Love Anime? Then You'd Better Love Your 1st Amendment Rights
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Love Anime? Then You'd Better Love Your 1st Amendment Rights Programs to Get Teens Thinking About their Freedom of Speech Mary McCarthy (with assistance from Nicole Steffen and Askasha de Lioncourt) . Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Love Anime? Then You'd Better Love Your 1st Amendment RightsPrograms to Get Teens Thinking About their Freedom of Speech

Mary McCarthy(with assistance from Nicole Steffen and Askasha de Lioncourt)


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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, "


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  • The First AmendmentCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. - The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution The First Amendment

  • Where in the First Amendment does it mention that the rights of teens are less important that the rights of adults?


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  • The Knight Foundation Survey"A significant number of US high-school students regard their constitutional right to freedom of speech as excessive, according to a new survey. Over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly. Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did not have the government's approval." (Knight Foundation)

  • Why should we be concerned if teens do not value their freedom of speech?


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  • A functioning democracy requires a well-educated, thinking populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Individuals need equitable access to information in order to make their own reasoned decisions.

  • There are roughly 20,000,000 high school students in the United States.

  • Today's high school students will be voting for our next president.

  • Are you concerned now?


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Programs to Get Teens Thinking populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Remember that Freedom of Speech applies to multiple formats

  • Books

  • Comic Books

  • Movies

  • Video Games

  • Cyberspace

  • Clothing (School uniforms, dress codes, slogans and graphical drug images on t-shirts)

  • Anime and Manga


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Books populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • ALA IFC Banned Book Week (debates, mock trials, film festivals, etc.)

  • National Council of Teachers of English. "A Case for Reading—Examining Challenged and Banned Books "

  • Oklahoma public library restricted sections Challenge: Figure out how to ban this book


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Comics populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Comics Code Authority

  • Marvel Rating System


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Movies/TV populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Examine U.S. television rating systems, compare to Canada

  • Examine MPAA Ratings. Current MPAA movie ratings consist of:

  • Rated G – General audiences: All ages admitted.

  • Rated PG – Parental guidance suggested: Some material may not be suitable for children.

  • Rated PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

  • Rated R – Restricted: Persons under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian.

  • Rated NC-17 – No one 17 and under admitted.

  • Criticism of MPAA system


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Movies/TV populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Debate what role should government play in movie ratings

  • Debate Movie Pricing13 and older pay the adult price. New student rates sort of address this, except an 18-year-old student can see more movies for the same price that a 12-17-year-old student.

  • Discuss EU and Canadian movie ratings

  • European Union movie ratings"He said films may follow the example of video games, now regulated across most of Europe, in requiring liberal nations to abide by the ratings demanded by more conservative ones. A BBFC spokeswoman said there were no immediate plans to introduce a harmonised ratings system but that the EU had not dismissed the idea." UK fears over film ratings idea


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Movies/TV populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Debate what role should government play in movie ratings

  • Debate Movie Pricing13 and older pay the adult price. New student rates sort of address this, except an 18-year-old student can see more movies for the same price that a 12-17-year-old student.

  • Discuss EU and Canadian movie ratings

  • European Union movie ratings“…films may follow the example of video games, now regulated across most of Europe, in requiring liberal nations to abide by the ratings demanded by more conservative ones. A BBFC spokeswoman said there were no immediate plans to introduce a harmonised ratings system but that the EU had not dismissed the idea." UK fears over film ratings idea


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Movies/TV populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Examine International differences in movie ratings

  • Atlantis the Lost Empire (Disney). Australia:PG, Singapore:G, USA:PGRemember, this is a movie about attempted genocide!

  • Fifth Element. Argentina:13, Australia:PG, Germany:12, Singapore:NC-16, Singapore:PG (cut), UK:PG, USA:PG-13

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. Australia:PG, Canada:G (Quebec), Canada:PG (Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Ontario), Poland:(Banned), Singapore:G, USA:PG (cut version) (1985), USA:PG (uncut version) (2004)

  • Participate in the YFEN & NCAC Annual Film Contest


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Anime and Manga populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Definitions

  • "(ah-nee-may) Anime, as defined by common fan usage, is simply any animation that is made in Japan." (Poitras)

  • "(ma-n-ga) (Maw - Nnnnn - Gah) Manga can be roughly translated as "comic books", in reality it is a much more complex subject." (Poitras)


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So what's the problem? populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Edited Anime

    When brought to the United States, anime and manga are often edited. ex: Visuals, time, speech, sounds, story segments, themes, songs, casting of voice actors, etc.


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Edited for Content populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Dragonball (characters never die, they go "to another dimension")

  • Dragonball (swimsuit added to infant who ran around nude)

  • Gundam (guns edited to be glowing objects which shoot light not bullets)

  • One Piece (skin of henchman lightened to not offend African-Americans)

  • One Piece (cigarette turned into smoking lollipop)


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Edited for Content populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! (guns removed so characters appear to be merely pointing at objects)

  • Sailor Moon (character changed to female to eliminate homosexual relationship)

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (legal battle won by Miyazaki and Tokuma Shoten company)

  • Shaman King (hats of villains rounded so appear less like KKK members)

  • Yu Yu Hakusho (names changed, removed cultural references, eliminated portions of story)


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Issues Raised populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • What anime is for children? For teens? For adults?

  • Cultural references

  • Idiomatic expressions

  • Americanization (ex: character name changes, U.S. politics added)

  • Isolationism (does everyone need to be named Sue or Joe to be a valid human?)

  • Alcohol

  • Smoking


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Issues Raised populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Commercialization

  • Truancy

  • Violence (guns, swords/knives blunted, removal of images of blood)

  • Sexuality (nudity, homosexuality)

  • Racism in Japanese society

    Japan racism 'deep and profound' : An independent investigator for the UN says racism in Japan is deep and profound, and the government does not recognise the depth of the problem. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4671687.stm)


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Fans populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Some prefer to watch unedited DVD versions

  • Some feel some changes improve the work

  • Some feel make the work harmful because it removes nonWestern cultural references, or anti-Western cultural messages

  • Some feel edits imply the Japanese culture is somehow flawed


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Teen Programs populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Anime MST3K: Have teens do 5-10 minute subdubs that change the intent of the original story

  • Nausicaa Fights: Watch both versions of Nausicaa (received the same rating both times in U.S.) and have a discussion

  • Art Show: Have teens redraw panels of favorite Manga to show how it could be edited.

  • Ratings Game: Have teens read certain manga titles and have them assign a rating to each one. Tally them up and let teens see the general concensus.


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Teen Programs populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Dial-a-Dialogue: Have teens write their own dialogue for manga scenes, either existing ones or for ones they illustrate themselves. Keep the original dialogue separate. Then have other teens make up new dialogue. Discuss how this changed the original intent, what did the original author think, etc.

  • Missing Scene: Have teens write their own short stories, but have them leave out a crucial scene. Then see how many teens can understand what's really happening in the story.

  • Cosplay (costume play) Contest. Dress like a character from an anime series. Very popular in Japan, partly due to school dress codes.


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Teen Programs populace with individuals capable of making up their own minds.

  • Manga Scrapbook/Poster: use images from Web to create before and after censorship panels

  • Have teens hang out and talk with each other, so they can learn what others think the boundaries are.

  • and most importantly...

    • Learn what the teens have to teach

    • Let teens tell you what they really think


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