One of Act-Age’s two mangaka, Tatsuya Matsuki, its writer, is in deep legal trouble. Not only was his and co-mangaka/artist Shiro Uzaki’s popular manga cancelled, with Shueisha discontinuing its digital and physical distribution, but the evidence against Matsuki is quite strong. And now, it seems that Uzaki has turned on her partner after seeing a video of him allegedly harassing a female middle school student. The artist released a statement via Twitter, and she is showing his support for his co-mangaka’s victims:

“Mr. Tatsuya Matsuki, the original writer of the manga Act-Age, for which I, Shiro Usazaki, was in charge of drawing, on August 8 was arrested and detained on suspicion of sexually assaulting junior high school girls.

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families. It is truly an act of courage to speak about in the midst of the face of such a traumatic experience. Although a judicial decision has not yet been made, I’m taking the victim’s report seriously alongside the facts that the case has been filed as a result of the victim’s report and Matsuki being arrested and detained.

I fully accept and agree with the Jump editorial team’s decision to cancel Act-Age, as well as the cancellation of projects, the collected volumes, and the merchandise.

The scars leftover from sexual harassment do not disappear. Going forward, every time you pass someone who looks similar, your body tenses up, you walk faster, and you are afraid to walk down the street at night, bringing tension and fear into the lives of those who have been victims in crimes that should not have occurred. With the possibility of triggering or causing distress to the victims by seeing Act-Age, we felt it was appropriate to end the series.

And to all the fans who love our work, we have a request to make. Thank you for your continued support of Act-Age. Like you, I am saddened that we have to have cut the series short like this.

But it is absolutely essential that we do not let our sadness overwhelm the people who have been affected by the events.

Of course, it’s not the victim’s fault that the work has ended. It is never wrong for the victim to speak up, to not have to endure the pain and cry themselves to sleep over the molestation and sexual assault. It was the right thing to do. That courage and action should not be disregarded, questioned, or shamed.

I also fully understand the feelings of those fans who live and breathe manga.I also live thanks to manga. My feelings have been overwhelmed. But please don’t turn that love of manga into violence directed in the wrong direction. Please think carefully, be empathetic, don’t be misled by misinformation, and choose what you say or not say with consideration.

Lastly, I hope that the victims will be able to live a peaceful life, are well taken care of and that they will never have to go through this kind of situation ever again.

August 24, 2020

Shiro Usazaki

For their part, Weekly Shounen Jump magazine, which serializes Act-Age, has thrown their support for the victims as well. They also vowed to support Shiro Uzaki in her future endeavors with them. And while Matsuki’s career as a mangaka is pretty much over, she is innocent of what he has done, and her star is still rising.

According to a report by NHK news, police arrested story writer Matsuki after a middle school girl reported to police that he allegedly approached her from behind while cycling and touched her inappropriately. The incident apparently happened at around 8:00pm JST on June 18, 2020. Security footage backed the girl’s claims. They also analyzed a different security camera footage involving a different female middle schooler on a nearby road. The suspect also resembled the act-age co-mangaka. Police also reported that Matsuki admitted to the accusations, saying that there’s nothing incorrect about them.

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Sources: Shounen Jump twitter Page via Crunchyroll

 

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