Manga shop threatens to post face of alleged shoplifter on Internet

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

A well-known “otaku” shop in Tokyo is threatening to post a shoplifter’s face on the Internet if he doesn’t return what he stole.

The Nakano branch of Mandarake, one of the most popular vendors of anime- and manga-themed merchandise, put up on its website Tuesday night a pixelated image of the man who allegedly stole a windup robot, a replica of the famous manga/anime character Tetsujin 28-go, worth as much as ¥250,000 Monday evening.

“If you fail to come back and return the item to us in a week, we will expose your face,” the notice warned.

The theft was reportedly caught on security camera. The Nakano shop declined to comment when contacted by The Japan Times.

A Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman said the case is under investigation. She refused to comment on the legality of the store’s threat to expose the alleged shoplifter on the Internet.

Opinions seemed divided online over the store’s vigilante approach to dealing with shoplifting.

Some offered praise, suggesting waiting a week for the man to come forward was “too lenient.” Others said the store was going overboard, and should let the police handle the matter. They also raised the possibility of an invasion of privacy, should the store expose the man’s face.

  • ibrremote

    If the store only reveals the thief’s face to the Police, that won’t be public display of the person’s face, so no privacy issue.