Harshest sentence meted out for threats to 'Kuroko no Basuke' author

Harasser of manga author draws maximum sentence


Staff Writer

A man who was driven by jealousy to repeatedly threaten the author of a popular teen manga series was sentenced to 4½ years in prison by the Tokyo District Court on Thursday.

Hirofumi Watanabe intended to severely disrupt the business of Tadatoshi Fujimaki, the author of “Kuroko no Basuke” (“Kuroko’s Basketball”), with the threats, which lasted over a year beginning in October 2012, the ruling said.

Watanabe, a 36-year-old temp worker, sent death threats to organizers of several manga festivals in late 2012, demanding they cancel stage shows featuring Fujimaki’s work and remove related merchandise.

In October 2013, Watanabe sent a letter to Seven-Eleven Japan Co., claiming he poisoned various snacks with Fujimaki’s manga characters on their packaging. The convenience store pulled the snacks.

Presiding Judge Iwao Maeda said Watanabe deserved no leniency, given that he “carried out all these business obstructions solely for the purpose of venting his jealousy.”

In explaining why he handed down the stiffest sentence possible, Maeda said: “The defendant carried (the threats) out over and over again for extremely selfish reasons. In this regard, the gravity of his sin is incomparable to that of preceding criminals of a similar kind.”

Maeda also slammed Watanabe’s lack of remorse, noting he boasted that he would never feel sorry for his actions.

Watanabe said in his opening statement in March that he made the threats as he was jealous of Fujimaki, whose success as a manga author and academic made him feel unbearably bad about his own life.

Watanabe characterized himself as an “underdog” who was abused by his parents and bullied at school. He said he was gay and had never married or had sex his whole life, and felt ashamed of his low-paying job, which earned him less than ¥2 million annually.

Having struggled with suicidal thoughts most of his life, Watanabe said: “I thought that if I somehow managed to harass and depress (Fujimaki), I could drag him into my suicidal journey.” He then swore to hang himself once released from prison

  • Ron NJ

    Four and a half years for making threats to a manga author, but nothing whatsoever for standing on a streetcorner in Tokyo and telling Korean residents that “We will make a Tsuruhashi massacre like the Nanking massacre” and “We want to kill all Koreans”. At what point do you draw the line between “death threats” and “death threats”? Does it require Seven-Eleven being involved? Is it free speech if it is said through a megaphone in public while the police look on and protect you, but no longer free speech if you put pen to paper?

  • cleadd

    Traders Superstore and learn how to trade and then move to South East Asia and live a life that you never dreamed you could live. That’s what I am doing now and very happy instead of being in fear all the time and stressed.