Manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment announced earlier this week that their upcoming series, Nymphet by Kaworu Watashiya, has been temporarily put on hiatus. Why, you ask? Might it have something to do with the fact that the book is about an eight-year-old girl that wants to have sex with her teacher?
Let me repeat that. Nymphet is about an eight-year-old girl who wants to have sex with her teacher. From what I understand, there’s nothing explicit in the book, but certainly the concept alone is enough to start a nationwide anti-manga campaign. Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis explained the decision to delay the book thusly:
In Japan, Nymphet is a highly popular and successful manga written and drawn by a female creator for an older teen male audience. It is published in Futubasha’s weekly seinen magazine COMIC HIGH. It is not considered pornographic by any means, and Japanese would be shocked to hear this sort of accusation about what they consider to be a mainstream property. In fact, it is so mainstream that it has been turned into an anime program which will be broadcast on Japanese TV starting this July. My personal stance on this title is, if it’s good enough for the Japanese, then it’s good enough for us.
As a policy, we at Seven Seas do not believe in altering or “censoring” manga artwork or content, so that approach, which has been taken in the past by others, is out of the question. Instead, despite the fact that we have already received thousands of orders on this title, I have decided to delay its release and to have an open dialogue with the large book chains and other vendors. My intention is to make them fully aware of this debate, familiarize them more fully with the content, and let each of them make the final decision as to whether or not it is appropriate for their stores and their customers — and then give them the chance to cancel their orders if they wish.
Any references to the book have since been removed from Seven Seas’ Web site. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say whether the execution overrides the unsavory premise, though the small sampling of previews I read was enough to skeeve me out. You can, however, read irate message board postings on the topic here and here. You can read a defense of the manga here, and the usual insightful comments from Simon Jones (some images nsfw) can be found here.
Update: According to ICv2, the manga has been cancelled.