It appears as if the Japanese eroge gaming community will be coming under fire next. Most of those within #GamerGate foresaw this from as far back as 2014, especially after GTA V got pulled from Australian stores based on lies fabricated about the game — and we saw Hatred getting pulled off Greenlight briefly based on a media panic. Well, the ban of Japanese hentai games, eroge novels and animated films will be under discussion by the United Nations’ CEDAW division, also known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
“Among the possible issues for discussion between CEDAW and a delegation from the Japanese Government are: Banning the sale of video games or cartoons involving sexual violence against women; employment equality, illegal dismissal of women due to pregnancy and childbirth; sexual harassment in the workplace; reintegration into school textbooks of issue of “comfort women”; compensation for women with disabilities sterilised against their will; effect on women, particularly pregnant women, of health programmes introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster; difference in pension benefits for men and women, poverty among older women.”
The discussions will take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on February 16th. The findings of the discussions will be broadcast on March 7th, next month.
Niche Gamer and others assumed that the first line may refer to games such as the 2006 release of Rapelay, which was widely derided many years ago for its depiction of putting gamers in the role of a rapist whose goal was to rape a mother and her two underage daughters. One of the fail states of the game is to impregnate the girls, so the objective is to maintain raping them without getting them pregnant.
Interestingly, despite the controversy behind the game, at the time Jim Sterling from Destructoid defended the game’s right to exist and defending the creative freedoms of Illusion to make a game like Rapelay. Back in 2009, Sterling wrote…
“[…] banning videogames or films just because some people find them offensive is wrong, and a dangerous slippery slope. Why, if we ban RapeLay, sure we should ban A Clockwork Orange once again, due to the callous nature of Alex de Large’s rape scene. Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho novel is chock-full of casual rape references and some absolutely disturbing examples of violence towards women. Should we ban that? When does the banning end? When we ban one form of art or entertainment, we then make an easy case against all forms of art and entertainment.“
The banning of video games for offensive content actually continues to this day, Survival Island 3 was actually banned from the Google Play and Apple app store, but not because it’s actually intended to offend with offensive content but because the media took hold of a petition on Change.org that misrepresented the game as a racist murder simulator.
Unlike Rapelay, Survival Island 3 wasn’t trying to push any kind of content boundaries, it was just a survival game set in Australia that happened to have Aborigines in the game. Even offering the option to kill Aborigines set the media off on a campaign to have Survival Island 3 banned, not unlike what happened to GTA V being removed from store shelves in Target and Kmart in Austrlia based on a Change.org petition.
It appears the United Nations may be specifically targeting the eroge community in Japan following a strong push to reevaluate women’s rights and violence against women following aggressive media campaigns in 2014 and 2015 by self-proclaimed progressive bloggers working at major media outlets. What’s interesting is that games like Rapelay have already been banned in various regions as far back as 2009, as reported by Game Politics. So it makes you wonder what sort of games they want banned?
Also, leaving it open about banning games containing “sexual violence” doesn’t even denote that the game has to be in the eroge category. Does this mean they’ll also target visual novels that may contain the subject matter of sexual violence as well, such as Saya no Uta? Or how about games that dabble in BDSM like Criminal Girls?
“strongly urges the State party to ban the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against women which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls”
Recently eroge manga artist Toshio Maeda had commented that the media spends more time worried about the fictional rights of anime women than the real rights of human beings.
Based on the August 19th, 2015 article on CNN covering the United Nations peacekeepers accused of pedophilia and rape during a Central African campaign, some would question why the United Nations aren’t focused more on policing their own peacekeepers than worrying about the fictional works in Japan.
[Update 2/14/2016: Added more info and sources]