My Hero Academia has caused some controversy regarding the name of a villain lately, which forced mangaka Kohei Horikoshi to change it. The name received a lot of backlash in China and South Korea, as the name of the villain, “Maruta Shiga”, is a reference to a horrific Japanese atrocity in World War II. And now, Shueisha has released a second apology, and this time, it’s formal and not just a statement. It also included an apology from Horikoshi himself as well:
Formal apology for the name used in My Hero Academia in Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 10, 2020
Regarding the character “Maruto Shiga–which appeared in chapter 259 of My Hero Academia (Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 10, February 3, 2020), a large number of readers from China and other countries have pointed out that the name evokes memories of the tragic past. “Shiga” is part of another character’s name, and Maruta (kanji: round + fat) reflects the appearance of the character in question. Any apparent reference to historical events was wholly unintentional. Despite this, the character’s role as a doctor for the evil organization, combined with his name, ended up being hurtful to overseas readers in China and elsewhere. The editorial department out to have taken the time beforehand to put more thought into this. We did not, and for that, we are profoundly sorry.
With all sincerity, we realize the gravity of this issue and will change the name both in the physical volume release and, as soon as possible, in the digital version of the chapter.
So that this kind of issue does not occur again going forward, we intend to devote our energies toward deepening our understanding of a variety of historical and cultural matters. By being more intimately aware of the thoughts and feelings of those from all walks of life, we will deliver manga that can be loved by all.
February 7th, 2020
Here is Horikoshi’s statement/apology:
By using the name “Maruta Shiga” in chapter 259 of My Hero Academia, I deeply offended a great number of readers. I am truly sorry about this. The character–with deep reverence and wanting to feel closer to the League of Villain’s former boss, All For One–decided to take part of All For One’s last name (Shigaraki) and make it his own (Shiga). I gave him the first name “Maruta” because he’s round and plump. Any other meaning is coincidental, and I had absolutely no intention of hurting so many readers, which I now know that I did. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
Going forward, I will do my utmost to make sure that this sort of thing never happens again.
The statements come as several Chinese media platforms have pulled the manga, anime, and video game. These services include Bilibili and Tencent Comics. The Chinese-developed My Hero Academia: Strongest Hero has also been removed as well. Xin Yuan, which developed it, has not officially announced the game’s cancellation. Shueisha released the statements in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and korean.
As for the experiments themselves, it killed plenty of people, especially in China. They experimented on a lot of people, including the sick, the elderly, and children. The horrific treatments included lobotomy, purposely infecting the victims with diseases, amputation, putting air into the blood stream, and even dissecting the victims while they were still alive. Yeah, the Japanese were pretty sick back then.
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Source: Weekly Shounen Jump!