It’s time once again to check in with the Canadian government’s ongoing censorship efforts. For some reason, most of the censorship in this country is directed at comic books, and specifically manga (but also hate propaganda and sex videos). Here’s the most recent list of prohibited comic books:
The basic way comics are censored in Canada is at the border by Border Services agents. These defenders of liberty open mail, shipments and luggage looking for seditious or pornographic material. And four times a year they publish a list of what they have caught, with a note attached about whether the items in question are “prohibited,” meaning they are impounded and/or destroyed, or “admissible,” meaning they let them go.
For the longest time, the government seemed to have a hard-on for Little Sisters Books and other bookstores who imported a lot of LGBTQ material, especially before the advent of free porn online and the demise of bookstores, which lead to some famous court cases. Nowadays they seem to pay particular attention to adult manga and anime.
With the exception of Hate Literature, this is an effort that focuses on visual media almost exclusively. Meaning, the Canadian government doesn’t seem to be in the business of actually reading books without pictures, like in the old days of Lady Chatterly’s Lover and “under-the-counter” porno paperbacks.
The full title of the censored book list is “Quarterly List of Admissible and Prohibited Titles” and the most recent two lists to arrive in my inbox are for the period covering July 1 to December 31, 2018, published by the mysterious “Prohibited Importations Unit, Travellers Border Programs Division” of the federal Canada Border Services Agency. One of the roles of the CBSA is to “administer tariff item 9899.00.00 of the Schedule to the Customs Tariff” (i.e., part of the Customs Act) that blocks the import of material “considered to be obscenity, treason, sedition, or hate propaganda” as defined by the Canadian Criminal Code.
Sometimes the list includes items that fall under Section 59 (Re-determinations): “This section lists titles that have been previously prohibited under tariff item 9899.00.00 and which have been the subject of program monitoring. The re-determination was initiated by the PIU in order to ensure that goods have been correctly classified.” Also Section 60 (Re-determinations): “This section lists titles that were previously prohibited under tariff item 9899.00.00 and which have been re-determined at the importer’s request.”
As usual, the CBSA doesn’t note if the items in question were part of a larger wholesale shipment to a retailer or intended for an individual or just seized from a suitcase on the border (to see a collection of these lists up to 2010, see the CBDLF site here).
As is often the case, a single defunct U.S. publisher is the focus of the government’s attention. The banned comics are mostly translated hentai manga by Japanese creators, many published by Simon Jones’ Icarus press, including issues from the tail end of the long-running porn series, AG: Super Erotic Manga Anthology. A quick check reveals you can order these through Amazon.com but not Amazon.ca, among many other places. Not included in this post are the many dvds on the banned list, including live-action porn.