KANNO Hiroyuki’s Report of the EOCS Meeting

I have taken the liberty of translating the entry posted to the blog of Abel Group by it’s president, KANNO Hiroyuki, last night. As of this writing, this is the only first-hand account of the proceedings. The links were added by me.

Production and Sale of Rape Game Software To Be Banned: Ethics Organization of Computer Software

The emergency gathering of the member companies just finished.

There wasn’t any major confusion, and, as most people expected, it was decided that the production and sale of rape game software be banned.

<snip>

Here are the details of the gathering.

About a hundred people gathered at Tsuda Hall.

Too many people showed up, so at the last minute they asked that Tokyo-based makers send only one representative each.

Those who travelled from other parts of the country and had tickets for two were allowed in, but, anyway, it was a lot of people.

Rape games will be banned.

I don’t know if this is surprising or not, but there was virtually no one who expressed opposition.

In way, there was this atmosphere of “What can you do?”, so, literally, maybe there was nothing to be done.

Of course, it was an informal meeting, so there wasn’t a vote or anything.

I think more than a few people who didn’t feel comfortable with it.

If there had been a secret ballot, I think there would have been a surprising number of votes against it, but, looking at the whole picture, there was a feeling that a restriction was unavoidable.

It’s not that people didn’t have opinions.

It seems the opinions of BABA-san of Visual Arts, and MORITA-san and YAMAMOTO Kazue-san of Ail stood out.

But no one came straight out and said, “Isn’t this wrong?”

What people seemed more concerned about was, “Exactly what is going to be off-limits?”

That makes sense. There are plenty of makers who are worried, “We’re working on this project right now, but is it okay?”

There were specific questions, like:

“What about tentacle stuff?”
“What about monsters?”

Seriously, how’s that gonna work out? LOL

It was decided that the rules have to be revised, but the details of what those revisions will be are yet to be decided, so there’s no way to answer those questions right now.

Well, I suppose it’s up to the EOCS staff for the time being.

In particular, I think there will be a clamp down on the wording and images of the packages that are the “face” of the games, starting as soon as tomorrow.

It seems there was a lively exchange of opinions, but someone suggested, “Maybe we can drop the label ‘bishoujo game’,” and apparently a few people nodded in agreement.

Candidates for alternative labels included things like “adult game.” I wonder how practical it is to try to change a name that is already a standard and widely used noun, but, surprisingly, people were talking about it with straight faces.

As a creator, I was a bit disappointed that the range of expression will be narrowed, but it seems everyone has been thinking that times have just changed.

Now that it’s decided, we have no choice but to follow the rules.

I’m eager to see how the revision of the rules progresses.

KANNO Hiroyuki
(President of Abel Group)

What surprised me was the calm, dispassionate tone of his report, which contrasts sharply with the foaming-at-the-mouth reactions of pitchfork-wielding fans of the genre on both Japanese- and English-language websites.

Curiously, it is foreign fans, not Japanese fans, who are blaming “those damned feminists.” Sankaku Complex mentions feminists six times in its reaction, e.g.: “bowed to feminist pressure”; “interfering feminist politicians”; “Feminist busybody group ‘Equality Now’”; “foreign feminists”; “avowed feminist”. And that’s just their official reaction. You should read some of the user comments; no shortage of illiterate, incoherent bile and vitriol there. One commenter in an earlier post of mine expressed skepticism at my assertion of the “potential for boiling over into actual violence.” Well, how about this comment for a concrete (no pun intended) example?

Comment by MaidNiac
03-06-2009 03:45

Now i would really love to Curb Stomp them and smash their face on a concrete floor.. Both those feminists and possibly the EOCS too, for being total pussies who let themselves easily stomp by those self-proclaimed protection idiots.
Enjoy your RL raep, b*tches.

In case the code went over your head, that last lines translates, “Enjoy your real-life rapes, bitches.” I wonder if MaidNiac’s, er, “aggression” stems from playing too many violent video games, or if it is an innate agressiveness that draws him to such games? Either way, I hope he doesn’t act on his violent fantasies.

Mr. Kanno, on the other hand–who makes a living producing erotic games and is apparently rather famous in the world of erotic games–seems to be taking the new ban in stride. He also implies that the ban will be a substantive one, and suggests that makers who think it might be limited to cosmetic changes–like changing the nomenclature–are naive. While he expresses disappointment, he acknowledges that times have changed, and it’s time to move on. Let’s hope the angry fans learn to move on, too.

P.S.: It looks like I translated this just in time–or too soon, depending on your point of view. Mr. Kanno has deleted his post, as well as a subsequent post on the matter, saying that as a member of the EOCS, it was not his place to voice his personal opinions on matters that the group has not yet made public. Now I’m torn about whether or not I should delete my translation… (-_-;) That would make this second post I’ve had to redact in less than two weeks. Arghh!!

P.P.S.: Actually, I just realized that Mr. Kanno’s blog entry has already been reproduced at at least four other sites. The cat is out of the bag. So, with apologies to Mr. Kanno, I’ll be leaving this translation up.

  1. raf’s avatar

    Matt, I was pointing out that there is no evidence for a causal link between violent video games and real-life violence. The fact that you can find a person who makes violent statements, and who presumably plays video games, does not make a causal link any more likely. It is correlation, nothing more. If you are going to claim that one thing causes another, or even that it might be a possible cause, you must show some link between the two, not merely that both have happened.

    But if I’m reading your post correctly, you seem to now be implying a potential for violence among those who oppose the ban, rather than just the people who play the game itself. That was not the original claim that I was commenting on. It’s also dangerously close to an ad hominem: Whether or not some opponents of the ban are violent is irrelevant to the basic issue, which is whether banning the game is justified.

    You seem to want tar all opposition with the brush of “violent misogyny” so that you can easily dismiss it.

  2. Matt’s avatar

    Thanks for your comments, raf. In a response I wrote to a comment in my first post on the subject, I said:

    What is important to note is that while studies have found a clear link to violent video games and aggression, no links have been found to violence. It may sound like hair-splitting, but there’s a big difference between aggression and violence.

    Other experts–most notably Jonathan Freedman of the University of Toronto–in his book, Media Violence and Its Effect on Aggression: Assessing the Scientific Evidence, strongly argue that studies on the subject use flawed methodology, and that researchers who largely agree on the link between media and aggression cite each other’s work constantly, giving the illusion of scientific consensus where there is none.

    As I said in my post, I also believe personally that these rape games are a form of hate speech, but, to return to my earlier point about the problem of using an “argument from ignorance,” I’m afraid it is those of us who believe it to be hate speech who must provide “some serious scientific data” to back up that assertion.

    My comment about “potential for boiling over into actual violence” is simply an expression of a belief, a gut feeling that I cannot offer concrete proof for.

    And I apologize if I gave the impression in this post that I “seem to want tar all opposition with the brush of ‘violent misogyny’ so that [I] can easily dismiss it.” On the contrary, I have read some intelligent and thoughtful statements of opposition, and I believe this is a topic where there is plenty of room for reasonable people to disagree. Thus (if you’ll forgive the repetition), my strong opposition to any kind of government ban.

    Having said that, I would still say that reactions on various sites (Sankaku Complex is just one) have been dominated by hateful tirades against feminists.

    And though I cannot point to proof of a causal link between rape-themed media and actual rape, I can point to one shocking and fairly recent case that should at least raise questions about such a link. Unfortunately, this English-language article skips over all the relevant details. (Exhaustive coverage of the trial in Japanese can be found here.) In this case, a highly-paid programmer working for a game company (the name of the company has not been disclosed) kidnapped a 23 year-old neighbor with the stated intention of making her his “sex slave.” He had been a virgin till the age of 34, and his only sexual experiences had been with prostitutes. He enjoyed “sex-slave” themed porn, anime, and manga, and even made his own doujinshi (self-published) rape manga titled Gedou (“Depravity”). He actually believed he could make a woman into his sex slave by giving her so much sexual pleasure that she would become addicted to having sex with him, and do anything he asked. He thought he could “train” her, though the Japanese word he used (kyouchou–a word that commonly appears in the titles of Japanese porn) is also used to refer to “breaking,” as in “breaking a horse.”

    Sound like a familiar theme? Have you ever seen such a scenario outside of Japanese porn (particularly manga and anime)?

    So he grabbed the victim as she was about to enter her own apartment, and dragged her to his own apartment two doors away. He tied her up and tried to rape her, but couldn’t get an erection. He put on porn videos in hopes of being stimulated, but within three hours of kidnapping her, he learned that the police were looking for her. Worried that he would be found and his life would be ruined, he decided to kill her. He stabbed her in the throat without hesitation (his own testimony!), dismembered her, and finally cut her into tiny pieces which he flushed down his toilet.

    The killer testified that he hated women because (in his mind) “they” thought he was disgusting.

    So he decided he would try to “break” one.

    In this case, there was no mention of rape games. But there was plenty of mention of other media with the same theme. Judging from his own testimony, masturbating to such material was his primary pastime, and it was during such a masturbation session that he got his idea of making his own sex slave.

    Cause and effect? I don’t know. But I do think that if such material had not been so readily available, so “normal,” Rurika Tojo might still be alive today.

  3. The Internet is a hate machine’s avatar

    > My comment about “potential for boiling over into actual violence” is simply an expression of a belief, a gut feeling that I cannot offer concrete proof for.

    Matt, I don’t want to nitpick, but you quite clearly offered a random forum comment as, in your own words, a “concrete (no pun intended) example”.

    Which is ridiculous; outrageous comments are the general rule rather than the exception when it comes to online forums (no different from the unmoderated newsgroups of yesteryear). There’s no shortage of bile on feminist forums as well, saying things like “anyone who plays these games should be castrated”, “the game creators should be raped”, etcetera. Are those “concrete examples” of the potential for violence as well?

    And while I sympathize with your positions, I’m seriously getting very uncomfortable with your repeated appeals to gut emotion. Using gut feelings, emotive assumptions and freak outlier incidents to judge a group of people, instead of using hard evidence and solid well-established histories, is getting dangerously close to discrimination.

  4. The Internet is a hate machine’s avatar

    In retrospect Matt, I’m hoping your posts are just indicative of outrageous forum comments, instead of some deeper potential for discrimination.

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