In November, two of Japan’s leading newspapers modified advertisements for weekly tabloid Shukan Post that included somewhat graphic and vulgar phrasing.
In its December 13 issue, the magazine summarizes the editorial changes made by the newspapers to conclude that society has its limits when it comes to erotic content.
For example, a vertical headline appearing for the November 29 issue included the headline “Sex until Death” that was followed by the phrase for a “female ejaculation,” written with a mix katakana, which is typically used to render words written in a foreign language but can also be applied to show emphasis, and hiragana scripts.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper by circulation, objected to the use of katakana, which was utilized so that phrase would leap off the page. Meanwhile, the Asahi Shimbun requested that a small katakana particle following “ejaculation,” again used for emphasis, be removed due to concerns about vulgarity.
In the November 22 issue, Shukan Post included the word “SEX” (in capital letters) three times. It was requested that 性交 (seiko) instead be inserted, so to speak, in place of one usage. The magazine wonders if one less printing of the term somehow makes the advertisement less obscene.
Further, in the phrase “shita koto ga nai SEX wo shitai” (those who have not had sex but want to), which appeared in the ad copy for the December 6 issue, the Asahi Shimbun substantially reduced the font size for that same term.
With the changes hardly being significant, Shukan Post is left wondering about the reasoning. Of course, the magazine respects a particular publication’s in-house rules. (For the record, 巨乳, or kyonyu, meaning large breasts, is another banned term.)
When reached for comment, both newspapers essentially confirmed such sentiments.
“In each case, the decision is based on the advertising standards set by this company,” the Asahi said in a statement.
The Yomiuri offered a similar explanation: “The department in charge of reviewing advertisements does so based on the advertising standards of the company.”
An employee at a newspaper firm says that the matter is . “Over the past year, there has been too much sex in the features run by the tabloids,” says the employee. “If this kind of ad is run each week, it is easy to see where the dignity of the paper will be harmed.”
By the way, this week’s advertisement uses SEX exactly two times. (A.T.)
Source: “Honshi vs Asahi Yomiuri ‘eichi na taitoru (chin) toso’ wo aite kokai shimasu,” Shukan Post (Dec. 13, pages 173-175)