miércoles, 17 de enero de 2007

The state of 'rorikon manga' in the Mexican otaku culture

The state of rorikon manga in the Mexican otaku culture
Christian Hernandez
El Colegio de Mexico

The term otaku culture オタク文化 was coined by Toshio Okada 岡田斗司夫, in the seminar "Theory of Otaku Culture"「オタク文化論ゼミ」given by Okada at Tokyo University’s Faculty of Education from 1992 to 1997. The term designates the consumption of anime, manga, videogames and scale-models made by Japanese fans through the 70s and 80s.

Outside Japan, although some Japanese terms as otaku おたく or moe 萌え are popular beetween fans, the concept of otaku culture is little known. The consumption of anime and manga is not special at all and, as the chase of the Japanese videogames proves, its included into the regional entertainment industry. Nevertheless, for some foreigner fans, the consumption of anime-manga is the way to perceive a kind of New Japanese culture, an aspect that its important to underline.

In my thesis report Rorikon: sexual imaginary toward young girls and children in manga, I use the term otaku culture 「おたく」文化 for describe the cultural distraction caused by the consumption of anime-manga and other related products into the local and national cultures.

I utilize the word otaku 「おたく」, written in hiragana and beetween brackets, because in this way has been popularized by the first work related to the consumption of anime-manga in Japan, Investigation about otaku「おたく」の研究 by Akio Nakamori 中森明夫 in Manga burikko 『漫画ブリッコ』 magazine on August, 1983.

In my thesis report, the hypohesis I'm proposing is that the consumption of anime-manga implies an unavoidable relation with the rorikon culture and its products. That is because, in an historical perspective, rorikon products have been attached to the consumption of anime and manga in Japan, specially, the chase of rorikon manga.

The term rorikon manga ロリコンまんが refers to the Japanese sexual comic-books that involve cute and inocent female children as characters. This classification includes the dôjinshi 同人誌 or those amateur publications made by fans and distributed outside the Japanese editorial system.

Mexican fans know the rorikon manga genre thanks to the works of U-JIN 遊人, a Japanese manga drawer, whose works were translated and serialized by editorials in France, Italia, Germany, United States of America and Spain through the end of the 90s. In Mexico, the spanish editions of Angel and Visionary, a couple of sexual comic-books series that involve junior high school and high school students in their plots, were distributed by comic-book shops and newspaper stands across the country.

Unlike the United States of America or Canada, Mexico has not prohibited the consumption of rorikon products because its anti-pornography laws allow the consumption of any form of sexual explicit representation that involves children, but not its production or commercial circulation by any way. Thanks to this, the consumption of rorikon manga was popularized beetween Mexican anime-manga fans, and its thematics as well its aesthetics were accepted as a normal element of the otaku culture.

The way in which the rorikon culture products were distributed in Mexico, was mainly through anime-manga conventions and informal markets rather than original goods shops or manga libraries. In those places, bootleg rorikon videogames, rorikon digital ilustrations and scanned rorikon manga are sold at low prices. Some rorikon manga books are on sale also, but their prices are 300% more expensive than in Japan. And, unlike other mangas series, Mexican editorials dont have any interest for publishing rorikon manga on Spanish, because most of their production is exported to USA and some countries in Latin-America.

Although those restrictions, Mexican fans had created their own rorikon related electronic forums, comunities, portals and galleries, attracting users from all the world, and bothering Americans readers. In USA, the consumption of rorikon products are consider illegal, and the rorikon manga scans, the digital ilustrations and other computer-based images that depict children in sexual situations are consider child pornography, even if any children were involve in their production.

The objective of this research is show how into the otaku cultures sphere rorikon manga products are not considered child pornography, and the consumers of this kind of publications are not considered pedophiles neither. Furthermore, its an academic attempt to clarify prejudices and misunderstandings related to the conception of the otaku culture in America (related to the dark side of the Japanese otaku culture), as well as confront the child porn moral hysteria that prevails in the world (showing that there is not any relation beetween the consumption of rorikon products and the sexual crimes in Japan).


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