'Oishinbo' manga on hold after criticism of Fukushima episodes

May 17, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Chastened editors of the long-running "Oishinbo" manga series agreed to review depictions after scenes about the Fukushima nuclear disaster in recent installments triggered an uproar.

The editors said they accepted criticisms leveled at them particularly with regard to the main character suddenly developing a nosebleed after visiting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In another scene, characters based on real-life individuals caution people not to live in Fukushima.

The editors pledged to review the way of depicting scenes in the future.

The installments that caused a fuss were carried in the April 28 and May 12 editions of the weekly Big Comic Spirits, published by Shogakukan Inc.

The Fukushima prefectural government posted on its website a letter of protest addressed to the publisher and its view on the issue. A number of Cabinet ministers also blasted the content.

In the upcoming edition of Big Comic Spirits to be published on May 19, Shogakukan editors in charge of the manga series will run a statement under the title of “the view of the editorial department.”

The statement, according to sources, reads in part, “We sincerely accept the criticisms and severe dressing-down, and will review and discuss the way we present the storyline.”

It also says, “As editor in chief, I feel responsible for upsetting so many people. We received much criticism and protests with regard to the content of the manga.”

The statement explains developments that led to the episodes being carried in the comic.

The Oishinbo series, in print since 1983, will be suspended for the time being, the editorial department said. A total of 120 million copies of the 110 bound volumes of the series have been sold.

The May 19 issue will also run a section titled “Criticisms and opinions on the installment of Oishinbo’s Fukushima’s truth,” which includes opinions of 13 knowledgeable experts, either supporting or criticizing the scenes.

The section also includes letters of protest from the Fukushima prefectural government and the town of Futaba, which co-hosts the Fukushima plant, in the prefecture, as well as the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments.

At a news conference on May 12, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, said, “It has been made clear through the appraisal of experts that there is no causal relationship between radiation exposure among residents and nosebleeds.”

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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In one scene, the main character of "Oishinbo" develops a nosebleed after visiting the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Takuro Negishi)

In one scene, the main character of "Oishinbo" develops a nosebleed after visiting the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Takuro Negishi)

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  • In one scene, the main character of "Oishinbo" develops a nosebleed after visiting the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Takuro Negishi)

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