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Why are handcuffs always blurred in Japanese media?

thomas

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This is something that has puzzled me for a long time and that no one could answer to my satisfaction: why are handcuffs in Japanese TV or in newspapers and magazines always blurred or pixelated? Some Japanese online fora mention "human rights" and "the shame of being shown handcuffed".

blurred-handcuffs.jpg

Photo courtesy of tokyoreporter.com.

The answer is quite simple: there is a law.

According to Japanese law, depicting a suspect in handcuffs implies guilt, and may prejudice the trial. In Japan, this law was passed after Kazuyoshi Miura successfully brought a case to the court arguing that the newspaper pictures with him in handcuffs implied guilt and altered his public appearance.

Source

So the strange thing is that showing a suspect's face and mentioning their name with the suffix -yōgisha (容疑者) in connection with an arrest is legitimate while depicting handcuffs isn't. Not to mention the fact that pixelated hands are quite conspicuous and strongly hint at handcuffs. Obviously, there are similar laws in South Korea and France.


More info on the Miura case (which has made plenty of headlines in the US and Japan between 1998 and 2008):


 

Lothor

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Am I right in saying that 容疑者 is used to both mean that suspect and the criminal in Japanese?
 
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thomas

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Am I right in saying that 容疑者 is used to both mean that suspect and the criminal in Japanese?

I'm no authority on honorifics, but this is taken from our article on honorific suffices (which I believe was based on an old Wikipedia entry):

Convicted and suspected criminals were once referred to without any title, but now an effort is made to distinguish between suspects (容疑者, yōgisha), defendants (被告, hikoku), and convicts (受刑者, jukeisha), so as not to presume guilt before anything has been proven. These titles can be used by themselves or attached to names.

However, although “suspect” and “defendant” began as neutral descriptions, they have become derogatory over time. When Gorō Inagaki was arrested for a traffic accident in 2001, some media referred him with the newly made title menbā(メンバー), originating from the English word member, to avoid the use of yōgisha (容疑者, suspect). But in addition to being criticized as an unnatural term, this title also became derogatory almost instantly.
 

nice gaijin

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Am I right in saying that 容疑者 is used to both mean that suspect and the criminal in Japanese?
I thought they use -犯人 when guilt is determined? But 容疑者 definitely has a strong connotation in my mind, as the presumption of innocence feels pretty thin here
 
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