I recently read the Kodomo no Jikan manga. Then I read about the massive controversy when Seven Seas tried to release the series in the US, explained in excruciating detail by Seven Seas's Jason DeAngelis here, and summarized here. I also read about Kaworu Watashiya's response, showing that she absolutely did not one bit understand why the series was so controversial over here, and that machine translation still has a long way to go, since Watashiya got all her information from reading American forums passed through Google Translate. (I was particularly puzzled by her comments, made with an authoritative tone, that "An adult, even a parent, who takes a bath with a child would be arrested" in the United States.) This source also claims the series is only regarded as "mildly risqué" in Japan.

Maybe I'm just too American, but Kojikan seemed like it would be at least somewhat controversial in almost any country. Rin is only in third grade when the series starts, and the later chapters deal with issues like sex ed, masturbation, menstruation, and sexual assault in a fairly realistic way. Was there any public controversy around the series in Japan? Did it raise any eyebrows at all?

I'd appreciate sources. Obviously, if the answer is "no", there is no such evidence, so my threshold for "no controversy" is "nothing visible in a major media outlet". If the United Moral Guardians of Podunksville, Hokkaido published a statement condemning Kojikan, I do not expect anyone to find it. (Though good job if you do.) I'm asking for evidence of a reasonably high-profile controversy, around the same scale as the one surrounding the US release.

  • 1
    For Americans that read this. The post by Kaworu Watashiya says However, in America, a small child can only take a bath alone. What age are we talking about here, because letting a child alone in the bathroom, sounds dangerous. Aug 17 '14 at 18:20
  • @PeterRaeves In the manga, Rin takes baths with or in the presence of her guardian (and distant cousin) Reiji from age 5 up to about age 9 or so, when she decides she wants her privacy. That's pretty average for a child here in the US too. My eight-year-old sister still has her mother help her operate the shower. Watashiya's statement was deeply misinformed; American parents do customarily take baths with their children, or help their children in the bath, and are not arrested for it.
    – Torisuda
    Aug 18 '14 at 2:28
  • But later on in the manga, the bath scenes take on a weird dimension because we find out that Reiji views Rin as an extension of her mother Aki, with whom Reiji had a sexual relationship, and starts doing things to Rin that border on sexual assault (such as sneaking into her bed and giving her a hickey) while thinking of her as a substitute for Aki. That's the part that many Americans would find offensive, not the bath scenes themselves.
    – Torisuda
    Aug 18 '14 at 2:31
  • Ow okay. 9yo would make sense to start caring about ur privacy. I wonder how europe received this manga. Aug 18 '14 at 5:43
  • 1
    I can't speak for whole Europe, but here in Flemish Belgium, I doubt it was much of a controversy. Here it's even more low-profile than in the states. The animes you see on TV are only those that are already popular in the US. They don't even bother translating and usually just air them in American anyway. Unless they are so popular that we could use a translation from the Netherlands, but again not much translation is done here and most of the controversy would be dealt in other countries. Aug 21 '14 at 10:21

At least for anime version, there are some discussion and some TV station cancelled the series.

From Wikipedia:

[...] two television stations — TV Saitama and Mie TV — removed it from their broadcast schedules. In an official press release, TV Saitama stated that their decision was heavily influenced by the then-recent capture of Takayuki Hosoda, a notorious Japanese child pornographer who was revealed to be an elementary school vice principal.

I haven't read Kodomo no Jikan yet. In my understanding, Kodomo no Jikan contains two taboos. One is sexual interest from child, and the other one is love relationship between teacher and student. First one is also controversial in Japan. But for second one, it doesn't get any attention in Japan (if it's in fiction).

Other example of teacher-student taboo in US is Cardcaptor Sakura. This anime was aired by NHK (BBC or PBS equivalent in Japan). It's not controversial in Japan. But the NA version was heavy edited. All love relationship between teacher and student was removed with same-sex love relationship. (e.g. father and mother of protagonist met each other when the mother entered university that the father worked as professor.)

  • 1
    Interesting! So Japan isn't so different from the US in this regard. All the info I found suggested it was the sexual content involving a child that scuttled the US release of Kodomo no Jikan. The US release of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga, and the DVD releases, were not edited, and no one here cared that much about Fujitaka and Nadeshiko's relationship. There was a little discussion about Rika's relationship with her teacher, which was similar to the relationship in Kodomo no Jikan since it involved an underage character, but lacked the sexual content. Very good answer, +1 from me.
    – Torisuda
    Aug 18 '14 at 2:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.