Kuroko's Basketball Stays in Bookstore Chains Despite Threats
posted on by Egan Loo
Several Japanese bookstore chains have continued to sell the popular manga Kuroko's Basketball, despite receiving multiple threat letters to remove it from their stores. Major rental chain Tsutaya had confirmed on Monday that it is removing all Kuroko's Basketball DVD and manga rentals from its stores. However, Kinokuniya, Sanseido, Junkudo, Miyawaki, and other bookstores plan to continue carrying the manga.
Junkudo said, "We did not consider removing it," and added that it has received requests to remove specific titles in the past, but does not respond to such requests. The chain said it was aware of what sets publications apart from other goods, "Books are works of expression, and bookstores are in a position to maintain them for readers. We cannot so easily remove them."
Miyawaki said, "This is a matter of freedom of expression, and of freedom of press."
The public relation department of Shueisha, the publisher of the manga, said, "We are not in a position to comment on the decisions of individual retailers. We are continuing to cooperate with the police investigation."
In related news, the YTV news program Miyaneya aired a report on the ongoing threats and showed some of the threat letters (pictured left) sent to convenience stores, newspapers, and television stations. The letters singled out Kuroko's Basketball, but also disparaged "pirate manga," "ninja manga," and "decadent, obscene gourmet manga."
BackgroundSince October 2012, locations linked to Kuroko's Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki have received threat letters, including some with powdered and liquid substances. A source in the investigation of the threats said there is a high possibility that the liquid sent to Sophia University (Fujimaki's alma mater) on October 12, 2012 could emit a lethal dose of hydrogen sulfide if vaporized.
Several Kuroko's Basketball dōjinshi events throughout Japan have been cancelled in the aftermath of the threats. The "Shadow Trickster 3" event did proceed without incident at the Big Sight on last October, shortly after the center received its first threat. The official "Kuroko no Basuke produced by Namco Namja Town" event in Tokyo ended 19 days early as a result of the threats, and Animate Café Tennoji in Osaka cancelled a planned Kuroko's Basketball collaboration event. Comic Market (Comiket), the world's largest dōjinshi event, barred Kuroko's Basketball items and circles last December.
In February, the organizers of the Comic City dōjinshi events barred circles from selling Kuroko's Basketball items at March 17's Haru Comic City 18 event, after they received a request to do so from the management of the Tokyo Big Sight event complex. The same organizers had barred Kuroko's Basketball from the Comic City Osaka 92 event on January 6, and then cancelled February 10's Double Clutch event outright. However, they held the Comic City Tokyo 131 event at Tokyo Big Sight and insisted on allowing Kuroko's Basketball circles. Comic City Tokyo 131 proceeded without incident on January 27.
The convenience store chains 7-Eleven and Family Mart as well as other companies such as Sankei Shimbun received new threat letters earlier this month that said that the sender has put poison and agricultural chemicals in various Kuroko's Basketball confectionery snacks. As a result, 7-Eleven temporarily removed the "Voi-Colle Kuroko's Basketball Wafers 2" cookies, and Family Mart stopped selling the "Ichiban Kuji Kuroko no Basuke ~Seirin & Kaijō~" lottery merchandise line. The Circle K Sunkus store chain is also considering suspending sales of the merchandise.