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View Poll Results: Has anyone experienced harassment with the authorities? (customs/police/etc)
Yes 11 20.75%
No 27 50.94%
Never had any manga with me 15 28.30%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2010-06-04, 14:28   Link #1
bhl88
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Customs can't distinguish hentai from other things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screw Bronze

While many of us have been treated like criminals going through customs, this is the first time I've come across scum treatment for possession of comics...


To Canadian Customs: X-men means X-rated

Saturday, I was surrounded by six officers, two watching me as the four others went page by page through my books looking for pornographic images and other evidence I was a sexual predator. How did this happen? I said a word which Canada Customs considers dirty: Manga. As soon as I declared that I had some of the japanese inspired comic books called manga, a Custom’s officer said, “That’s the stuff from Japan; there is some really obscene and filthy stuff.” No, I pointed out, these was printed in America and very mainstream. As more and more officers were called in, the six manga books I had were examined in detail. They were looking, they told me, for pornographic, obscene and adult material. “The age rating is on the back of each book.” (each manga book has ratings like 13+ or 15+ - mine were 13+). I was informed that I could have put different covers on or done anything else I could to get the pornography in and that if I spoke anymore, the books would be seized. So I stood there and watched my previously new books get examined page by page, thumbed through and pressed open because it was assumed if I read manga, that I was a sex offender.

That sounds like a joke doesn’t it. Except the exact same phrase “That stuff from Japan...” was used two weeks earlier on my last trip through Customs and my manga examined for the same reason; because Japanese manga is “really filthy stuff.” The reason I was so heavily raided this time, I found out afterward, was one of the manga titles had the word “boy” in the title, which “alerted” them to pedophile materials. Huh? Can someone please go get my next issue of the romance manga Tokyo Boys and Girls from the US? I’m too scared.

What I did know was that Canada Customs officers have a 20 year history of targeting and labeling “obscene” anything either with gay or lesbian content or simply owned by gays and lesbians. This is because the rules for what is “obscene” are so broad that they can fit almost any preconceived perception of a Canadian Custom’s official (under 1993 bill C-128 which includes not only anything perceived as “sexual” to those 18 or under, including kissing, but anything, including what is NOT in the picture/book, which is considered “harmful” to society: age of sexual consent in Canada is 14) . Canada customs has traditionally removed materials going to gay owners or stores and held them to a personal scrutiny, which is why for 10 years no one really cared if gay or lesbians were having books seized, until one week April 23 in 1993 when the Customs Agents, instead of separating the books to gay stores, went through the entire book stock and suddenly everyone from Christian book stores to Universities found notices that they had books seized for being “obscene”. What? Censorship! Canada briefly became outraged, Customs officials went back to targeting gays and lesbians and the media and outrage abated. Gay activism magazines such as On Our Backs and The Advocate have been seized, also HIV safety information sent up to gay stores during the 80’s along with hundreds of titles including the following classics and books of interest (but only if sent to gay bookstores or owners): Salome by Oscar Wilde, The Satanic Verses, Straight Heart’s Delight by Allen Ginsberg, Naked Lunch by Burroughs, Joy of Gay Sex, Joy of Lesbian Sex, Querella by Jean Genet, Women on Top (listed as Child Pornography also with the RCMP), Discontent: New Gay Writers, Lesbian Erotica, Nikola: Bride of Bigfoot (seized for a “lesbian encounter” description). They also confiscated a box of piercing jewelry that was going to a gay piercing store and the famous work “The History of Underground Comics” for “promoting bestiality” (there is an spoof Mickey Mouse who drinks, smokes and has sex). Amazon.com even has it's own list page: Books seized by Canada Customs

In 2004 a BC judge established that over 70% of all detentions by Canadian Customs are lesbian and gay materials and is “clearly targeting the gay community.” (seizures helped close the only lesbian bookshop in Victoria) The Canada Customs has no independent commission, no self regulation body and no one who oversees it. In 2000 Canada Customs was found to be unfairly targeting gays and lesbians in a systematic and corrupt way, and was given a “stern warning” but was noted in 2003 that so far Canada customs had done “nothing” to correct itself.

I found out about Custom’s non-regulated practices when I earlier witnessed (while waiting to pay GST on books) an older male Canadian Customs official (named Gary), after being informed of the age and mentally challenged status of a 15 year old girl, take her off for personal questioning. He did so after repeatedly refusing her legal guardian to accompany her before beginning to question her about her sexual history and relationships. When I called to report this I found that the person I was to report the behavior to was...Gary, the same guy who initiated it.

What I did not know on Saturday, was the Canada Customs has targeted manga for obscenity and child pornography prosecution, having charged a man in Edmonton six months ago for bringing in lolicon (sexual themed books of adults with young girls). The problem is, that since non of the customs officers I have encounter have any real idea about manga, all have viewed with suspicion, as an international artist found out when they were questioned for having “too many art books.” I also wonder if officials will know the difference between lolicon and Lolita & babywear. One is about sex with underage kids and the other is a style of clothing celebrating Edwardian childrens fashions which started in 2002 in Japan. The lesbian themed classic and multi award winning Kamikaze Girls is about a butch biker girl who falls for and comes to respect a Lolita girl (and yes, I brought that over from the states along with the girl manga magazine Shojo Beat which has advertisements for shops selling Lolita and babywear inside – that, thankfully they did not search page by page).

Linda was convinced the books were not taken away because the people examining them didn’t realize they were all same-sex themed because for those unused to manga, boys and girls often look the same. I buy gender bender/same sex romance manga books for enjoyment (maybe the links to Yuri manga on the side of the blog gave it away). And I am not ashamed of it, no matter how much they want to treat me like a sex offender. I buy them because thanks to the FCC and Canadian puritism I cannot find light reading which reflects the life of me and my friends. A typical alternative romance manga plot goes something like: Boy falls in love with beautiful boy who turns out to be a girl dressed as a boy who is trying to get a different boy (who is also a girl) to fall in love with her. By the time the first boy figures this out, he has fallen in love with another boy and concludes, what’s more important, love or society?

Canada customs rules mean that “Romeo and Juliet” cannot be brought into Canada (sexual themes in under 15 year olds) yet we all know that the heterosexual assumptions in the mind of the customs officials mean that in the same way most people think Pride Parades are about group sex, most officials assume if a lesbian is interested in something with gay/lesbian themes, then it is likely pornographic. DMP, who publishes the gay themed award winning series Antique Bakery won’t sell same-sex themed books or adult comics in Canada because their distributor Diamond, doesn’t want their other shipments of comics and manga seized (including when Canada Customs held a X-men comic shipment on the belief that X-men meant X-rated!). I will continue buying DMP books and I will continue bringing them across the border because I refuse to act as if I am ashamed (oh I feel ashamed and violated when they search me, accuse me of lying, of trying to sneak in pornographic materials, debate if I am a sexual offender and then let me go with the attitude of “we’ll be watching you”), over something I have no need to be ashamed of. The issue is in their head, not mine, and if I won’t give in to the dozens of different groups and societal pressures to try to put me back in the closet then I sure am not going to give in to Canada Customs. Welcome to the Gulag!
Has anyone experienced getting "harassed" at the customs?
What do you guys think of this?

Link: Screw Bronze
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Old 2010-06-04, 15:10   Link #2
airstorm
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My experience, so far, in Europe has been noone seems to care. I haven't carried anything obvious like My Balls, but noone freaked out when they saw the manga in my bag. I've had the manga I import from Japan to the UK looked through by customs (as some volumes are always open when they arrive) but never had any trouble.

I have to say, Id be a little edgy if they decided to take a proper look through page by page to 'make an example of me' but up til now, they've just glanced in my bag, gone 'book' and moved me on.

Having said all that, I'll now get searched and detained when I next fly...

Last edited by airstorm; 2010-06-04 at 15:58. Reason: All above referring to international flights
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Old 2010-06-04, 15:54   Link #3
RadiantBeam
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As of yet, I haven't had any trouble with carrying manga around. I've bought some M rated stuff from the local bookstore and nobody even bats an eye when they hand it to me. I haven't tried to take any of my manga onto a flight yet (and when I do, that's probably when things will get ugly, with how security is these days), so that might also explain why I haven't had such a major issue with it so far.
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Old 2010-06-04, 17:41   Link #4
TheFluff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airstorm View Post
My experience, so far, in Europe has been noone seems to care. I haven't carried anything obvious like My Balls, but noone freaked out when they saw the manga in my bag. I've had the manga I import from Japan to the UK looked through by customs (as some volumes are always open when they arrive) but never had any trouble.
In Europe it's generally not socially accepted for politicians to, for example, declare that they hate all gay people (even the ones that are against gay marriage sorta have to pretend it's for other reasons like "it's for the sake of the children"); in the US with fundamentalist Christian morals and values being widespread that is A-OK.

In general, European customs isn't going to care as long as it isn't loli (child porn has been getting a lot of attention lately, mostly as an excuse to create various internet filters); most EU countries either no longer have obscenity laws or aren't enforcing them.
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Old 2010-06-04, 19:28   Link #5
Vexx
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There's always some witches to persecute and burn somewhere....

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the idea that a *DRAWING* of anything can be illegal -- thoughtcrime at its most basic.
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Old 2010-06-04, 19:48   Link #6
DragoonKain3
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And people wonder why I'm so anal about the definition of a 'loli'?

Being a Canadian, and having brought manga/dvds/games across the border a number of times, definition of 'loli' is very important and relevant on what can and cannot cross the border. That's why my defintion of 'loli' states that they do not have secondary sex characteristics, as manga/doujin with flat chested girls always gets a closer look from customs, but buxom ones are merely thumbed over even if they are technically under 14. Not that I had any stopped at the border (only h stuff I ever bring over are games which is way easier to get in the US), but I don't think it's a coincidence that manga with pettankos gets scrutinized more in my experience, when these officers are looking for anything 'pedo'.

I mean, if I'm going to live as a Canadian, that means following Canadian rules. And unlike most other countries, that means extreme tight regulations on anything 'pedo', both real photos and drawn. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just follow them.

So, all the power to them... I'm as 'anti-pedo' as the next guy, so I'm glad these customs officers are thumbing through my stuff as it shows how diligent our enforcement of the law is. Sure they think I'm 'weird' and would give me an evil eye or two, but hey, it ain't the first nor the last time that's going to happen. I'm used to it by now. Small price to pay, I'd say, to keep these things out of the country.

Really, now, it's not really 'obscene' stuff that gets stopped, it's the loli/shota ones. At least, I haven't had a problem bringing over h-games across the border.

Yaoi/Yuri stuff? Nope, not a problem either. Not that I would know (never actually had any of those), but a US store in anime north comes year and year out with a bunch of those (everyone who attends that con knows who I'm talking about, as they shout "YAOI!" nonstop in the dealers room), so I have NO IDEA why the original quote makes such a big deal out of gay/lesbian stuff when its not those the officers are stopping to get across the border.
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Old 2010-06-04, 19:55   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragoonKain3 View Post
I mean, if I'm going to live as a Canadian, that means following Canadian rules. And unlike most other countries, that means extreme tight regulations on anything 'pedo', both real photos and drawn. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just follow them.

So, all the power to them... I'm as 'anti-pedo' as the next guy, so I'm glad these customs officers are thumbing through my stuff as it shows how diligent our enforcement of the law is. Sure they think I'm 'weird' and would give me an evil eye or two, but hey, it ain't the first nor the last time that's going to happen. I'm used to it by now. Small price to pay, I'd say, to keep these things out of the country.

Really, now, it's not really 'obscene' stuff that gets stopped, it's the loli/shota ones. At least, I haven't had a problem bringing over h-games across the border.

Yaoi/Yuri stuff? Nope, not a problem either. Not that I would know (never actually had any of those), but a US store in anime north comes year and year out with a bunch of those (everyone who attends that con knows who I'm talking about, as they shout "YAOI!" nonstop in the dealers room), so I have NO IDEA why the original quote makes such a big deal out of gay/lesbian stuff when its not those the officers are stopping to get across the border.
Either you're trolling, or I have to redefine my opinion of Canada as a freer, less fundamentalist version of the US and welcome it back to Jesusland.
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Old 2010-06-04, 20:14   Link #8
0utf0xZer0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragoonKain3 View Post
Being a Canadian, and having brought manga/dvds/games across the border a number of times, definition of 'loli' is very important and relevant on what can and cannot cross the border. That's why my defintion of 'loli' states that they do not have secondary sex characteristics, as manga/doujin with flat chested girls always gets a closer look from customs, but buxom ones are merely thumbed over even if they are technically under 14. Not that I had any stopped at the border (only h stuff I ever bring over are games which is way easier to get in the US), but I don't think it's a coincidence that manga with pettankos gets scrutinized more in my experience, when these officers are looking for anything 'pedo'.
Technically, they don't have to look "loli", they just have to look under 18. It's just that from everything I've heard, nobody actually bothers unless they look "loli".

(Edit: If I remember right, in possession cases, the judge is suppose to allow an artistic merit defense if the material has even the slightest artistic merit - I wouldn't be surprised if most of the erogames actually worth playing qualify. That said, I'm no lawyer so I could be totally off base there, and I don't know if the standard varies for importing.)

Anyway, speaking personally, I only tend to order non-H stuff via RightStuf, so of course I've never had any trouble. I've only had my package searched once anyway. That said, the basic impression I have of the system is that it's highly dependent on what agent you happen to get, so hearing stories like the one posted doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

(Also, as a political science major who has actually discussed administrative practice stuff a bit for some of my courses, the bit about "file a complaint with the agent you're complaining about" bit made me headdesk.)
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Last edited by 0utf0xZer0; 2010-06-05 at 00:58.
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Old 2010-06-05, 02:25   Link #9
Vexx
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Its probably really hard not to say, "keep the damn book since it seems to turn YOU on so much, officer. I'd never noticed anything perverted about it."
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Old 2010-06-05, 02:34   Link #10
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In my country, most people think anime are for kids. And since we are at the brink of economic collapse, nobody cares to make a fuss about it.

As for Canada and America, those are hot spots of witch hunts, especially the later. If you hear the word puritanist or creativist, expect something like that close by.

We had something similar many years ago about books being burned on the streets because the author made a fictional story about Jesus. The religious zealots went bananas. We also had a small uprise of similar groups concerning series like Power Rangers and Yugioh being full of pagan monsters.

But customs? That thing doesn't exist here; you can ship to my country anything you like. If the dogs don't bark (in the rare cases they use them), it doesn't matter.
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Old 2010-06-05, 05:55   Link #11
janipani
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This all sounds so sick that I think I never will travel to American continent. I also will avoid all islamic countries and other places that are so eager to keep eye on people and their morals.
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Old 2010-06-05, 06:22   Link #12
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I remember my friend ordered an issue of Megami magazine from Japan, and it took awhile before the magazine finally reached him, and he was shocked and completely disappointed when he saw his Megami magazine being censored here and there in most pages with a marker pen, obviously hand-censoring by Malaysia customs. Not sure about figurines and other related anime stuffs, but shipping magazines from Japan to Malaysia will likely ended up like that, since it has to go through the customs before the product can be send to the buyer. One of the few ways to avoid this is to order through bookstore like Kinokuniya, although it would cost abit more.

But i think if compared to the Canadian customs, i think Malaysia customs is still not that strict when it comes to stuffs like this. I may be wrong at this since i never really order stuffs from Japan, but seeing my other friends had no problem with the items that they ordered from Japan, so i guess i can safely assume it like that.
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Old 2010-06-05, 12:18   Link #13
Vexx
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All it takes is a moonbat in a customs uniform with a fetish for punishing the "different".
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Old 2010-06-05, 15:14   Link #14
Rajura
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Hmmmm... never had an issue with that.

However, I was pulled aside for having a copy of Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto in my possession.

I was questioned about my recent volume of travel (I was on interviews) and my possession of an "inflammatory" book. I did not realize that book was so "dangerous". Fortunately, I was able to keep it... as a side note, I never noticed anything inflammatory (or hateful) or dangerous about that book during my reading of it!
Funny enough, on another trip, I had an agent complement me on my choice of materials (manga and the above noted book, so...)

I guess there are always going to be people who outliers in any group. You probably got a few unprofessional individuals who wanted to "big-boy" you.
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Old 2010-06-05, 16:35   Link #15
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Move to America.

Problem solved.
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Old 2010-06-05, 17:39   Link #16
TheFluff
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Originally Posted by Metropolisforever View Post
Move to America.

Problem solved.
are you trolling or are you delusional or what

if you really like getting random things confiscated as "obscene" and/or want to get ostracized because of odd sexual tastes, the US is one of the best countries in the world to live in. otherwise, don't fucking go there.
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Old 2010-06-05, 17:46   Link #17
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When Hentai films are licensed in America, the High School girls become college girls
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Old 2010-06-05, 18:34   Link #18
Metropolisforever
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Originally Posted by HayashiTakara View Post
When Hentai films are licensed in America, the High School girls become college girls
Usually, but not always. Lolicon trash like Harumi's Bad Play and Moral Hazard HAS been released in the US uncut. Lolicon is legal in the US.
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Old 2010-06-05, 18:59   Link #19
bhl88
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I don't think so. Someone got arrested for lolicon material here... (he had 1 material, the rest are plain H)
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Old 2010-06-05, 19:10   Link #20
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I don't think so. Someone got arrested for lolicon material here... (he had 1 material, the rest are plain H)
That was when the old law was still in effect.
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