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act-age Artist Shiro Usazaki Issues Statement on Writer's Arrest, Manga's Cancellation

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Usazaki agrees with manga's cancellation, urges fans not to blame victims

Shiro Usazaki, the artist for the act-age manga, posted their comment on Monday regarding the arrest of the manga's writer Tatsuya Matsuki, and the manga's subsequent cancellation.

Usazaki first expressed their sympathies for the victims, who Usazaki said "bravely spoke up about the incident despite their shock and fear." Usazaki elaborated that no one "naturally recovers" from sexual assault, and even seeing a person similar in dress and appearance to the assailant may trigger victims to respond in specific ways, and forever creates unneeded stress in their lives.

Usazaki mentioned that they do not want the act-age manga to be a work that triggers similar reactions from the victims, and so considered the cancellation of the manga to be appropriate. While Usazaki also regretted having to end the manga mid-way, they urged fans of the manga not to harass or blame the victims. They expressed clearly that the manga's cancellation is not the victims' fault, and that it is not a mistake that the victims spoke up about sexual harassment.

Usazaki added that they sympathized with fans of the manga, or those who find purpose in manga in general, as they were once also "saved" by manga. But Usazaki cautioned and pleaded against readers using that love for the wrong purpose of inciting violence, and instead urged fans to think clearly, consider various viewpoints, deny information that has no basis in fact, and always consider what should or should not be said.

Usazaki concluded with their hopes that the victims receive the proper care, and to live peaceful lives without ever having to think about the incident again.

NHK reported on August 8 that Matsuki was arrested on suspicion of committing an indecent act with a female middle school student. According to police, the girl was walking in the Nakano ward of Tokyo on June 18 at 8:00 p.m. when the suspect approached the girl from behind while on a bicycle and touched her inappropriately. Afterward, the suspect fled the scene on the bicycle. The girl went to police, who analyzed security camera footage to investigate. Police discovered through security footage that about an hour later, a similar incident on a nearby road with a different female middle school student occurred, involving a suspect who resembled Matsuki.

Matsuki reportedly told police "there's generally nothing incorrect" with their accusations.

The editors of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine had announced on August 10 that they canceled the serialization of the manga itself. The chapter that appeared in this year's combined 36th and 37th issue, which shipped on August 11, is the final chapter. Shueisha also ceased sales and distribution of the manga's physical and digital volumes.

Shueisha's MANGA Plus service announced on August 8 that it would not publish the final chapter on its platform. Viz Media announced on August 10 that it will not publish the final chapter of the manga on its English Shonen Jump service. Additionally, Viz Media removed its listing of further compiled book volumes of the manga, as well as a notice that it would add chapters 26-45 of the manga after they were translated.

Hori Pro canceled the upcoming stage play adaptation of the manga.

Matsuki and Usazaki launched the act-age manga in Weekly Shonen Jump in January 2018. The manga was nominated for Kodansha's 43rd annual Manga Awards last year.

Source: Shiro Usazaki's Twitter account via Hachima Kikō

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