Publisher, stage play producers issue statements.

On the night of June 18, at around 8 p.m., a junior high school girl was walking along a road in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward when a bicycle approached her from behind. The man riding the bike came up alongside her, touched her in an inappropriate manner, and rode off.

The girl reported the incident to the police, and after examining security camera footage in the area investigators say they identified the attacker as 29-year-old Nakano resident Tatsuya Matsumoto. That name may not mean much to most people, but anime/manga fans will be more familiar with Tatsuya Matsuki, the pen name under which Matsumoto writes Act-Age, a popular manga serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, Japan’s largest manga anthology.

Act-Age

On August 8, officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department placed Matsumoto under arrest. “Overall, there is no mistake,” the manga author said in relation to the charges. Investigators believe Matsumoto is also the culprit in a second ride-by groping that occurred roughly an hour after the first incident on June 18, in which another junior high school girl was the victim (under the Japanese school system, junior high equates to the ages of 12-15 years old).

Following Matsumoto’s arrest, Weekly Shonen Jump issued a statement through its website and official Twitter account.

“We have received reports regarding the recent incident regarding Tatsuya Matsuki, the original creator of Act-Age, which is currentl being serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump. Our managing editorial department takes these allegations very seriously.

Once we have confirmed the details of the situation, appropriate measures will be taken.

We deeply apologize for the distress this has caused all of our readers and parties connected to the incident.”

While no anime adaptation of Act-Age had yet been announced, a live-action stage play was in the works, with the production’s official Twitter account exictedy announcing the opening of audition applications on July 10.

However, on the day of Matsumoto’s arrest Horipro, the play’s production company announced that its status is currently in limbo in light of the charges against the series’ creator.

“In response to reports regarding the original creator, we are currently confirming the details of the situation. We will be making an announcement at a later date regarding the future of the play and the status of the audition process. We thank you for your understanding.”

Unlike the majority of manga, in which a single person is responsible for both the story and principal artwork, Act Age is a product of divided labor, with Matsumoto writing the story and 22-year-old Shiro Usazaki (who has not publicly commented since Matsumoto’s arrest) serving as artist. However, Matsumoto is listed for the gensaku/”original work” credit for Act Age, and with the original creator generally retaining a larger amount of control over their work in the manga industry than other country’s comics publishing businesses it’s unlikely that Weekly Shonen Jump publisher Shueisha will continue Act Age without Matsumoto’s involvement.

Source: NHK News Web via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
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