It was reported last week that the Japanese Diet had passed a new law that outlawed various forms of Internet filesharing as well as ripping of DVD or Blu-ray media. Like all countries, Japan’s had a tough time dealing with changes that the Internet has brought, including unauthorized sharing of copyrighted files which impacts industries like the anime and games that we all love so much. Now Japanese lawmakers are attempting to assign jail time to users who knowingly download copyrighted files in order to reign things in if they can. One reason I’m sad that Japan’s government has gone this route is, I know how unlikely a reasonable legal challenge to the law by average citizens will be, due to the fact that there are no lawyers in Japan…or more accurately, to the way that lawyers and lawsuits never affect any kind of social change in Japan, as they do in the U.S. I’m not too worried about the proposed law, though, thanks to the grand Japanese tradition of honne and tatemae (hon-NEH and tah-teh-MAH-eh), two words that essentially mean “the way things really are” and “the way we pretend them to be,” respectively. In the same way that soaplands (a place where a guy can go to have a woman, er, wash him thoroughly) are illegal, yet there’s a famous one located right behind a police station in Shibuya, not much will actually change.
Japan’s government attempts to reign in filesharing