Is Japanese Entertainment Really Harmless?

do-not-enter

If you would have asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have told you, “Nah, it’s no big deal. It’s actually a great way to brush up on your Japanese.” Now, as a mom of two young kids who have to grow up in an ever increasing world of Yōkai (demons), I would advise people to spend their time elsewhere.

I grew up in the height of the anime (Japanese cartoons) craze in the States. In a previous post, I wrote about Pokemon and how it captivated my generation. When it first came out it made 1 billion dollars in salesjust in merchandise–in it’s first year. Now over 15 years later, the smartphone game Pokemon Go managed to hit the billion dollar mark within months of its release. Japanese entertainment as a whole–Japanese games coupled with the sales of anime, movies, manga (Japanese comics), music, and merchandise—easily reaches over 13 billion dollars according to a report by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Japan. That’s a lot mullah! You cannot ignore the influence of various forms of Japanese media in the hearts of the world, but it’s something that is cause for concern.

Japan has close to zero Christians influencing the media they produce. It’s no mistake that demons are a constant theme throughout Japanese entertainment and Pokemon is no exception. When you allow the demonic into your life, there’s no telling what you might do. Somehow, people consistently believe that activities in the virtual world do not affect real life. Videos of people running en mass to catch a rare Pokemon with no regard for others should be a wake up call for parents who are waffling about whether or not these creatures are safe. You see, it always starts with visual images and then it slowly yet surely starts to creep over into real life.

Just look at this generation who modifies their beautiful, God-given bodies to look like anime characters or the ever increasing violence found in children’s programming–thanks in large part to Japan, mind you. Violence and sex–which is a huge part of the Japanese media scene–on TV and in print definitely creeps over into real life:

…because children younger than 8 years cannot discriminate between fantasy and reality, they may be especially vulnerable to some of these learning processes and may, thereby, be more influenced by media violence.

(AAP Journal, 2009)

Please protect your children from becoming desensitized to all the violence and sexual deviance. Send a clear message to Japan that we will not tolerate this kind of “entertainment.”

For those who have been following this blog for a while, you know that I get frustrated by these constant depictions of Japan as some kind of utopia where almost no one kills, steals, or rapes their fellow man. This could not be further from the truth! Police in Japan very often do not investigate crimes thoroughly or worse, completely ignore victims. Can you believe that less than 10 percent of rape victims file a report in Japan? Another startling statistic: In 2015, 1 in 4 women were said to have been abused by their spouses! Domestic violence is a huge problem in Japan! Many families keep this a secret so they don’t look bad to others. What these abusers watch and read definitely plays a part in these issues.

My concern with Japanese entertainment is that like marijuana, it can often be a gateway drug. You start off watching “innocent” shows like Pokemon, Yo-kai Watch, or Dragon Ball Z, or Full Metal Alchemist, or whatever, and then you get into the video games, and then you go on to slightly more risqué stuff, and then, before you know it you’re buying child pornography!  I was going to link to the top romance manga for sale on Amazon at the moment, but the covers are just too graphic.

We shouldn’t buy the lie, people! We shouldn’t buy the merchandise! We shouldn’t fuel the system! We shouldn’t buy that game just because the cover has cute anime characters. We shouldn’t buy the Japanese unedited version of our favorite anime because we want to be “authentic.” We most certainly should not buy that manga depicting children in sexual acts just because “It’s not real anyway.” Pay attention to the crimes going on around you. Do the people committing these heinous crimes have a history of violence? More often than not, no. Are they nice people? More often than not, yes. That could be you, sitting there right now: a nice guy–with no history of violence–living in your parent’s basement.

You are what you consume. You are the product of what goes on in your heart:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

(Proverbs 23:7)

Yes, it’s a pain when we actually have to turn on our conscience when all we want to do is just relax and “enjoy the show,” as the saying goes. But please, with your dollars– including mouse clicks, which are a form of revenue for many–make every effort to firmly reject senseless violence, sexualization of children, degradation of women, and the like. So many people are willing to accept the bad with the good. Let’s set a higher standard. With your help, we can bring back good, wholesome shows that don’t contribute to the breakdown of the society and family. With your help we can be the change we want to see in the world!

 

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