With his penchant for mooning and blurting out risqué spoonerisms, Crayon Shin-chan has delighted Japanese children, and infuriated their parents, for more than two decades.
But now the precocious five-year-old has met his match in the form of Indonesian regulators, who have declared his antics as “borderline pornography” and warned broadcasters to censor images of his bare buttocks, scantily clad women and other indecorous scenes.
The Indonesian broadcasting commission has told RCTI, the private television network that airs the Crayon Shin-chan series, to either cut “indecent” parts of the programme or show it at a later time, when it will be missed by many in its target audience: young children.
A member of the commission insisted the cartoon, which has also been shown in Spain, Malaysia and several other countries, was not intended for young audiences.
“The character fools around with his bare bottom exposed,” Agatha Lily told Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper. “He also noses around people [when they are] on dates. The show features a lot of female characters in seductive garments that emphasise their cleavage.
“It is essentially pornography.”
RCTI said it would resist official pressure to censor the wildly popular cartoon, which first aired in Indonesia in 2000.
“I don’t see what the problem is,” a spokesman told the newspaper. “We will continue to air the show as we have.”
It is not the first time Shin-chan – aka Shinnosuke Nohara – who lives in the Tokyo commuter belt with his parents, younger sister and their dog, has challenged cultural sensibilities outside Japan, where he appears in manga, on TV and in cinemas.
The show was taken off the air in India in 2008 after the broadcasting ministry objected to its nudity and profanity, although a sanitised version appeared the following year. The show has also fallen foul of the censors in South Korea and Vietnam.
The TV show, which is based on the original manga series created by Yoshito Usui, has been dubbed into more than a dozen languages, including English, Chinese and Hindi. The programme continued to run in Japan after Usui’s sudden death in 2009.