How Visa And Mastercard Are Censoring Adult Platforms Like DLSite Through Peer Pressure |
Avatar of Theo J Ellis

How Visa And Mastercard Are Censoring Adult Platforms Like DLSite Through Peer Pressure

DLSite is a major store in Japan that sells:

  • Doujins.
  • Hentai.
  • Ecchi works in the form of light novels, games, etc.

And tends to cater to a mature audience of anime, manga, and light novel fans.

Gamers as well.

They don’t serve a Western audience.

Imagine waking up one day and having VISA or Master card say they’re pulling out if you refuse to get rid of “incorrect” works they deem to be a problem, when THAT is your business.

And worse, other credit companies join in like sheep so they can force you to bend the knee, bend over backwards, and say “Yes sir. I understand. Please show me mercy”.

This same thing has happened to the platform NICONICO, which is a video-sharing site in Japan that happens to also have anime.

In this kind of abusive relationship, you’re owned, rather than being the owner.




March 11th 2024:

“I received an email from DL.Getchu informing me that at the request of my credit card company, they will be censoring the titles and descriptions of works. While the site contains a lot of expressions that are reminiscent of crimes, there are also a few that are merely immoral. I wonder if this is crushing a pretty big and popular genre? Also, why is “commit” being censored?”

Keep in mind this is Google Translate (the Tweet quote) if you’re reading this in English. So the translation isn’t perfect.

You can read between the lines and ultimately see that March 11th 2024 is when the drama silently started to heat up.

This is where words were being censored, which then became obvious once April arrives (for the wider community).


April 3rd 2024

“The use of Visa and Mastercard credit cards has been temporarily suspended on DLsite, a download sales platform for PC games, e-books, audio content (including doujin works), etc.”

This was originally reported by Famitsu, a Japanese site when the drama between DLSite and credit card companies began.


April 6th 2024

YouTube video

The overworked salaryman makes a video about the DL Site drama, how Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are censoring DL Site. Or I should say, forcing them to get rid of works they deem incorrect.

At this point, there still isn’t much coverage of the DLSite drama.


April 22nd 2024 Press release by EISYS INC (translation)

negotiations between dlsite and the card company failed and v0 nay3ew33b6wc1 1 |

“Thank you very much for your continued patronage of this service.

We would like to provide you with a follow-up regarding the fact that some credit card brands cannot be used, which we announced in a recent announcement .

We have been negotiating with credit card brands to resume operations, but it is currently difficult to do so, and
credit card payments using Visa/Mastercard/American Express brands will not be available for the time being. ,Please pardon.

We will continue to negotiate for restart, but we ask that users who have been waiting for restart use other payment methods or purchase points.”

Eisys INC released this statement about the happening between credit and debit card companies (from the west) who are causing issues with DLSite’s products, forcing them to change keywords, block keywords, mute, censor, hide, and delete content.

Since this day (April 22nd 2204), there haven’t been any new statements made and this will be updated if there is.


Reddit posts follow up:

dlsite drama visa |

“Card companies are no longer satisfied with hiding “incorrect” keywords. They require all “incorrect” works to be removed from the shelves. Just like Getchu, within a month they have almost forced all hentai websites to a desperate situation. According to the current progress , if the otakus stop resisting, we will no longer have any creative freedom within this year,Many hentai works and artists will become lost history.”

negotiations between dlsite and the card company failed and v0 byiwibwrc6wc1 1 |

This was shared via Reddit in the visual novels subreddit.

The meme accurately describes the situation, and the comments elaborate more on the problem with this kind of circumstance.

Not to mention similar situations that have happened with platforms like Patreon (not mentioned in the meme).

On the surface, it’s easy to dismiss these points as overly dramatic but given we’re talking about Hentai, Doujins, and anime by extension, knowing what Western companies have historically done over the last decade, it’s not farfetched in the slightest.


Important note from a Reddit comment who emailed them directly (with screenshots):

“Just a quick note on Getchu, since I actually sent them an inquiry and they replied, but it seems that the products that were removed from main Getchu is only so they can finish censoring words. Once that is done, the pages will be re-opened. Of course as we have seen before, this might not be enough and they will be forced to just close Master/VISA”.

getchu email response dlsite |

What surprises me the most about this story is that news outlets aren’t talking about it.

Only the likes of Yahoo Japan (and similar, including Reddit) have bothered to shed light.

Another relevant comment:

“There’s so many wrong things in this situation. The idea that american credit card companies should be held accountable for everything people buy; the fact that those companies have the power to stop transactions between foreign customers and foreign services; that there are no widespread alternatives to paying with a mastercard or visa card in the entire world.”


More details of how many works were deleted and other nuances:

getchu dlsite reddit |

“Dl Getchu deleted a large number of works at the request of the card company.
Works on at least 60 themes have been deleted, and the enforcement is strict. Any single word in the keyword will cause the work to be deleted.
The deleted works include digital versions and physical discs.
I don’t know how big the impact will be on galgame. I am very worried that some older works will lose purchase channels. Some old works are only available for sale at getchu and may disappear permanently.”

A longer list can be read here.


May 10th 2024 (Nico Video):

niconico |

As QUOTED from Nico Video in Japan regarding VISA.

Edited and translated:

“Due to various circumstances, from Friday, May 10, 2024, payment of premium membership fees with Visa will be temporarily suspended.
We apologize for the sudden notice.

■Friday, May 10, 2024:
Temporarily suspending payment of premium membership fees with some Visas ■ Suspending payment of premium membership fees with all Visas”

In simple terms, Visa has again used its power and the abuse of this power to force Nico Video into submission. Or put another way, to force them to ONLY have content these Western companies view as appropriate in their hypocritical eyes.

For context: NicoNico is a video-sharing platform in Tokyo, Japan, which also has anime videos and a range of other videos unrelated to its platform.

Like YouTube for Japan in a sense with its own channels and so on.

But Visa is trying to use peer pressure just like in the case with DL Site for anime, ecchi or otherwise they deem to be “inappropriate”.


Thoughts on the DLSite and NicoNico censorship drama

goku thinking nimbus |

Censorship through credit and debit card companies is one of the best kept secrets of the internet. It happens more often than people realize, and it’s talked about even less and few people bring light to it in a major way.

Credit and debit card companies (and payment gateways) get away with it unchallenged.

After all, how many people, companies, or businesses will threaten challenge or call out a credit card company that fuels your business transactions and “keeps the lights on”?

The same thing has happened (and does) with Anime Motivation.

Trying to sell merchandise via ANM has been difficult because Stripe (for example) claims the site sells and is pornography related which is a flat out lie based on a false perception about anime.

Even then, the fact that Stripe or in this case, VISA, American Express, and Mastercard are willing to censor and affect profits for grandstanding foolishness speaks volumes to the gatekeeping that still happens.

The problem with this type of censorship is if you don’t comply, you don’t get paid, and the gatekeeper is bank-related, making it harder for you to ignore or put your middle finger up.


The solution

anime chess |

It can only go a few ways. Band together and pressure these companies into backing down, which is less likely, create your own payment gateway, comply with their demands and limit creative freedom, or find someone who is fair.

But in situations where VISA and Mastercard are so dominant in the industry, losing out on these profits given their global visibility and power makes it a hard decision to dismiss so flippantly.

Let’s see how this news evolves.