Tokyo court orders manga artist to pay startlingly small fine for possession of nude depictions of girls no older than 15.

Late last year, a shockwave went through the anime and manga fan community as Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of the tremendously popular Rurouni Kenshin manga, was arrested for possession of child pornography. While there’s no shortage of manga and anime filled with sexual innuendo, often involving teenaged characters, both the original Rurouni Kenshin comic and its animated adaptations are remarkably wholesome, largely eschewing lascivious content for a focus on its tale of samurai swordfights and salvation.

Things only became more reprehensible when Watsuki told investigators he “liked girls between the ages of upper elementary school students to about the second year of junior high,” indicating a preferred range of no older than 14. While the Japanese language doesn’t have a word for “teenager,” it does have a term, judai, which describes someone between the age of 10 and 19, and police reports indicate the pornographic materials Watsuki was found to be in possession of depicted naked girls in the younger half of judai, which could indicate any age between 10 and 15.

On February 27, the Tokyo Summary Court found the 47-year-old Watsuki to be in violation of Japan’s Anti-Child Prostitution and Pornography Ordinance. However, the manga artist will serve no jail time in relation to the infraction, instead being ordered to pay a fine of 200,000 yen (US$1,890).

That figure seems like a pittance, considering that Rurouni Kenshin has been a cash-cow franchise for close to 25 years, with not just the original manga but its myriad associated anime adaptations, video games, and live-action film trilogy all swiftly flowing streams of revenue for Watsuki. But while the direct economic hit may be a mere slap on the wrist, Japanese media companies are always averse to being associated with the scandal of criminal activity. Some have already started to distance themselves from the disgraced manga creator, and paying off his fine probably won’t be enough to balance things out in their eyes.

Source: Jiji via Jin
Top image: SoraNews24