Shanghai Daily tells us that city officials have shut down Dofor.cn (now taken offline) – a portal here that’s been posting videos of the Japanese manga and anime series Death Note which has been banned nationwide in China for supposedly promoting death fantasies:
The novel tells the story of a teenage boy who receives a special notebook. Whenever he writes the name of an enemy in the book, along with a description of how and when that person dies, the enemy dies exactly as described.
The book caused a major sensation in Japan which led many youths to start buying Death Note notebooks to describe the deaths of the people they hate. Not long afterwards, youth in China started to do the same, and the novel was soon banned nationwide. It took a little longer for officials to crack down on the Web 2.0 incarnation of the death wish phenomenon.
Westerners may note parallels to MyDeathSpace, the website that archives MySpace pages of the deceased, frozen with all the flashing graphics and cloying music present at the time of their death. Though originally interested in obituaries of the deceased (and raising the occasional flag on convicted killers with webpages), MyDeathSpace’s forums became an outlet for youthful morbidity and general creepiness. And, of course, parental outrage and a collective cringe from pretty much everyone else.
Shielded by free speech laws, MyDeathSpace perseveres. Is China better off without its wishful-thinking version? If MyDeathSpace’s 123 international members are any indication, even without Death Note, morbid members of the Chinese youth shouldn’t have a problem finding new and exciting ways to express their totally creepy fantasies, much to the dismay of adults and non-creepy people everywhere.
Kenneth Tan contributed to this story.
Picture from Answers.com: The popularity of Death Note has led to its adaption as a movie, a novel and a Nintendo game.