Iowa man faces 20 years in prison for Loli manga

A friend sent me an editorial about a man in Iowa who is currently facing 20 years in jail for possessing "obsene" manga ordered from Japan. The article doesn't give much details, just goes on about how this is totally wrong. My friend, an otaku herself, told me that the manga is apparently a Loli comic. She's very much against the regulation of art, and so am I, to an extent.

It seems that many people don't understand how illustrations or drawings can cause such a problem, but I have to wonder how this guy thought ordering Loli would be considered legal when possession of child pornography or "obscene images of children, no matter how they are made." Yes, that is a US law as of June 2007. So there's the problem that the defendant just isn't clear on the legality of pedophilic content -- no matter how sugarcoated it may be. People are terribly delicate and afraid, and if you guys haven't noticed, this country (the United States) is terrified of pedophiles. Schools have been erecting fences and gates to keep out sexual deviants while the news and advertising agencies feed our paranoia. Children are taught not to speak to strangers, parents must be vigilant at all times. It's really a frenzy out there that has prevailed for decades, though not completely unwarranted because -- let's face it -- there are some sick freaks out there.

I am personally not a fan of Lolicon, but some of it is less explicit than others, and in such cases I would not support censorship. As a whole, however, *bleep* bothers me. No, I don't mean seeing a 22-year-old dating a 17-year-old. It's usually more drastic cases. I can understand how this would anger even non-anime or manga fans because it is quite relevant to censorship and silencing art, some would say.

So what if it's an image or illustration of murder? Should that be censored because murder is bad? Or what if it's an old stone carving of Zeus as a swan or bull seducing one of his mortal lovers?

To that, I say the line falls on eroticism. We've seen in the post, demonstrated on this very blog, how afraid we are, as a society, of sexuality. An image of menstrual blood was enough to warrant Supermod intervention and others to attack my validity as an artist. Again, this is sexuality, not eroticism (unless menstrual fluid turns you on). It is widely understood that murder is wrong, and most would not gaze upon an illustration of a beheading, war, or Zeus' lust and be sexually aroused by them. With Lolicon and other pedophilic media, the line between art and smut is blurred by those who would glean some sexual gratification from it, thus transforming the images into erotica. Just look at the origins of Lolicon and the story it was named after -- Lolita, in which a man becomes sexually obsessed with a 12-year-old girl.


Nothing explicit, only a quiet and unsettling suggestion, not unlike a few of Bill Henson's photographs.

To be clear, I do not approve of Lolicon because it just rubs me the wrong way. Saying that I find it repulsive would not be an exaggeration. While freedom of expression is important, there are certain boundaries that I'm just not comfortable with crossing. In this trial, I can see where the slope gets slippery. What if the man, Chris Handley, is prosecuted and goes to jail? What's to prevent the verdict from sparking witch hunts against other forms of media and art?

Michiko Magaoko, director of Juvenile Guide, found that approximately half of the 2,000 pornographic animation (hentai) titles in 2003 featured school girl characters. Mitsui Kondo of the Osaka-based Child Protection Agency once said:
"Such a situation makes our society more dangerous to girls... We've got to think about it before talking about freedom of expression."


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Responses (18)

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kik36 Dec 15, 08
As a parent of twin daughters I am of course concerned as to how their teenage years will be. I am very cautious of who they are around, and pay attention to any signs that may be present. However, I do have many varying opinions on all of this.

Owning Loli artwork (or even Bill Henson's) does NOT = child molester. That is seriously trying someone BEFORE the crime and I do not approve of that at all.

There are many novels and movies depicting relationships with younger girls and even boys, will we be indicting people for owning said books and movies as well?!

Up until about 70 years ago marrying a young girl (12ish) when a man was in his late 30's or even 40's was socially acceptable. Is it possible that we are trying to go against our nature in those regards? Maybe it will take a few hundred more years to change our human nature to a more sociably acceptable form.

I think we can all agree that there is a certain beauty to be found in youth. The plastic surgery numbers speak for themselves in that area. But we don't need to act like it's an ugly thing to admire the beauty....it IS possible to do so without having any sexual desires. Shit, I felt guilty just writing that because the first thing that will flash through most people's minds will be "Ewwwwwww Pedophile!"

Edit: After reading that paragraph it still sounds pretty dirty.....I was meaning youth in general, not nudity.

Indeed there are certain boundaries that need to be in place to protect the children from creeps, but arresting people for owning Loli shit is not the right answer. It's like arresting someone who owns a gun because they MAY shoot someone one day.
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RabidChinaGirl Dec 15, 08
Ah, but it is illegal to own child pornography. Then we have to question whether Loli (at least the stuff he had) is the equivalent of that. I believe 20 years is too harsh based on what I know, but I think he should be given the standard punishment dealt out to those found guilty of possessing child pornography (which is definitely not 20 years).

Gonna point out I'm only going on very little information. All my sources are, quite frankly, those who support the defendant. I wish I could get the prosecutor's head a bit, or see the exact stuff he had in his possession. I know that most Loli goes below the double digit years, so that much of the subjects look like they're in elementary school.

30/40/50/60/70/80-year-olds marrying 12-year-olds is frowned upon in our society. But there are plenty of other countries (and communities within the US) that condone it, and often against the girl's will. The way you phrased that example, you unintentionally side with the male half, citing the male preference for a younger mate. But take note that the female at that age isn't interested in a 40-year-old husband (actually, I doubt a teenage boy would be into a 40-year-old girlfriend). While a young pre-teen (or teen) girl can be conditioned in such societies or communities to marry 40-year-old men, well, let's just say you're going to have to *bleep* her a few times before she accepts it.

You see, there are many who do agree with your comment about the 40- and 12-year-olds, and there are groups that function on that. And I find it absolutely horrifying, from a female perspective.
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kik36 Dec 15, 08
It's all about how you are raised and preconditioned. I actually was thinking along the lines of 2 consenting people (notice I didn't say adults), and I'm certain there are a considerable number of young children who would consent to appease their family.....or whatever the extenuating circumstances are at the time. I can't really imagine that every one of them are *bleep*.....but humans continue to disgust and surprise me on a daily basis.

I agree that child pornography by MY definition is wrong. It's not easy for me to define outwardly because for me it's just common sense. I would like to think that prosecutors are on the same boat and found this guy with enough of the nasty shit that there were no gray areas. 20 years is definitely a tough sentence but it only highlights our own fears as a society.

I take it you weren't into 40 year olds when you were 12.....LOL What percentage do you think are? It seems to me that they are trying harder for attention these days using the internet and even video games. Actually maybe I am looking too young, and am really thinking 13-15 in my head. I guess I can't really imagine a 12 year old being into ANYONE.
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RabidChinaGirl Dec 15, 08
Coincidentally, I'm reading a book that discusses how the Internet has really brought out a lot of confusion teens already experience at that age. I can tell you that I relate a lot to the kids in the book, despite being 22 already, because I spent a lot of my teen years in chatrooms. It's true, honestly, that people will approach you and flirt and ask to cyber when they find out how young you are. They'll try to convince you to meet them in person, etc. But honestly, how would you feel if your 12-16 year old daughters were approached and solicited by 30- or 40-year-old men?

While MySpace and other networking sites allow these young girls AND boys to experiment with their sexuality, they're also comforted by the anonymity provided to them by the Internet. The fact that young girls will pose in their underwear because it's cute/cool/fun on MySpace doesn't mean she wants to *bleep* an adult old enough to be her dad.

Your brief mentioning of *bleep* also touches on the issue of when "No" really means "No," and how a lot of men don't even acknowledge *bleep* women, and women (and girls) who fail to report *bleep* because they feel they'll be blamed or stigmatized.

You should probably become a little more educated in the mindset of tweens and teens, especially girls if you have two daughters. Sounds like you have a lot to learn when it comes to what young girls want... though at that age, I don't think most kids can make any sound decisions based on their futures without some guidance.

I really think parents these days need to educate themselves in how kids interact with the Internet. You seem pretty net-savvy, so that's probably a good thing when you need to deal with your kids when they hit *bleep*. Take good care of your girls. =)

Honestly, I think AOL and Yahoo! have the biggest population of creeps, from my teen years until now. Not just pedophiles, just general grossness.
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kik36 Dec 15, 08
I definitely agree with you that children at that age have no Frickin' clue WTF they want! And it truly is sad to see these girls posing in their panties online for some attention. A few years ago I might have thought differently, but yes having daughters puts a whole spin on my views.....I always joke that it's my karma catching up to me.....and having twins just shows that I was REALLY bad! LMAO

*bleep* isn't always physical either. There are too many women being mind *bleep*ed. As far as knowing what a girl wants, it ebbs and flows.....by the time my daughters hit *bleep* it will be some other scary situation to be concerned about. So while I may be a bit behind right now, I don't plan on being so in 10 years.

I would like to see my girls be computer programmers or something really techie....but it will definitely be difficult giving them certain freedom on the internet. And hopefully I can teach my girls the difference between negative and positive attention.....I don't want some other jackass to do so.

Not to bore you too much with my life story, but my daughters were born 3 months premature.....the smallest had heart surgery and hernia surgery in her first 3 months of life. They were both on oxygen for nearly the first year, and have both been in the hospital 3 times for respiratory problems.....no one is fighting harder for those girls than I am, you can count on that!! ^.^

I don't condone marrying off teens to older men, so if it sounded that way I apologize. Just was wondering out loud if it's something that will take a while to deprogram from our biological minds.
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Machienzo Feb 25, 09
I didn't know what Lolicon was until now. I sure am not a big fan on long comments either. =/
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RabidChinaGirl Feb 25, 09
quote Machienzo
I sure am not a big fan on long comments either. =/
Then scroll past them. ;D
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Machienzo Feb 26, 09
I should have added: "making long comments". Lol. =D
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Guest Mar 28, 09
Capturing a childs beauty can be done without resorting to exposing a child's body. i am reminded of caravaggio's boy bitten by a lizard among a cup of cherries or grapes. it is a lack of imagination, which a true artist should posess, that is exposed in works such as those seized from bill henson.
As a woman and a mother of a 9 yr old boy, it may be very surprising and uncomfortable to hear but i am turned on when i read loli and shota where there is barely an age difference between the characters engaged in sex and no exploitation experienced by either characters. However, i do not have any interest in real life in youngsters under 25 (i am 34 by the way).
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Guest May 19, 09
The idea that anyone who possesses any sort of "child pornography" will do harm to our society is a bunch of flying, absolute, total bullsh*t. The circulation of art in the form of fetishes is to keep the fetish satisfied while not causing one to damn themselves. A lot of people enjoy the fetish of guro (the depicted images of nude women/men in various states of horrifying death) but would never EVER even STOMACHE doing it to someone. Sexuality and what attracts you is a status of your brain judged on genes and impressions and it is, in and of itself, innocent.

If the human race weren't naturally cruel, vindictive, hateful creatures who are scared of anything that they don't understand, we would have less crime that involved harm. Girls and boys can become sexually active as young as 10 years old WITHOUT any provocation. I was one of them. CHILDREN have *bleep* with CHILDREN at schools without ANY help from us as young as 11 in my hometown, which I thought, myself, was rather horrifying! But I wonder if someone had allowed them to satisfy that curiosity in a safe manner if they would have thought twice about that decision.

Sexual urges are just that: urges. They can be triggered by some of the weirdest things. Depicting a young child in a pornographic nature against their will is horrible; but wouldn't it be nice if people didn't feel they HAD to do that to fix their problem? Art, manga, and stories are just a few healthy ways to deal with that without harming anyone. A lot of people have the *bleep* fetish but never *bleep* anyone.. but it's become at least partially socially acceptable to want it--after all, how many erotica stores do you know of that don't carry bondage gear?

I know for a fact that many people into loli or shota don't even like the idea of HURTING children but rather pretending to be them.

Oh, and, by the way, as a 13 year old girl, I WAS sexually attracted to a 37 year old man. He wouldn't have it, but *I'D* have married him, and ALL THAT THIS IMPLIES, because I understood it QUITE perfectly. So generalizing and saying that this DOESN'T happen is foolish--everyone matures at a different age and our bodies react in different ways.

And honestly wanting to be with someone--sexually and mentally--because they attract you is NOT age restricted. Now, you can argue that a child doesn't know what they want, but neither does a 22 year old, and I dare you to tell me that an 18 year old that still lives with his mother and barely passed his GED has more mental capacity than a 12 year old who reads at a college level and was answered with truth rather than the stork story by her parents. The diversity in each human is proven every day everywhere but we have the audacity to simplify it into numbers and claim we know that is correct.
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Guest Jun 25, 09
lolicon is not hurting kids.....all these big f'ing idiots who think that should relize that the kids arnt real...lets all spend money getting loli comics out....instead of spend that money on helping real kids eat sleep keep things that are unmentionable.....not lets spend some tax money trying to keep fake kids out of harm instead of spending that to help real kids.....there is no proof that lolicon contributes to child abuse.....no proof of it being helpful aginst it eaither.....but would you rather help kids by keeping something out that may, but probly not, harm children, or keeping them better proteted aginst real people that do hurt kids.....besides.....if someone wants to do something to a kid and had loli comics....they could probly be retained by the comics.....example:
someone wants to...you know.... a little kid....
they know its bad....they mostly dont want to but eventually they could snap...
they get lolicon comics and have something for them that is similir...possibly keeping them from snaping, giving them a better chance of not snapping, or atleast keeping them from snaping later ratherthan sooner.....and what about the the fact if a kid of a certain age is charged with some sort of sexual crime aginest a someone younger than them, they can be branded as a pedaphile....-13 has sex with 11 year old....thats f'd up......besides if its so illeagal an people can shut down sites or take off download files then why are there so many lolicon and shotacon comics on the internet....if its illegal than why arnt the sites shutdown or the comics pulled off...???

annonimis-16 years old-loli lover

i know its helped me you ideots....
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anon-9891 Mar 3, 10
it's illegal in some countries, not others. just like most things.
it's amazing how scared people are of things they don't understand, and i agree that this issue highlights the fact. Though i don't believe that, in most cases, lolicon would be used as a 'jump' to *bleep*. it's a cartoon. i just hope that they are created form the minds eye, not a physical one.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolicon
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Reginald Madtail May 6, 10
greetings all. i think it's time an actual lolicon speaks his mind. before i start a precaution: I AM NOT A PEDOPHILE! i'm two-sided. it's different. i have normal taste in real women, but for some reason i only like lolicon hentai. now then... HERE IS THE LINE BETWEEN LOLI HENTAI AND CP! imagine if you were at the place of the media's production and if the star changes her expression when you touch her face, IT'S CP. if you touch her face and all that happens is you get a papercut, IT IS LOLICON! the only way you can translate the two is if blood and bone becomes paper and pigment. i say hell, have vendors sell it in street stands.

after all america, think of the other things that became illegal: DRUGS. although police try their hardest to wipe out drug trade, there's always 1 left. and said trade has existed practically since it's ban. but don't do the same for lolicon because, no matter how you look at it, an underground manga smuggling ring is NEVER going sound heinous. all that will happen after a "bust" is that other countries will look at us as ultra-uptight dicks who can't just stand to just look away from pictures we don't like.

also selling lolicon manga might help america too. how? *deep breath*
import loli manga from japan splitting profits giving them maybe 51%. once there we have manga almost ready to cater to a new moneyholding group: lolicons. america is full of diverse culture. as a result we have to hire more manga translators for any different languages that could be here. this creates jobs. they earn money now boosting economy. hell, make movies for pay to use channels. it costs them to have it, we get cash in the system, they can satisfy their interest.

in conclusion let it go loosen up. you can search for a sunset or brood about the bad taste in your mouth.
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CharAznable Sep 26, 10
It's all so people vote for those who incite this kind of witch hunt anyway. More corrupt politicians yeah! The more you bend to the generally stupid consensus the better to be raised to a higher political position.
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mark hesketh Oct 19, 10
this happens with all forms of art... the justice system most likly just found out what a lolicon is. this is just the bull crap western culture trying to find its own ass. it's not that hard to figure out. Japanese culture is just fine with sex be for the western represion of it. i think that there is a line and this is it
.
hentai . hardcore pics of real kids
(if that . (bad very bad)
is what .
your into.
fine) .
this is the line don't cross it
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Lee2469 Dec 10, 10
Lolicon art is just that, it's art. An anatomicaly improportionate drawing of a child coyld never, should never be construed as child pornography. These are lines on paper not depicting any real people.
There is no crime in owning art. But if anyone thinks this is the case then anyone owning any kind of media depicting underaged nudity should be considered child porn. This includes thousands od paintings and motion pictures not to mention photographs. Looks like they're gonna haul Maplethorpe off to jail after all.(Yes I know he's dead but you get the point.)
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bamdad Aug 3, 14
okay, so let's be perfectly straight about this:

1. who here, before their moral indoctrination, didn't have sexual desires beginning around the age of 11-12? people in their teen years can be confused and inexperienced, but that doesn't mean they should be shielded from everything: not even violence, sexuality etc. in a sense it's even harmful, because if young people aren't allowed to accumulate experiences in their own pace, they often times end up knowing nothing about e.g. their first sexual experience, facing sometimes undesired consequences, the feeling of guilt imposed on them by society, cluelessness and being left alone - in the end in turn becoming moralising hypocrites who frown upon everything out of their comfort zone and accept and spout the 'rules' of 'society' like mindless borgs.

2. the line between protection and over-protection, although thin, is clear: allowing access to information and providing a calm explanation of the dangers and the means to avoid them is protection. censorship, withholding information and trying to judge everyone by the (usually artificially created) lowest common denominator *is* over-protection and harmful.

3. nudity is natural at *any* age, and its depiction should also be. sex is natural between people who are hormonally active and have the desire for and proper understanding of it. its depiction should also be 'legal', although probably not in public, as to not interfere with certain individuals' personality development or sense of decency.
the 'unhealthy' urges that some imagery might induce are a person's own fault, not of the imagery.

4. any form of non-consensual activity that is forced on someone by another is bad, and should be illegal at *any* age.

bottom line: banning lolicon is like banning kitchen knives. no, sorry, banning even pictures of kitchen knives. because we all know kitchen knives can be, and are sometimes, used to mutilate, kill and brutally dismember people. lol..
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bamdad Aug 3, 14
what is even more lol is that my previous comment contained an instance of the word 'räpe' so the site complained about 'explicit language'. because not mentioning it will help a lot, especially in the context of my 4th point. :sigh:
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