Japan, of all places, is putting a halt to rape games. The country known for its free and open sexuality in media has taken the ban-hammer to PC games that feature rape in it. Now, I'm not on the "rape is great and fantastic" train, but I'm completely against media censorship. According to Canned Dogs, Japan is putting the ban into effect after the whole hubbub surrounding Rapelay.
There will be changes to the judging criteria starting June 2nd, which is going to force a large number of companies -- some 200 or so -- to change their product lineup. While it's a morally offensive genre, it's a fairly big one. If these companies don't just decide to shut down, they'll quickly flood the market in other genres, and I can see it ending very badly -- and that's just from a commercial standpoint.
Now, I'd like to take a moment and talk about this from a free speech angle. Sure, rape is bad. I don't think anyone can deny it. But do rape games encourage rape? Hardly. Just look at these statistics on rape. Japan comes in at #54. Surely you think they'd have a higher rape statistic if it was really a problem that it's so prevalent in their media, right?
This is a really bad decision. Really bad. It opens the floodgates for other types of content deemed inappropriate by some group to be banned. Who knows what else could be next? You might say that "oh, it won't go that far, you're just paranoid." Well here in America, a country with some of the most liberal free speech policies in the world, a man has been sent to jail for his manga collection. No child porn or anything amongst it, like many cases in the past have been. It's a travesty as to what's happened.
Some of the stuff that comes out of Japan that is insanely perverse and disturbing can also be hilarious, insightful, and a joy to read. I don't want to see the works of Shintaro Kago silenced. Nor do I want to see Cho Aniki, Manhunt, or Mad World silenced because some group finds it objectionable. This is something that really needs to be fought. I also want to take a moment and thank the Comic Book Legal Defense Force for fighting on behalf of comics and manga. Please support them and follow them on twitter.