August 24, 2006

"We apologise for hiding part of a beautiful image of a mother-to-be."

Japanese censors back away from their initial view that a poster of naked, pregnant Britney Spears is "overly stimulating." You can't be attacking motherhood.


StrangerInTheseParts said...

Hi Ann -

When you write "You can't be attacking motherhood" I feel the same way as when your write your (always delightful) posts about how all research on gender difference MUST show that women are superior. My feeling is - not quite sure what your tone is!

Would you state in direct language how you feel about these issues? Sometimes all the sarcasm and nudge-nudginess leaves me confused....

Balfegor said...

You can't be attacking motherhood.

It would contradict the New Enzel Plan!

(Or whatever Shin-Enzeru Puran refers to -- that whole complex of Shoushika Taisaku)

Pogo said...

Re: "They now say they understand the intention is to portray a happy mother, rather than to be sexually explicit."

Because she's not, you know, nude or anything. And as she is gravid, she magically becomes nonsexual. So why the coy hand placement and obscured pudenda? I mean, they're hardly privates anymore, in fact, it can't be more public than nudity on a subway poster. So why not go full monty for moms?

It's tasteful isn't it?, not softcore, and certainly not 'stimulating'. Bazaar certainly wouldn't put something titillating on the cover, would they? It's sooo educational, or something. No, I'm not staring at her, I'm celebrating her.

Geez, Japan, why try to have standards? Get with it. Disinhibition is the new norm.

Balfegor said...

Geez, Japan, why try to have standards? Get with it. Disinhibition is the new norm.

Another response to this news is that attempting to conceal pregnant women because it is "overly stimulating" is kind of rich, coming from Japan, what with the enjo kousai, the pornographic pachinko, the dating simulators, the ero games, the naked sushi (caused a minor diplomatic incident with China!), the hostess clubs, their dirty anime, and their late night television shows, featuring gravure idols and porn actresses frolicking about with little or no clothing on.

Smilin' Jack said...

No stimulation = no motherhood.

Bissage said...

If I were a Japanese censor I'd ban that image until they retouch the entire left side of the face; especially that eye.

Nice necklace, though.

tcd said...

Are we to take Ms. Spears seriously now that she is a brunette and a mother? Isn't coloring your hair while pregnant bad for the developing fetus? Or is that a myth? Whatever. Britney Spears, a has been tart rehashing trite magazine cover pose (see Demi Moore 15 yrs earlier).

bearbee said...

JCLU threaten to take someone to court?

Daryl Herbert said...

Could their change of heart have anything to do with Japan's pro-ferility political program?

If they were pushing a 1-child policy, like China, they might be more opposed to said image.

After all, if Japanese don't get out and make babies with other Japaneses, the country will be overrun with... Koreans! Who might even start demanding citizenship!

Balfegor said...

the country will be overrun with... Koreans!

Who . . . have an even lower fertility rate than the Japanese. Mm. No, I don't think that ranks particularly high among their concerns.

Wickedpinto said...

bearbee said...
JCLU threaten to take someone to court?

If that were the case, the word "motherhood" wouldn't have been used, at least as a positive. I think that NOW is going to boycott japan for promoting the enslavement of free womens through the shackles of motherhood.

kettle said...

So, I live in Japan, and ride the subway pretty often. I haven't yet seen this particular ad, but in comparison to the ones that I DO see - almost any time I board a train - this is pretty tame. It's not at all rare to see something just as risque, if not more, but with comments or info written in Japanese, advertising the girl by her AV name, a number you can reach her at, or a title for her latest video, or a website where you can download her 'hard r(l)oving'. More than anything else, I suspect that it is that fact that it is Ms. Spears, as opposed to an AV model. For some reason the perceived potential audience seems to be more important than access itself per se. The AV model ads are OK, because only the dirty old men are beguiled by them; but Britney's fanbase includes those who ought not to be exposed to this!

(By the way - why does everyone fuss over the fertility rate here? The rest of the world is more than making up for it, and the idea that Japan is going to fall into the can as a result of there being too many old people for a limited period of time is absurd. Since they are too zenophobic, and are supported in this by their status as an island nation, the end result will probably just be more space for everyone. This place seems crazy/silly to the west a lot of the time, and al ot of the time it is! but the Japanese are a lot more pragmatic about issues that matter to the social welfare of their population than we are in the U.S.)

Balfegor said...

why does everyone fuss over the fertility rate here?

Because the Japanese government does. See, e.g. the various documents linked here, from the Ministry of Health. See also here, from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. Just as one example, the preamble to the Shoushika Shakai Taisaku Kihon-hou (少子化社会対策基本法) reads:


Or in loose translation:

The rapid progress of our nation towards a declining birthrate, coupled with an increased aging of the population resulting from lengthened average life expectancy, give rise to a strain on the structure of our population, and have a deep and heavy effect on the 21st century life of the people. We are, without a doubt, facing an historically unprecedented state of affairs.

As for the reason they consider it important, well, there are various reasons, primarily that human capital is the most important source of capital in the modern economy, more than mere material or land.

You continue:
but the Japanese are a lot more pragmatic about issues that matter to the social welfare of their population than we are in the U.S.

Which is why the Japanese government have been implementing these shoushika taisaku for the past decade or so. Now, you may be right that Japan will muddle through -- they've muddled through far worse (e.g. directly after we bombed them to pieces in the end stage of WWII, after a generation of their youth died in war against us) -- and I think that whether the shoushika taisaku their government has been pushing work or not, they'll come out fine, by the end of the 21st century.

But clearly, their policymakers consider it something they need to be paying attention to. There's not universal agreement on this point -- there are certainly Japanese commentators who think all the fuss about shoushika is unjustified. But the government think it is.