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South Korean Court Rules Anime & Manga Drawings Child Abuse

The South Korean Supreme Court has ruled that sexually explicit depictions of teenagers in Japanese media are images of child of sexual abuse.

Following this new ruling, the court ordered a retrial of a man in South Korea, identified by his surname as Lim. Previously, Lim was charged for violating the child protection law for distributing video files portraying hentai, featuring characters wearing school uniforms and performing sexual acts. He has been charged for sharing pornography for profit since May of 2010; however, the lower courts found it unreasonable to prosecute him for child abuse on the basis of the characters wearing school uniforms and appearing young, and declared that more evidence to the characters’ age would be necessary to rule otherwise.

The Supreme Court has since overturned this decision, ruling that the teenagers depicted in the media were underage and that the sexually-explicit drawings can be considered images of child sexual abuse. The British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, quotes the ruling on their website as follows.

“In the perspective of a common individual in our society, the contents of the videos demonstrate what can be seen to be teenagers”

At the moment, it is unknown what punishment awaits Lim. Another South Korean man, Son Jong-woo, was charged for running one of the largest dark web child porn sites earlier this year, and received an 18-month prison sentence; however, many people have been critical of that decision, and as such, it might not serve as a reliable benchmark for Lim’s fate.

In the information available about Lim’s case so far, it appears that the courts had no interest in whether the pornographic material was a work of fiction, and concentrated solely on determining the most probable age of the characters involved in sexual activity. Had the characters appeared older or wore less ambiguous clothing, the ruling may have been different.

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