France-based Japanese composer, writer and director Hitonari Suji recently revealed that broadcasts of the much-loved anime Doraemon are “banned” in France for fears it would stunt children’s emotional growth.

Hitonari “Jinsei” Suji perhaps isn’t such a household name in the west, but in Japan he’s seen as a kind of artistic renaissance man, working as writer, director and — primarily — composer. Currently, he’s mostly based in France, where he lives much of the time. So, when Suji recently appeared on the Japanese variety TV show “Bakusho Mondai Cowboy,” the hosts turned to him as the nearest authority on France and asked how one of Japan’s most iconic and beloved children’s shows, Doraemon, is received in the famously anime-loving country.

His answer? “Doraemon is banned in France.”

“Never heard of it”

The response was so shocking to the hosts that one of them actually yelled out loud (although, in fairness, overreacting is far from uncommon on Japanese variety shows). According to reports, Suji continued that the French Board of Education has labeled Doraemon bad for the emotional growth of French children, as the titular series protagonist, Doraemon — a robot cat from the future — is capable of producing endless gadgets that supposedly solve all of the show’s hapless human star Nobita-kun’s problems.

Hitonari Suji looking very serious


Suji went on to say that, when he asks French kids if they like Doraemon, an apparently shocking number respond that they’ve never heard of it, despite France being one of the major consumers of Japanese pop culture in the western world and the show being a cultural keystone here in Japan.

When I say “banned”…

This story comes with some caveats, however. First, the show isn’t “banned” in the sense that, say, North Korea might ban something; the show is freely available on YouTube in France and is also, according to Wikipedia, being broadcast on terrestrial television, at least as recently as 2014, by TBS Europe affiliate, Boing. Suji probably meant that the French Board of Education had declared the show inappropriate for classroom viewing (and even then, whether or not that amounts to a “ban” or just a suggestion is beyond us), but since we don’t speak French and Japanese variety shows are not exactly known for thoroughly vetting the factual accuracy of things guests say, we’ll have to turn it over to in-the-know French readers to verify Suji’s comments.

For what it’s worth, at least some Japanese commentators took umbrage with the alleged reason for the alleged banning, pointing out that, in the show, more often than not, Nobita-kun’s over-reliance on Doraemons gadgets just end up getting the pair into more trouble until Nobita-kun learns to confront problems on his own, but we can’t really verify the accuracy of those statements either because we’re not about to delve in to the series’ over 2,000 episodes to check.

Source: My Game News Flash
Top Image: Wikipedia 
Inset: Wikipedia