Net Users Suspect Political Pressure in Shippū no Hayato Manga's End

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

This year's 26th issue of Kodansha's Weekly Morning magazine unexpectedly announced that Hideki Ohwada's (Mobile Suit Gundam-san, Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku) political manga Shippū no Hayato Shotoku Baizō Densetsu!! (Gale-Force Hayato Income-Doubling Legend!!) will end in the next issue. After speculation about pressure from the political world, the J-Cast News website decided to contact the Morning editorial department about the manga's end.

Ohwada launched the series in Morning in January 2016. The series focuses on former Prime Minister of Japan Hayato Ikeda (seen below left) during the post-war economic boom of Japan in the 1960s. The magazine originally teased the manga with the text, "His course, income-doubling. Dash forward, post-war Japan!"

The manga dramatizes versions of real-world politicians, including Ikeda. In the manga, Ikeda speaks in strong Hiroshima dialect and gets into fist fights with his friend Eisaku Satō, who would later succeed him as prime minister in real life. Overall, the manga depicts Ikeda in a positive light and shows him undaunted when facing influential people such as General Douglas MacArthur.

The manga has received considerable attention and popularity in Japan. A special fair was held in Hiroshima Prefecture, Ikeda's birthplace, to mark the release of the fifth compiled book volume on April 21. The sixth volume will ship on July 21.

Ohwada confirmed the manga's end on Twitter on Friday and said that resumption of the "Shitō! 55-nen Taisei-hen" (Struggle to the Death! 1955 System) and "Kōchikai Bakutan-hen" (Sudden Emergence of Kōchikai) chapters is undecided.

The manga's story had reached a turning point with the mass resignation of the Yoshida cabinet in 1954. However, Ikeda had not yet become prime minister, leaving the manga with an incomplete end.

Speculation has been circulating online about the manga's end. Some online commenters believe it has to do with the unflattering depiction of politician Nobusuke Kishi despite the attractive depictions of most characters. The depiction relates to Kishi's real-world nickname of "Shōwa no yōkai" (Shōwa-era demon). Some commenters believe that the representation may have displeased Japan's political world because Kishi is the grandfather of current prime minister Shinzō Abe.

The Morning's editorial department told J-Cast News in a phone conversation that the decision to end the manga was not the result of political pressure. The representative said, "There has been none of that at all." When asked to confirm, the representative responded, "Yes, none at all."

The representative stated that "Ending with this timing was decided around last year." The series' seventh compiled book volume will be its last.

Ohwada is also known for his Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku mahjong manga, in which former prime minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi and other world leaders are superhuman heroes who face off in extreme matches of mahjong. The series launched in 2006, and the 16th compiled book volume shipped in 2015. Ohwada debuted the Mobile Suit Gundam-san manga in 2001, and the 15th volume shipped on April 24.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

Ikeda image via Nationaal Archief

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