A Japanese Man Who Abused Kids For 24 Years Wants To Ban Manga Sexualizing Children
Takashi Kato’s first encounter with a comic book depicting a child having sex was a watershed moment for him—this was the content he’d been hunting for his entire life.
Kato assaulted at least 11 children over 24 years.
He’d go to the part of adult bookstores that sold comic books depicting youngsters having sex. When he arrived home, he would masturbate to those same images. According to Kato, the comics were “totally different” from photographs and films of real minors having sex. “They could represent things that would never happen in real life,” he explained to VICE World News.
He became increasingly interested in more explicit content. When he physically abused youngsters, he was inspired by the pictures he read in comic books.
The 60-year-old defended his actions by saying, “I knew it was against the law, but I persuaded myself that I was making the kid happy, so the law was wrong.”
Japan was the latest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 38 member countries to criminalize the possession of child abuse material in 2014. Illustrations showing such activities, however, were still permitted.
Some manga artists and lawmakers claimed at the time that limitations would limit authors’ freedom of expression. They argued that the illustrations were fictitious and that no proof using them would result in child abuse, effectively persuading legislators not to regulate the subject.
Unreliable evidence implies differently despite the lack of conclusive scientific proof for the negative effects of comic books. This has led to calls for Japan to outlaw the illustrations from activists, psychiatrists who treat child sex abusers, and the worldwide community.
These critics contend that permitting the illustrations to circulate openly normalizes and profiteers what they view as child sex abuse. They contend that it is also impossible to assemble scientific proof because any research into the impact of comics on youngsters could endanger them further.
For the time being, the argument appears to have come to a halt. Because neither the opponents nor the fans of this manga have been able to show clearly who is correct, such content is accepted and readily available in Japanese culture.
However, other people think it’s risky to wait for science to catch up. The leader of a nonprofit organization that looks into sexual assault offenses in pornography, Kazuna Kanajiri, claims that by allowing the sale of this content, the Japanese government is “tolerating child abuse.” She told VICE World News, “Regardless of how many times we warn people it’s harmful, our message is undermined as long as this manga remains.”
She claimed that the manga also acts as a guide for grooming, which occurs when an adult befriends a youngster to earn their trust to abuse them sexually. Children’s facial expressions in these comics may be depicted as though they seem to enjoy the act, creating the mistaken impression that kids could give their permission to have sex.
“We have created a world where children are compelled to learn experientially that they have sexual value from a young age,” she remarked.
The term “lolicon manga” first appeared in Japan around the 1970s and is named after the 1955 Western novel Lolita. This manga describes a 37-year-old man repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl.
Often with sensual connotations, fan artists would depict their favorite female figures as young girls. Despite having a sizable fanbase in the 1980s, lolicon didn’t reach widespread popularity like adventure-focused shonen manga or sports-related plots did. Lolicon and its counterpart shotacon, which feature young boys in sexualized imagery, are just two of the many subgenres that will be available in the 675.9 billion JPY (or 4.67 billion USD) manga market in 2021.
In 1989, serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki—known as the “Otaku killer” for his obsession with pornographic comics and pedophilic content—was apprehended after killing four girls and molesting their corpses, tainting the culture of lolicons. Even though Miyazaki’s horrible acts further drove the subculture underground—even though it has always been legal—the influence of this medium was never directly attributed to him.
Although the actual harm caused by this manga hasn’t been established, according to Akiyoshi Saito, a psychiatric social worker who works with convicted child sex abusers, it is obvious that the comics incite attackers to engage in sexual assault.
Saito has treated 150 child sex offenders, and almost all of them masturbated while reading manga. The drawings have been compared by some to Pandora’s box. “The barrier to making youngsters sexual targets is lowered by consuming certain forms of material and masturbating to them,” he told VICE World News.
But not everyone is to blame for the abuse. Because no one is sexually attracted to children at birth, he claimed that Japanese society is equally to blame.
He added, “Children shouldn’t be an object of consumption; adults should safeguard them.”
“These products would not be permitted if our society strictly upheld children’s rights, regardless of concerns regarding freedom of expression,” he said.
But some don’t agree. Manga artist Akio, who depicts minors in sexual ways in his works, disagrees that the genre should be outlawed. He asserts that the drawings are not only innocent but also act as a deterrent for pedophiles like himself.
Speaking anonymously to VICE World News, he said, “It’s for men who want to do acts like rape, even though they don’t rape someone.”
Although Akio maintains he has never really assaulted a child, he believes he is attracted to young girls for sex. He claimed that rather than drawing from his own experiences, his illustrations were motivated by actual sex crimes against children that were covered by Japanese media.
He suggested that even if these adult manga were outlawed, there would still be a market for depictions of child sex abuse in cartoons.
He asked, “Doesn’t the fact that people are reading this suggests that the need is great enough to establish an industry?” He said, “I was only meeting the demand.”
Kato, a former voracious reader of this manga, claimed that his love for youngsters started long before he ever picked up a comic.
However, he pointed out that these drawings might well reinforce children’s sexualization while making money off of a desire that must never be entertained. He feels that artists like Akio should be held accountable for producing child abuse-related works. He claimed that by publishing such material, they were persuading people that it was acceptable to view children as sexual objects.
He speaks from personal experience as an abuser.
Kato claims that during his time as a tutor a few decades ago, he sexually attacked a male junior high school student. Additionally, he abused a mentally challenged high school student while serving as his volunteer caregiver and molested youngsters in public. Kato even ventured abroad to woo young people for paid sex.
About 21 years ago, Kato finally turned himself into the police. With rope, duct tape, and a knife in hand, he cornered a little child in the men’s room that day. Kato became concerned that he could kill a youngster while attempting to rape him when the boy protested and fled, leaving Kato alone with his weapons.
He said, “Everything I had done was to justify my behavior. Also, I wasn’t even considering the other individual.”
“Whether it was a boy or a girl, what I was doing was abuse. Even if the child consented, it is all sexual violence, and it should be treated as such,” he argued.
Kato received a light sentence of four years’ probation and community service for his offenses. According to the prosecution, this was most likely due to his status as a first-time offender. For the prior crimes that Kato mentioned in his interview with VICE World News, the statute of limitations had expired.
Despite Kato’s pleas for this manga to be outlawed, the Japanese government has no firm intentions to reexamine it, allowing illustrators like Akio to continue supporting themselves with these works.
Akio acknowledges that he is not very proud of his work. “Logically speaking, what I produce isn’t excellent, even in the world of art and fiction,” he added.
I haven’t, however, broken any laws.
Also read about Tsutomu Miyazaki- The Otaku Killer Who Killed And Assaulted 4 Little Girls
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