Eirin (映倫) is the abbreviated name for the Film Classification and Rating Organization (映画倫理機構 Ei ga Rin ri Kikō ), the organization responsible for creating Japan's film rating system. The organization was established in June 1949 as the Motion Picture Code of Ethics Committee (映画倫規程理管理委員会 Eiga Rinri Kitei Kanri Iinkai ).

  • 1.1 First system (1976-1998)
  • 1.2 Second system (1998-present)
  • 3 Censorship

movie rating system japan

An example being used on a DVD.

First system (1976-1998)

The ratings below were in use from 1976 to May 1, 1998.

Second system (1998-present)

The ratings below have been in use since May 1, 1998. R15+ and R18+ became the two age-restrictive classification rating. It is an offence to sell, rent or shown an R15+ or R18+ rated film/video to persons underage under any circumstances.

Eirin is bound by the current interpretation of Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan. While the law itself states that the distribution of "indecent" materials is forbidden, this has come to mean that any genitalia that appears in a film must not be clearly visible.

The rules of Eirin prohibit the public screening of adult video animations, adult videos, and child pornography.

movie rating system japan


Film classification.

As the sole film regulating body in Japan, EIRIN strongly believes that the film classification system and the voluntary rating procedure represent the best approach and structure. The following 4 categories have been introduced since May 1, 1998, particularly to secure freedom of expression, to respect human rights and to protect children from early exposure to potentially harmful subjects and expressions.

Films are classified according to the treatment and impact of the eight main classifiable elements of public concern, specifically theme, language, sex, nudity, violence & cruelty, horror & menace, drug use, and criminal behavior. Classification also depends on the context. It is illegal to show indecent images of minors under the age of 18, and to show a work that is obscene. Real explicit sex and detailed exposure of sexual organs are not allowed, nor is pornography.

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Japan - eirin.

XML formatted file

Age Restrictions

Localized Definitions

General (EN) Suitable for all ages

Reasons and Content Descriptors


Parental guidance - 12 and Above (EN) Parental guidance requested for young people under 12 years

15 and above only (EN) for persons aged 15 and above only (No one under 15 admitted).

18 and above only (EN) for persons aged 18 and above only (No one under 18 admitted).

movie rating system japan

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With 'Demon Slayer' rated R in the U.S., what do film ratings mean in Japan?

The 'Demon Slayer' movie, titled 'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train,' was rated PG12 in Japan, but received an R rating in the U.S. | REUTERS

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff writer

Recent news that an anime film adaptation of the smash-hit “Demon Slayer” series has been rated R (Restricted) ahead of its U.S. release has made some wonder how the movie, known for its occasional depictions of violence, was rated in its home country, and prompted an even broader question: What do film ratings really mean in Japan?

An independent organization called the Film Classification and Rating Organization, commonly known as Eirin in Japanese, is tasked with rating films in Japan.

Rebranded in 1956 from its previous incarnation, Eirin currently has eight raters with experience in the movie industry who vet more than 800 submissions, including films, trailers and promotional flyers, annually. It has four rating levels: G, PG12, R15+ and R18+.

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The 'Demon Slayer' movie, titled 'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train,' was rated PG12 in Japan, but received an R rating in the U.S. | REUTERS

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Japan Forum

A history of age-based film classification in japan.

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This article provides a detailed history of film classification, or age ratings, in Japan. It describes historical precedents for Eirin, the agency responsible for film classification in Japan, and key moments in Eirin’s organisational formation and reform. Drawing on multi-sited archival research and interviews with Eirin staff, the article recognises the importance of the US Production Code Authority as a model for Eirin’s formation during the United States’ occupation of Japan, but also argues against understanding age ratings in Japan as just another American import. By tracing earlier domestic precedents and by highlighting similar controversies overseas, the article considers the crucial role of both state and non-state actors, as well as international models and markets, in reforming film governance for youth spectators in Japan. Two exemplary scandals involving the Zigomar films in the early 1910s and the taiyōzoku (sun tribe) films in the mid-1950s demonstrate lasting concerns over youth that Eirin seeks to address. The article describes the redevelopment of the classification system in the late 1950s that underpinned an enduring form of now internationally-recognised regulation.


We would like to thank staff at Eirin, at the National Diet Library in Tokyo, the National Archives at College Park in Maryland, and at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).

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Japan ratings body is on defensive.

Japanese society has changed enormously in the 51 years since the Administration Commission of Motion Picture Code of Ethics was set up to monitor the movies that are shown in theaters here. Its examiners say they take those changes into account when they classify a film, but critics say some of their decisions are out of touch with modern Japan.

By Julian Ryall , The Associated Press December 7, 2007 4:00am

Known by the abbreviated title Eirin, the organization’s eight examiners — none of whom are women — watched and rated 312 Japanese movies and 327 imported titles last year, classifying them into four categories: general, PG-12, R-15 and R-18.

Rarely the subject of attention for its decisions, Eirin has this year been criticized for attaching an R-15 rating to the Oscar-winning British-South African collaboration “Tsotsi” and again in July for demanding that the Japanese distributor of the British mock documentary-style film “Death of a President” change its Japanese name and change its advertising posters.

“We did not have a problem with the content or the style of ‘Death of a President,’ but the Japanese distributor wanted the title to be ‘The Assasination of Bush’ and the poster showed the president’s face as he was being shot,” examiner Junro Otagawa says. “We went back and forth with the distributor for about a month until they finally accepted our decision.”

Ironically, he admits, the publicity the case generated probably encouraged more people to go and see the movie, which won the international critics prize at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, even though it had a limited release in Japan.

“Tsotsi” was given an R-15 rating because of depictions of violence, in particular a scene in which a man is stabbed on a subway train. Eirin refused to grant it a lower rating because of the “detailed and prolonged” violent images, Otagawa said.

“I feel they made the wrong decision,” says Atsuko Murata, who handled the release of the film in Japan for Nikkatsu Corp. “It was no more violent than the films or television shows that are on regular TV here now, and I specifically wanted younger children to see it because of the content.

“When I first saw it, I thought it had to be shown to a young Japanese audience because they need to know what is happening in the world around them,” she says.

From the opposite viewpoint, a number of politicians were up in arms in 2000 over the violence between children in Beat Takeshi’s movie “Battle Royale,” saying the R-15 rating was inappropriate. That led to suggestions that laws be drawn to regulate content — a move that would be closer to censorship, many believe.

Otagawa defends the examiners’ decisions and says Eirin is pleased that there has been discussion of the matter because it enables the public to better understand how ratings are decided upon.

“We have become more relaxed in the past 10 years or so when it comes to love scenes between consenting adults and natural nudity, but at the same time we have become stricter on depictions of crimes involving minors or sexual violence,” he says. Eirin also has a long tradition of refusing to classify titles that depict children smoking or drinking alcohol.

“These are social issues, and the public today is more accepting of certain expressions that are on the screen, but there have also been legal changes — including a new law two years ago about children and pornographic images,” he says.

Still, distributors can circumvent the process entirely. Of the 3,062 screens across Japan, only 2,848 are members of the Japanese Association of Theater Owners, which requires films to have been examined by Eirin. The remainder — usually smaller, independent theaters — have no such obligation.

Eirin’s predecessor was set up in 1949 and was a panel of industry officials, but a dispute over sex and violence in a 1956 film led to a shake-up and the organization becoming independent of the industry, though its officers are largely drawn from the world of Japanese broadcasting.

It has only refused classification to 10 films in the past decade, primarily because the content was judged to be too pornographic or violent, but Otagawa believes Eirin has a key difference over similar organizations in other countries.

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High Impact Classification

Objectionable unless restricted to anyone who actually wants to read a nerd's ramblings on age ratings

movie rating system japan

Japan’s bizarre PG12 rating

So I just finished watching  Kizumonogatari Part 3 , which was absolutely fantastic and well worth the wait.

It is by far the most sexual and violent part of the trilogy. While the first film could’ve gotten a 15 from the BBFC and the second one was a borderline (quite strong violence and gore, but in a fantasy context), this one would undoubtedly be an 18. Between the slow-mo/rewinded decapitations (like the film is saying “In case you missed it, look at how high our animation budget is is…and how brutal Monogatari can be without TV standards!”) buckets of gore, disembodied hands fondling a naked high school girl, and an extended sequence with a slight sexual violence undertone in which a high school girl is forced to moan about naughty her large breasts are and how badly she wants to be fondled, this would be a no-brainer for the BBFC.

The first film in the trilogy was rated G in Japan. The second one was a PG12. I thought maybe they were slowly making each one more mature to build up anticipation (it’s not like Monogatari has many young fans) and perhaps the last one was R15+.

Nope. According to IMDb, still PG12.

Of its 83-minute runtime, 75% of this was basically just highly stylized sexualized imagery and gore.

So then I went exploring as to what other films are PG12 and I…well, I didn’t know rating systems existed that were more incompetent then the MPAA. I can’t find any sort of clear standard here. This is a mess.

Here are twenty different films, all rated PG12 by the Eirin board, which explain why.

…I have no words. Eirin doesn’t have any sort of insight outside of a few sentences on their website (which goes up and down at random) about recently released movies. How do Japanese parents have any idea what they’re getting into? We’ve got films ranging from the U to the 18 category if you compare them to the BBFC here!

What exactly is in  Jumanji  that someone thought young children needed more parental guidance for? I guess there is that “menacing fantasy action” the MPAA described…

But how does this same board determine that  Tusk , a film which is definitely more menacing and aims to shock/disturb, is acceptable at an advisory category? (Oh yeah, PG12 is an advisory category. Anyone of any age is free to waltz into a PG12 film, much like an American PG-13 rating.)

The board’s attitude on sexuality and nudity also is coming into question. There’s nothing in  Babies  but natural nudity (unless you’re a random Amazon reviewer who’s convinced that all young men are sexually deviant and will surely get a boner watching naked babies and tribal women) – it even managed to break past the cold hearts of the MPAA, who gave it a PG rating.

And yet the Eirin board thinks it’s on the same content level as  Horrible Bosses  and  No Strings Attached , which contain crude sexual humor/sexualized nudity, as well the previously mentioned  Kizumonogatari Part 3,  in which pretty much every shot of a female in the entire movie was voyeuristic.

Despite all this, I’m unable to find any Japanese parents complaining about the Eirin system – though admittedly they may be hidden from me because I can’t speak Japanese. I guess they’ve somehow become used to this, kind of like how they’ve become used to being able to buy tentacle hentai magazines in gas stations.

(You’d think from the number of BPO complaints about television/anime that pop up on a monthly basis Japanese parents would care more about an accurate movie rating system…)

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2 thoughts on “ Japan’s bizarre PG12 rating ”

Yeah, I’m surprised by their leniency and occasionally weird standards as well – although, interestingly enough, I remember reading some of the summaries for those (I do know Japanese at an intermediate/advanced level of fluency). If I remember correctly, Sing Street, Back to the Future, Moonrise Kingdom, and Dead Poets Society all got PG-12s for underage smoking. No, really, that’s something they definitely look down upon. What’s more, surprisingly, they gave two Pokémon films this rating for their intensity: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew and Ranger and the Temple of the Sea. Yup, the epitome of anime for kids gets a couple of films with the same rating as Nise Chapter 3 and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, the latter of which is even more violent than the game (and got an 18 from the BBFC, no less)…

I’m surprised too I just had finished watching Kamen Rider Amazons Final Judgement the movie and the series contain cannibalism, lots and lots of blood and body horror, and ton of gun violence and dismemberment

even know the movie doesn’t contain as much as in the series but the movie plot is about using Amazons as meat but still it gets a G

makes me think just want do you need to do to get a PG-12

Kamen Rider Amazons (Series) is MA-15 in AU and I would assume the movie would get the same rating

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  1. Eirin

    The Film Classification and Rating Organization (映画倫理機構, Eiga Rinri Kikō), also known as Eirin (映倫), is Japan's self-regulatory film regulator.

  2. Eirin

    Eirin (映倫) is the abbreviated name for the Film Classification and Rating Organization (映画倫理機構 Eiga Rinri Kikō), the organization responsible for


    As the sole film regulating body in Japan, EIRIN strongly believes that the film classification system and the voluntary rating procedure represent the best

  4. Japan's Movie Rating System

    Japan's Movie Rating System ... G - All Ages. ... PG12 - Not for anyone under 12. Unless there with a Parent. ... R15+ - No one Under 15 is not allowed to see this

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    JAPAN - EIRIN · General · Parental guidance - 12 and Above · 15 and above only · 18 and above only

  6. A history of age-based film classification in Japan

    Currently, films in Japan are classified into 4 classes: G (suitable for all ages), PG12 (parental guidance requested for teenagers under twelve)

  7. With 'Demon Slayer' rated R in the U.S., what do film ratings mean in

    An independent organization called the Film Classification and Rating Organization, commonly known as Eirin in Japanese, is tasked with rating

  8. Full article: A history of age-based film classification in Japan

    Today, Eirin classifies films using four categories: 'G', for all ages; 'PG12', where parental guidance is not legally mandated but is deemed '

  9. Japan ratings body is on defensive

    Known by the abbreviated title Eirin, the organization's eight examiners — none of whom are women — watched and rated 312 Japanese movies and

  10. Japan's bizarre PG12 rating

    There's nothing in Babies but natural nudity (unless you're a random Amazon reviewer who's convinced that all young men are sexually deviant and