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Kodansha Fined 550,000 Yen for Manga's Use of Real Person

posted on 2010-07-28 12:18 EDT
Court: Shonen Mag's Zero-sen infringed on fashion figure's image

The Tokyo District Cout ruled that Atsushi Kase's Zero-sen manga infringed on a man's rights and defamed him by using his likeness, and the court ordered the manga's publisher Kodansha to pay a fine of 550,000 yen (about US$6,300) on Wednesday. The plaintiff had originally sued for 4.4 million yen (US$50,000).

The manga installment with the plaintiff's likeness appeared in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine on October 21, 2009. The court found that Kase used a fashion magazine photograph of the plaintiff for reference to draw a person with a ducktail hairstyle and sunglasses. Kase labeled the plaintiff's manga drawing as "Leader of the VIP car gang 'Oraora.'" Oraora-kei is a fashion offshoot from the larger yankii culture, and it features stylized hair and sunglasses, among other signature looks. The plaintiff happens to run an apparel company known for Oraora-kei fashion.

The story of Zero-sen revolves around Toshizō Asahi, a World War II military officer who was (literally) frozen in time. After Asahi is discovered and thawed in the present day, he becomes a teacher for a bunch of school delinquents. (The name of the manga is a reference to the nickname for World War II's Mitsubishi Rei-shiki Kanjō Sentōki, better known in English as the Zero fighter plane.)

Zero-sen has been running in the magazine since 2008, and the seventh compiled volume shipped last month. The infringing manga installment will be republished in future volume copies with the plaintiff's image replaced by a character with different looks. Kase is best known for Chameleon, an earlier gag manga about junior delinquents.

Sources: 47 News, Mainichi Shimbun


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