning hentai games does nothing to address serious issues like these. I can only conclude that Equality Now has better things to do than improving  the lives of real women.


lanaswifton May 9, 2009 at 3:20 p.m.
Jax: More excellent points. I'm glad to see them. There are some pretty clever people in the anime and manga fandom, but sometimes it's hard to tell, y'know? Glad to see they're still here.
Lance_McCloudon May 10, 2009 at 7:13 a.m.
Although I acknowledge that many hentai games is part of the problem when it comes to equal rights, its not the place to start when trying to change things for more quality between the sexes. Furthermore, hentai is probably the pornographic subgenre (if one could label it as such) that contain more equality then other types or porn. Japan is a land of extremes, there is some horrible rape games and animes, but there is also plenty of other things that are cute and happy hentai series and games. There is also a lot of femdom type stories and series that depict strong main female cahracters that, if equality is what you are after, has to go as well even though it in fact balance out the stuff that is degrading to women for the same reasons.

I'm also a huge fan of free speech. This demand is censorship and against democracy as it demotes free speech. I thought democracy was a big part of feminism, so apparently Equality Now aren't real feminists as far as I can tell as bent their demand to only apply to one side of the coin. Yes, there is a lot more hentai that is degrading to women then to men by far, but thats not a valid argument to me. There are more important aspects to try to look at in the issue of equal rights either way, like equal pay for equal work and access to higher positions work, and there has been a change in this are for the better luckily, but there is still a way to go. It is a problem that women has a harder time in society overall thanks to the current patriarchy society we have, but there are a lot of women that benefit from this system as well and a lot of men that is hindered by it. I'm a man and I'm all for equal rights as I know it would benefit me as well, and most people in general. Just about everyone in fact, aside from that small group of men that sit at the top of the ladder in our patriarchy society. But to hell with them.

A side note: I think that hentai and anime and manga in general endorse equality and democracy. If you think about it, look at all the yaoi and yuri manga. Can you think of any other media with such a broad access and open minded look on homosexuality? Not to mention the fans that seem  way more open minded about homosexuality then say gamers, or just about any other group of people in general. I believe anime and manga fans are among the most open minded and accepting people you can find.
Nerxon May 10, 2009 at 7:41 a.m.
Big deal, ban one and two more shall take its place...

Hentai does not run on laws, it runs on imagination
BobCaton Jan. 16, 2010 at 1:32 p.m.
The problem with activist groups I've noticed is that they rarely provide a positive solution to the problem they're trying to address, they only have a negative solution:  don't do this, don't do that, don't say this, don't say that, don't touch this, don't touch that....
 
A positive solution like them making an eroge that fits their parameters would be a good thing that way they can show the others the way.   Imagine if their eroge became a hit.   Then they would be more correct on the issue then.
reinon Jan. 16, 2010 at 1:45 p.m.

my apprentice here might have to go pay them a visit (Jk)
Takeo_Inslaython Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.
I agree. 
But that's also just because I'm a perv xD
John_Martoneon Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:34 p.m.
@rein: HA. That's terrible.
@BobCat said:

" The problem with activist groups I've noticed is that they rarely provide a positive solution to the problem they're trying to address, they only have a negative solution:  don't do this, don't do that, don't say this, don't say that, don't touch this, don't touch that....  A positive solution like them making an eroge that fits their parameters would be a good thing that way they can show the others the way.   Imagine if their eroge became a hit.   Then they would be more correct on the issue then. "

behavior analysis, you have to provide them a better alternative, or they will just find a different way to get what it is they already want.
 
I.E. you can't take away a kid's car to keep them from staying out late, or punish them for poor grades... if you aren't actually offering them anyway to help improve them.
 
So yeah, I agree entirely.
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