As of late, an article headline regarding a Japanese politician linking anime, gaming and violent tendencies among criminals has ended up in my Twitter timeline. This discussion was raised in a political discussion talk show after mention of a recent serial murder case that happened in Japan’s Kenagawa Prefecture where police have reported to have discovered dead bodies in the criminal’s apartment.
In reading these articles, I had this thought on just how much effect does anime have on individuals in the community and how do the violent aspects in some of these show motivate these people to do these horrible acts.
Before we have to get to the nit-and-grit of this topic, we have to understand who are these people that view anime shows and how do studies from experts perceive violence in media.
In the context of anime, this medium is not your child’s animated cartoon. Rather, the coverage of genres that exist in anime are vastly different and largely take on a mature tone in comparison to the usual cartoon. This is why we have categories such as shounen, shoujo, josei.
Shounen targets a male demographic, shoujo targets female viewers whilst josei targets a mature female audience. The odd one in the room is the kodomomuke genre, which is targeted to children. This method of categorization helps in designating showtimes for the different demographics: late evening times for mature audiences and late afternoon time slots for the children.
So now that we have cut out the possibility of anime being a factor to violent behavior in children. Now, we move on to the major audience for anime: male and mature audiences. In regards to this, we also have to understand that majority of Japan’s criminals are either working, adults or both.
“Crime in Japan is among the lowest compared to other industrialized countries,” according to the Global Study for Homicide 2013 conducted by the United Nations. Despite that low crime rate, Japan has probably the most bizarre cases for their major crimes. They along the lines of murder, death by erotic asphyxiation, killing sprees and so on.
However, these major crimes were mostly committed by individuals who had history of mental health problems, or were afflicted by similar factors. This matches up to the methods on how these crimes were committed which, if you have the heart to go through, are found in this list.
With all of this information, let us get down on debunking this idea that the public usually has, in regards to violence depicted in anime or any form of media violence.
These articles [(1) (2)] states that various researchers have commented on this matter and have found on valid connection between aggressive behavior and cartoons, video games. Their statements go along the lines of, although playing a video game or watching cartoons may stimulate you to get pumped or excited, however these are only short term affects.
We have to determine the causes of aggressive behavior which are:
- physical and mental health
- family structure
- relationship with others
- work or school environment
- societal factors
- individual traits
- life experiences
Thus, we need to understand that crime and the violent, aggressive behavior that motivate the individual to commit these acts are triggered by factors which vary from person-to-person.
Granted – anime, gaming, and media violence, in general, thus instill an impression of the viewer but its interpretation largely varies on a personal level. In fact, not just violent anime, but all forms of media entertainment appeal to us because we relate to the content presented.
This is why we get a train-wreck of feels as we watch emotional shows like Clannad, Angel Beats! and others. The main drive for this is our personal experiences and how we can relate to the story presented before us.
The linkage between crime, aggressive behavior to anime, gaming and media violence has no valid point and thus, debunked. People who commit crimes are motivated by their own personal intentions, be it by circumstance, by means of personal health (physical or mental) or experiences.
It is a display of ignorance to support the statement, “Anime, gaming lead to aggressive behavior.”
What are your thoughts on this article? Let me know in the comments below!