Interest
2 Arrested for Shirts of Anpanman/Kewpie Lookalike

posted on 2012-05-02 20:32 EDT by Ko Ransom
Sellers insist that shirt's design is original, state store sells 350 million yen of merchandise yearly

The Osaka Prefectural Police's Living and Economic Affairs Division arrested two managers of the "Arupu" clothing store in Osaka's Habikino city on Wednesday for manufacturing and selling a shirt featuring an Anpanman and Kewpie lookalike character. The shirts allegedly violate Japan's copyright law. A 43-year old woman and a 71-year old man, both managers at the store, were arrested by the police in flagrante delicto selling the children's shirts — 1,900 of which were seized by the police from a store warehouse.

According to the authorities, the shirt in question uses a character resembling both the protagonist of the long-running Soreike! Anpanman children's series, as well as the Kewpie doll mascot. The arrested man has denied the charges, stating that an employee designed the shirt, and that the shirt itself is an original design that features a character called "Ankew," though he did also note that the Anpanman character was referenced during the design process. He also stated that the store sells about 350 million yen (about US$4.4 million) worth of merchandise a year. Because of the man's poor physical health, he has been released for the time being.

The Tokyo-based Japan Merchandising Rights Association said it had contacted the police in the past about the store in question after suspecting that the store were creating products with Kamen Rider and Ultraman lookalike characters.

Sources: Nikkan Sports, Sankei via My Game News Flash


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