/

Man asserts death wish in ‘Basuke’ threats

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

A man accused of making hostile threats in connection with a popular manga series admitted full guilt in court Thursday, vowing to embrace any penalties without appealing and pushing for severe punishment, suggesting he wants to kill himself.

Hirofumi Watanabe was arrested last December for masterminding hateful campaigns against the popular comic book “Kuroko no Basuke” (“Kuroko’s Basketball”), authored by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Threats were repeatedly sent to organizers nationwide that were planning events based on the manga.

The 36-year-old temp worker also placed a container filled with hydrogen sulfide on the premises of Sophia University in Tokyo in October 2012 along with a letter revealing his grudge against Fujimaki, who graduated from the Catholic university.

Watanabe’s alleged attempts to impede the manga series’ activities continued over a year.

On the first day of his Tokyo District Court trial, he admitted committing all of the misdeeds on his own, claiming he was jealous. Watanabe said he has homosexual tendencies and claimed he was bullied and abused at home as a child, describing his life as full of misery.

Feeling defeated and hopeless, Watanabe said he was simply looking for ways to kill himself when he stumbled upon the story of Fujimaki: a highly successful manga artist with a prestigious academic career.

“He had everything I didn’t,” Watanabe said, with strange gaiety in his voice. “I thought that if I somehow managed to harass and depress him, I could drag him into my suicide journey,” he added, likening the manga series to a “bully” that constantly reminded him he was a hopeless underdog who had been denied a chance at redemption.

Watanabe also said he doesn’t feel guilty about what he did and plans no official apology, although he does realize he needs to take responsibility. Since he’s nearly broke, he can’t make any restitution. What he can do, he said, is kill himself as soon as he’s out of prison.

“That way, society can rest assured that I won’t do anything stupid again,” he said, adding he is “more than willing” to hang himself right now if given a chance.