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Arrested Manga Translator Also Arrested in Japan in 2014 for Secret Recordings of Students

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Stefan Koza arrested in Virginia in December on unrelated child pornography charges

The Sankei Shimbun reported in 2014 that manga translator Stefan Koza had been arrested on July 15 of that year in the town of Kami, Miyagi under suspicion of violating Japan's Minor Offenses Act by trespassing and secretly taking recordings in an elementary school's girls' dressing room. Koza reportedly denied the charges at the time.

Between late March 2014 and June 19, 2014 at around 1:10 p.m., Koza allegedly trespassed into the girls' dressing room at the school, placed a digital video camera, and secretly took recordings. According to the board of education in Kami, a female fifth-year student at the school found a suspicious black paper box inside the girls' locker room on June 19, 2014. The box had a hole and a digital camera positioned inside.

Japan's Minor Offenses Act, originally passed in 1948, covers a variety of minor criminal offenses. The act includes articles related to trespassing and voyeurism.

The Kami school or board of education filed a criminal complaint to police in Kami on July 14, 2014. Koza reportedly stated at a staff meeting at the school that the camera was his, but he had lost it about one month prior.

Koza, a U.S. citizen who was 26 at the time of his arrest in Japan, reportedly became an assistant language teacher (ALT) at the school in August 2009. Koza's LinkedIn profile states that he was an ALT on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program at an unspecified elementary school in Japan from August 2009 to July 2014.

The Sankei Shimbun reported on October 2, 2014 that Kami police filed charges against the school's principal and vice principal on October 1 of that year under suspicion of concealing evidence. After the camera was discovered on June 19, 2014, the school's principal and vice principal reportedly hid it inside the school until July 14, the day a criminal complaint was filed. The principal and vice principal reportedly admitted to the charges and said that they were trying to protect themselves.

The principal and vice principal had reportedly told the town's board of education on July 11, 2014 that a camera had been discovered, but they falsely claimed that no secret recordings were taken. However, reports of the elicit recordings spread among students and their families. The principal and vice principal then admitted that there had been recordings, and a criminal report was filed on July 14. After filing charges against the principal and vice principal, the board of education in Kami held an informational meeting to discuss the situation with students' families on October 2, 2014.

Koza's LinkedIn profile states that he has been working as a freelance manga translator for Viz Media since January 2018. The listing states that his work for Viz Media has concentrated on the Shonen Jump label, and he has translated manga such as Jujutsu Kaisen, One Piece, Dragon Ball, We Never Learn, Ghost Reaper Girl, and Tokyo Shinobi Squad.

Viz Media responded to ANN's request for comment on Sunday and confirmed that he has been working as an independent contractor for the publisher. The company noted that they have several translators who are independent contractors and provide services for a variety of titles.

Koza was arrested on December 7 for possession and distribution of child pornography, according to Virginia's Herndon Police Department's weekly crime report. The 33-year-old is being held without bond on five felony counts of possession and five counts of distribution of child pornography at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Herndon Police Department made the arrest as part of a collaborative investigation with Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce. Koza's hearing date is set for March 3, 2021.

Sources: Sankei Shimbun (link 2), Stefan Koza's LinkedIn profile

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