Obscenity, Pornography, and Law in Japan: Reconsidering Oshima's 'In the Realm of the Senses'

Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, vol. 4 (winter 2003), pp. 148-168.

21 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2012

See all articles by James R. Alexander

James R. Alexander

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Date Written: April 17, 2012

Abstract

This paper explores the question of constitutional regulation of violent content in expression from a cross-cultural perspective, focusing specifically how Japan attempted in postwar-era cinema to mediate its notions of individual rights of expression, in particular expressions considered obscene and/or violent, with demands of the greater public welfare. The watershed event in this process was the censorship trial of Nagisa Oshima, a Japanese filmmaker who was indicted on obscenity charges related to his 1976 film ‘In the Realm of the Senses.’ While the film presented graphic images intricately connecting elements of violent behavior with sexual behavior, cinematic interpretations and subsequent legal consideration of the film focused almost entirely on the degree to which it 'broke new ground' for sexual explicitness in a commercial film made for mainstream distribution which, as the paper points out, had several far-reaching implications for doctrinal treatment of free expression in both Japanese and American law.

Keywords: censorship, Japan, free expression, violence, sexuality, obscenity

Suggested Citation

Alexander, James R., Obscenity, Pornography, and Law in Japan: Reconsidering Oshima's 'In the Realm of the Senses' (April 17, 2012). Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, vol. 4 (winter 2003), pp. 148-168.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2041314

James R. Alexander (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown ( email )

Johnstown, PA 15904
United States

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