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Thursday, November 23, 2017 

Manga cartoonist in Japan arrested for storing child porn in his office

It looks like Justiniano and Gerard Jones have been joined in their felonies by a third offender way across the ocean over in Japan, as mangaka Nobuhiro Nishiwaki of Rurouni Kenshin fame is the latest in the illustrated medium to be charged by police with possession of child pornography at his office and house. According to the Japan Times (via Arama Japan):
The author of the smash hit comic series “Rurouni Kenshin” was referred to prosecutors Tuesday for alleged possession of pornographic images of underage girls, investigative sources said.

Nobuhiro Nishiwaki, who goes by the pen name Nobuhiro Watsuki, is widely known for his internationally acclaimed historic fantasy where a once lone, ruthless swordsman turns good and fights for friends and citizens set in the Meiji Era about 150 years ago.

The 47-year-old cartoonist has admitted to the charge, and was quoted as telling investigators, “I was interested in little girls’ nudity,” according to the sources.

He is accused of possessing DVDs containing videos of naked girls less than 18 years of age in his office in Tokyo last month in violation of the law banning child prostitution and pornography.
Man...is this disgusting. In the west, the word for men like him is "pervert". In the east, the synonym is "ecchi". And he even admitted he was. The Anime News Network's translation of a few articles from Japanese-language papers reveals he made another revolting statement:
In his deposition, Watsuki allegedly said that he "liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school."
Which is basically another way he confirmed he's a crackpot obsessed with too young an age. Sick bastard indeed.

I'm depressed to note that I read the 3 first volumes collecting his Rurouni Kenshin series nearly a decade ago at an urban library, and watched the anime series and specials too. In the 95-part anime, I should point out there was one episode with a story that was like a variation on Mark Twain's Prince and the Pauper, where Myōjin Yahiko, the young orphan Himura and Kamiya take under their wing, came under demand to dress up as royalty, which involved having his clothes yanked off and then redressed with the help of the old aide, and the way the character actions were set up made it look like the old guy was going to rape him. And what really made it horrific was that it was apparently supposed to funny. If Nishiwaki had no issues with that revolting scene, then viewed in light of the recent discoveries about him, it says a whole lot more about his demented personality. It's been a long time since I'd watched the anime series, and my recollections are minimal now, which is actually a good thing, because it was such disgust-inducing shock value, it left a very bad, poisonous taste in my mouth. I'd rather be bitten by a Texas rattlesnake or stung by a scorpion than have to watch that scene again, which minimized a serious issue for cheap sensationalism. If there's anything sad, it's how now, one interesting part - the series' allusion to Japan's anti-Christian persecution in the 18th-19th centuries - has been throughly wasted.

I also watched the anime adaptation of Nishiwaki's Buso Renkin shortly afterwards, and while it didn't involve the kind of nasty moment seen in Kenshin, some of the violence and quasi-nudity in it was also pretty irritating, and I don't think the story led anywhere. In all due honesty, I didn't find either series very memorable, and Nishiwaki's crime only compounds how I feel about his works now.

Japan Today says he's already reaping a whirlwind of repercussions for his felonies, with a Kenshin sequel manga series getting suspended by the anthology magazine it was running in, a trio of live action film adaptations being removed from broadcast on local cable TV, and it's uncertain there'll be a fourth film installment produced. Nishiwaki faces up to a year in prison for his offense, which is not good enough, since it's nowhere near as long as it can be in western countries where the penalties can be a decade or more in prison. But at least anybody too outraged to support his creations anymore can vote with their wallets and not pay more to own the paperback collections, which'll probably wind up being pulled off the shelves of some stores. Even if one can separate the art from the artist, that doesn't mean everyone will want to support his work monetarily and provide him with residuals, and that's why his mangas are bound to make even less money now.

Overall, this is a sad day for otakus, and it's terrible to think what'll come next. Will we be learning next that a European cartoonist committed atrocities with child porn? It's sickening to think just many more perverts like Weinstein will turn up in the illustrated medium.

Update: this website has an important point to make about Japanese entertainment culture's serious mistake of sexualizing minors, in anime and other mediums, and without a doubt, it could have what to do with Nishiwaki/Watsuki's mindset. That's why they're going to have to start cutting it out and get a better idea of what's suitable and what's not.

Update 2: Rocket News 24 notes the following about the Kenshin manga itself:
The development comes as a shock to many Rurouni Kenshin fans, given that the series has long had a largely chaste, non-sexualized atmosphere, as opposed to many other action series that run in boys’ manga anthologies. [...]
They're right, it wasn't particularly sexualized as compared to some other stories of its sort, though it did have its share of jarringly violent moments. Does that tell something else about Nishiwaki's mindset? That maybe he did it that way as a cover for the more twisted part of his mentality?

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It's a good thing people like him are getting exposed as creeps and sick individuals, but I must admit, I'm surprised they took this long to do so in Japan. I remember how Masamitsu Hidaka pretty much said something similar way back in 2008 about how the girls in the Pokémon anime (and mind you, they're 10) are treated. I'll let him speak for himself:

"What about the main cast on the show? Since he had talked about how they like to “switch them up,” I explained to him [Masamitsu Hidaka] that many fans want Ash, Misty, and Brock reunited again together. But, he reaffirmed what he said in the previous interview and said it wasn’t going to happen. I asked him what he meant in the previous interview about Pokemon Contests, and he said he just meant that characters like May have come back for a few episodes in Pokemon Contests, so Misty could come back too. He said, however, that Contests don’t appear to be her thing, so if she were to come back, it would probably be to join Ash in a battle or to just meet them somewhere. So then I said, “Why can’t you just ditch Brock, have Ash, have Misty, and then bring in a new boy? That would be switching up things instead of having a new girl.” His following answers made me laugh my head off I had to pick it up off the floor and reattach it. He stated that they like to switch up the girls because it gives the boys some new eye candy every once in a while. He also said girls are more customizable and you can change their outfits, like when they are in their bathing suits (yes, he specifically said that). He also said Ken Sugimori designs a new girl with each generation and that gives them another excuse to switch the girl, though I reminded him that there is also a new boy with each generation too, and it wouldn’t hurt to use them."

Source: http://pokebeach.com/2008/07/second-pokemon-interview-with-masamitsu-hidaka-many-interesting-points

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