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Rurouni Kenshin Creator Nobuhiro Watsuki Arrested For Child Porn

A sad day for anime/manga.
rurouni kenshin

Update: Since this news, it has been confirmed Japanese broadcasts of the live-action movie adaptions will be cancelled. As reports were circulating about a fourth movie, we imagine that may meet a similar fate.

As America is currently reeling from a flood of sexual assault charges and pedophilia accusations against politicians and Hollywood stars, it becomes even more demoralizing when those responsible for our favorite foreign media fall prey to those crimes. Today, the anime/manga world is reeling upon the news of Nobuhiro Watsuki (real name Nobuhiro Nishiwaki), the creator of the beloved Rurouni Kenshin manga, being arrested for possession of 100+ DVDs/CDs containing child pornography. According to authorities, these materials were obtained back in 2015 and Watsuki’s deposition mentioned he “liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school.”

A famous Weekly Shonen Jump manga that ran from 1994-1999, Watsuki had returned to Rurouni Kenshin this September with the Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc sequel. Running in Jump SQ, this new series was preceded by the two-chapter Rurouni Kenshin Side Story: The Ex-Con Ashitaro, the ending of which announced the five-part Hokkaido Arc.

Shueisha, the company behind Weekly Shonen Jump and Jump SQ, has announced the Hokkaido Arc is now on indefinite hiatus. Viz Media, which was localizing the sequel in their digital Weekly Shonen Jump subscription for American audiences, has removed the series from their website.

In Japan, child porn possession can lead up to one year in jail and a fine of 1 million yen ($8,880). It’s worth noting while child porn has been illegal in Japan since 1999, actual possession was only outlawed three years ago. According to a 2013 U.S. Department of State report, Japan is known as an “international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography,” so this problem extends far beyond Watsuki. Many feel anime/manga goes too far in sexualizing teenagers, with some manga genres depicting child porn drawing considerate controversy (an article from The Guardian sheds more light on this subject).

Needless to say, it’s a shame Watsuki’s actions have not only crippled Kenshin‘s resurgence but permanently tainted its reputation as a Shonen Jump classic.

Are you a disappointed Rurouni Kenshin fan? Let us know in the comments below.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an erroneous serialization date for the original Rurouni Kenshin manga, which is now fixed. Grammatical errors have also been cleaned up. Apologies for the errors.

Anthony Pelone
Eating, breathing and living video games on a daily basis, Anthony is particularly fond of the Nintendo variety, but is by no means a console warrior. Somewhere in the midst of his obsession with cat pictures, he finds the time to pen about his favorite hobby. Having previously written for over three sites, Anthony remains dedicated to spreading the gospel of EarthBound.
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