Japanese Cartoons, Virtual Child Pornography, Academic Libraries, and the Law

Glenn Masuchika

Abstract


Many academic libraries are adding comics and cartoon in print form to their collections. Japanese comics, called "manga," are a large part of this collecting. However, in some of these items, there are drawn images of people seemingly under eighteen years of age engaged in highly graphic, uncensored, sex acts. The purpose of this paper is to discuss whether collecting such materials may violate anti-obscenity laws of the United States and expose the collection developer and the library to criminal liabilities. It also suggests that these concerns can lead librarians to self-censorship in their collection development duties.


Full Text:

HTML PDF

References


“Man Convicted on Child Porn Charges,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia, December 2, 2005, C3.

Justin Norrie, “Hardcore Comics Sidestep Porn Law,” International News (February 20, 2010): 16.

Heidi MacDonald, “How Graphic Novels Became the Hottest Section in the Library,” Publishers Weekly 260, no. 18 (May 6, 2013): 20–25; Lorena O’English, J. Gregory Matthews, and Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, “Graphic Novels in Academic Libraries: From Maus to Manga and Beyond,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 32, no. 2 (March 2006): 173–82.

“Pornography,” Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th ed., edited by Bryan A. Garder, 1181 (Saint Paul, MN: West Group, 1999); Steven H. Gifis, “Pornography,” Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2003): 383.

“Obscenity,” Black’s Law Dictionary, 110; “Obscenity,” Law Dictionary, 352.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment, Constitution of the United States, 1791.

“Pornography,” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law 8 (1997): 113.

“Obscenity,” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law 7 (1997): 368–69.

The definition of “obscene” in The Webster’s Third International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, edited by Philip Babcock Gove, 1557 (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merrian Company, 1968), is “disgusting to the senses usually because of some filthy, grotesque, or unnatural quality” and “offense or revolting as countering or violating some ideal or principle.” From this definition, “obscenity” does not necessarily include the pornographic.

Regina vs. Hicklin, Law Reporter 2 Queen’s Bench 260 (1868); Obscene Publication Act, 20 & 21 Victoria c. 83 (1857).

Katherine Mullin, “Poison More Deadly than Prussic Acid: Defining Obscenity after the 1857 Obscene Publications Act (1850–1885)” in Prudes on the Prowl: Fiction and Obscenity in England, 1850 to the Present Day, edited by David Bradshaw and Rachel Potter, 11–30 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Craig Norris, “Manga, Anime, and Visual Art Culture” in The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Japanese Culture, edited by Yoshio Sugimoto, 13 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Michael Ashkenazi, “Manga,” in Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, vol. 4, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, 34 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002).

Susanna Jones, “Oriental Lolitas,” New Statesman 123, no. 4623 (February 3, 2003): 38; Aleardo Zanghellini, “Underage Sex and Romance in Japanese Homoerotic Manga and Anime,” Social & Legal Studies 18, no. 2 (2009): 159–77.

Sharon Kinsella, “Japanese Subculture in the 1990s: Otaku and the Amateur Manga Movement,” Journal of Japanese Studies 24, no. 2 (1998): 289–316.

Anne Higgonett, “Japanese Art, Contemporary,” in Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society, vol. 2, edited by Paula S. Fass, 506 (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004).

Paul D. Healey, Professional Liability Issues for Librarians and Information Professionals (New York: Neal-Schuman, 2008), 28.

John Cannan, “Are Public Law Librarians Immune from Suits? Muddying the Already Murky Waters of Law Librarians Liability,” Law Library Journal 99, no. 1 (2007): 14.

Paul D. Healey, “Chicken Little at the Reference Desk: The Myth of Librarian Liability,” Law Library Journal 87, no. 3 (1995): 532.

“Classification of Property: A. Public vs. Private” §§17, “Ownership” §§39–48, “Evidence and Proof of Ownership, Title, or Possession” §§67–71, Corpus Juris Secundum, vol. 73 (Saint Paul, MN: Thomson/West, 2004).

Debra Lau Whelan, “A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship is Rampant and Lethal,” School Library Journal 55, no. 2 (February 2009): 30. See also Board of Education v Pico 457 US 853 (1982) and Case v. United School District No. 233 (D. Kan. 1995) 908 F. Supp. 864.

Jennifer Downey, “Self-Censorship Selection of LGBT-Themed Materials,” Reference & User Services Quarterly 53, no. 2 (Winter 2013): 105–6.

Barbara J. Jones, “Controversy in Fifty Shades of Gray,” American Libraries 43, no. 5/6 (May/June 2012): 21.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/rusq.54n4.54

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ALA Privacy Policy

© 2019 RUSA