Kinokuniya Blames Classification Act For Manga Series Being Removed

kinokuniya manga
Image: Kinokuniya

Australian manga importer Kinokuniya has blamed the Classification Act for the recent removal of several manga series, saying the books were removed not because of political pressure, but the cost of the classification process.

The statement, supplied to Kotaku Australia on Friday evening, says it did not pull several manga titles because of political pressure. According to Kinokuniya, the books had to be pulled from sale.

“When these titles were brought to the attention of the Classification Board, by some politicians, it fell to The Board to decide if the titles needed to be officially submitted for classification, before we are allowed to sell them,” Kinokuniya told Kotaku Australia.

“This determination is based on whether the titles contain depictions or descriptions that may be found to cause offence to some.”

The offence refers to complaints raised by South Australian politicians, like SA Best member Connie Bonaros who wrote to Kinokuniya’s president and vice-president. In the letters, Ms Bonaros accused Kinokuniya of selling “kiddie-porn manga”.

“I am horrified that child pornography material is freely available in Australia despite clearly being in breach of the definition of child abuse and exploitation material under both commonwealth and state law in this country,” Ms Bonaros said in one of her letters to Kinokuniya’s executive management.

Kinokuniya’s statement, however, puts the blame squarely on the Australian Classification Law. After concerns about the titles were raised, it falls to the Classification Board to make a call on whether the titles require a classification before being sold in Australia. In this instance, the Board decided they did. But because the onus falls on Kinokuniya to pay the classification fee for every single title in Australia, the importer argued that the cost was “price prohibitive for us”.

As we import them into Australia to sell them, we are considered to be responsible for ensuring that they are submitted to the Board, but in order to have them go through the classification process we would need to pay a fee for each title,” Kinokuniya said.

It’s worth stressing that Kinokuniya is not blaming the Classification Board at all, but rather the current legislation. The Classification Board was “actually … very supportive in guiding us through the process”, according to the retailer, although they noted that some of the titles “would probably be refused classification”. Kinokuniya’s statement doesn’t mention which titles those are, but they said that they would happily sell the manga again once they are officially classified.

The publishers are the ones best placed to have their books classified for sale in Australia,” Kinokuniya says. “Ideally the publishers would submit them to The Classification Board for classification, which would allow all book and comic stores in Australia to sell them without fear that they are breaking the law.”

The retailer’s full statement can be read below in full:


kinokuniya manga
Image: Kinokuniya

Much has been reported recently about Kinokuniya Sydney removing Manga titles from the shelf after complaints by some South Australia Politicians.

The removal of these titles from the store is in relation to the Classification Act, not political pressure. When these titles were brought to the attention of the Classification Board, by some politicians, it fell to The Board to decide if the titles needed to be officially submitted for classification, before we are allowed to sell them. This determination is based on whether the titles contain depictions or descriptions that may be found to cause offence to some.

The Board determined that they needed to be submitted for classification. So now, under the Classification Act, by law, if they haven’t been classified (as is the process for all movies and DVDs) we are not allowed to sell them.

As we import them into Australia to sell them, we are considered to be responsible for ensuring that they are submitted to the Board, but in order to have them go through the classification process we would need to pay a fee for each title. Unfortunately, the cost of this makes the process price prohibitive for us.

The Board – who have actually been very supportive in guiding us through the process – indicated that some of the titles would likely be fine for unrestricted sale, others might have restrictions apply, and just a few would probably be refused classification. However they would need to go through the official process for these determinations to be made.

Should the titles receive official classification, we would be more than happy to put them back on our shelves and offer them for sale again.

The publishers are the ones best placed to have their books Classified for sale in Australia. Ideally the publishers would submit them to The Classification Board for classification, which would allow all book and comic stores in Australia to sell them without fear that they are breaking the law.

The series pulled from sale, according to Kinokuniya’s correspondence with the South Australian legislator, are:

  • Eromanga Sensei
  • Sword Art Online
  • Goblin Slayer
  • No Game No Life
  • Inside Mari
  • Parallel Paradise
  • Dragonar Academy

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